The Scott Shaw Blog Be Positive

The Scott Shaw Blog

Scott Shaw
Welcome to the Scott Shaw Blog

Here you will find some new thoughts and essays along with some of the Greatest Hits from previous blogs.

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

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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.

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Most people develop and then follow the same patterns of behavior throughout their life.

It is for this reason that very few people are willing to evolve.

How about you?

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You can suggest to a person what they should change about themselves but if they do not want to listen then all will stay the same.

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Does your positivity proceed you?

Does your negativity proceed you?

Anotomy of Martial Artists Over 40

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Here's a funny poster somebody posted on Facebook. It is so true!!!

For all of you people out there, who aren't martial artists, you may not know this but martial arts destroys your body over time.

This poster described martial artists at forty. I'm sixty-two. I've been doing the martial arts for fifty-five years. Imagine the pain I'm constantly experiencing. Happy

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Have you ever noticed how those people who embrace a negative lifestyle or want to live in denial about what they have or have not done always denounce a person who lives a positive lifestyle?

Who Have You Saved?

We live in a world of desire. We live in a world of beliefs. We live in a world of opinion. We live in a world of conquest. We live in a world of people doing things that hurt the life of other people. But, who have you saved?

Most everyone can chart what they want from life and what they want from some specific person. Most everyone can chart what they think about a certain subject and what they think about a particular person. Most everyone can chart how they feel about the world, a government, a politician, a sport’s player, a musician, an actor, or the person next door. But, how does any of this help anyone?

Most everyone can tell you what they hope to achieve in their life. Most people can tell you where they wish they could live, what kind of car they would like to drive, who they would like to go out with, the kind of person they would like to marry, where they would like to take their vacation, and the kind of career they hope to have. But, how does this do anything for anybody?

For most, life is a very selfish process. For most, each person sets about voicing what they think about what they think about. For most, each person sets about achieving what they hope to achieve. But, how does that help anyone?

If you are not on the path of consciously doing things that help people, animals, the environment, and the world as a whole all you are is a selfish, thoughtless creature. All you are doing is taking but not giving.

Ask yourself, who have you saved? Who are you saving? Who will you save tomorrow and the next day? If you do not have an answer to those questions, what does that say about you as a human being? How does that describe who you truly are?

You can help other life. You can save lives. But if you don’t change the focus of your life from you, the only person you focus on is you. Focusing on you is a very egotistical state of mind.

Stop thinking about what you think. Stop thinking about you. Stop caring only about what you want. Stop spending all your time only attempting to achieve what you hope to achieve. Stop it and care. Stop it and do something to save someone. Stop it and take on the responsibility of saving someone. Do this and everything becomes better.

One small act of goodness can set an entire avalanche of goodness into motion.

Who are you going to save today?

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How old do you have to be to not be young anymore?

Making Movies on Your Phone

I am really an advocate of making movies on your phone. The technology in most phones on the market today is far superior to what was used for Super 8 and 16mm filmmaking of the past. Plus, you have on-board audio. You no longer have to record your dialogue on tape and sync it to your film.

I know, I know… I’m from the old school where we used to shoot on film. Some people still do but the numbers have decreased. Way back in the way back when I said in some interview that once some high-end film is made on video the perception of video filmmaking will completely change and this has come to pass.

I also used to say, way back in the way back when, once they find a way to attach a microphone to the smartphone, smartphone cinematography and smartphone filmmaking will sweep the independent film industry. This too has come to pass. I can now attach a full on Sennheiser microphone to my phone when I want to get great audio. Plus, it’s really easy to do.

Every phone is different so I would detail it here. But, look it up, you can do it too.

Mostly, I don’t use a Sennheiser ME66 or ME67 for my iPhone filmed cinematography, however. I have a little Shure microphone that plugs straight into my iPhone, that I keep close at hand, that really increases the perfection of the audio if I want to do that. There’s a few other similar mics out there which also provide truly increased audio quality. And, they’re relatively cheap!

With the dawning of the video age, indie filmmaking became more affordable. This was drastically increased with the dawning of the digital age a few years later. Prosumer video cameras were fairly cheap and you could do some great things with them.

There were a certain group of people in the industry who gravitated towards DSLR cameras but I have spoken about this in the past… Yes, you can film movies with them but that is not what they were actually designed for. Thus, they have a certain lacking in comparison to an actual video camera. But, I won’t go into all of the technical aspects of that right now.

Smart phones, particularly iPhones, have far surpassed all the cinematic excellence that one used to have to spend a lot of money to achieve. Meaning, anybody can now become a filmmaker. There are no more excuses!

All you have to do is to remember not shoot your footage up and down like so many people do. Turn your phones sideways. That is movie mode. That is fill the screen of your TV or theater screen mode.

A smart phone is all you need. Get out there and make your movie. It can be short, it can be long; it doesn’t matter. Just get out there and do it! There are no more excuses. Your key to becoming a filmmaker is already right in your pocket.

All Going to the Lost and Forgotten

Think about a time in the long ago and the far-far away when you were young. If you were living the average life of a young person you probably had magazines and posters of the things of your era. Maybe you had a poster of a sport’s personality, a singer, a band, or a movie that you liked on your wall. Me, growing up in the sixties and the seventies, at various stages, I had psychedelic posters on my wall. I had a poster of Peter Fonda riding his chopper in Easy Rider, as that was a very influential movie to me—I really loved that poster. As time when on and I got a bit older and more involved in Eastern Spirituality, I had pictures of Swami Satchidananda and Swami Sivananda around me. We each had our own thing. The people that we admired and the things that guided us. Where are all those magazine, pictures, and posters now? Where are all the posters you had on your wall? What happened to them? What happened to you?

We all grow up. We each evolve. We move forward in our life and we become what we become. For many/most, we never rise to the level of that something worthy of a poster on a wall they we hoped to become but nonetheless we each have hopefully lived our life as best as we can. You did what you did defined by your particular set of circumstances.

But, what about the back then? What about the evolution you hoped to embrace? What about the influences and the people who influenced you? What about the posters on your wall? What became of those people? Did they remain who they were in your mind? Or, like most, did they disintegrate from the role of idol to just another Joe, embracing the problems of life that we all face?

The thing about life is that there is the projected reality and then there is the reality of reality. As long as a person is a poster on the wall, they are no more than a picture. There are no feelings, there are no life-actions, there are no mistakes. They can’t hurt you.

Think about the people that you have photographs of. Think about the people that you have taken photographs with. Where are those people? What happened to those people? What happened to those photographs? For some/for many, if you were in a relationship with a person, and the relationship faded away, you probably threw those photographs away. I remember this one girl I was going out with in my twenties, she was way into me, but I was only so-so into her. Initially, she pulled me into all of her family photographs and made me stand next to her, even though I didn't really want to be in the photo, whenever we went to one of her family functions. Then, I so amusingly remember the point when she pushed me out of a family photo, telling me I couldn’t be in it. She finally realized the relationship was doomed. This made me smile then as it makes me smile as I remember it now.

Photographs lock you into a moment. They are a memory—perhaps a found memory but that moment is gone. What happened to all those photographs of you/of a time gone past if that person no longer liked you? What happens to those photographs when you pass on to the next life?

Every now and then I will find a whole group of family photos in an album, a shoe box, or a slide tray at a thrift store. Obviously, someone passed away and those who remained cared not about those photographs/those memories. Thus, they donated them. And, think about all of the photos that were just thrown in the garbage. Those photos once meant something to someone but no more. Who wants someone else’s memories?

It’s really scary how meaningless all of the things that matter so much to us, matter so little to anyone else.

…Even me, I've thrown away photographs and later realize what a big mistake that was.

So, here we are, our childhood gone. What happened to those illustrations of our youth; those posters on our wall?

What will happen to all of the photographs of you and all of the photographs you have taken? Found memories to us but meaningless to everyone else.

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The reason most people don't accomplish anything with their life is that they don't know what they are looking for.

The Arrogant and the Ignorant

We are about to enter into another Lock Down here in Los Angeles due to the surging cases of coronavirus. What is the cause of this? The cause of this is the behavior of people and their believing that they are either immune, that it is all a hoax, or that they just don’t give a fuck about their fellow human beings. But, people are getting sick and people are dying. Why? Because people are not taking this China-born disease seriously.

I was in an antique store over the weekend. There were people walking around who had their masks pulled down to chin level not covering their mouth and nose. Sure, they wore them to get in the store but as soon as they were out of sight of the staff, down came the masks, exposing others to disease. Masks are not solely worn to keep you safe from others; they are worn to keep others safe from you!

Last evening I was in the supermarket. My lady was standing next to me as I was picking out some broccoli for dinner. This old guy walks up right between us grabbing for those plastic bags that are on those rolls above the vegetables that you can put your produce in. I couldn’t believe it. There are stay six feet apart signs everywhere but there he was right next to us grabbing for the bags. I voiced, “What an asshole.” But, what am I going to do, kick his ass?

Over the weekend there was a big protest in Orange County. They were burning masks, protesting the recent COVID curfew, and the like. Nobody was social distancing or wearing masks.

People are dying! The current rate has just gone up in the U.S. to one person dying every sixty-seconds from COVID-19. Yeah, there is now some better treatments and the release of the vaccine is on the horizon but, due to the arrogant, due to the ignorant, and due to the selfish behavior think how many businesses are again going to be put in peril, equaling people’s lives being destroyed, as this new Lock Down takes effect all do to people thinking only about themselves and not others.

Who do you think about when you do the things you do? Do you think about the other person or do you only think about you: what you feel and what you believe? If you only think about you then, by that very self-definition, you are a selfish person. If you are responsible for one person getting sick or one person dying what do you think that will do to your karma for the rest of your life? What do you think that will do to your ultimate life definition and evolution?

There is only one thing that anybody should be doing in life, now during this age of coronavirus or at any other time, and that is taking the other person into consideration—thinking about the other person first.

Care… Because if you don’t, you have the potential to destroy the lives of other people. Care… Because if you don’t, no one will care about you.

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Why do most doors open in instead of opening out?

Step Back in Time

For each of us there are those memories that are very prominent in our mind. The first time you did something. When that very special something happened. Even when that negative something occurred. Those things were big. Thus, they are vividly remembered.

Then, there are those other things. Small things. No big deal events. Yet, for some reason, every now and then, they come to your mind. Not once but repeatedly. Why?

Here’s the exercise for the day. Bring one of those memories into focus. One of those memories you periodically remember but they were just a passing moment of your life.

Think back ten years. If you’re an old guy like me, think back twenty, thirty, or forty years deep. Look for one of those memories that continually comes to mind.

Once you have isolated that memory, calm your mind. Let your random racing thoughts dissipate. Truly focus on that event. Remember it exactly. Take your mind back in time and really feel the event. Do things like remember what lead up to the event. Think and find the words that were spoken. Go deeply into that memory and experience the feelings that you were feeling. Truly explore and relive that moment in your mind.

What will come from this exercise will be a bit different for each person. But, it will truly allow you to see who you were back then, what you were thinking, and what you were feeling. From this, you may come to a new conclusion of where and why you have arrived where you have in your life. How what you were feeling then lead you to what you are feeling now. Perhaps, you may even find an unrevealed clue as to why that memory has stayed in your mind—why it comes to your mind periodically. You may even learn that the passing event means much more to your life and your life’s evolution than you initially thought that it did.

Step back in time and you may learn a lot about yourself and why you have ended up where you have ended up.

The People That Help You

There are some people that come into our lives and they truly help us. Whether this is accomplished by being our friend, giving us a ride when we need one, helping us move, helping us paint our house, onto people who we never met but have inspired or guided us through their writings, their actions, their whatever… For all of us, there are some people that have come into our lives that have truly helped us in large or in small amounts.

As we pass through life, not all of our relationships last forever. Sometimes people move away, sometimes people become busy with their families or new friends, sometimes people just drift apart. That’s not a bad thing. That’s just the reality of life. But, if a person has helped us they always deserve a place in our hearts even if we never see them again.

I think we can all agree that we really appreciate the people who have helped us in our lives whether we personally know them or not. This is why I forever advocate telling people, “Thank you,” whenever you can. Whether it is for a small action like picking up something you dropped, a server carrying your meal to your table, onto the bigger things of which the list is endless. “Thank you,” is one of the best things you can say to a person. Reach out; let people know that they have helped you. Tell them, “Thank you.”

Some people, including myself, really set about on a course of consciously trying to help other people. This is not just for people I know. I try to do things that may help people I will never meet. Certainly, helping someone is not based solely in physical action. It can also be accomplished by saying nice things about a person, stopping or interrupting people from saying or doing negative things. Helping can come in all shapes and sizes but it has to be done. Helping requires you to do something.

Helping does not have to be done close to home. It does not only need to be provided to people you know. Look around the world, watch the news, read the newspaper, there are people who need help everywhere. If no one provides it for them they may be trapped into a negative life environment forever. But, if someone/if you cares enough to help, then their everything can become better.

There is a lot of negativity in this world. I imagine it has forever been like that in different shapes and forms. Some people believe helping is helping someone do something negative be this via word or physical actions. But, if anyone is hurt, that is never helping. That is only hurting. Everyone is a person. They all have feelings. They all have their families and their lived ones. No one deserves to be hurt. Thus, hurting is never helping.

So, what are you going to do today to help someone? What are you going to physically do, say, or write that helps someone? If you don’t do anything, nothing is done. Thus, no help was provided.

Help begins with you choosing to help. It begins with you doing the right thing.

Care; care about the all and the everyone—even the people you don’t know. Help someone today. Help someone right now. Help someone every chance you get and the world becomes such a better place.

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If what you say is wrong then it is wrong.

Yet, think about the world. Think about how many people are saying things without ever researching the true facts. Think about how may people say things based upon their opinion and present it as fact even though what they are saying is not the truth.

Is a false fact ever the truth?

If what you are saying is false, what does that make you?

Answer: A lair.

Isn't silence a better alternative?

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Do you remember when you made your first mistake?

Stalking

“If I wasn’t already paranoid, I would become paranoid.” That’s the joke I told my lady today when I returned home from the supermarket…

A kind of weird thing has been going on in that for the second time in about a week a person has come up to me at my local supermarket saying, “Scott??? I think I know you.” In both cases it was a female—a different female, I believe. Right now, in the age of coronavirus, with everyone wearing a mask, it’s kind of hard to tell. But, if someone knows you they follow that statement up with something to the affect, “I was in one of your movies. I took a class you taught. I met you at that art gallery opening, I used to be a barista at Starbucks, I like that book you wrote, or I'm a fan of Roller Blade Seven.” But, in both of these cases, nada…

I always remember when I would bump into the famed actor: two-time Clint Eastwood co-star and James Bond villain, Don Stroud. “Hey Scott, it’s me, Don Stroud.” I always knew who he was as he was one of my childhood idols. I thought, how humble is that guy? A famed actor and believing he has to remind people who he is.

But, in both of the aforementioned supermarket situations, nothing… They just finished up with, “You could be his twin.”

Me… I, of course, refrain from answering questions or revealing anything about myself in situations such as these as you really don't know who you are talking to (or why).

Obviously, something weird is going on. And, unless I’m sleep walking and living some entirely different life that I don't remember in the morning or it's one of those cross-dimensional things where Scott Shaw from a different dimension is crossing over into this one, someone is stalking me for some reason. Or, maybe I have a doppelgänger. Two of me; that's scary! If I want to be really paranoid, maybe someone is impersonating me. But, why would anyone do that?

Stalkers are always weird. I mean they exist out there in the shadows and who knows why they do what they do.

As it has become easy to find the whereabouts of pretty much anybody these days, I guess this kind of stuff goes on all the time. You can’t hide from that demon, cyber tracking, listing everyone’s everything, internet.

I’ve had a few stalkers in my days. That’s the weird think about being almost famous, people want to get to know you; either from a positive or a negative perspective. And, as I have long said, “Everybody wants something from me but no one ever gives me anything.” So???

The people who just want to be friends are one thing but then there are the people who seek something else… Back in the days when I was writing a lot of articles for marital art magazines, (of which pretty much none are left), I got a few of those weird, macho people tracking me down and trying to start a fight. But, that’s just not what I’m about. That’s not what the true marital arts are about!

When I was living at this other place, maybe twenty years deep, whenever I would park my car on the street something went wrong with it the next time I drove it. If I parked it inside, all was fine. But, outside… Somebody was obviously doing something to it, but why? What did it prove? Though I do believe I know who it was…

Then, there was this one guy who wanted me to give him a role in one of my films. Every time I would go into this one shop he would magically show up. Obviously he knew someone who worked there and they would alert him when I arrived. I always thought that was funny. Eventually I gave him a part in a film. Amazingly, when I went into the shop after that he never magically appeared.

I’ve had a few online stalkers over the years. Maybe they would write bad reviews about my books or my movies or talk shit about me on message boards. But, to what end? What did it prove? Like I always say, everything you do has the potential to affect the life of someone else for years to come; maybe even forever… And, if you say or do something that negatively affects someone/anyone it will all come back at you. You did it. You did it to hurt someone. Do you believe there are no cosmic life repercussions? People always wonder why negative shit finds them and they don't succeed in what they hoped to achieve. Look in the mirror.

You know, the thing about stalking, especially someone like me, is what is the point? I’m a very approachable sort of person. Hit me up on Facebook if you want an answer to a question or just to chat.

Back in the day, when I was teaching a lot of classes and seminars, people would come and take a class if they wanted to know what I was about. But now, in a world of on-line everything, I just don't have the inspiration to teach via that method.

Some people send me an e-mail or something and they immediately want to meet fact-to-face. Then, they get mad when I turn them down. It’s nothing personal. I’m just a fairly reclusive person. From experience, I don’t trust people. It takes time for me to get to know someone. But, that doesn’t mean that you have to stalk me. In fact, I’m a really boring person, why do you want to meet me at all?

But people, you don’t have to stalk me! If you see me on the street or at a café or at the supermarket or wherever, come up and say, “Hi.” Tell me who you are. Tell me what I can do for you. Or, what you can do for me. It doesn’t have to be weird. You don’t have to stalk me!

If You Need an Explanation You Don’t Understand Art

As someone who has been involved in the creation of art, in one form or another, for most of my life, I have throughout the years been confronted with the fact that people question what I am doing. Combine this with being closely associated with other artists and it seems that the paradigm is the same; some people understand art as being art and others question the why.

In terms of art forms like writing: poetry, novels, and the like; and yes, writing is an art form, the inquiries are less obvious. A person likes the words, likes the style or they do not and that is that. But, as soon as you step into the other, more visual, realms of art: drawing, painting, photography, or film, then the questions become more obvious. But why? Aren’t the visual realms of reality the most obvious? Aren’t they the ones where a visual something is created? It is there. Yes, you can like it or not like it but its reality is true and pure onto itself. Yet, this is where so many question arise. I cannot tell you how many times I have encountered someone looking for something when the fact of the obvious is right in front of his or her eyes.

From my own personal perspective, I have encountered people questioning a photograph I took. Why does anyone want or need an explanation of a photograph? The image is right it front of your eyes. It is what it is. It is what it is in its purest form. Sure, you may like the image—sure, you may dislike the image but the image is what the image is.

In many ways this is the same with paintings. An artist has a vision in their mind; they attempt to place it on canvas. Maybe they like it, maybe you like, maybe neither of you like it. But, it is what it is. Why is there any need for an explanation?

Film is the same. The filmmaker creates a conglomeration of moving images, ties them together, and creates a film of whatever length. It portrays what the filmmaker could capture and it is true and pure onto itself. The filmmaker may like it, the people who took part in the production may like it, the viewer may like it or they all may not. But, like and/or dislike is not the definition of art—creation is the definition of art. If it is envisioned, if it is created, if it is done, it is art. And, art is art.

I am sure we have all been to art galleries where people are having some long bogus discussion about they whys and the wherefores of an artist they did not personally know. They attempt to define that artist’s reality not knowing the truth of their inner motivations. I am also sure we have each encountered people loving or hating an artist’s work and their questioning the why of the artist’s motivations.

If you need an explanation, you do not understand art. Art is art, it all stands on its own merit of creation. If it is create it is art. By this very fact, that should be explanation enough. Love it, hate it, want to own it, or discard it, that is all your personal choice. But, if you question the artist’s why of the art, you do not understand art.

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If you consciously do nothing you are walking towards Zen.

If you allow the dominating hands of life to keep you from doing something you are walking towards unfulfilled oblivion.

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A fact of life is, once you've done something it can't be undone.

So, the questions becomes, should you do something and suffer the consequences, be they positive or negative, or should you do nothing and encounter no consequences?

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Sometimes the only way you can realize your mistakes is when you back over time and analyze how your actions caused you to not achieve what you hoped you would achieve.

Why Most People Fail As Filmmakers

Somebody posted a poster shot of this on Facebook. Here it is just as it was presented. I couldn’t agree more…

1. YOUR’RE NOT WILLING TO EAT SHIT IN THE BEGINNING

You’re not willing to work for free in the beginning or make sacrifices in order to create opportunities.

2. YOU DON’T WANT IT 100%

You only sorta kinda want it. And being wishy washy will only get you more of the same. You’re just going through the motions…

3. YOUR EGO IS CALLING THE SHOTS & YOU THINK YOU’RE ENTITLED

You believe that you’re the next Spielberg, but aren’t willing to put in the work to get there. You think everything should be handed to you because of your “gift.”

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If you charge a fee for what you do, you are a business person.

If you do what you do for free then you are a benefactor.

A business person takes.

A benefactor gives.

Never confuse the two.

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It's easy to pray to god asking for what you want but what are you actually doing for the betterment of anybodies anything?

Hawk

Last week I looked out onto my patio and I noticed that there was a hawk sitting on the railing. Wow! “How cool,” I thought. Then it flew off.

A bit later in the week I was taking a walk around a nearby park with my lady. We saw a hawk sitting on the ground. We both pulled out our phones to take a photo. Before either of us could, the hawk took off. The only thing was, in his claws he was holding a just killed squirrel. Okay, that’s weird…

Whether it was the same hawk or not, I don’t know. There’s a lot of hawks that fly around my section of the outbound greater Los Angeles area. Though, of course, that is all nature—the hawk killing the squirrel and all that. But, it just seems so heartless—so predatory. I mean, I like squirrels.

Recently, there was this squirrel that was making a pattern out of coming to eat his lunch on my patio. One of my neighbors was apparently feeding him peanuts but he did not want to eat where he was fed. He was even trying to bury his treats in my planters. Though I felt very bad doing it, I had to shew him away as I did not want him and my cats getting into it. But, I certainly wanted him to be happy and not dead.

Again, I don’t know if that was the same squirrel. Probably not. But, the loss of all/any life is sad.

When I did the movie, The Roller Blade Seven, Donald G. Jackson came up with the name Hawk for my character. I never really questioned why. I just used it. It was just my character’s name. No big deal one way or the other… But, here/now this is the first time I questioned it. I don’t feel very predatory at all. In fact, I feel just the opposite.

Nature is a weird thing. The strong over power the weak but it always seems that the strong come at the position from a place of power. The hawk knew he could grab, kill, and eat that squirrel. He didn’t go after a Pit Bull or a German Shepard.

And, that’s the thing about life, the predatory are always the lowest on the spectrum of pure consciousness; they do what they do from an expected position of power. Power that someone else or something else gave them. They attack the weak or at least the weaker but they never go after the more power-full because then they would loss.

I don’t know… Nature is nature but we humans possess a choice, a choice that we really need to make. A choice to hurt no one and no thing no matter what.

***

You are never going to be the person you were yesterday.

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If you have to tell somebody you have something that means you really don't have it.

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If right now is the best you can ever be where will you be?

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When have you done enough?

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Everybody is looking for someone but is anyone looking for you?

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If you broadcast to the world that you can fight there will always be someone who will want you to prove it.

The Reexplaining of Reality

Your life is based on the way you understand reality. Your life is based on how you define your interpersonal relationship. Your life is defined by the way in which you act and react towards others. Your life is based on the way you interpret the way other people have treated you.

Throughout your life you have interpersonal relationships with people. The way they treat you comes define the elements of how you feel about people, the way you trust or do not trust people, and the way you act and/or react to other people in future relationships. In other words, you learn by experience. How someone treats you, what they do to you or for you, sets the stage in how you will analyze, chart, and gage the next and the next and the next person in your life.

How a person treats you has the potential to define how you will judge all other people because we all learn from experience. If your personal interactions are positive, then you will come to view all (or at least most) people from a positive perspective. If your interactions are negative, then you have the potential to, more than likely, see other people through an untrusting eye.

One of the main things to remember in this process, however, is that it is all based on your interpretation. How you have interpreted the actions of others is how you define that experience and how you define others. But, your definition is not necessarily the truth. It is simply your definition. It is how you have judged and how you have interpreted what that someone else did or said to you. But, the fact is, you do not truly know what was in their mind. You do not truly know why they did what they did or said what they said. All you have—all you are working off of is what you think but what you think is all in your head, it is not in their head, so you may be completely wrong.

For example, I had an interesting reinterpretation of a situation that happened to me many-many years ago. I don’t know why this situation came to mind but it did.

The story is, a friend of mine literately insisted that I meet him in a city several hundred miles away from L.A., up along the Eastern Sierras, as his stepson, someone I had trained extensively in long-distance bike racing, was doing a race. I didn’t really want to go. But, my friend insisted. Due to our long years of friendship, I gave in.

I had a new girlfriend at the time, so instead of taking my vintage Porsche, whose heater didn’t work, we decided to take her car. Though the car was new, it broke down. I had it towed to the city where we were to meet my friend hoping to find a mechanic who could fix it. As it was a small town, there were none. When we arrived at the motel, I explained the situation to my friend and his ultimate words to me were, “Sorry, but this is my only vacation…” He left us stranded.

Though those words basically ended our friendship, as I believed they were beyond selfish, I always took them at face value. The other day, when the incident popped into my mind, this weird realization came over.

To go back in time a little bit… This guy forever attempted to mess up any relationship I was in. He would always talk trash about the girls I was with and coax me to go out and hang out with him instead of them. As time when on, he met this older woman, who was just two years younger than his mother. She had two kids, they became a couple, got married, and had their own kid. But, he never really changed how he reacted to me and my relationships. I would occasionally bring girls over for Sunday dinner, every now and then, and the like, but he forever maintained his negative appraisal of all of them. Where all of this came from, who knows??? We all have our inner programing and our unknown reason’s why. But, what I realized about the aforementioned situation, where the car broke down, was that what he really wanted was for me to go off with him, his wife, and his stepson and leave my girlfriend behind. After replaying his words, I realized that was his motivation. After all of our years of friendship, he was asking me to choose him over choosing her. But, that is not just the kind of person I am. I would never leave anyone stranded and alone.

So, was what he did simply seeking attention and hoping that his best friend would choose him over her? Yeah, maybe… But, it was all in the presentation.

Now, there can be all kinds of debate about his psychological makeup and what motivated him to behave in this manner in the first place. He, like I, had a really fucked up childhood leading to a not very well-balance adulthood. But, all that we have when dealing and interacting with other people is what is presented to us. Then, it is only us, who comes up with a definition. But, all a definition is, is our interpretation of what took place—what someone else did to us, and how we feel about that doing. Is that definition the truth? No, it is only our interpretation.

So, think about it… …When someone does something to you and you think you know why; think again. Because you can never truly know what is in someone’s mind.

China Rules the World

Ever since the beginning of the COVID-19 Coronavirus Pandemic I have question, “Why is no one mad at China?” Here in the U.S. people are mad at our politicians. Some are mad because the politicians are making people wear masks. Others are mad because the politicians have shut down businesses in hopes of keeping the virus from spreading. Others are mad at the politicians because they believe that they have not done enough and perhaps they have become sick or one of their family members has died. But, none of this is the fault of the politicians in the U.S. They are just trying to figure things out as best as they can. It is the fault of China! But, where is the focused anger on China? They are the ones, who due to their unsanitary condition in a wet market, exposed the entire world to this disease.

There is no one in this world that has not been affected by the COVID-19 Coronavirus. For some, it has been small. For others, it is has been much larger. People have lost their jobs. People have lost their businesses. People have lost their health. Many, across the globe, have died. And, we will never know the true number of deaths for in places like India (and China) the true numbers are not even calculated and revealed. Plus, this pandemic is nowhere close to being over. More devastation, destruction, and death is to come.

According to the news today, one American dies every forty-three seconds from COVID-19. We didn't create this disease—it was not formulated in the United States. Yet, our people are dying from it, as are people across the globe. Why is no one mad at China? Why is no one taking China to task for having taken control over the entire world?

We are told that a vaccine is soon to be released. But, what will be the impact and the cost of that vaccine to the human body and to life on the whole? No one knows! It is all just speculation. Plus, keep in mind, the promised vaccine is thought to be ninety percent effective that means that one in ten people can still contract the virus after they have received the vaccination.

Ever since I first traveled to China I knew that they would become the World Power. Why? Because they have a massive population that is scared to death of their government. They do what they are told and when they don’t, look out. Even with some of the integration of New Culture and enchased person wealth that has been somewhat adopted since the 1990s in China, the essence of the people are the same. They operate from a position of fear. Look at the people who have rebelled. What has happened to them?

As I have said in the past, if some country did this intentionally to the U.S., Europe, Russia, or wherever, it would have lead to war. But, no one has done anything. They have given China a pass. But, it is their fault! They have destroyed the lives and have killed many. No one has not been affected by COVID-19. Why can't the people who caught the disease, why can't the people who lost loved ones due to the disease, why can't the people who's lives were ruined by the disease sue China for compensation?

So, when you look around at the condition of your life—the way you are currently living your life, remember who is to blame. It is not your politicians; they are trying the best that they can. This is the fault of China. China is in control of the world. China rules the world. They are the ones that you should focus your anger upon.

Confrontation in the Rear View

It truly struck me as strange this morning when I headed out on the streets. There was nobody there. The streets were virtually empty. It was kind of like at the beginning of the pandemic when no one was driving anywhere. Very strange and unexpected, especially for a city like L.A.

I did my drive across the city, did what I had to do, and was on my way in the direction of home. I was pulling up to this stop light and out of nowhere this mini van cuts me off and pulls right in front of me just as the light was turning red. I threw my arms up in the air. Plus, they did this for no reason. They had their own lane going straight as they were obviously planning to do. Me, they cut off my right turn and I had to wait for the light to change for them to move forward. Not cool, but whatever…

What happened next is the point to all this… They flipped me off as they drove away. What! I mean, “Fuck you!” You did something wrong, you cut me off, and now you’re flipping me off.

As someone who sometimes suffers from that, “You can take the boy out of the jungle but you can’t take the jungle out of the boy syndrome,” what they did kind of pushed me in the wrong direction. Maybe I was just too hyped after drinking my Starbucks Venti Flat White Latte? I don’t know? But, it’s all kind of how a situation is presented to you, you know. I mean, we all, every now and then, do that stupid thing when we are driving. But, when you do, you give the other driver that wave of, “Sorry,” and move on. But, flip me off. It really hit me the wrong way.

Now, this kind of nonsense goes on all the time. I have watched it throughout my life. Someone is at fault—someone does something wrong or maybe they just want to take control over a situation and attempt to employee some sense of over-empowerment in a nothing situation, so they lash out. But, in few cases people who do that would do what they did to a person’s face. They only flip people off in their rear view mirror. Same with the internet. Everyone OUT THERE is oh so powerful. They can say anything they want from their keyboard but what about face-to-face?

This situation just struck me the wrong way, I rolled down my window and gave them a big, “Fuck you.” Lost in that moment I was hoping that they would say something. But, as could be expected, they did not.

You see, this is where the birth of negative situations takes place. Someone does something unthinking or simply wrong. They do it, they are the one who made a mistake, yet they blame it on the person they presented the mistake to. Things can really escalate out of these moments to something very negative. I have see it many times and have lived it a few.

The good thing, if you want to call it that, is I catch myself in these moments, knowing that whatever would occur would not end to anyone’s true benefit.

You know, in some ways, that’s the problem with being Scott Shaw. …With being someone Almost Famous. Or, maybe better put, someone who used to be Almost Famous… In the Almost Famous position of life, people come at you. They hope to make a name for themselves by doing so. Then, when and if you kick their ass, they call the police with the, “Whoa is me,” defense and they want to sue you. And, the problem with the Almost Famous tag is, you don’t have the people network or the big money of the Truly Famous to back you up. So, it just becomes a stupid street fight all based on someone doing something which was actually meaningless to you.

You know, I remember this one time, I think he was a stalker cause I saw his truck a few times, but, I was driving down the street, (well, actually up a hill), and this guy pulled right up next to me. He had those really dark tinted windows, so I couldn’t really see what he was doing, but I guess he didn’t know that. Every now and then the light would hit just right and he was driving while nonstop flipping me off and he appeared to be screaming at me. Get a life dude, get some control. But, then I turned right, going to my intended location, and he just drove on. I saw him drive by me a week or two later, there he was flipping me off again. Why? I have no idea. I certainly didn’t know him.

And, that’s the thing—that’s the essence of the evolving trend of anger and violence and why stupidly flipping someone off equals nothing good but it can end in something very bad.

For someone like me, who literally fights most everyday, in martial art training, you get a different understanding of person-to-person reality and you see how foolish physical combat can be. Someone wins, someone loses, but who cares?

I see so many martial art instructors making the same training mistake that people from the first generation of American martial arts, like myself, made. They do things like wear weight belts on their ankles when they kick or on their wrists when they punch. They believe that doing this helps to develop strength and power but all it ultimately does is destroy your body. Ask any orthopedist. Ask anyone, like me, who also used to do it. Because ultimately, what is the point of having that super-superior punch or kick? Life and even the martial arts is not a never-ending combat zone. We are not living in a zombie apocalypse. In fact, by studying the martial arts you should gain the understanding that you never need to fight. What the martial arts basically comes down to is an enhanced understanding of physical—person-to-person reality. Can you kick someone’s ass—do you have a better chance of kicking someone’s ass? Sure, maybe. But, so what… If you do, then what? Then you get arrested. Then you get sued.

So, what does this all tell us? It tells us, if someone flips you off—if they flip you off even if they were the one at fault, don’t let them and their actions control your reality because a reality based in anger and violence leads to nothing good. Smile and drive on.

From Here to Wherever

I was watching, From Here to Eternity last night. It’s a really good movie that really stands the test of time. The one thing that I particularly noticed was that everyone was smoking and drinking whiskey all the time and then they were locking lips. That must have been really nasty. I mean kissing someone who has just smoked is really foul; add to that whiskey and…

I grew up in a household of parents who smoked. It was at a time when they were really announcing how bad smoking was. My father had his first heart attack and the doctor told him to quit. He said, “I like smoking.” His next heart attack killed him. He was only forty-eight.

A bit later in life, when I was maybe thirteen, my friend’s father asked me if I smoked. I did not. I never did. But, my mother’s smoke was so all over the everything that my clothing smelled of it. Then, add to that all of my years upon years of involvement in the Korean martial arts, where everyone of my Korean instructors and contemporaries smoked. And, it was everywhere. My father-in-law, (my last drinking buddy), died from lung cancer from smoking. Believe me when I tell you that is not a good way to go out. Add to that all of the seedy bars I hung out at in Asia and forget about it…

In the 1970s and into the 1980s I would meet a pretty girl and one thing would lead to another. You know how it goes… The problem being, many of them smoked. Kissing someone who smokes is just nasty. I’m sure I have written poems about that published somewhere? Yet, a man needs his women…

I remember I had this one semi long-term girlfriend when I was in my twenties. She smoked when I first met her. She supposedly quit for me. I had left her West Hollywood, just above the Sunset Strip and the Whiskey A-Go-Go, apartment to go somewhere but I had forgotten something. I ran back up the stairs, went inside, and there she was smoking. She had lied. She still smoked. She was just hiding it from me. Addiction is a hard-core thing.

I have this one friend that I have known forever and ever. We came up through the days of Punk together. But, I knew him long before that. He started smoking at the late age of thirty and he still smokes to this day. I never understood why. He’s a smart guy. Plus, he is in complete denial about the reality of second hand smoke???

Think about life. Think about the things that you do. Think about how the what you do does something to someone else. How much do you care? Do you care at all or are you willing to fight for your right to party?

From Here to Eternity; great movie. But, more than that it is a depiction of a time, a place in history, that offers a unique view into interpersonal reality. It also offers a unique view into how people behave. How do you behave? How do the people you know behave? And, how do you define your life by what you choose to do, what your doing does to others, and how what you do affects the greater whole of the world? Are you willing to die a horrible death and maybe kill others in the process just so you can do something that is really a nasty habit. …Think about it… Not just smoking but what do you do that is offensive and hurtful to others.

If you hurt yourself—if you hurt anyone, you are hurting the entire world.

***

How many things in your life are a secret?

***

Forgive the flaws.

***

Right now STOP. Don't think.

Let it last as long as it will last.

Push the Reset Button

For each of us there is something in our lives that we wish that we could change. For some, this is something large like move to a new city, get a better job, buy a new car, get a divorce from a husband or a wife, or find a pathway away from loneliness. For others, it is something small like lose some weight, learn how to play the guitar or learn a new language. What that something is can never be actualized, however, unless it is brought into reality and it is for this reason that many people never rise to the level of self fulfillment, contentment, and life accomplishment that they hope to find. If you want to do something, if you hope to change something, that will never happen unless you do it.

Life is a complicated array of desire verse actuality. Life is lived by availability. Though most everyone wishes that they could raise themselves to that level of greatness that so few have found, that may not be possible. But, what is possible is for you to define what is lacking in your life, delineate what you wish your life would be, and then take steps towards achieving that end goal. If you don’t try it will never happen.

I was in a thrift store the other day looking through the vinyl. This girl comes up and starts chatting me up about music, old record stores, and the like. At one point she pulls down her mask. (As we are in the midst of the COVID-19 coronavirus we are all required to wear masks). She exclaims, “This is what I look like.” She was, what I would consider, a cute thirty-something white girl. Then, her phone rings. “I’ve got to get this.” She answers, “Yes baby, yes baby, I’m leaving right now…” She bolts for the door without saying another word to me. I’m guessing her boyfriend was waiting for her in the car outside and she had stayed in the store for what he deemed to be too long. You could her the fear in her voice as she replied to him. She was clearly looking for a new man in her life. Obviously, I was not that person. But, if you don’t try…

This is the thing, we all want that something else, that something better—we hope to be better, we want to be more… As stated, for some, that something else is something big—it is a big change. For many, that change involves people—bringing other/new people into our lives.

People are complicated. They each have their own set of desires and they each have their own demons. They too want what they want. If you fall into their net of desire then you may walk with them for a time or a lifetime. But be wary, each person brings with them their own pattern of behavior and aspirations and, as with you, once you have lived what you lived; you may want to leave it behind. So, few people can truly be counted on to give you what you want forever.

Your life is your pathway. Your life is your passageway to achieving what you want. What you have done and what you are now doing does not have to be the forever definition of your life. But, if you want something different you must decide to take the steps to make that something else—that something better become a part of your life. It is you who must do it. It is you who must make it a reality.

Push the reset button.

Fuck You Pig

So… I was going over to this one shop I like off of Pacific Coast Highway today. As I was driving up I noticed that there was a cop talking to someone who has set up a tent right in the middle of the sidewalk on the side street that runs along the side of the shop. I parked in their parking lot, that’s behind the store, and was headed for the front door of the shop. I had no choice but to pass by the cop, a person kneeled down next to the tent, and, as I later realized, there was someone inside of the tent.

As I got closer I could hear this girl yelling, “Fuck you, Pig! Fuck you, Pig,” from inside of the tent. Obviously, the cop was asking this couple to leave.

Now, there’s a lot of levels to this tale. I mean, I don’t know… I don’t think it would be that comfortable sitting on the cement inside of a tent. I mean, there’s no padding or anything like that. Plus, why would you want to be just off of a busy street like PCH? I would think setting up your camp in a park or something like that would be way better.

Here in L.A., and I am sure in a lot of other cities, the homeless problem has really gotten out of control. I mean, there are encampments all over the place. And, they are dirty. You know the old saying, “Never shit in your own back yard?” But, that is exactly what they do. I have known and/or witnessed a few business owners who have really been hurt by the homeless moving in—especially in this time of the pandemic.

There has been a lot of upheaval in recent months. Some cities, like L.A., have actually decreased the budget of the police department massively. The Powers That Be recently cut their budget by one hundred and fifty-million dollars. From my point of view, this is not a good idea as the world is going crazy and you need the police to keep order.

The other part of the issue is that there is so much scrutiny now being placed on police officers that they can’t do their job. I mean, back in my day, if I had been screaming, “Fuck you, Pig,” to the face of a police officers I would have gotten a baton smacked up side my head.

Anyway, so I went in the shop and when I came back out, I noticed the tent was still there. They male part of the couple was now sitting behind it smoking a cigarette. Between the tent and him I literally had to walk out in the street to get around them. They had completely taken over the sidewalk. I noticed the girl who was inside the tent was now sketching in a notebook. The cop, long gone. So, I don’t know what he did or did not do or what he told them to do? What I do know is that there is now a tent in the middle of the sidewalk just off of Pacific Coast Highway.

The world right now is really messed up. Cops are not being allowed to do their job. I get it… The world is changing… People are attempting to invoke a cultural change. But, without order what do we have? We have anarchy. But, anarchy is not a good thing. Look at all the recent riots. What has occurred from them? Damage, loss, and pain. Even look at the off the grid communities that people have attempted to set up in cities like Portland; what occurred? Damage, injury, and violence again other people. Recently, they have been closing the CVS stores in San Francisco. A few weeks ago I saw on the news how homeless people were just walking into the stores and taking whatever they wanted. They did this with the news cameras on them and they did not even care because they knew the law would do nothing. If you don’t have order, what do you have? If you don’t have order and respect for other people what you have is homeless people deciding that they can plant their tent anywhere they want and all of the rest of us be damned. We can walk out in the street if we want to get around them.

Selfishness and uncaringness towards other people is never the pathway towards anything good or better.

Principles of the Precepts AKA Good Behavior Verses Bad Behavior

I believe we have all encountered situations where we are interacting with someone, on a personal level, and they do something that we find very offensive. Whether it is something as small as coughing or sneezing without covering their mouth onto eating in a very unrefined manner onto saying rude or hurtful things in the presences of other people onto doing something that is truly verbally or physically unacceptable. But, look around, it happens all the time. Maybe you do it. Maybe other people judge you as being less than all-right.

Certainly, this is a time in American politics where tempers have been flaring and people have been doing less than refined things. Some applaud this behavior. Some despise it. But, it still all boils down to one person doing one thing that someone else finds offensive.

It’s not only here in the U.S. Look around the world; things are going crazy in a lot of places. Belarus is in political turmoil. Thailand is currently in a state of massive protest. Hong Kong, forget about it… …Interesting how the COVID-19 Coronavirus emerged out my China when they were having all of those protest problems with Hong Kong. The pandemic put those massive protests to bed immediately and now the restrictive laws the Chinese government hoped to pass are all in place. The Arab Spring took place a couple of years ago causing massive upheavals. But, all this is nothing new. It goes on all the time. Here or there on the national scale or on the person-to-person personal scale, people do things that other people consider to be not right. People get offended and people get hurt. Why? Because someone is doing something that someone else considers wrong.

I got a chance to catch a few minutes of a documentary shot in Tibet last night. Interesting, the video footage was all so clear. The guy apparently just left Lhasa and traveled deep into Tibet documenting his interactions with the people and his experiences. He did this until the Chinese forces caught him in some restricted zone and they threw him out of the country. This too happened to me too back in the mid-1980s. I only wish that I had the photo and video technology that is available today back then. Me, I had this camera bag with three very heavy 35mm cameras and several lenses over my shoulder. If only I had a smart phone back then I could have captured so much more of my experiences in such a more projectable manner.

Again, here was a guy, doing what he was doing; hurting no one. I found the documentary very interesting, as I am sure many other people did, as well. But, the Chinese government found it offensive. They kicked him out. At least they didn’t take his film as they did with me. …Me, back then, they put me on a bus and shipped me to the boarder where I had to find my own way back to civilization. Not fun! Offensive! But, the powers that be found me, and my presence, offensive. So, who is right and who is wrong?

I think, if we look to the world outside of us, we all know what is considered to be right and considered to be wrong. We all know what we consider to be right and wrong. Yet, think about it, how many times have you done something that you would consider wrong if someone else had done it? Whether it is sneezing without covering your mouth, stealing something, lying, hurting someone and not caring, whatever… You did it, yet if someone else did it or did it to you, you would find it very offensive.

As I often say, all life begins with you. It is you who chooses to do what you do. What do you choose to do? And, are you consciously in control of yourself enough to care about not offending or hurting that other person; whoever that other person may be?

All life begins with you. It begins with what you do and what you do in the presence of others. What do you do? And, do you care? Do you think about how what you are doing is going to affect that someone else who may not like what you are doing? Or, do you only think about yourself? …Do you not think about anything or anyone before you do what you do?

Life can be a good place. But, that goodness all begins with what you say and what you do. It all begins with how you react.

So, what are you going to do? What are you going to do that may offend someone else? And, what are you going to do if you do offend someone else? Your life, your choice. But remember, what you do can begin as something very small and move outwards to affecting the whole world.

Good or bad, positive or negative, it all begins with what you do. What are you going to do and why are you going to do it?

***

If you drink alcohol-based drinks and you stop drinking alcohol-based drinks your body and your mind will truly change.

If you drink colas and soft drinks and you stop drinking colas and soft drinks your body and your mind will truly change.

If you drink coffees and teas and you stop drinking coffees and teas your body and your mind will truly change.

If your drink water and you stop drinking water you will die.

Liquid is required for life to live. The purer the liquid you drink the purer your body and your mind.

You can alter your body and your mind via what you drink but if you do it takes you away from the pureness of your true spirit and being who and what you were truly meant to be.

How You Remember a Memory

I was flipping channels last night and the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame Ceremony was on HBO. I’ve never been a super big fan of that yearly presentation but I get how the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame severs its purpose.

It was kind of weird this year as due to the 2020 pandemic and all the repercussions there was no actual ceremony so everything was just taped presentations of famous people talking about their thoughts and remembrances of the bands and then the recipients coming on, via tape, making a few jokes, and saying, “Thanks.” Though I didn’t spend too much watching the show, I did happen to pop back just when they were doing the bit on T. Rex. It really made me think about the fact that Marc Bolan had died decades ago and the young people of today probably don’t even know who or what T. Rex was and/or their place in rock n’ roll history. …Meaning, what purpose does the Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame serve when it’s only a memory churner for old folks?

Me, I was a big fan of T. Rex. As a young adolescent I was really into the whole Glitter Rock thing. Alice Cooper, Mott the Hoople, the New York Dolls, and T. Rex were always blasting from my stereo in the early 70s.

I was actually lucky enough to see T. Rex live. I’m sure I’ve told this story somewhere before but when I was like thirteen T. Rex was playing at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium. None of my friends wanted to go. I was always counter-culture orientate, most of them, at that time, were not. I didn’t have a ticket or anything but I got on the bus and took it to Santa Monica in the early afternoon. I walked over to the auditorium hoping to get a ticket, as I knew the show was sold out. Luckily, this group of people had an extra ticket. They had arrived early hoping to sell it. They sold it to me and asked me if I wanted some acid. “Sure.” They threw in a hit of Orange Sunshine, that normally sold for about $2.00 back then, for free. They went their way, I went mine. I dropped the acid and walked around the Santa Monica shopping area waiting for the show, which was set to begin in a couple of hours.

I went back to auditorium, tripping of course, near the time the show was to begin and found that the seat they had sold me was great. It was right up there front and center to the stage. The people who sold me the ticket showed up a few minutes later, also tripping, and we were set to go.

I forget the opening act, but T. Rex eventually came on and the band was great. The thing was, it was a time in history when everybody was getting high, so everyone was sitting around smoking weed, passing around joints, and the like, and the energy of the crowd was just not very up. In some ways, I felt sorry for Marc Bolan as he was getting upset, and verbalizing it, that no one was really getting into the music, him smashing his Les Paul, and the like. I mean it must be hard to watch your career diminish right in front of your eyes. He hadn’t had a hit song in some time and everyone was just too stoned to really get into what he was offering. But, in my mind, he always held an important place in the music of my life and I still enjoying listening to T. Rex from time to time.

After the show, my new friends asked me where I was going, as they had a car, but they were going the opposite direction so I walked back up to Wilshire Blvd. and took the bus back to Hollywood with my ears massively ringing. Rock shows were very-very loud back then. Especially being in the front row. Don’t do that to your ears people or you’ll end up like me with tinnitus.

Today, I was listening to the news on the radio, and as we just had a presidential election last week, the reporter was discussing how California was considering going solely to mail-in ballots in future elections. The problem, as she said in her own words was that, “Young people don’t understand signatures or know where the post office is.” What! Who doesn’t know how to write their signature? Who doesn’t know or can’t figure out where the local post office is?

Times change. The reality of life changes. People die. New people are born creating new generations and new types and styles of everything. It ALL always changes. Even the people whose music was an influence on us, it only means what it means to us. Really, all we have is the life we live and the memories that living generates.

What I remember is what I remember; you could care less about it. Just as what you remember is what you remember. I did not live it; so I can listen to your remembrances but what you lived will never truly affect my life.

The Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame is just a memory churner for someone who liked a band way back when. Everything like that is nothing more than a creation for someone who wants to remember what was but is no more.

So, don’t get lost in the past—not even your own past. Because if all you are doing is remembering what it was like way back when, you will never allow yourself to live what it is now—now, no matter how old you are.

***

Why do people hope to associate with successful people?

Because they want something they haven't got.

Why do people seek to associate with spiritual teachers?

Because they want to know something they don't know.

Every motivating factor in life is based upon desire—getting something you don't have.

What happens if you want nothing?

***

If you present yourself as living by a higher standard you must live up to that higher standard or you become nothing more than a hypocrite.

***

Ready, Set, Go!

Let you hair grow and stop shaving.

Men and women both.

Let your naturalness flow.

Why not?

Fixing the Broken Glass AKA Developing the Taste for Blood

You have a glass. It is a very functional glass. You can put it under the faucet and get a drink of water anytime you need one. Maybe it’s even pretty. Maybe you really like it. One day you drop it. It breaks. It’s gone. You can try to glue it back together but, even if you can, (which you probably can’t), it will never be the same. It’s perfection and functionality are gone forever. Now what?

That was your glass. When you broke it you may feel very bad about it but it was your fault. You can blame no one else. It is you who must strive to replace it. But, what about if someone else broke that glass? …That glass that you really liked and was very functional. Then what? What if they don’t care about your glass, you getting a drink of water, or you? What about if they broke that glass intentionally? What about if they broke it and they just don’t care?

Recently, here In the U.S., there have been a lot of protests taking place. There are various motivations for these protests but the one thing that has become one of the primary component for these protests is that certain people take them to the next level and decide to rob, loot, and destroy the businesses and the property of other people. In fact, as has been well documented, there is a certain subset of these so-called protestors who arrive simply to loot and pillage. Do they care about a cause? Do they care about those they are hurting? Do they care about the fact that they are destroying the livelihood of some other person? No, most probably not. They have simply developed the taste for blood and they have found that by arriving at a protest they will most likely be able to get some of their desired possession for free. Is that right? No, it is not. I am sure all of the people who read this blog will agree. Yet, it is going on all over the place. And, this style of behavior is not isolated to these recent protests. It takes place via various forms and various methods all over the place all of the time.

The other day a news reporter made an interesting statement. She said, in essence, “I think everyone who breaks in and loots one of these businesses should have to go back and help the people they have robbed reconstruct their life.” Think about it… That would be a very eye opening punishment if these criminals would have to do that. As she said, “It would cause them to see that they are people too.”

Think about your own life. Think about the people that you have robbed from, hurt, or damaged in some way, shape, or form. Have you ever been forced or simply desired to step in and replace what you have broken? Have you ever even cared enough to think about doing something like that? Or, are you like most; you live in a world of blame, denial, and excuses?

Here’s the assignment—the assignment if you are mindful enough to take it on; go out there and fix what you have broken. Step back into the life of someone you have hurt, stolen from, or damaged, and glue his or her drinking glass back together.

Do this, and the entire world becomes a better place.

New Ideas

Where do your new ideas come from?

Do you ever spend any time cultivating new ideas?

For some, new ideas pop into their brain all the time. For others, new ideas are far and few between. What is the cause of this? It is the person’s own fault?

Life is a pathway of newness. Every day is new and different. Yes, for many of us, we may encounter similar things day in and day out but there is uniqueness is all things life. The same can be very different. You simply have to look for the differences. Do you?

This is the same with inspiration. Are you seeking new and insightful inspiration? Are you looking for that new revelation?

Many people lock themselves into sameness. Some do this from a very negative life perspective while others just give up. In either case, no new newness is found. It is not found, as it is not allowed to enter the mind.

For others, they encounter life with their eyes and their mind open. They hope to see new things. They want to experience new insight. It is a choice.

A choice is what sets the foundations for you allowing new ideas to come to your mind. …Your choice to open up and let them in.

New ideas and inspiration can come from anywhere—they can be instigated by virtually anything or any life experience. You simply have to be open to them.

So, here’s the exercise: STOP, sit quietly, close your eyes, look into your mind, what do you see? What is there? Don’t judge. Simply experience. What do you see when you look into your mind? Define it.

Once you have done that part of the exercise, question, what do you want to experience in your mind? Know what you are seeking. Everyone wants some type of inspiration. Everyone’s is different. What is yours?

At this point stop attempting to demand it. Just sit quietly for a time and let it naturally come to your mind. Don’t judge, don’t control, simply allow new ideas to come to your mind.

Some of these new ideas you may like. Some you may not like. But, never hate yourself for allow them to come to your mind because from them you may gain new insight into who you truly are and what is the true definition of your life but they may also creatively inspire you to take the next step in the evolution of your life.

Inspiration and new ideas can come to you at any time, at any place. You simply have to be open minded enough to allow them in. Then, it must be you, who takes the initiative to put them into play.

If you allow inspiration to be an integral part of your life, new ideas—new inspiration will come to you all the time. Consciously allow this to occur.

Life is always new. Life is forever changing. Allow yourself to become a part of this process and new inspiration(s) will forever be your guide.

Don't turn off the inspiration.

Penance

Penance: Voluntary self-punishment inflicted as an outward expression of repentance for having done wrong.

How much of your life do you spend performing penance? How much of your life do you even contemplate doing something to yourself when you understand that you have done something wrong? In fact, do you ever even contemplate how you can self-correct and/or self-discipline yourself when you have done something wrong or hurtful to someone else? Do you ever even care when you have done something that is considered to be wrong or hurtful or are you so locked into the mindset of selfishness that you never even contemplate the fact that you may have done something wrong?

We all know what is right, just as we all know what is wrong. Killing, stealing, physically hurting someone else, cheating, lying, even saying hurtful things are all wrong. And, there is many more. We all know what things are wrong. But, look around you; wrong goes on all the time. Do you do it? Do you applaud those who do?

All problems with the world begin with you. Just as all problems with the world can be fixed by you. The problem with the problem is, nobody cares about that other person. Nobody cares as long as they are getting what they want, doing what they want, and saying what they want. This is the sourcepoint of all that is wrong with the world. People do not care about the other person. They do not care about their own wrongness. And, they certainly do nothing to correct their wrongs, nor do they possess enough self-awareness to punish themselves when they do something wrong.

When we are children, it is quite common for our parents to step in and unleash some form of punishment when they believe we have done something wrong. Certainly, civilized society has its definitions of rights and wrongs and when a person crosses the line, and are caught doing it, they are punished according to societal laws. But, these are all forced punishments. They are not the individual caring enough about any damage they may have created to actually chastise themselves and perhaps do something to personally reprimand themselves.

Take a moment right now; think about something that you did that you know was wrong. Maybe in the moment you were not thinking about anyone else and did not care about the affect your actions would have on that someone else, but right now, look to one or more of your hurtful actions; bring it clearly into your mind, focus on it. What was it? Who or what did it hurt? Don’t be denial-filled in this exercise, truly chart out what you did. Now, if you had been caught for doing this deed what would your parents, your friends, your society have done to you? Even if it wasn’t something that broke the law, what would someone else have done to you, to reprimand you, if they could?

Most people never think about any of this. They just think about what they think about—they want what they want, they do what they do, and the all and the everybody else can be damned. But, is that the kind of person you really want to be? Do you really want to be someone who does not care about or take responsibility for your negative actions or words. Do you want to live your entire life emanating from a space of lying or making excuses for what you have done?

People get hurt. People get hurt by what other people do. That, in itself, is the definition of wrong. And, there is always the instigator. The person who initially did that something that hurt that someone else. Is that you? Is that who you want to be?

Now that you’ve thought a little a bit about the hurt or the anguish you may have caused, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to be big enough to try to correct your actions or are you simply going to continue to live in denial? Are you going to perform penance?

Life is a pathway of action. Everyday you make a choice to do what you do. If that choice involves forcefully taking from or hurting someone else, then what does that make you? If you are not willing to view your actions of hurt and damage as wrong, again, what does that make you?

All pain and all pleasure begin with what one person conceives and then what they put into action. What have you put into action? Who have you hurt? What have you harmed? What are you going to do about that?

If you are a true person, you attempt to fix any damage that you have caused. Are you are true person? Are you whole enough to perform penance? Or, do you just live your life in a state of uncaring denial, seeking justifications and making excuses to yourself and to everyone else for you have done that is wrong?

All life begins with you. What are you going to do next?

Round and Round and Round and Round

I always find life to be this interesting production of movement from one place to the next but the next is always intertwined with the before. You bump into people you used to know, a new person you meets knows someone who you used to associate with, and people, years later, proclaim the same patterns of action that someone else has created in your years gone past.

Back in 1990, I was ask to create this documentary about doctors who traveled to China to perform eye surgery to needy patients for free. If you feel like it, you can view element of the handheld camera work I did for the film on my YouTube Channel. As for the full-on, high-end footage and film, I have no idea what became of it???

Just a side note I flashed up… One of the funny things that occurred when we first arrived at the hospitable was that the doctor, who had traveled from the U.S., always referred to me as, “Doctor.” Inside the O.R., the head surgeon of the hospitable hearing this immediately handed me a set of scrubs and expected me to go in and perform surgery. “I’m not that kind of doctor,” I laughingly exclaimed… Anyway…

One of the things I have noticed about life is that due to the extensive amount of writing I have done, and books I have had published, people always seem to want me to help them write their own tale of woe. And, due to the extensive amount of films I have created, people who have written their life’s tale, hope that I can help them turn it into a film. I get asked for this assistance all the time but it is really not what I do. I don’t make that kind of movie and I really don’t care that much about any of these people’s life—at least not the to degree that I would want to help them write their autobiography. Plus, they never want to offer me big bucks to entice my interest.

The reason I mention this is that this other western doctor, who had arrived to help with the eye surgeries, had written an autobiography or something. It was unpublished, of course. He lived somewhere else, outside of California. I forget where. He hoped I could turn it into a film. But, why would I do that? How is his tale so much more interesting than anyone else’s?

After I returned from China I would get call after call, fax after fax (Fax—remember those?) from him with hopes that I would help him out. I never responded. Finally they stopped.

Now, let’s look thirty years later; today… Recently, one of the local nurses who I met back then got in touch with me via Facebook. We’ve exchanged niceties and all of that kind of stuff. Today, I just got the ask—the ask to help her write her life story and turn it into a movie. This made me smile. Like I always say, it seems everybody wants something from me but no one ever give me anything.

Here I am, (again), another person asking the same ask. But, like the various character’s I portray in my Zen Films frequently questions, “What’s in it for me?”

Here we all are; life… We live what we live. We all have a tale to tell. Some are better than others. Some feel theirs should be told. Some are more humble and just keep it to themselves. But, in all of the living, in all of the asking, where is the giving? Where is the focus? On yourself or on the someone else?

I always find that the people who want to tell their tale have some sort of strange ego. For it is them, and generally only them, who wants to tell their tale. But, what about the other person? They too have lived a life.

So, the world goes round and round and round and round. We all live our lives as best as we can. But, what we live always comes back around. What we live, we live again and again and again. The same experience(s), via a different person at a different time. What does it all means, I don’t know? But, think about it, think about your own life; isn’t what I am saying true? You live what you live what you live and then you live it again. You live it, maybe you want to tell others about it, but it is truly only you who can understanding the interworking’s—the inside out of your existence. So, telling people about it, do they really care or do they only care if it somehow affects them?

Mindfulness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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If a person is charging you for the techniques they are teaching you they are a businessperson and you are their boss.

If a person reveals their knowledge to you for free they understand the authentic nature of knowledge and from them you can learn the true essence of awareness.

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If a person is trying to make themselves appear to be something more they are not helping you to become a better person or the world to become a better place as they are only focused on themselves.

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Wouldn't you rather listen to some really good music than listen to someone brag about themselves or tell you how you should live your life?

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The difference between prayer and meditation is that in prayer you are asking for something, in meditation you are seeking the absolute nothing.

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The people who talk the loudest are generally the least accomplished.

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How many mistakes have you made?

How many of the mistakes that you've made do you remember?

How many of the mistakes that you've made do other people remember?

How many of the mistakes you've made do you lie about?

How many of the mistakes you've made affected other people?

How many of the mistakes you've made have you tried to remedy?

Your life is defined in part by the mistakes that you've made and what you've done after you made the mistake.

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What would you rather have hanging on your wall and have to look at day after day, a diploma or a work of art?

How Well Do You Do What You Do?

How well do you what you do? How much do you practice at becoming the best you can be at whatever it is you want to be?

For example, in the martial arts we practice the same technique over and over and over again in order to become as proficient at it as possible. There are forms where a prescribed set of techniques are performed in a specified order so that the practitioner can gain mastery of body and mind coordination and exacting physical movement.

In music, the musician practices relentlessly in order to become as proficient as possible. They practice scales, listening development, and hand coordination techniques all with the hopes of mastering their musical instrument.

Like the martial arts, the dancer practices the techniques of the movement of the dance over and over and over again. They attempt to find perfection in their physical movement.

For the artist, they study the movement of color. They work on their sketching skills. They lay paint onto the canvas time after time after time. Many times they do not like what they have created but they realize to raise themselves to the perfection of art—to truly embrace art, this is the pathway they must follow; painting and painting again until they develop and master their own unique style.

How much time do you spend developing the ability to become the best you can be at what you want to be?

For many, (for most), they do nothing. Yes, yes, pretty much everybody wants to be something but most do nothing to achieve it. They have their dreams and maybe they give what they hope to become a half-hearted tried. But, they never do what it takes to become a master of whatever it is they hope to become. How about you? What do you do to become what you truly hope to become?

Here’s the assignment for the day… What can you actually do today to bring yourself closer to becoming what you truly hope to become? Define it and then do it. Spend today growing closer to what you hope to be.

The secret, if you can do it today, you can also do it tomorrow.

Spend the time, make the effort to becoming what you truly hope to become.

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Someday they'll be a cure for everything, then what?

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How often do you try to understand things from the other person's point of view?

The Projection of What You Expect

Undoubtedly, the primary condition that causes the demise of most relationships is the projection of expectations. A person wants someone to be some way, to behave in some manner, to do things in a certain way, but that person will not or cannot. Thus, end of the relationship.

People commonly project their expectations onto all things outside of themselves. They constantly think and talk about what they think someone else will do. But, how can they know? Each person is a highly unique entity and what he or she thinks, equaling what he or she does, may change at any moment. Just because someone thought or did something yesterday does not mean that they are still willing or will do it today. Yet, think about most people’s lives, think about how much your own life is based upon what you expect other people to do in both a positive or negative manner.

Most people never take the time to chart their own thought process. They think what they think, causing them to do what they do, but they never find the source of that pattern of thought leading to that implementation of expectations. How about you? Do you know why you think what you are thinking, leading to what you are expecting from someone else and why? Or, as is the case with most, do you just think, do you define others; do you create your expectations for others based upon some undefined something that you know not what?

Why do you expect someone to behave in a certain pattern? The answer to that question is twofold: first of all you are basing your predetermination upon what you believe they have done in the past. But, how do you know anything about anybody? Sure, you may have heard, you may have read, you may have even witnessed, but again, what a person did yesterday does not necessarily define what they will do today. Some people actually evolve. The second causation for expectation is desire; what you want from a person and how you want to receive it. Think about any relationship you have been in: be it personal, professional, causal, or intimate. What was that relationship based upon? It was based upon your expectations being met. But, who are you to expect anything? Who is anyone? By expecting something from someone, by expecting them to behave and do things in a certain manner, aren’t you robbing that person’s ability to be a true example of what is truly inside of them?

The moment you have expectation you are projecting your own reality onto someone else. The moment you voice your expectations you are removing the element of free choice from that someone else.

How many times has someone been cast to being something they are not via someone else’s expectations? How many times have other people believed a falsehood about a person due to someone voicing their expectations about a person?

If you think, voice, or actualize your expectations about another person, you are robbing that other person of being and becoming who they truly are. Stop it! Let each person be who and what they truly are. Stop expressing what you expect someone else to say or do. Stop forcing them into becoming what you want them to be. Stop it, and then each person of the entire world is allowed to be the perfect example of themselves.

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What is good?

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Lying to yourself does not mean that you are not still telling a lie.

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Just because you have earned credentials in a field of knowledge does not mean that you have become the all-knowing purveyor of righteous wisdom.

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How much of your reality is a projection of the truth and how much of your reality is a projection of the way you believe things to be?

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

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If anyone believes that an enlightened person does not have to deal with the realities of life they truly misunderstand the concept.

The Curse of the Course

Someone posted a photo quote from Russell Brand on Facebook the other day that I found very revealing, “Cannabis isn’t a gateway drug. Alcohol isn’t a gateway drug. Nicotine isn’t a gateway drug. Caffeine isn’t a gateway drug. Trauma is the gateway. Childhood abuse is the gateway. Molestation is the gateway. Neglect is the gateway. Drug abuse, violent behavior, hyper sexuality and self-harm are often the symptoms (not the cause) of much bigger issues. And it often stems from a childhood filled with trauma, absent parents, and an abusive family. But most people are too busy laughing at the homeless and drug addicts to realize that your own children could be in their shoes in 15 years. Communicate, Empathize, Rehabilitate.”

Though Brand is mostly known as an actor and comedian he is also one of those people who actually tries to make things better. Whether you like his style of presentation or not, he is one of the few individuals who became awakened via his own traumas and downfalls and used his experiences to guide his life towards the realms of raising human consciousness, helping people heal, and making the world a better place. Few people can claim that. Can you?

Think about the people you know. Think about the life that you have lead. Think about what other people have done to you: whether intentionally or not. Think about what you have done to other people. Has what other people have done to you made you a better or a worse person? Did it cause you to become a good person or a bad person? Once you became either a good or a bad person, how did that cause you to do things to the life of others? Do you ever ponder any of this? Do you ever think before you do: act and react?

Other people are the primary cause of the creation of all of us. How we were treated as a child, how we were treated as an adult; all of these actions combined lead us to what we have become. What have you become? Are you a good vehicle for life? Have you made someone else’s life better or have you caused damaged to them? Do you ever ponder any of this? Do you even care?

Here lies the problem with human beings; they generally only think about themselves. They only heap praise and help onto those they like or those they hope to gain something from. And, then they hurt others. Why do they hurt others, commonly due to the negative things that were done to them by other people.

The fact of life is, there is no cure for bad behavior. It is not like we can push a button and everyone will become nice, do good things, and never hurt anyone. People, by their very nature, are a selfish breed. Thus, they act; they react to life based upon their experiences. If those experiences were negative, it is very common in a person repeating and echoing that behavior. They are doing onto others as has been done to them.

Think about a person in your life—a person that you truly know. Not just some acquaintance or some internet fantasy. …Someone who you have nothing but good thoughts about and nothing but good things to say. Why is that? Is it because they were the perfect person and had no flaws? Probably not. But, maybe they helped you when you needed help, maybe they were their for you, maybe they were kind to you. But, the main ingredient is, most probably, they never did any bad thing(s) to you. Thus, they are held in a position of reverence in your mind.

Are you one of those people? Are you are person who does not hurt anyone? Are you a person who strives to help someone/everyone?

The basis for all things Good Life is a person who is honest with themselves. They do not lie, they do not justify, they do not deny. They live in a space of ever-expanding awareness where they learn from their faults, their mistakes, and they attempt to overcome any interpersonal damage that may have been done to them by others. Mostly, they strive to hurt or damage the life of No One.

How much time do you spend thinking about this? How much time to you spend bettering and healing yourself? How much time do you spend righting your wrongs? How much time do you spend making the life of other people better; asking for and expecting nothing in return?

We are all created by our experiences. We are all created by what others did to us. But, we can gain control over who we are to become and what we create in the lives of other people. You just have to take control over your mind and care enough to care. Care more about the other person than simply reacting and reanimating what someone else did to you.

Killing Loneliness with You AKA Defensive Offensiveness

I have pretty much finished up all of my current projects so I was staring into a blank day. I don’t really deal well with not having something to accomplish. I never have. Years ago my shrink told me I really needed to learn how to relax. Hasn’t happened yet.

Due to the coronavirus thing, I can’t go back to Japan. …I can’t really go anywhere. Thanks China! I’m waiting for this new electric sitar I had made for me in India to arrive. I’m planning to do this abstract raga thing with it. But, I can’t get started on that until it gets here.

With nothing really to do, I decided to go and hit the L.A. cityscape. I jumped into my car and I pulled up the album Dark Light from the band HIM and cranked it up. It’s a really good album. I hadn’t listen to it in a while. That album came out in 2005 and probably heralded the band’s pinnacle of commercial success, at least here in the U.S. Scary to think how long ago that was…

Anyway, listening to it sent me to thinking… I remember way back in the way back when, I was playing that album (on a CD—remember those?) and driving my lady and one of her friends somewhere. Her friend liked the music and inquired about the band. I told her it was HIM. “What does that stand for,” she asked. “His Infernal Majesty,” I replied. The woman was a devout Christian. She never spoke with my lady or me again. Then, as now, I think, how strange—how people allow something so small like the band someone listens to (and the band's name) to define who you do or do not let into your life. She liked the music… What changed?

Last night, I watched the new Guy Ritchie movie, The Gentleman. It’s a very Guy Ritchie film. I guess that’s a good thing; right? To have such a distinctive style of filmmaking that you come to be known by it. In one part of the film a character is referred to as, “The Chinaman.” The minute I heard that, my first thought and words were, “How Political Incorrect.” Nobody says that kind of stuff anymore—especially not in a film. A bit later, this one character is referred to as, “A Black Cunt.” The actor calls out racism. Then, Colin Farrell, doing that great Cockney character he does, goes into a whole discourse about it isn’t really racists as you are black and you are a cunt. Ritchie really pushed the PC boundaries in that film. I like it!

All that sent me to thinking about how everyone has become very sensitive about racial and other negative depictions. And, I get it. Times have changed. Many people, immediately, call up the fact that as I am White I don’t understand. But, I do. I have said this before, but when I was young, few people in my grammar school referred to me by my name. They all called me Honky or White Paddy, as I was the only Caucasian kid in the school. But, I didn’t let that define who I was.

All this caused me to I think back to the holiday’s last year. My lady and I were at one of her cousin’s houses doing that family sort of holiday thing. But first, I must go back in time…

The year before that, at the same house, I was sitting at a table discussing the curious case of eidetic memories and the fact I possess one with this person who has advanced degrees in psychology. She was detailing how in her practice she came upon several people who had eidetic memories and how they were each very-very different. Different people remember different things in different ways. For me, it's like I rewind a tape and can remember things exactly as they took place. It's really a curse. I remember everything. Anyway, this other family member sat down and got involved in the conversation—one of those people you really don’t want involved but what can you do? She said she was going to test me next year. So, she told me the name of two of her yoga instructors and what day she took their classes. How stupid, I thought. Anyone can remember that. But, I thought/hoped she would just forget all that nonsense by the next year. She did not.

Back to last year's holiday get-together… She had her reminder set. She pulls out her phone, calls up the information, “What did I ask you?” I told her the names of her instructors and the days of the classes. I even reminded her that I asked if her male yoga instructor was hooking up with his students as that kind of behavior is very common in this modern era. All of a sudden, she said I was wrong even though she confirmed I told her the correct names and days. “You’re wrong! You’re a liar! You can’t remember anything!” She literally screamed it. I don't know… Maybe she has some inner demons, maybe she is angry at her life situation, maybe she doesn't like me? Whatever… But, who behaves like that?

It was one of those times that if had I not been there with my lady, and had it not been her family, I would have gotten up and left. She was very rude. Rude, for no reason.

The evening drags on, we eat our dinner, I drink some wine, and the aforementioned woman’s husband and I, and a couple other family member’s, are standing around the center island of the kitchen. They were jokingly speaking of all things Korean-American and I made what I thought was a joke, “Oh, you Orientals…” “I’m really offended by you saying Oriental,” said the husband. His brother chimes in (thankfully), “My wife says that all the time. It doesn’t mean anything.” His wife is White.

So, here’s the question, if you are close to someone, as I thought I was to these people, can you make a small joke about race as long as it is not mean spirited? They could have (and have) ripped on me for being White in the past. It's just a joke! I get it! But moreover, can a person not like what one person says but not also condemn their own wife (or whomever) when they literally scream something false at a person (another supposed family member) out of nowhere? Who draws the line? Where is the line?

Thinking of Koreans and Korea, I think to all of the Caucasian, African-American, and people of Middle-Eastern decent that revere Koreans and Korean martial art culture. What I suggest anyone/everyone do, if they are not of Korean descent, is to learn the Korean language and then go to Korea and see what the indigenous Koreans are actually thinking and saying about you. I mean, it is horrific. I cannot tell you how many times I have been in Korea and listened to people talk total shit about me. They obviously did not know that I speak Korean but that is all part and parcel of the Korean culture. They talk shit about everyone/anyone—especially if they are not Korean. But, just as when I was in grammar school and in other situations around the world, I do not let that define who I am.

Times are changing. I get it. But, in these changing times, are people simply looking for a reason to call out someone for something/anything? Are they looking for a reason to fight simply because of what is lacking inside of them? A person who is internally centered isn’t defined by what someone else says about them—especially when it is a joke. But, if someone/anyone is defined by a lacking, an emptiness of self-empowerment, then they look for any reason they can find to condemn others.

As proven by the life I have lived, I am not a racist. As proven by the life I have lived, I am also a bit of a joker. I like to keep things light and happy. But, when someone turns happiness in something it is not. Who ultimately is to blame?

But, with all the thinking behind me, I stopped at a few thrift stores, (my drug of distraction). I got back in the car and listened to some more HIM…

“Memories, sharp as daggers pierce into the flesh of today. Suicide of love took away all that matters and buried the remains in an unmarked grave in your heart. With the venomous kiss you gave me I'm killing loneliness with you.”

PS: I’ll probably be skipping the family holiday extravaganza this year.

Can I Practice the Martial Arts Without Fighting?

“Can I practice the martial arts without fighting?” This is an interesting question I was asked the other day by a young person who was interested in studying the martial arts. The simply Zen-ness of the question put me in place of having so many answers and so many ways I could have answered. But, the simple answer is, “Yes.”

To elaborate…

True martial arts are not solely about fighting. Yes, historically, they grew out of the need for warlike self-defense and solider-to-solider combat. But, as far back as their inception there were always those practitioners who saw them as something much more than simply learning how to fight. Throughout the centuries there have been those individuals who refined these arts and made them more about developing physical and mental self-awareness than simply about combat.

From my own perspective, I literally grew up practicing a Korean style of martial arts, Hapkido, from the age of six forward. And, though Hapkido is not considered a hard-style martial arts, it is very much about self-defense and overcoming the opponent. When I was in my early teenage years some of my friends were studying the Five-Animal System of Kung Fu from Ark Yuey Wong (rightfully known as the father of American Kung Fu) in Chinatown. Sometimes I would go to watch them train and, due to the kind nature of Ark Yuey Wong, he would stand me up and either he would or he would have one of instructors teach me some moves. They were very different from what I had previously been exposed to. And, though I questioned their combat effectiveness, I immediately understood their meditative nature.

A bit later, I was also exposed to Tai Chi Chuan. Again, though I understood this was a system based upon ancient forms of physical combat, it was not combat orientated and, instead, was moving its practitioner towards a more refined level of mental and physical awareness.

Though Hapkido was my first art, when I was about twelve I also began to train in Taekwondo. A fact that many people do not know about Taekwondo is that in the mid to late 1960s and into the 1970s there were a few Taekwondo orientated gymnasiums in South Korea that were intentionally designed to turn out Taekwondo instructors that could take the art across the globe.

In South Korea, a male is drafted into the army at approximately nineteen years of age. While in military service, many a South Korean male was first exposed to Taekwondo training. Once they finish their required primary and their reserve time, some decided to make Taekwondo a career. For those, they could go to one of the aforementioned training facilities, intensively train for a year, and emerge as a 4th dan black belt, which made them an instructor level practitioner. From there, many of these people found their way to other countries where they established Taekwondo schools. This is why as immigration requirements began to be less restrictive in the various Western countries around this same time, a large amount of South Korean practitioners relocated and opened Taekwondo schools of self-defense.

Taekwondo is a hard style system of self-defense. But, in its early stages there was much more to this art than simply sparring. It was a truly refined and precise system of self-defense where weapons, weapon forms, various Ki development exercises, and meditation were all taught. This is why so many of the early practitioners of this art, myself included, looked down on the later direction Taekwondo took when it began to focus solely on competition and it became the national, “Sport,” of South Korea.

The point I am making is that, even a hard style system of self-defense like Taekwondo, at least at the point of its inception, was much more than simply a system of fighting. Thus, all styles of the martial arts have the potential to be more than simply a fighting art form.

“Can I practice the martial arts without fighting?” Yes, you can. But, the devil is in the details… Most school owners are operating their schools as business. It is their livelihood. Thus, they must cater to the needs of the masses. Do most people want to learn how to meditate? Do most people want to learn how to perform a physical meditation? Do most people wish to use the techniques inherent in the martial arts to unify their body and their mind and to raise themselves to a higher plane of consciousness? No. They want to learn how to defend themselves. Maybe they even want to gain the pride that comes from rising through the various belt levels of the martial arts. Thus, the martial arts are not held back by tradition to be primarily fighting arts, they are held back by the teacher and the students.

So yes, you can find a martial art style where you do not have to fight. This is where personally motivated exploration comes into play. Will most school owners tell a perspective student they do not have to fight if the question is asked? Of course they will. They are a businessperson. They want to sign up as many students as possible. But, just like in all things life—just like in all undertakings, you have to look beneath the surface, you have to listen beyond the words, you must seek the essence and reveal why any person is saying what they are saying. If you want to know what you are actually getting into, look beyond the obvious. There you can find a style of martial arts where you never need to fight.

***

Just because somebody says they won't do something doesn't mean they actually won't do it.

The Projection of What You Haven’t Got

It seems everybody sees the rich, the famous, and the accomplished as having the world by the tail. They view them as someone who has it all. For some, they view those people as an inspiration to work hard and climb their own ladder to success. For others, they despise them simply because of their success. But, what is the desire to be rich and successful motivated by and why are those who have achieved it both loved and hated?

First of all, everyone has their problems. No matter how rich, famous, or powerful a person becomes, they too have their own unique set of difficulties. They have their own obstacles. They have the things that upset them. They have the people that love them and they have the people that hurt them. For anyone who truly wishes to understand the reality of reality all they have to do is to sincerely peer into the life of a person who has risen to a high level of notoriety and they will quickly see that all things are not simply the way that a person from the outside projects them to be.

Here lies one of the key elements to understanding the cost of all forms of life. An individual in the public eye is projected to be A Something by A Someone Else. Whether what that other person sees them to be is true or false is almost irrelevant because that is the way that person perceives them to be, thus that is the definition they project to the world. But, is that projection a truth or it is simply a perception projected from a person who has no true understanding?

Think about your own life. Think about the people you have thought to be A Something. Whether this person was your teacher, your boss, a politician, a sports, music, or movie star… You saw them as A Something. Your described them, in your own mind and to other people, as A Something. But, were you right or were you simply placing your own definition onto them based on your own preconceived misunderstanding? Did you ever question this fact before you created your definition?

People think what they think about someone else based upon their own frame of cognizance. But, how many people truly understand and/or investigate this fact before they come to their conclusion? How many people look deeply into themselves and the description of their own personality and reality (and how it came to be) before they cast a definition onto that someone else?

As I often say, people are a very selfish breed. Though this is a fact of life, it does not change the reality of that fact. Some people are simply more vocal or physical in their appraisals of others but that does not make their assessment of another person the truth. Thus, is born conflict. Conflict never leads to anything good.

When we look to very selfish people, when we look to very opinionated people, when we look to very abusive people, when we look to people who are very oblivious to other people’s feelings, we see the same thing; these are people motivated by whatever it is that drives their brain. They think what they think, they say what they say, they do what they do, but all that they do is driven by some internal something—some internal something that no one else possesses. This is the birthplace of sociopathic behavior. A person who is solely focused on themselves and uses that trait to motivate their own selfish conduct that is damaging to the lives of others. But, think how many people behave like this all the time. They do what they do, they say what they say, defined only by their own internal stimuli. How about you? How often do you say or do things without taking the other person’s life or feelings in consideration? How often do you do what you do motivated only by what you think about that someone else?

This brings us back to the point of projection. …Your projection about that someone else and how that projection causes you to act and to speak…

Before you define anybody else's anything, think about this, do you personally know that other person? Do you
truly know that other person? If you do, then you may possess a certain understanding about their true inner motivations. If you do not know them deeply and personally, then you have no idea about what makes them do what they do, so how can you speak to their reality? If you do not personally know a person then you have absolutely no idea about who and what they truly are, so why should you be thinking about, speaking about, or acting based on what you think about them at all?

Life is a projected reality. It is your projected reality. You know you but how well do you know you? Have you ever truly travelled deeply into your mind and found out what motivates you to do the things you do? Have you ever truly explored penetratingly into your own psyche to find your hidden inner-reality and what caused you to be you? Very few people have. They all have a million excuses why not but without this exploration everyone just acts and defines others based upon nothing more that a undefined feeling that emanates from within them. But, if they don’t know the motivating factors for that projected reality, how can anything they say or do be based upon fact?

The sage is silent. The louder a person speaks, it illustrates the less they truly know. The more a person endeavors to project their own reality, in an attempt to make it the definition of someone else’s reality, the more clearly you can see that they are not a
true person living life from a true space of knowledge. For the person who truly knows themselves, and actually comprehends human reality, they appreciate that they can only truly know themselves and from this they do not need to define themselves by and/or to project their own insecurities onto someone else no matter how well known that other person may or may not be, because Self is only Self and you can only truly know Your Self when you lose your desire to define Your Self in regard to other people and you realize that by attempting to cast your definition onto others this reveals how little you actually know about the truth of your own Personal Reality.

Be you. Know you. Because you can never truly know anyone else.

The Gift of Giving but Who Gives What and Why?

As a fan of films, filmmaking, and filmmakers I am constantly on the lookout for that next great piece of cinema. Whether it cost millions upon millions of dollars or fifty cents to create when I see that piece of cinema that really moves me, it is a great experience. Even while viewing the films that aren’t, what I consider to be that great, it is always an experience to watch them and contemplate what went into their creation.

As a filmmaker myself, I am always trying to explore new realms of possibilities in cinema. As I stopped producing character-driven movies a decade or so ago, for me it has become all about the visuals. Whether a film is character based or not, isn’t that the case for all of us? When we view a film we want to see that special something that touches us in that certain kind of way.

As we all know, Netflix is a cinema powerhouse. The one thing that I notice whenever I am watching a Netflix film is that they are so elaborate. In fact, it looks like they give their filmmakers carte blanche to do whatever they want. As a film viewer, sometimes I see that a particular piece of cinema should really be cut down to a more refined product. But, that’s just me. Netflix let’s ‘em run…

Having been involved in a Netflix production, when Adam Sadler and his team asked me to do a small bit in his film, Sandy Wexler a few years back, I personally saw the power that Netflix money commanded. At one point when I was on the set, they shut down Sunset Blvd., right in the middle of the Sunset Strip midday to get their shots. That is the power of money.

I think all filmmakers, myself included, would love to get a Netflix deal. I would love to make a film of the caliber they show on Netflix. While watching their films sometimes I say, “Just give me a small portion of that budget and I could give you something great.” I say that as most of my films (my character driven pieces) cost like $300.00 to make.

But, the thing is, I have no way into Netflix. I have no way to pitch them a film. Though, with all of my years of no-budget filmmaking experience, I could give them a product at least as good as most of their films for a fraction of what they are paying to create their movies. But, that’s the game. The game no one outside of the film industry understands. There is no way in unless someone invites you in. I can go out and make a million films on my own dime. I could, like some people do, ask for investors, and make small movies on someone else’s dime. But, that’s just not who I am as indie films rarely make their money back. But, to have a powerhouse company behind you, where money is no object, that is the pinnacle of the dream.

But, why does Netflix give that much money to filmmakers? Why does anyone give anyone money? Because there is a return. Whether that return is making money or getting something that they want from that someone they gave money to, there is always a deal in place—an expected return. In the case of Netflix, they have developed the vehicle to pay money to make money—all they need is someone to do it for them. But, when you have no way in, there is no way in. Then what?

So, here is the question(s) for the day… What do you want from someone? Why do they have a reason to give it to you? How will you/how can you pay them back? How can you make it worth their while?

Everyone wants something. Usually that wanting involves someone else giving you something. The thing is, most people are not worthy of receiving what they want, that’s why they don’t get it. So again, what do you want from something? How have you made yourself worthy of receiving it?

***

The person with the advantage is always the one who wants to challenge you to a fight.

***

If you are saying anything but good things you are saying the wrong things.

***

Sometimes you've got to clean house.

***

Most people spend their entire life trying to become something that they are not.

***

You can't answer a question that hasn't been asked.

***

You can't win an argument with a liar because all they will do is tell another lie.

***

It seems that people always have an excuse or a justification for their bad behavior.

What is yours?

***

What would you undo or redo if you could?

Why can't you?

The Anatomy of a Lie

I think 2020 has been a strange year for all of us due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and all that. In some ways, early on, it almost seemed like it was going help the planet in some abstract way. I mean, the air got so much clearer because no one was driving, wild animals were roaming the streets in some locations, airplanes weren’t in the sky, people got to spend more time with their family, and there seemed to be a calm returning to the world. That was all pretty short lived, however.

There have been worse pandemics. Proportionality, more people died from the 1918 Flu. And, lost in the realms of history entire populations have been wiped out from causes known and unknown. Death and lost is never a good thing. But, that’s the reality of all our lives.

For me, my life never changed that much as I kind of exist out here on the extremities anyway. But, like most, I was kept from doing a lot of things I hoped to do. But again, that’s the reality of all of our lives, sometimes thing are out of our control.

Before I get too far off target here, let me begin… This will all tie together in a moment…

About a week ago, someone backed into one of our cars at the supermarket, didn’t leave any info, and just took off. That’s not the first time something like that has happened to me but whenever something like that happens it does raise the flags of annoyance because you gotta deal with the repercussions. …They left a pretty big dent in the rear bumper. So, we called up the insurance company and they told us the place to take the car and it was all setup to be fixed. No big deal.

Picked it up yesterday and it wasn’t a perfect job but what are you going to do? As someone who has been refinishing guitars for decades, I understand paint and I know you can get a perfect match to a color if you try. But, most everyone is so lackadaisical in their approach to their job and their life they just never seek any level of perfection. They didn’t even wash or polish the car like most body shops do when they compete a job. I left, my lady remain to finish things up.

The thing that occurred, and what all of this blibber blabber is actually about is, what the girl who set up the repair did next. I was gone due to not being happy with the job and I didn’t want to raise a fuss. As my lady was finishing up the paperwork the employee of the body shop went into a complete lie about what had occurred when I dropped off the car. She told my lady that she had dawn up the paper work, I had checked it out, and had approved everything. That is not true. What actually happened is that she said it would take twenty minutes or so to do the paper work and if I wanted to wait I could. I said, no thanks, just email it to us. I got an Uber and went home. Moreover, she went into a whole lie about some sap that was now on the car. Where that came from, I don’t know? But, they didn’t even clean it off or rub it out. And, as you may or may not know, sap can really damage paint. Again, she lied and told my lady that we had discussed all that. We did not.

Why do people lie? Why do people lie so easily? Obviously, this young lady was very well practiced in the art of lying as she so easily went down that road. And, that’s the thing about lying and liars, it is an acquired skill.

I have known a few liars in my life. People who lie and it is seemingly for no reason. But, why do they lie? What is their internal motivation for the lie? In the case of this young lady, I am sure it was some weird defense mechanism in order to keep her job in good standing or to make the work she did look better than it actually was. But, does that change the lie? No it does not. A lie is a lie is a lie and it will never be the truth. But, once a lie is told, it can never be retracted. This is especially the case with a person you will never see again. And, just maybe, that is why some people lie, they think they will never see that other person again. But again, that does not change the lie. And, a lie has the potential to set a whole destiny of further actions, reactions, and choices into motion.

Have you ever had a person lie to you and then go into a whole further defense for their lie once the lie was revealed? Have they additionally tried to orchestrate another lie to cover up the original lie with further lies? I know I have experienced that. It’s weird; right? You know they lied. They know they lied. Yet, they re-lie to reposition the original lie. But, it is all still a lie. And, a lie that leads to another lie never changes the original lie.

So, here we are in life; 2020. The pandemic is still ranging, though society has somewhat opened up. Is it any better? No, not really. Did anybody learn anything and/or become a better human being? No, doesn’t look like it. People are still doing the same things. Bumping into cars, taking off, and taking no responsibility for their actions. They are still lying to cover up their shoddy work or for who knows what reason???

Life is the same. People are the same. It is only you who can choose to make yourself a better vehicle of existence. Vehicle; get it?

Me, what could I do? I just wrote a one star review of the body shop on Yelp.

Marketing Consciousness

Most people don’t think about rising consciousness. Most people don’t think about enlightenment. Most people do not try to view the psychological problems they have and attempt to fix them. Most people don’t think about making themselves a better vehicle of humanity. Most people just think about what they want which causes them to act in a less than ideal manner throughout their entire life.

Of the people that do think about higher consciousness, there is a small subset of those people who seek to become a teacher of consciousness. They seek to be the catalysis of helping others to become the best person that they can be. But, why does a person desire to become a teacher? What makes them believe that they have that key? Is it a true calling? Or, is it simply ego?

When we look to some of the individuals who have taken to the pulpit in modern years, we see that people like Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, and Warner Erhart. These are a few of the key figures that have been at the forefront of the non-religious rising human consciousness marketplace. They have all sold a lot of books, tapes, CDs, DVDs, and seminars. People paid for them to live the lifestyle that they lived.

For each of these people, they became noted in their field, and for better or for worse they became the teacher to many of those few people who do seek to take their consciousness to a more refined level of existence. But why? Was it their vast unknowable knowledge, that only they possessed, or was it simply their ability to find a grand marketing plan?

For someone who came to any of these teachers and came away feeling that they were a better, more actualized individual because of what they learned, they left with a good experience. For others, who did not find what they had paid for, they walked away unhappy with the experience and blamed their teacher. But, who was right and who was wrong? The teacher for teaching or the student for not learning?

In all teaching situations, the student is the one who does or does not learn. In all learning environments, it is the student who is to blame for their not learning. From this, comes all kinds of culpability, however. As a dissatisfied student always blames the teacher. But, at the very root of human consciousness is the understanding that it is the person (themselves) who must learn and who must change if they hope to gain from any learning experience they entered into.

What does this tell us? First of all, the question must be asked, why is the teacher teaching? The answer is, the very elemental understanding of being a teacher is that someone believes that they know something that their underlings do not. Thus, what any/all teachers base their entire existence upon is ego. They are the teacher, you are the learner. They know something that you do not and their ego propels them to teach it to you. In some cases, these teachers find a great marketing plan and they are allowed to spread their knowledge to millions. But, does that guarantee that they are a good, true, and enlightened individual? No, not at all. That just means they have a good public relations team.

Many times, a student will initially appreciate what they are learning from a teacher and even like their teacher. But, human nature is a fickled thing. People change their mind. Maybe the teacher says something or does something they don’t like or someone else places an idea in their head and all their good feelings about a teacher or a teaching changes. We have seen this in small or large examples with all of the teachers previously mentioned. But, what changed? Who changed? The teacher? The teaching? Or, the student?

All this leads us to the necessary analysis of who is seeking what and why? Why does the student seek to raise their consciousness or refine their psychology? And, do they possess the mental ability to do so?

For anyone who has taught anyone anything, it becomes quickly apparent that there are some good learners and then there are some angry students who seek to challenge the teacher. The motivation for this can come from any number of sources but the outcome is always the same, disruption in the teaching.

For the students that are seeking a higher knowledge and better self-awareness they are most probably the easiest to convince. The reason for this is that they want to learn, they hope to become better. This being the case, this is also the reason they are the most gullible as they are the easiest to shape into a believer. But, what is the price of belief? Isn’t this where one has the penitential of being taken advantage of?

So, with all this being said, if you want to learn, if you care enough about the greater enlightenment of humanity, if you care about making yourself a better more highly functional person, where can you go to learn? I don’t know. The teachers are all so filled with their own ego, seeking their own self-gains that I have not met one of them that was a truly enlightened individual and was not seeking to line their own pockets and/or stoke their own ego by becoming that teacher. I wish I had something better to offer you. But, as long as there is a personality on the pulpit, someone claiming that they are teaching you something, than all you are witnessing is ego and not true knowledge even though some are touted as being true knowers.

Look to the teacher who is teaching you. If you like what they have to say, learn from it. But, if they are charging you for their knowledge, they are not a true teacher. Because enlightened knowledge is always given for free.

***

If everyone believes something to be true that is not actually true does that make it true even though it is false?

Desired Destiny Unlived

Once upon a time, in the long ago and the far far away, I meet this very cute waitress at this restaurant I used to frequent all the time. Had situations been different, I believe there is a good chance that we probably would have hooked up. In any case, she had moved down to L.A. with her new husband in order that he could become the filmmaker he desired to be. Each time I would see her she would complain that he was sitting at home and doing nothing—not doing anything to pursue his dream. At one point she asked me to have a talk with him, which I did. But, I get it… Nobody wants to hear some other dude telling him what he should or could be doing. Thus, they moved back to Sacramento where she told me she was going to leave him as soon as he was resettled near his family because the guy was just not the man who she thought he would be or who he promised he would become.

Once upon a time, in the long ago and the far far away, I was teaching a class on filmmaking at U.C.L.A. One of my students was this cute young woman who turned out to be the cousin of a filmmaker I knew who had turned out a couple of successful projects on his daddy’s dime. We became friends and one day she showed up to class with this new Sony camera. It was actually the top of the line prosumer camera at the time. She wanted to be a cinematographer. I was about to go up on a new film so I asked her if she wanted to shoot it for me. I thought this would give her a great opportunity to get her hands dirty and see what indie filmmaking was all about. The night before the shoot she called me and asked if we could meet. Sure! I thought she wanted to go over some of the shots, the lighting, or something like that. We met at a Starbucks. She pulls out her camera and asks, “How do I focus it?” OMG! She had purchased this top of the line camera, had never used it, and didn’t even know how to focus it. I had to cancel that weekend’s shoot.

Desire is an interesting thing. We all have desires. There is something that we all want to be. There are things that we all want to do. The problem is, a desire does not guarantee that a person has the potential or the personal motivation to actually get that desire actualized. They may not have what it takes to, “Get ‘er done…” Sure, sure, there are tons of people out there who have a desire and strive to actualize it. Though they try and try what they do turns into nothing. But, they can take pride in that. They tried! Others are not like, however. They have a desire. Maybe they even have the money behind them to make that desire a reality but they never have the internal motivation or dedication to bring that desire into reality.

How about you? Where do you exist in the spectrum of your desires? Do you try to make them a reality on a daily basis? Do you really try? Or, do you just move to L.A. with the hopes that your dreams will somehow find you? Do you just buy the best camera on the market and never learn how to focus it?

I lost track of those two people. Sad, because I liked both of them. The waitress girl moved her husband back to Sacramento. What happened to her next I do not know? My student, I gave her an A but then I give all my students an A. That’s just the kind of instructor I am. After the class I never heard from her again. I wonder if she ever learned how to focus her camera?

***

What happens when you realize that what you thought that you knew was wrong?

What happens when you find out that what you believed is wrong?

Do you believe what other people believe is wrong? This means there are people who believe what you believe is wrong.

Who is right?

And, what do you do with the knowledge that what you believe is wrong?

Seeking Deeper Wisdom

One of the most common words used in Sanskrit to describe the concept of wisdom is, “Viveka.” And, one of the most pressing facts about wisdom is that so few people ever pursue it. This is why it is such a respected element of a person’s life and why it has come to define the life of so few. Ask yourself, “How much time do I spend each day seeking deeper wisdom?” The answer for most is, none.

Why is it that wisdom is such a respected commodity yet it is so rarely sought after? For most, I believe, this is due to the fact that there is no immediate pay off to finding or gaining wisdom. It is most probably not going to pay your rent and it doesn’t feel all that great. I mean, there is no big adrenaline rush associated with it. Thus, for most, it is put on the backburner of their life if it is ever contemplated at all.

The other problem with wisdom, and its acquisition, is that there is no clear pathway to its attainment. It is not like a university degree where you go to school for so long, take a certain amount of classes, and if you pass them, you get a diploma. Wisdom is much more abstract than all that.

Think about the people you have considered to have possessed wisdom. Why do you feel they were wise? What did they think? What did they do? And, why and how did they arrive at that position of being wise?

This is one of the first things that one must ponder if they ever hope to walk the pathway towards viveka. They must define and understand what wisdom actually is.

The thing about wisdom is, in association with no clear pathway to its achievement, there is also no great reward for its being had. Sure, sure, there are a few teachers and humanitarians who have become greatly respected for being considered to be in possession of wisdom but, in many cases, this being revered did little to make their life any better except in the cases of those who rose to great standing in some religious community where they were adorned with money and gratitude but is that wisdom at all? Or, is that someone simply riding on the wave of ego?

So, here’s the question, what does wisdom mean to you? Does it mean anything to you? Do you care about those who are wise? Do you spend anytime attempting to elevate your mind and your life understanding to a position of deeper wisdom? If you do, what techniques are you using? If you don’t, why not?

Yes, wisdom can just happened via life experience. But, more common than not, it does not occur unless someone sets about on a path where wisdom can truly be encountered. Though there are any number of pathways of gaining wisdom, it can never be truly held unless one is consciously walking upon that pathway and deliberately attempting to encounter a space of deeper knowledge.

The thing about life—the thing about the life of most people is they seek everything but wisdom; they desire everything but wisdom because wisdom has no big pay off. …At least not in terms of Life Stuff. But, a person who develops wisdom, though possible never being truly appreciated, is the one who understands. And, isn’t understanding the greatest good, the great goal of life?

If you seek wisdom, you may not get paid for it. But, if you hold wisdom, your understanding of life and reality should be payment enough.

Take a moment; define wisdom in your own mind. Define what it means to you. Delineate those you believe hold wisdom. Think about, can you be wise. If so, how are you going to walk towards one of life’s ultimate goals?

***

How much time do you spend lost in fantasy thinking about things that are never going to happen?

Finances and Ways to Never Get Paid

Every now and then I will come upon one of my books that has been translated and published in some new language. Sometimes someone from some country will hit me up and thank me for having my book translated into their native language. The only problem is, I had no idea that the book had been translated. The original publisher of the book never told me or paid me for the new edition, even though that is part of our deal.

For those books, translated into various languages, the publishers in those countries are supposed to pay me royalties. With very few expectations, of all the books of mine that have been translated into all kinds of languages, I have not been paid anything. Zero… I guess they just think, out of sight, out of mind. Not cool, but that’s the way it is. What can I do about it?

The thing is… And, my problem with this whole equation, they are making money off of my writings. But me, the author, is not. That’s just not right.

Sometime people offer my movies via offshore download sites. Movies they have no right to distribute. I’ve always been a big opponent of that. But, there is only so much anyone can do. So, they make money from them but me, the creator, I do not. Again, that is just not right.

The people that review my films on YouTube are making money off of them, because they have ads and stuff in association with their reviews. I never really thought that was fair. Do you? They had nothing to do with making the film but simply by talking about it and using copyrighted footage they make a living. I always found that to be a strange approach to life. Again, equally no money to the creator. I consider that theft. How about you?

Most of my new Zen Films and those older rediscover pieces I offer on YouTube for free. Really for free… With no ads or anything like that. (I hate ads on YouTube). So, I’m not making any money on those films. But, that’s my choice. That’s my gift to anyone who desires to watch. So, no money coming in from them but, that’s okay. I’m just putting them out there as cinematic art. Make of it what you will.

The other day I was looking at some of my on-line music sales. I noticed that an obscure song I did in like 2001, for whatever reason, has been getting a number of downloads and plays. Me, I’m going to get like $55.00. At one cent per play that works out to like five-thousand downloads.

You know, ever since all of these music streaming services have taken over the music distribution industry, the artist gets paid like a penny per play, which I don’t really think is fair or cool but at least we get paid. So, there is at least some level of honesty in all that.

In contrast, a couple of years ago this music licensing firm sold some of my EDM Techno music to this company to soundtrack their video game. I still haven't seen a dime from that deal.

We all need money to survive. I do. You do. You have your way of making yours. And, I have my way of making mine. But, the problem that comes into play is when other people climb into your sandbox. They want to play with your toys. But, they didn’t bring any of their own toys along. They want what they want for free. They want to make money off of what someone else has created and they do not want to pay for the service. Is that right?

If you are a creator, I am sure you have pondered this question. If you are a consumer, maybe not. One way or the other, I believe it is important to actually think about what you are receiving; who is involved and how the people who are selling it to you came to the position of offering it to you in the first place. Mostly, what I am saying is I think you really need to look to the deeper aspects of consumption verses distribution and how what you consume actually affects the sourcepoint creation or the creator.

Think before you consume. Think about who is getting paid, who is not, and why.

***

Think about if all of the things you've killed or were involved with killing: ants, spiders, mosquitos, fish, cows came back to attack you.

Does any life want to be killed?

Montage and Who Cares About Anybody Anyway?

Have you ever had one of those days where your life kinda feels like a montage or a music video or something? …Kinda when events are so cinematic it is not like real life. That’s kind of what went on with me today.

You know, like that great song, “Montage,” from the movie Team America World Police.

Anyway, a friend of mine asked me to come by and lays down some notes on his new recording. I felt kind of weird because Eddie Van Halen just passed away yesterday. He was certainly one of the greatest rock players of all time. As far as I am concerned, to date, there has only been two people who truly changed rock n’ roll guitar forever. The first was Jimi Hendrix and the second was Eddie Van Halen. Arguably, there were other players of his generation who may be considered better guitarist: Al Di Meola, Paco de Lucia, Jon McLaughlin, but his contribution to the evolution of rock n’ roll guitar is undeniable.

I’ve noticed that MTV Classic is playing back-to-back Van Halen videos today. That’s great! It was fun to sit back and watch a few of them and remember…

Anyway… I was a bit reluctant due to COVID-19 and all that but I thought everyone would be cool at the studio and they would do the social distancing thing and have all that worked out. So, I got in my car and clicked on one of my all time favorite band, Dinosaur Jr. and I let the music play. But, from the moment I got in the car everything changed.

I don’t know what it is but is seems that everyone has forgotten how to drive. I first noticed this after the first lock down of COVID-19, when for a long while there was nobody on the road; even here in a place like L.A., then things started to open up and when people began to drive again they either forgot how to drive or they no longer cared about the fact that there are other people on the road. In about two or three miles three people had pulled out of streets or driveways, directly in front of me, and completely cut me off. Like one of those 3-D effects in a movie. Right there in your face.

I get to the studio. Walk in. And, it was like I had stepped back to 1980 something. I was wearing a mask but everyone else was just there hanging out like nothing was going on out in the world. Hell, the president just got COVID last week.

Everybody was sitting in this small room behind the board, talking and joking. They had coke laid out and people were snorting it.

Truthfully, I wish I could step back in time a few decades and powder my nose. But, it would probably kill me if I did it now. So, I passed on the offers. But, the scene it all looked like a music video. A bunch of rockers in a studio drinking, snoring coke, and recording music. So, strange…

Me, I just had to leave. I don’t want to take the chance of getting sick.

I told my friend to send me what he had recorded and I would add something to it for him from my home studio if he still wanted me to. I mean, I get it… The whole thing of collaborating is interacting face-to-face. But, right now, this is just not the time to live what was going on at that studio.

Kind of like that great song and music video from Twenty-One Pilots, Level of Concern where the two guys are working in two different studios and then mailing what they have created to the other one only to find out, at the end of the video, that they live next door to each other. “Would you be my little quarantine…” Happy

Anyway, I left. Listening to Dinosaur Jr. again; two more cars cut me off en route home.

I stopped as I needed gas and I watched as the people in this station were insanely selfish. I mean, don’t you hate it when there are two pumps in a row and the person who got there first parks in the middle and takes up both spots. That, plus people snaking spots from one another and one guy backing up without looking and almost hitting the car that was trying to pull up to a spot but they saw him coming, slammed their car into reverse, and got out of the way. The guy obliviously drove on and didn’t even notice what he had almost done.

It was weird… There was so much movement. It was like a Mechanical Ballet.

That’s the other thing I’ve noticed since we've all gone outside again. Most people just don’t seem to give a fuck. All they think about is themselves. But, I’ll get to that in a minute.

The high point of my gas getting experience was that this attractive young woman pulls up and gets out of her car to pump her gas. She was total 1980s Video Vixen material. The way she flicked her hair back was so funny. If she had been in slow motion with a fan blowing her hair it could all have been a video production. Combine this with the fact that she was wearing a brand spanking new Iron Maiden tee shirt. It made me smile. How bizarre.

After getting my gas, I hopped back in my car, clicked back on and blasted Dinosaur Jr. as I drove home.

So… Here’s the question(s) for the day… Take a moment an really think about each one…

What are the things that you care about?

What are the things that you think about in regard to the things that you care about?

What are the things you care about in regard to other people?

Do you change what you are doing to make someone else’s something better or do you not think about anyone else but yourself at all?

Life is an interactive experience. You can either interact in a conscious manner or you just steam roll your way through your existence thinking about and caring only about yourself.

Who are you?

What do you do?

Do you ever think about any of this or anyone else?

Do you care about the people you don’t know?

Do you jam out onto the street before you look to see if any other car is coming?

Do you take two spots at the pump at the gas station?

Do you back up without looking?

Or, do you wear a fun tee shirt that makes people smile?

Your life. Your choice. You can either make the world better or worse.

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.

***

No matter how hard you cry it will not change what has happened.

Power

I’ve recently been watching the HBO documentary series, The Vow. It’s one of those weekly installment things that I always find a bit annoying as you have to wait until next week to see the next episode. For the people who watch it at a later date I guess this won’t be a problem as once it is On Demand I am sure you will be able to binge it if you want. The doc is a bit filler-heavy and it would have been nice to cut it down to like an hour and a half. But, I get it, some filmmakers want to provide as much inside info as possible.

This doc is about NXIVM and it leader Keith Raniere and all its players and how they got to where they got be. First of all, I have no personal experience with NXIVM and I do not believe that I’ve ever personally known anyone who did. But, that is not what this piece is about. This piece is about power—the way some people attempt to unleash it, hold onto it, and how some people fall prey to it.

From my early years forward, I was drawn to spiritual teachings and making one’s self and life better. So, throughout the years, I have interacted with a lot of spiritual teachers. I was a close member of Swami Satchidananda’s Integral Yoga Institute and the Sufi Order in my teenage years. About this time, the whole Jim Jones, Jonestown thing took place and people started talking a lot about cults. As I have said before, in all of my years with Swami Satchidananda the only money I gave the group was a $10.00 donation when we were buying Gurudev a new blanket for the Los Angeles Integral Yoga Institute. In terms of time, I was happy to give it. These people were my friends and we were doing things together—doing things for the greater good. This is the same with martial arts, in all the years I professionally taught martial arts at a studio I never took one dime for myself. It was my donation to the greater good. The point? Spiritually does not have to be about a cult, power, getting people’s money, and hurting people lives.

You can watch the HBO doc or read about the goings on of NXIVM if you want to know the kind of things Raniere and his people did to other people. But, that kind of behavior has nothing to do with spirituality! In fact, if anyone initially knew this kind of stuff was going on, they probably never would have walked through the door. And, that’s the problem, people either do not know or they are forced into situations of surrendering their personal power and from there people have the ability to gain more power over others and tell them they must relinquishing their personal wholeness for some spiritual something. But, it’s all a con. Spirituality and psychological betterment is never about giving some unenlightened individual the keys to your mind, your wholeness, and/or your wellness: spiritual, psychological, financial or otherwise.

In this doc, you see the kind of things the powers-that-be did to hurt the lives of those who left the group. You also see how parents think they know better than their children and they attempt to put the power play on them. But, no one is absolutely right and/or holy. Some people just think they are.

In life, I have witnessed this kind of power-based behavior a lot. For me, it never happened in spiritual groups. When I was ready to leave, I left. Everyone wished me all the best. In business, however—in the martial arts, in the film game, people truly hurt my life all as a means to attempt to show that they possessed power over me. Hell, even trolls on the internet, even reviewers, hoped to express their power over me by falsely judging me and bagging my creations.

In terms of parents, my father died when I was young but my mother totally fucked with my life attempting to hold onto power over me. For others, I have watched as their parents attempted to keep them from becoming all they could and all they wanted to be with whom they wanted to be with. In regard to Swami Satchidananda, many years back this one female devotee apparently met one of Satchidananda’s swamis, they feel in love, he left the order, they got married, but her parents actually put up a website blaming their love on the Cult of Satchidananda. How is that finding of love his fault? How is finding love a bad thing?

As far as this doc goes, it shows the case of this one time kinda famous actress doing all she can to get her daughter out from under the influence of Raniere. She eventually provided the New York Attorney General with all kinds of evidence, including against her daughter. She says, “If she has to go to jail, I guess that's better than her being with him.” What kind of mother says that? What kind of mother does something like that? What kind of mother puts her daughter in harm's way like that? What kind of power trip is that? Whatever the outcome, who is she to think for her daughter?

To understand some of the subtleties of what I am taking about you may have to view the doc. But, I think we can all understand power. The way some people try to exhibit it over others to control them, what people do to maintain it, and the damage it can cause to the lives of people who are forced to deal with the power plays of others. How about you? Have you been dominated by the power of someone else? How about you? Have you attempted to dominate someone else with your power? Why? Why to them and why to you?

If we look at the exhibition of power, it comes from a very low level of human consciousness. It arises from a position of insecurity. Why does anyone want to have power over someone else? Answer, because they are not whole in themselves and they need to feel the drug that they are something more than that someone else.

I am sure Raniere and his cronies (and/or anyone else from any other group or just a solo person) were/are in denial about why they were doing what they were doing; just as most people who seek power over others are. They can make up excuses, they can tell themselves (and others) lies, they can gain a feeling of empowerment, raised adrenaline, and even false holiness by exhibiting power over others. But, all that is a lie. It is one of the ultimate deceptions of life. Sure, maybe you win the fight but if you hurt someone’s life evolution in the process what are the consequences to you, your destiny, and to all of those you lured into playing in your game? In the case of Raniere, potentially the rest of his life in prison. For his disciples, long prison sentences. Power is a bad thing. Think before you seek it.

***

Are all conversations worth having?

***

Are all memories worth remembering?

Reading Your Own Meaning into the Message

This is a subject that I’ve touched on in the past but every now and then I am contacted by someone (in some fashion) and they are translating something that I wrote completely by their own definition. The only problem is, they are reading something into what I wrote that I did not intend.

When one of these situations occurs it always send to smilingly remember this one time a friend of mine and I were having lunch and he pulls out a small a notebook where he had taken notes about what I had said a few days before and he wanted me to explain and translate what I was actually thinking and what I actually meant. “It meant nothing,” I exclaimed.

I am not one of those people who composes hidden meanings into what I write. I find that kind of stuff way too pretentious and frankly just bullshit. I write what I write. I try to explain what I am thinking in the best way that I can and then I move on. Sometimes, I rethink a subject and realize I did not explain my thought process in a complete fashion so I readdress the issue. But, that’s about as deep as it gets. I am not sending you any hidden messages.

This is the same with life. I’m a very honest person. I do not hide or pretend or play head games. I’m just me.

This subject is something I think that everyone needs to examine in their own life and analyze how it causes them to interpret what other people say and do and how it causes them act and react.

Are you looking for a deeper meaning in what someone has to say? Are you seeking hidden messages? The thing is, if a person operates their life by believing that they have some hidden truth that no one else knows they are either lying to other people or they are lying to themselves. There are no secrets!

If someone thinks that they hold the position in life that they are so all-powerful that they need to relay things to the initiated in a secret manner they are operating from a position of vanity and ego. Does a person who holds the mindset that they are so much of something that they must pass on hidden directives truly deserve your loyalty and your servitude?

So, where does this lead us? It leaves us with life. Some people just look to seek out the hidden meaning. Some people want to be part of that inner group who believes that they know something and they are in communication with someone on some secret level that no one else can understand. If that’s what you want to do, that’s great, that’s life; good luck. You’re just not going to find it here. Happy

***

It is easy to say you don't like somebody.

It is easy to criticize somebody.

It is easy to make snide comments about somebody.

What is much harder is to put yourself on the frontlines and actual do something that makes this world a better place.

Actions Have Consequences

I was happily asleep this morning; lost deeply in realms of a vivid dream when someone’s nearby car alarm went off and woke me up. How annoying! I don’t know why people still have car alarms as no one breaks into cars anymore. But, it woke me up. Don’t you hate car alarms? The problem is, I am one of those people that once I am awoken I can’t easily go back to sleep. So, I was forced to get up way before I wanted to. Someone did something; they set off their car alarm and it affected the life of someone else in a non-positive manner. Is that right? Is that the way life should be?

I was at the supermarket yesterday. I had purchased my groceries, loaded them in my car, and was heading for the parking lot exit. A young African-American man bolts in front of me in a new sedan, cutting me off. No big deal, whatever… Just as he was about to pull out from the parking lot he throws his fast food drink out of his window onto the asphalt. The cup, the ice, the straw, and the remaining drink splatter everywhere. I had not seen anything like that in years. Who does that kind of stuff? How rude! I honk my horn at him. …Like what the fuck? He drives on. Again, here is someone who unconsciously, uncaringly did something that affected the life of someone (many people, in fact) in a non-positive manner. Is that right? Is that the way life should be?

A couple of months ago, just after all of the #icantbreathe and #blm riots broke out I was taking an afternoon walk. I have always enjoyed walking around my neighborhood (wherever I am living) or wherever I find myself in the world. It is a great way to see and touch life and they say it is good for your health. I live in what may be considered an affluence neighborhood. Certainly, my dwelling is not. But, the neighbor is… Anyway, I was walking to one of my local parks with my lady when this young African-American family gets out of their semi rundown car in the park’s parking lot. I didn’t think much about it. I just assumed they were probably not from the neighborhood. As we approached each other, walking in opposite directions, the male of the crew bumps into me, obviously attempting to instigate a confrontation. Me, I smiled at him. How can you fight a smile?

Ever since those young African-American men were asked to leave Starbuck in New York because they didn’t buy a drink a couple of years ago and ended up getting paid millions due to their lawsuit, there has been a certain type of person who has sought ways to make money for nothing. Certainly, this is nothing new. People have instigated and/or faked car accidents and personal injuries in establishments in order to get paid forever. But, every now and then it seem due to the climate of the time people get motivated to find ways to get paid via devious means. So again, here is someone instigating a non-positive action that has the potential to have negative affects on the life of someone else. Is that right? Is that the way life should be?

Most people are not that contriving, however. Most people simply act, react, and do as they do as they pass through their life. Like the person who unconsciously set off their car alarm the morning, did their thoughts go to the lives of people who were sleeping and they woke up? Probably not. Did the young man who threw the drink out of his car window care about the maintenance people who were going to have clean up his mess or the people who were going to have look at the trash he threw on the ground? Probably not. He was just done with his drink and didn’t want the cup in his new car.

Everything you do has the potential to affect someone else. The question then has to be asked, are you thinking about how your actions are affecting that someone else? Moreover, do you care? Or, are you only thinking about
your moment or maybe even how you can get paid for doing nothing but creating havoc in someone else’s life space?

Actions have consequences. What you do will come to affect you. How you live your life will come to define your life. The things you do—particularly the things you do that affect other people will set what you encounter next into motion. Maybe you won’t meet your consequences today but they will find you.

How do you want to live your life? Are you going to
do with a conscious respect and appreciation for others and all things life or are you just going to do whatever it is you want to do without a thought? Your life. Your consequences.

***

How much time do you spend everyday trying to make things better?

…Not just for you but for everyone?

The Things That You Think and Is Really What You Really Think It Is?

Life is a long process of living, exploring, learning, and disseminating. When people have time (and money) on their hands they seek out things that are not essential to everyday survival—they seek distraction. These distractions take on many-many forms. The one thing that is true to all distractions, however, is that they are not made up of the absolute essentials of life and survival.

When people have time on their hands they look to find something to desire, they look to find something to believe in, they look to find something to do. But, is doing with no greater purpose something worth doing at all or is it simply wasting time?

Once people find a focus of their distracted life they pursue that focus. Some focus on the realities of life. Others focus on far more abstract objects and ideologies. The question that must always be questions, however, is what is real in the what you are seeking? Is what you are watching, hearing, and/or desiring real or is it simply part of the grander illusion of life?

Think about all of the people who were once believed to be true and honest and then turned out to not be telling the truth. Have you been lied to? Have you lied to others? Simply by following that pathway of thought you can quickly realize that all someone says does not necessarily equal the truth. So, what do words actually mean if you cannot believe them?

People desire things in their pursuit of distraction. Think about how many people have gone into debt buying the things of their desire. Have you? Did your acquired desire equal what you thought it would in your life?

In the acquisition of desired object we have all heard about forgeries and fakes being sold as something that is real. But, is a forgery or a fake any less of an acquisitionable object if one believes that it is something that is true?

I think to my friend Kris Derrig. (God rest his soul). He was one of those very nice, very soft spoken people. For a vocation, he was a master of creating guitars. He was a true master luthier. His specialty was making what appeared to be vintage Gibson Les Paul guitars circa 1958 and 1959. (I have an article on this site about him). Were they true Gibson guitars? No. But, they were as good as the best of anything Gibson ever turned out. Sadly, Kris passed away many-many years ago at the age of thirty-two from lung cancer. Soon after that, due to the rise to fame of the band Guns and Roses and the fact that Slash and the other people like Lenny Kravitz used guitars that he made, his creations became highly sought after and now go for a very high price. Again, were they a true Gibson guitar? No. But, though they are a, “Fake,” does that make them any less of a playable instrument? No, it does not.

So, here is the question, what is true and what is real? Is truth only the perspective of the person who is telling the lie? And, is real only the question of how well something is constructed and how desirable of an acquisition it becomes?

***

Nothing ever changes if you don't choose to make a change.

***

What happens when you believe something about a person and it turns out to not be true?

***

Did you read the instructions?

***

It seems everybody wants to tell you how you should live your life.

It appears everybody wants to judge the decisions that you have made.

If a person is truly whole and self-actualized they say nothing because they understand everybody is perfect onto themselves.

Love

The Sanskrit word, “Prem,” is probably the most common word associated with the concept of love used in the Sanskrit language. Though there are a number of words that can be used to describe the various factors of love in Sanskrit, (as Sanskrit is a very advanced language), “Prem,” is the most commonly used and refers to a total or unconditional love.

How much time do you spend thinking about love? How much time do you spend giving love? How much time do you spend loving someone or something?

For most, the concept of love is very prevalent especially in the minds of the young. For many, they believe that love is the ultimate answer. They hold a belief that when they find love all will become right with the world. You can see this is the eyes of many a young woman. They see a man that they like, they meet a man that they like, they are invited out by a man that they like, and they hold the belief that all will work out as they have seen in their dreams. This is why so many young women are lead astray via the unscrupulous male.

Men are not that much different. They hold onto finding and being in love with that woman of their dreams. They go out in order to meet that woman. You can always see a man, particularly as they become older, who is searching for love. They go to restaurants and chat up the waitress believing that the smile they receive means something more than simply a person hoping to get a good tip. I have known men that have courted strippers, who were not interested in them at all, in the strangest ways; even going to the club where they worked, paying lots of money for lap dances and the like, hoping to see them outside of the workplace; which never happened. Of course, there are the stalkers, but they are a whole other breed in themselves. But again, just someone who is looking for love. Just in a very messed up way.

For people that have found what they believe is love, and follow the relationship road, many/most find that it is never quite what they anticipated and/or hoped for. This is what leads to so many breakups. But, for many, the moment they are out of one relationship they seek another. They again are looking for love.

But, what is love? Is love getting a person that you find desirable to be with you and only you? Is love getting everything you want from a person? Is love getting that need for love met by that one person? If so, why do so many stray from their relationship(s) of love?

I think to what my teacher, Swami Satchidananda, used to say about love. “It’s like doing business. I love you honey. Oh, I love you too honey. I don’t love you anymore. Then I don’t love you either.” In many ways this is true. Love is like doing business. But, is that the way love should be?

Many people make love a very thoughtless, physical thing. It is all about them getting what they want. They meet someone and that person touches that spot of love in them and so they love them until that spot is no longer touched. Again, is that true love?

People make love a drug. A drug that can only be had from that certain someone else. Maybe that drug will keep them high for a minute, maybe for years, but as it is a drug, that sensation will eventually fade. But, is that love?

From a spiritual understanding, love is much deeper that all of this. Love is something that emulates from inside of you. It is in you.

Try this… Take a moment right now. I am sure we have all felt love, so we all know what it feels like. Right now, close your eyes and find that place of love within you. Locate that Love Center in your being. Feel that feeling of love. Let it expand and encompass you.

Depending on your current state of mind, you can allow that feeling of love to truly overpower you or you can just acknowledge that, yes, there it is. Yes, it is inside of you.

By performing this exercise you quickly realize that you do not need someone else to make you feel that experience of love. You can feel love no matter who you are with even if you are all alone. By allowing yourself to acknowledge that you do not need someone else to experience love, you become free from the entire process of seeking out love.

Now, certainly love feels very good. Being in love with someone else makes you feel great. But, though someone else may stimulate that feeling of love within you, it is still you who is the one experiencing it.

For your next exercise try this… Next time you are with someone (someone that you do not and/or did not previously love) allow yourself to love him or her. Allow them to be the catalyst for you to feel love. In fact, walk down a crowded street and love everyone.

The thing is, love is already inside of you. You are the one who decides whether or not to love someone. You can be very specific in who you love or you can allow love to become you and from this you can love everyone.

People seek out that feeling of love. Many quest their entire life for it. But, as you are the one who does or does not feel love, that means you are the one who can control whether or not you feel love.

Try allowing love to just be a part of you. Try loving everyone you meet and/or interact with. Love, and everything becomes better. Love, and anger, deception, hurting, and wars will all end. Why? Because if you love everyone, why would you want to hurt anyone?

***

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

Residuals

For those of you who may not know, Residuals are what an actor, a director, a screenwriter, or a composer gets paid every time a union film or TV production is shown. The film professionals get paid a standardized fee up front, then, when that production is rebroadcast, they get a certain percentage of that fee. Sometimes these checks only add up to a few pennies but it's the thought that counts.

Residuals were created in the 1960s by the then Screen Actors Guild to assure that the performers and the filmmakers were fairly compensated throughout the entire time a production is seen—wherever it is seen. From this, not only do the production companies and the producers make a fair wage but also so do all of the other people associated with the production.

Personally, I am an active member of the SAG/Aftra Union. Thus, I cannot act in non-union productions. Thank you to all of you indie producers out there for asking me to take part in your production but due to my union status I cannot.

The reason that the union is a great thing is that it makes sure everyone is paid fairly. Every time any segment of a union production is broadcast anywhere it is required that those people or that company broadcasting it pay for the usage of that production so that everyone is rightly compensated. Enter the internet and this has all changed.

Many people watch illegal downloads of films and TV shows all the time. Do they even care about what their watching that illegal download is doing to the financial stability of the cast and crewmembers? Probably not. Like the FBI states, “Internet Piracy is not a Victimless Crime.”

On sites like YouTube some people upload films that they do not own the rights to—reviewers take segments of films, in large or small qualities, and pay nothing for the film’s usage. Though they are making money via the number of viewers they have and the advertisements on YouTube, the actual film’s creators are receiving no payment. Is that fair that someone who had nothing to do with the creation of the film is making money but the cast and crewmembers are not? This is why residual payments were instigated in the first place.

This is where one of the big problems with SAG/Aftra, the Producers Guild (PGA), the Directors Guild (DGA), and the American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP) arises. They do not police their own policies. In some cases, some of the large production companies will immediately go after anyone who broadcasts all or part of one of their productions. And, if you look at the online reviewers, most of them stay away from these films because they do not want to receive copyright takedown noticed because after they receive three (at least on YouTube) their account is nullified. And yes, even the small producers can go after the people who take footage from their films, but it can become a headache so many do not.

The fact is, somewhere/someone came up with the concept of Fair Use. Many reviewers believe that this gives them the right to take footage from anyone’s film that they want. But, if you check the law, Fair Use was designed for learning institutions and established news agencies, not for someone to make money off of a film by putting up a review. And, like I have stated in many places, the moment you make one penny off of someone else’s production, Fair Use goes out the window and copyright infringement comes into play. If you doubt this fact ask any attorney who specializes in copyright law.

The copyright law is the copyright law but what does any of that mean if no one is willing to follow it? Moreover, there is a world full of people happy to waste their time on sites like YouTube doing nothing but watching whatever nonsense is being broadcast.

In a perfect world, people would care about other people. And, this is the point of this piece. Caring… Caring enough to care. The question you always must ask yourself is how is what you are doing affecting the life of that someone else? How is what you are doing creating havoc in the life of someone you have focused your attention upon? For the reviewers, if you care enough to take the time to view a film and then review it, shouldn’t you also care about the people who created that film? Isn’t that only right? For the viewers, do you ever contemplate how what you are doing, as seemingly innocent as it may be, will affect the life of someone else? Or, do you just do what you do and never think about the bigger picture? If that is the case, I would really suggest that you take a long hard look at your life. Because right is always right and wrong is always wrong.

In closing, the rules, the residuals, and taking the time to care were all set up in order to make the all and the everything of life better. Are you making life better? If you are hurting anyone in the process of what you are doing, you are not making it better. Is that right?

Always Help. Always think. Always care. Think about the other person—think about how what you are doing will affect that other person. Think about someone else beside yourself. Do what you do with a conscious caring purpose and all of life becomes better. And, don't rob the livelihood of someone via your own selfish needs.

***

If a person lies to you once they are probably going to lie to you again because everything that they built your relationship upon is based upon a falsehood.

***

How many people believe in a religion that other people believe is false?

If a specific religion was the absolute truth wouldn't everyone believe in it?

We All Owe Somebody Something

We all owe somebody something. Throughout all of our lives there have been people who have taught us things, opened doors for us, and if it were not for them we would not be who and what we ultimately become.

In some cases, our memory of and our reverence for these people is very prominent in our minds. In other cases, we pretend that they do not exist and that they did not help us. In fact, in some cases, some people are so self-involved that they do not even realize the help someone gave them. In any of these cases, this does not change the fact that there have been people in all of our lives that have helped us.

I think to the many martial artists I have known over my fifty plus years of involvement in these systems of self-defense. Early on, I realized that many of the practitioners, who became teachers, began to extradite the people who taught them from their life. As they personally came to hold a more prominent position of influence they did not want their students to know where the basis of their knowledge came from. This was particularly the case if they had trained under the lineage of a Western instructor. This ideology may have been based in the fact that they did not want their students to go to the source where they gained their knowledge or it may have been simply based in ego. Whatever the case, many removed their true teachers from their résumé. In some cases, these practitioners would replace their true teachers with some mythical Asian instructor that was impossible to locate. In other cases, they would associate themselves with an Asian-based teacher or organization in order to appear to be closer to the true source of the system. In either/any case, who was truly owed what became hidden.

In the film industry, I have also witnessed people removing the people who have truly opened a door for them from their résumé. As I have long stated, the film industry is an impossible game. Though thousands/millions of people hope to become part of it every year, very few find their way in. And, virtually anyone who does accomplish this is guided in via someone opening the door for them. Yet, if an individual becomes successful, that door-opening, helpful person is very commonly overlooked. Again, this may be based in ego or it may be based in a person hoping to appear to be more than they actually are. Whatever the case, the true person who is owed something is ignored.

People help us on all levels of our life. Whether it was a specific teacher in school or someone at the workplace. Maybe it was simply someone who was a good friend when we needed one. Whatever the case, we all owe somebody something.

Take a look at the world around you. Take a look at the successful people that you know. How did they get there? Were they not helped by someone? In fact, take a look at the successful people that you know, do you ever question who helped them obtain their success and whom they are not thanking for the help they received?

Everyone who rises to any level of anything has been helped: the martial arts instructor, the movie star, the film director, the author, the musician, the teacher, the journalist, the broadcast journalist, the manager at the company, the book reviewer or the online movie reviewer who speaks about other peoples creations; they did not write the book, they did not make the film so they owe the creator who actually did, a lot. They have a job because of that author or because of that filmmaker. The list goes on and on and on. You simply have to open your eyes to see the truth about who is owed what and if other people, (and if you), are willing to give credit where credit is do.

So… Here’s the exercise for the day… First of all look outwards to the people that you know and know of who have become successful. Who did they learn from? Who opened a door for them? Who helped them get to where they are? And, do they give credit where credit is due?

Once you have thoroughly explored that level of your life and your life relationships turn the microscope on you. And, it’s important to be very honest with yourself… Think about your life… Think about where you find yourself in life… Who helped you get to where you are? Who passed on knowledge to you that helped you grow in life? Who opened a door for you? Who created something that allowed you to move forward towards becoming who you hoped to be?

Help arises from so many levels of life that they cannot all be listed. For each person it is different. Who do you owe what to and why? And, are you willing to give credit where credit is due?

We all owe somebody something. If you don’t pay your debt all you become is an individual based in deception.

Give credit where credit is due. Thank those who have helped you in either a small or a large way. Believe me, it makes everything just a little bit better.

***

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

The Birthday Buddha

It was my birthday the other day.

Birthdays always strike me as kinda strange. I mean everybody makes such a big deal about it being their birthday. And, I guess for some it does become a big deal. But, for me, it never was really like that. I was an inner-city only child, whose parents were way more focused on their careers than me, so I never had birthday parties or anything like that. The one time I did have a kinda cool birthday experience was when I was still a teenage. As I was already long involved with the Eastern Spiritual Tradition, I was on the staff of a spiritual retreat for the Integral Yoga Institute. Someone, somehow figured out it was by B’day and they spread it around. What occurred was that the head Swami decided we had to go out. So, we snuck away from all the, “Retreaters,” who were all in their cabins meditating or asleep and they took me to a local restaurant up in the Santa Monica Mountains, where the retreat we being held, where we had carrot cake. That was pretty cool.

Mostly, on my B’days, wherever I am in the world, here in L.A., or elsewhere, I try to do, at least one small thing, spiritually focused. Normally, I go to a temple or something like that.

Last year I was in Singapore on my B’day so I went to this Hanuman temple I like there. This year, as I was in L.A., I normally have a few choices as there are some very nice Buddhist and Hindu temples in the greater L.A. area. The problem is/was, COVID-19. They are all closed. Not open. So, I could not go to one.

Sure, sure, I get it, the true temple is inside all of us. But, I still like to take in the energy of an intentional spiritual setting. But, not this year. Thanks China!

Most people hope to receive gifts on their B’day. I have this one extended family member who used to fax (remember those) out her wish list every birthday. I always thought that was kinda funny. Me, long ago, I decide it was a way more cool thing to give someone else a gift on my birthday. And, I have always continued to do that.

One B’day, way back in the way back when, I gave my then girlfriend a Rolex. The relationship eventually went South. So, I don’t know if going that elaborate is a great thing to do. But, giving always seems to be the best thing to do (on any occasion) but birthdays seem like the ideal time.

So… Just the suggestion for the day, the year, whatever… Your next B’day, don’t only think about yourself and what you want. Think about someone else and maybe give them what they want.

Giving always seems to be the best medicine. Happy

***

When somebody gives you advice and it turns out to be the wrong advice is their fault for giving it to you or your fault for taking it?

All the Things That You Think You Know

What do you know? What do you think you know? Why do you think you know it?

I imagine we have all been in one of those situations where we were somewhere and someone is talking about something and we believe we know something about the subject of which they speak. Of course, people talk about so much stuff, it is almost unfathomable. So, whatever someone has the potential of talking about runs the gambit of all reality. But, every now and then, I am sure, someone is saying something, and you feel like you really need to chime in and add your thoughts to the conversation. Do you? This is one of the questions that defines who you are as a human being. Are you one of the outspoken KNOWERS? Or, are you simply a person who believes you know what you believe you know and keeps it to yourself?

In all conversations, people speak about what they think about—they talk about what they believe they know. That’s just life. But, how often is what they say (is what you say) based simply upon something you heard which then lead you to your beliefs? How often is what you say simply based in some self-concocted ideology based on nothing more than some opinion that emulated from your own mind? Moreover, how often is what you say wrong?

There is this great trick of manipulation that has been going on on-line forever. The trick is, someone posts a comment stated as a fact and attaches maybe a photo or a video about some-something. Then, that same person, via a different account, or perhaps one of their cohorts quotes that statement and references that photo or video in order to make what they are saying sound like it is based in fact. But, is it? This technique can go on and on from there. It has the potential to expand exponentially. But, is belief—is desired opinion a fact or is it simply what a person believes based in whatever concoction of principles and philosophies that person holds? And, does believing a lie propagated by another person ever become the truth no matter how often it is quoted or referenced?

It really comes down to the question, how much of anyone’s life (how much of your life) is based upon actual fact compared to how much of life is based upon belief, opinion, and/or a desired ideology that someone wants others to hold? Do you ever think about this as you are obtaining knowledge? Do you ever think about this before you believe your beliefs? Do you ever think about this before you chime into a conversation and put in your two-cents?

Life is based in a person’s belief that spreads outwards to others. Beliefs may be believed by a small or a large number of people. But, does a belief actually mean anything? Does anyone speaking what they think they know mean anything if what they are saying is based upon nothing more than what they think concocted from a credo spread forward from the mind of someone who has no basis in truth?

From your speech you can spread the goodness of truth or you can spread the badness of personal unfounded opinion(s). As in all things life, it is your choice. Who do you want to be, the person who speaks the truth or simply the person who wants others to believe what you believe simply because you believe it? Your life, your choice.

Pure Joy and Happiness

How often do you feel pure joy and happiness? In fact, do you ever feel pure joy and happiness?

Most people, the only time they feel a sense of joy and happiness is when they are getting exactly what they want in any specific moment of time. This gift of joy is given very externally. They want something, they get, and so they feel happy.

The problem with this style of emotional stimuli is, however, that then all things are dominated by external circumstances. You want, you get, you are happy. You want, you don’t get, you are not.

If you think about this, and this style of Joy Stimulation, isn’t that how you have passed through your entire life? You lived, you existed, but they only time you were truly happy is when you got what you wanted. But, is this the only way life can be lived? Is this the only way you can feel happiness?

Here’s the experiment for the day: Right now, be happy. Take a moment, close your eyes, go inside your mind, and find that place where joy and happiness exists.

This place/space may take a few minutes to find because most people never seek it out. It only magically appears when, as described, you are getting something that you want. But, it is already inside of you. Find it!

The moment you go to that space of joy and happiness, that is already inside of you, you immediately realize that, yes, you can feel joy without getting that Something. You can touch that joyous experience without the need for external stimulation.

Believe me when I tell you, once you find out that you can be happy and joyous without the need for that external Something your entire life is going to turn around. No longer will you be controlled by that plaguing need to get Something to feel fulfilled.

Find that joy, find that happiness inside of you and you can touch it any time you feel the need.

Like everything else good in life it takes practice. Care enough to practice finding your internal joy and your entire life can become so much better.

Helping with No Agenda

I often speak and write about how people should help one another. Sometimes people contact me and tell about the help they are providing. Sometimes via TV, radio, the internet, social media, or other sources I hear about someone talking about the help they have given someone or something. But, the more I hear about it, the more it becomes self-evident that people are not helping simply to help, they are helping to gain something out of their helping.

It is a very simple thing to think about. Go back in your mind and think about a time when you helped someone. Why did you do it? In virtually all cases, (if you are honest with yourself), the reason you helped someone is that you either wanted to gain something from that person from your helping them or you wanted to be praised as being a good person by your helping. How many times in your life have you helped anyone simply to help them with no ego or no hope for any desired outcome as part of the mix?

People commonly falsely believe they are helping when they are simply attempting to get their own or someone else’s agenda enacted. But, that is not really helping. Sure, it may be aiding your cause or your political party—it may even be helping a person win a battle over another person. But, that kind of helping is all Ego and Self Based. It does not arise from a pure sense of giving. It comes hand-in-hand with an agenda.

True helping, truly helping, is a process where you remove yourself from the equation. It is a space where you are doing simply to make the all and the everything of someone or everyone a little bit better. The main component in True Helping is that you have nothing to gain. You want or expect nothing from the person or persons you are helping and you do not desire to receive pride or praise because of your helping.

The person who truly helps tells no one that they are helping. They do not announce it and/or broadcast their helping to the world or to any individual. They simply do the deed. They simply help. They expect no reward and they turn one down if it is offered.

True helping is silent.

When You Make a Milkshake

There are so many people doing so many things in this world. For each of them, what they are doing is All Important. What they are feeling is the only thing they are feeling. But, is what they are doing, what they are feeling, what they care about important to anyone else?

I was having breakfast yesterday; sitting in this outdoor courtyard. At least here in L.A., outdoors is the only place you can eat in restaurants right now due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. No indoor dining. But, that was fine, the weather was nice, the outdoor patio space of this restaurant was nice, and all was going along as it should.

While I was sitting there, I got a text from a friend of mine. Jokingly he said, “You’re birthday’s coming up, where do you want to go?” I smiled. I mean, my favorite cities in the world are Tokyo, Hong Kong, and Jerusalem. Any of those locations would have been fine. But, as I don’t hang with the Private Jet Set Crew and as COVID-19 cases are again rising all across the globe, equaling travel-restrictions, lock-downs, self-quarantines, and the like, so there is little chance I could go to any of those places. But, the question did make me smile.

I realized I was sitting there in the courtyard of the restaurant, surround by people. Each of them sat there eating and talking about their own melodrama. Each of them was living their own life, defined, at least in part, by what we are all defined by right now, COVID-19. Add to that all that other stuff that inhabits all of our lives.

I realized, I could have been anywhere. …Anywhere in the world. No matter where I found myself, people are all the same. They are all thinking about what they are thinking about. They are all focused on themselves and the people and the things they care about and the people and the things that are affecting them. But, for most, they are only focused on themselves. So, it was nice to realize that someone cared enough about me to hit me up with a text about where I wished I could be on my birthday, even if there was no way I could go there.

***

What makes you feel good?

Does what makes you feel good involve somebody else or other people?

What affect does your feeling good have on those other people?

What makes you feel bad?

Does what makes you feel bad involve somebody else or other people?

What affect does your feeling bad have on those other people?

***

If you feel that you must continually broadcast to the world that you are something special doesn't that mean that you are the only one who believes it?

***

When you misunderstand what somebody says is it their fault for not explaining themselves correctly or your fault for not understanding what they are trying to say?

Defending What is Yours AKA Everybody’s Everything

There has somehow become this belief that people should not be allowed to defend what is theirs. We have seen this in all of the recent protests leading to riots that have taken place. It seems, whenever someone steps up to defend what is theirs they are condemned for their action. But, if something belongs to someone shouldn’t they have the right to defend and protect it? Moreover, what has happened to the mind of modern society that they now believe they can simply take what they want even when they did nothing to earn it?

For anyone who has ever had anything stolen from them, they understand the emotional pain of this occurrence. For anyone who has ever had any unwanted violence unleashed on them, they know the pain of being attacked. Most people, even if they have not personally experienced one of these unwanted incidents, understands that taking what is not theirs is wrong, destroy someone else’s something is not right, hurting anyone should not be done. Yet, it seems, that there has been an entire culture born where stealing, hurting, and destruction is recognized as some sort of achievement.

Throughout history, those who have stolen have been condemned and punished. Now, though that style of consequence is still active, there is an entire cultural where it is respected. When someone is caught or taken to task for their stealing, damaging, destroying, or hurting, an entire throng of people come to their defense. Is that right?

At the essence of every person, at the crux of every culture is a sense of morality. An understanding of what is right and what is wrong. Certainly, this understanding evolves through time, but what is good, right, and honorable should not. Taking what is not yours should not be seen as right. Destroying what is not yours should not be condoned. Hurting, someone/anyone, on any level, should be condemned. Why is it not?

The problem has evolved in that mob mentality has been accentuated by social media. It is kind of like when the football team you like wins against the opponents you do not, there is a sense of excitement. But, why do you like that one football team? Why do you dislike the other? Do you ever contemplate this? Do you ever study your emotions and why you feel them? Do you ever ask yourself why do you allow you emotions to cause you to say what you say and to do what you do? If you don’t, you are living a life not defined by an enhanced sense of goodness, self-knowledge, and virtue. If this is the case, this is where a life defined by hurt and damage to others is unleashed.

Do you believe that someone else, someone that you do not know—that you never met, has the right to take what is yours? Do you believe that someone else has the right to damage your property? Do you believe that someone else has the right to hurt you? Most probably you do not believe that someone has the right to do any of those things to you. So, why do you or those people you know or support; why do they have the right to do it?

If you treat people the way you want to be treated all life becomes so much better. Don’t steal, don’t take what isn’t yours, don’t destroy, don’t hurt and think how much better everything becomes.

The world begins with you. The world begins with what you choose to do. Develop the mind and the mindset to do good.

***

How do you measure your day?

Autobiography of a Lie

Who are you? Are you the person who you tell the world you are or are you the inner being inside your human form that thinks, that feels, the exists, that translated reality via your own definition? And, do you know who you truly are?

Most people are lost in the projection of who they want themselves to be seen as by the external world. They want to be viewed as a something—they want whom they are (Their Projected Self) to be seen as that thing. From this, a world of deception is given birth to.

Think about the people you have known. Think about the people you have read or have heard about. Who are they and why do you think they are what they are? In almost all cases the reason you believe you know who they are is because someone has told you. Either they personally told you what they think, how they feel, what they like, what they don’t like or someone else has talked about them; explaining to you who and what they are. But, in all of these cases, how do you know if what they are saying is true?

Think about the last time you told a lie. Why did you tell it? Moreover, did you even question yourself on the deep realms of your self-consciousness why you were about to lie or did the lie simply come from your lips with no internal conversation about how what you were doing was wrong?

Most people who lie never possess the inner level of refined consciousness to question their action. They just do it. They just lie. Why do they lie? The answer to that question could be explained via various methods of logic and an untold number of reasonings but it will almost never be truly understood by the person who is telling you the lie. Why? Because they do not possess the inner honesty to truly delve deeply into their self, know their self, analyze their self, and be able to present an honest conclusion.

Think about the people you have known who have lied to you. These lies may have been small or they may have been very large; but you were told something about someone, you believed it, and then it turned out to be a fabrication. Then what? How did that lie change your understanding of that individual and how did it cause you to react to them? …How did you react to them before you knew they lied and how did you react to them after?

Most people when they are caught in a lie, lie to cover up the fact that they have lied. Some people are pathologic liars. They lie about anything/everything and they do it while looking you directly in your eyes. They are so lost into being a liar that they cannot or do not care about the negative impact their lies may have on the life of other people. It is their drug. A lair is who they are.

All this being said, think about the people you know, think about the people you have heard about, think about the people you think about, ponder how much you know about them is based in a reality that you have lived with them (The Truth) and how much of it is based simply upon what they told you about themselves or what you have heard about them from someone else. Think about if all you believe about is a person is a lie, then what? Think about if one small thing you believe about a person is a lie, then what? Think about the lies you have told other people about yourself (large or small), now what?

You initially know a person by the autobiography they present to you. Yes, over time you develop experiences that you have lived with them, but what are those experiences initially based upon? They are based upon what you believe a person to be. What if what you believe them to be is not who they truly are at all? What if they have lied? Then what?

***

You can know who a person truly is by the lies they tell.

***

If nobody sees you does it matter what you look like?

Obscurist Occulto: Hiding from the Definition of Meaning

To catch up the previous blogs and thoughts written over the past few months check out the latest book based on the Scott Shaw Blog, Obscurist Occulto: Hiding from the Definition of Meaning.

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.

***

Everybody's God is different. You may refer to him by the same name but your interpretation of God is uniquely your own.

Sādhanā

Sādhanā is the Sanskrit word that refers to refined spiritual discipline. It references the formalized practices that one must undertake to reach a higher state of consciousness.

How much time to you spend consciously refining your anything? How much time to you intentionally spend attempting to make yourself a better, more cultivated individual? The answer for most is that they spend no time at all. They do nothing that is focused on them becoming a more developed human being. Yes, they may go to school so they can get a good job. Yes, they may investigate and may learn how to do that something so that they can make more money. But, very few ever do anything that will lead to making themselves a truly illuminated being?

Why is that? Most probably because it is an abstract idea. Higher consciousness does not commonly lead to making more money, gaining more fame, getting more followers on social media. In fact, it leads to nothing. …That spiritual nothing that is so illusive. Because of this fact, very few possess the mind to perform Sādhanā.

For example, in the martial arts, I have known numerous people who really fall in love with the physical training. They train day in and day out. But, in the martial arts there is a goal; a higher belt rank that may lead to personal gratification, a sense of self-worth, more students, and thus more money and notoriety. That is a physical thing that a person is given the motivation to work towards. But, working hard towards making one’s self a better vehicle of enlightenment promises very little—very little at least in terms of the physical world.

Some people do make enlightenment the goal. From this, there are a very few who do work hard at Sādhanā. They meditate for long periods of time. They chant for hours. But, enlightenment is not a goal. That is why so few people ever truly understand it. And, that is why it is the most illusive element of human consciousness. It is not a thing. It is not a place. It is not something that can be worked for and then earned. It simply is.

If this is the case, some may ask, why perform Sādhanā at all? Why? Because consciously becoming that something more refined not only makes the individual a better person but it makes them a more positive conduit for the betterment of everything. It makes them a vehicle to make everything and everyone just a little bit better.

Ask yourself, “What do you think about?” Ask yourself, “What do you do to make yourself a better person?” Ask yourself, “Do you care enough about the everyone out there to formally do something that will cause you to increase your consciousness, thereby limiting your selfishness, your unthinkingness, and your negative actions, thereby leaving everything and everyone just a little bit better?”

Sādhanā is not just about someone doing something. It is not a selfish, self-thinking act. Sādhanā is a person caring enough to work towards making themselves that something better so that everything can exist in a space of betterment.

How about you? What spiritual practices are you willing to undertake to make everything just a little bit better?

***

Jesus doesn't call you a sinner it is only someone who claims to speak on behalf of Jesus who does.

***

What happens when you do something wrong in heaven?

***

If you hurt someone you will always be remembered as the person who hurt them.

If you help someone you will always be remembered as the person who helped them.

***

What do they do to have fun in heaven?

***

How do you feel when you say something negative about a person?

How do you feel when someone says something negative about you?

Karuṇā

The Sanskrit word, “Karuā,” is translated as, “Compassion.” Compassion is at the heart of a person walking the spiritual path, as compassion is the conscious motivator for a person to step beyond the boundaries of Self and reach out and care more about the other person than simply the self-serving mindset of caring about themselves.

Compassion is a complicated concept, however. For within its definition is how one interprets it, and from this, it is very common, that much of its true understanding is lost. For many, compassion is motivated simply by one person feeling sorry for another individual. But, the true understanding of compassion is much deeper than that. Compassion is as much about one person turning off their own desires in order to truly understand the life condition of someone else than it is simply about one person feeling sorry for someone else.

Think about your life; think about the people you have felt sorry for. Who are those people and why did you feel that emotion towards them? For most, that emotion arises when you see a person being hurt or damaged by the words or actions of someone else. Though this is a natural reaction in life, for those people who care enough to care about anyone but themselves, if you think about it, if that is the motivation for feeling compassion than it is more based upon superiority than benevolence. It is based upon the concept of they are living that lessor lifestyle or they are having that done to them and I am not. Let me help them.

In essence, that style of behavior, though giving, is based in ego, “I can give this to you,” rather than it being based in true compassion.

This is where compassion gets a little bit complicated and why the true Buddhist understating of compassion is rarely put into practice. True compassion is enacted by removing yourself from the equation and giving/helping from a space of refined consciousness where the thought of you or the idea of you giving is not involved. In other words, it is not actualized with the thought, “I am doing this for them,” or “I am helping them,” it is done from a space of absolute oneness where your action are based in the sense of helping the greater all, not simply you doing this for them.

Most people operate from the very low level of human consciousness where they based everything that they do upon a mindset of, “Me.” They think what they think, they do what they do, but all of that doing is based upon what they think, what they want, and what they hope to achieve whether it is for themselves or for someone else. Most actions, which may be considered compassionate, are enacted from this frame of mind, as well. Though good is always better than bad—though giving is always better than taking, many people miss the point when they do the things they do that are geared towards helping other people. They miss the point because they are only seeing themselves as the sourcepoint of the action—they are only seeing themselves as the someone who is doing the something.

True compassion is based upon your doing, whatever good action it is you are doing, motivated by the perspective of removing yourself, your doing, and your giving from the equation and doing what you do based in an true expression of enhancing the greater good. Thus, all desire for any expected outcome, on your part, is removed—all hope for any gratitude or receiving any praise or reward, on your part, is absent from the motivation for your actions. That is how you can identify a truly companioned act—there is no sense of one person doing one thing that befits them in an manner.

True compassion is about you removing you from the equation of giving and simply providing another individual or a greater entity with what they truly need, not with what you want them to have or what you think that they need. Compassion is you giving from the most spiritually pure, egoless, and caring place in your being. It is you providing when
you are not involved.

***

Who decides the dreams that you will dream?

***

How much did your last mistake cost you?

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.

***

What are you going to be thinking about when you die?

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.

***

If enough people believe a lie does it become the truth?

***

If you practice at doing any technique incorrectly for long enough you get very good at doing something wrong.

***

Do you ever think about the person you could have helped but you did not?

***

People always talk about what they gave you but no one wants to speak about what they took away.

Today

Today, do something nice for someone.

Do something caring, thoughtful, helpful, or kind.

Do something nice for someone and watch how everybody's everything gets just a little bit better.

Today, tell someone you have hurt that you are sorry.

Tell someone you are sorry even if you are not.

It you can fix the damage you created in their life, do so.

Apologize and watch how everybody's everything gets just a little bit better.

Daivim and the Positive Being

Translating words from an ancient language like Sanskrit is always a bit tricky. Languages are developed to reflect the culture, the temperament, and the mindset of a specific place and a time in history. Stepping back thousands of years and what was going on then is absolutely different from what is going on now.

This is simply a preface to understanding that when you use a word, particularly a word from an ancient culture, its interpretation may vary. But, its essence should remain the same.

The simple translation of the Sanskrit word, “Daivim,” is, “Shining one.” In Sanskrit, the word, “Daivim,” is used to describe a person who is the embodiment of positive energy and is moving forwards like a Deva or Devi—a god like creature.

How many people do you know who are truly positive creatures? How many people do you know that consciously form their existence around doing only positive things? How many people do you know that do not hold a self-interest in their interactions with other people? How many people do you know that exist in a space of pure positivity? How about you?

The thing that most people never take the time to think about or even consider is everything that they do is a choice. What they do they do for a reason but more times than not that reason is not based upon a mindset of positivity, that reason is based upon a mindset of self-gratification.

Who do you think is the better person? The individual who is constantly trying to rise up the ladder of life; getting more and having more, or the person who is actually embracing positivity in all that they do and truly spreading that positive energy, without reservation, in all that they do?

In your life, you can make the decision to be positive. You can make the decision to put your own needs and desires on the backburner and step forward through the rest of your life in a selfless manner, doing positive things, and only embracing positive energy. It’s not easy, I get it. But, at the end of the day what really matters in the life of any person; them getting what they want, feeding what they believe they deserve or desire in any given moment, or them spreading the positive universal energy of light onto all people and all things?

Life is your choice. You can do whatever you want with it. You can make justifications for all that you do. But, there is only one truth in the ever-expanding, ever-evolving cornucopia of existence and that truth is, the person who chooses to embrace positivity and spread that energy outwards, everywhere is truly understood to be the best and the greatest of what humanity has to offer.

Stop

The great mystic, George Ivanovich Gurdjieff created a very powerful meditation technique most commonly known as, The Stop Exercise.” In essence, what this meditation technique employs is that someone calls out, “Stop,” and this is exactly what you do. You shut it all down. You stop. You stop your body from moving. You stop your mind from thinking.

Once this Stop Exercise has been executed the most essential fact is that you totally Stop. If your eyes are open you do not close them or blink. If your mouth is closed, you do not open it. You completely Stop wherever you find yourself.

Once you have Stopped, it is essential that you immediately note the condition of your body and your mind. You chart how you are standing or sitting. You note how your body is feeling where you find yourself. You observe your mental condition. You check your emotions and note what you are feeling and why. If you can, you allow this Stop to allow you to chart your way down to the sourcepoint of your being.

The Stop exercise also allows you to halt all thoughts in your mind. Stop means Stop thinking. Freeze your mind and become one with the nothingness.

Some say that the Stop Exercise only can work when someone else executes it as this causes you to be forced to Stop when you never expected it. Though the random invocation of someone else calling out, “Stop,” is a great meditating motivation, many times all things that may be gained from this exercise will be lost because you do not have anyone to practice it with you. If this is the case, do not let the benefits of the Stop meditation technique go. You can practice it solo. You just have to do it from a space of consciousness where you do not plan to do it at a specific time or place or when you are in a specific state of mind. Do it randomly, when you least expect it. Stop yourself.

Another essential caveat that one can and should take into consideration as a reasoning for employing this meditation exercise is that most people spend much of their lifetime doing things either for themselves and or to or for other people. Meaning, people are either doing things for themselves believing that it will make their life better or happier or they are doing things that either help or hurt other people. Think about your life. Think about the things that you do. If you chart your existence in your mind you will instantly realize that this is true.

The Stop Exercise is a great way to remove yourself from this selfish: helpful or hurtful pattern of living. When you find yourself becoming self involved, Stop. When you find yourself thinking or doing hurtful things, Stop. When you Stop, you Stop. When you have Stopped, nothing else is actualized or damaged and from this karma and life repercussions are ended.

In this modern era, the Stop Exercise does not have to be practiced face-to-face. There are a few people I practice this technique with and we periodically text each other, “Stop.” Though not as dramatic as someone calling out, “Stop,” it definitely can have the same effect.

The Stop Exercise is a great means to force your mind to confront its Now. It causes you, if even for a moment, to move beyond the constrains of everyday reality and move into your meditative mind. From this, all kinds of new levels of realization and internal peace may be encountered.

STOP!

The Unauthorized Biography of Donald G. Jackson

Life forever amuses me. The actions of other people also amuse me. Though, in truth, I forever find myself questioning why some people do some of the things that they do…

More often than not I find that when people contact me to tell me of some of the goings-on out there in the world, I wish that they had not done so. Really people, I just don’t want to know. I live this very simple (semi reclusive) life. I focus on art, spirituality, meditation, and helping others whenever I can. All the nonsense that goes on out in the world, I just find distracting.

Anyway, before I get too far off target, let me get to the point. Somebody told me that someone had written a biography about Donald G. Jackson and published it on Amazon. The title, “From Roller Blade to Frogtown: The Strange Film Journey of Donald G. Jackson.” Interesting title.

So, I popped over to Amazon to check it out. The cover, a photo of Don that I had taken and the author had altered and used without my permission. Does no one care about copyright laws? There’s also a frog from Frogtown on the cover, a little silhouette shot of me near the bottom from Max Hell Frog Warrior, and a screen grab of one of the nuns from Roller Blade Warriors. The Kindle version of the book was only ninety-nine cents so what could I do? I had to read it.

To be fair, the author, Matthew Skelly, clearly states in the introduction to the book, “Mind you, I didn’t write this book to reveal some hidden bombshell that will set the world on fire. There is nothing new or secret here. Everything written here was already out in the open where anyone with a web browser or a library card could unearth it. My goal here is to simply consolidate all of the information about Jackson’s life and work, so I can lay it out in a clear timeline.”

Basically, what he did was to scour this website (scottshaw.com), throw in a brief passages or two from a couple of other sources, get some information from my Zen Film Documentaries, mix all that up in a blender, talk about Don’s and my films and that’s the book. I imagine it took some time to do all that and I give the guy an A for effort. For the most part, though he does throw a couple of shots, he speaks kindly about Don and myself and I thank him for that. I also thank him for taking the time and caring enough about the filmmaking of Donald G. Jackson to put the book together. Though, as is always the case with people who write about someone or something when they were not at the sourcepoint of the knowledge, he does get somethings wrong, takes some of what I have written out of context, leaves out some essential facts, states a couple of things that simply are not true, and the timeline he describes or the motivation for some events he writes about is incorrect. This is why I always say, “I am alive! I was there! I knew the man! I made the movies! If you have any questions, ask me!!!” And, as I also always say, “If you want to know the truth, go to the source.” In this case, I am the source.

Skelly did provide footnotes in the book and they point to my writings and my films, so that's all good. But, this book was obviously written by someone who knows very little about copyright law and the fact that you need to gain formalized permission from an author or a publishing company when you are going to extensively quote or paraphrase a large amount of another author's writings. You need to do this before you publish a book and offer it for sale. The simple explanation of copyright law is, you can't take somebody else's creation and make money off of it. Basically, what this guy has done is to base his writing about Don upon the quotations and the analysis of my writings and then detail his interpretation of what I have written and add his own description and critique about Don's life and the movies that Don was involved with. But, he was not there! He does not know what actually took place! So, in some cases, his presentation really misses the point of what actually occurred.

Having lived what this author is writing about places me in a weird position. Knowing who Don was, what he was or was not thinking, what he did or did not do at a specific point in time and what I was or was not thinking or what I did or did not do at a specific point in time leaves me a bit befuddled when reading this book. I mean, I appreciate the fact that this guy took the time to put his book together but as is the case with all unauthorized biographies, the essence of the person that is being written about and their creative life motivations is missing from the pages. If a person did not personally know an individual and they did not speak to those of us who did, at best all a work like this becomes is a book report or a term paper. This is not meant as an insult or a harsh critique of the book in any manner. In fact, if I wasn’t me, I may have learned something from the book. But, to know the truth about a person, to understand a person, to know the facts about what an individual actually did and why they did what they did you either need to have actually known that person or at least to have spoken to those of us who did. This author did not do that. And, knowing Don the way I did I do know that he would have been very upset about the inaccuracies presented in this book.

I believe that there has always been the faithful who have appreciated and studied the filmmaking of Donald G. Jackson. And, I am glad to see that some new people may find out about his work through this book. Though it is important to state that some of the facts presented in this book are misleading or false. Just keep that in mind if you read it. But, Skelly did care enough about the filmmaking of Donald G. Jackson to take the time to put the book together so you've got to give him credit for that!

Awh, Hell… After reading the Kindle version of the book and writing this little tidbit I'm going to buy a paperback copy of the book and put it in the Zen Filmmaking Archives… Or, hand it off to my attorney: one or the other. Happy

Bit of a follow-up here:
Though there is no author's name associated with this article I believe this interesting and informative piece was written by Matthew Skelly,
Director's Spotlight: Donald G. Jackson. If you want to get an idea about what's in the book, check it out.

Post Script:
The PS to all this is that what Skelly did caused me to do something I never planned to do and that was to put together an, “Authorized,” biography about DGJ using his actual writings combined with interviews and with some of the many essays and articles I have composed in association with his and our filmmaking career. Check it out if you feel like it and if you want to get the real story, Donald G. Jackson: Soldier of Cinema.

In Your Mind’s Eye

I don’t think that there is any one among us who has not imagined how a situation was going to be but when that setting was actually lived it turned out totally different than we had planned.

In our Mind’s Eye we had seen the situation unfold. We had planned what we would say and what we would do—what would be said to us, and how the moment would be lived. But, when it came to pass, some or none of that moment played out as we had envisioned.

For some, they plan for days what they will say and do and anticipate what others will say and do to them and for them. Of course, in the Mind’s Eye one leaves room for a few variables but in some cases a person is absolutely sure how what will happen will happen. That is until it does not.

In life, a situation not playing out the way a person has hoped and people not behaving in the way a person had hoped is one of the key ingredients to disappointment. Disappointment leads to depression. It also lead to a person acting inappropriately and saying and doing things that are not very nice. Some people do not possess the ability to accept the reality of reality and from this they enact inappropriate responses.

Why do people plan out hoped for situational outcomes? Because they want to feel a certain kind of way. They want a certain something. And, the only reason they are traveling into that scenario in the first place is that they want to receive that something.

Have you ever had a Christmas morning where you did not get the gift you had hoped for? How did you react? More importantly, how did not receiving that gift make you feel inside?

Did you ever hope a certain person would feel a certain kind of way about you? When they did not, how did that make you feel? How did that make you react?

Did you ever do something hoping to achieve something but what turned out was totally not what you hoped for? What played out was not as you had seen it in your mind. What did you do next?

The first action in your reaction is the key to who you are as a person. The way you think, equally what you hope to actualize is the definition of what you want. But, how you react to life when things do not turn out the way that you want them to is the ultimate definition of who you are.

Some people become sullen when a situation does not turn out the way they had hoped in their Mind’s Eye. Some people become sad. Some people become angry and say or do negative hurtful things based upon not getting what they want. Who are you and what do you do?

As a person progress though life (at least most people) they learn to control their desire for a desired out come. Through life experience they learn that things are often not going to turn out exactly the way they want them to. From this, there emerges a tempering of the actions and reactions to life events. But, think about this, what if you didn’t care? What if you had no preconceived notions about the anything of the next thing? Wouldn’t that make your everything substantially more free? Wouldn’t your everything become so much pure, right, and in the moment?

If you let go of visualizing what you hope for your next moment will be free. If you stop attempting to orchestrate that moment before it happens, then all things become free, you become free, and you will never be tormented by the what never was.

***

How much time do you spend undoing any of the damage you have created?

***

Do you ever spend any time thinking about it from their perspective?

***

An opinion is not a creation.

***

What did you do for yourself today?

What did you do for god today?

***

A person only needs you as long as they need you.

***

How much time do you spend thinking about how what you are doing is affecting someone else? How much time do you spend caring?

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.

***

When you stop pretending to be something that you are not, you get to be who you truly are.

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Just because your phone rings that doesn't mean that you have to answer it.

Just because someone is knocking at your door that doesn't mean that you have to let them in.

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?

The Autobiography That You Will Never Write

For each of us, there is the description of ourselves and our life that we hold in our mind. There is the narrative of how we see ourselves and how we present ourselves to the world. For some of us, this definition is highly defined and very deliberate. For others, it is simply a random set of thoughts and actions that occur with very little prethought. Whatever the case, we are defined by what we do, what we have done, and what we plan to do.

In this self-definition there are things that we have lived that we happily tell everyone. There are also the things that we have done or experienced that we wish no one would ever know about. Between those two extremes there are the mundane elements of life. Things that we have lived and even though they come to our memory from time to time they are seemingly so inconsequential that we never even think about mentioning them to anyone else.

Take a moment right now. Clearly define what you would say about yourself in your autobiography. Really think this through. Then, define to yourself why would you say those things. Now, define what you would say about the other people you have interacted with in your life. Why would you mention those people and those interactions in your autobiography? Why would you describe other people in the manner that you?

Truly define this area of your life. Now ask yourself, why would those things make their way into your autobiography in the first place?

Once you have defined what you would write, now define what you would not write about. What things have you done that you wish to keep hidden from the world? Why do you wish to hide them? Clearly know why you feel what you feel about this area of the life you have lived.

Finally, examine those memories that periodically come to your mind—those memories that you remember but memories that you really don’t find important enough to add them to your autobiography. Why not? Why are they not important enough that they would make it into your life pages? You lived them—you remember them, then why were they not that important?

Our life is defined by the all and the everything that makes up our life. If we are happy, caring, and kind it is generally based in the life experiences we have lived. If we are angry, negative, or hurtful it is generally based in the life experiences we have lived. What have you lived and why have you lived it? Define this and not only will you come to a better, clearer, more precise definition of you and your life but you may also be able to preceded further though your life more focused on making your existence and the memory of your existence more clearly defined.

***

Most people don't have anything better to do than to talk about somebody else.

***

How long is your forever?

Is That the Way a Christian Behaves?

Since the dawning of the modern world people have relied upon a set of standards to define human behavior. With the birth and the growth of Christianity people then had a scripture to rely upon to determine what was right and what was wrong in the way a particular person behaved. Behave correctly and you go to heaven. Behave incorrectly and you go to hell. Certainly, through time, this definition of behavior has evolved in its understanding but within the scripture there is a precise definitions of how a person should act in life and how they should treat others. But, how many Christians behave in that manner?

In this modern Western World a good percentage of people would consider themselves Christians. Whether formally practicing and worshiping or not, their cultural heritage, and their moral identity goes back to Christianity. From birth forward, this belief system and its code of conduct is programmed into the mind of many. But again, how many people behave in a Christian manner?

Christianity has a very defined set of rules about how one person should treat another person. But, aside from using these definitions when it becomes personally beneficial, very few people live by these standards.

Here in a city like Los Angeles life is very much defined by driving. And, a person commonly has to drive pretty far as this city is very spread out. As such, I often study human behavior and/or human compassion as I drive as the way people interact with one another on the road is very telling about how they behave towards other people in their life.

For example, I was driving on the freeway and I was transitioning from one freeway to the next. For some reason, a sweeper train had come to a complete stop just beyond the interchange. What this did was to cause the people who were attempting to transition, to come to a complete stop and try to find a way into the traffic flow of the other freeway. There I sat, with my turn signal on, trying to change lanes and merge but no one would let me in. They refused to allow one car to hinder their progression, even for a second.

I sat there counting and twenty-seven cars went by before one person finally let me in. That’s crazy! But, I think it is a very good calculation about the people who are good, caring, and Christian compared to those who are not; twenty-seven to one.

Driving in L.A. can be very challenging. People are always out for themselves. Like I often say to myself and sometimes even out loud when some driver is behaving very unthinkingly on the road, “There’s other people in this world.” But, they don’t care. They are too involved in their conversation, playing with their phone, listening to the radio, thinking about whatever it is they are thinking about, or just being a zombie driver to care. They are locked in their own mind and only thinking about themselves. Is this the proper way to behave? Does this behavior make anything any better?

My lady tells me about one of her coworkers who admittedly will never let another driver come into her lane as she drives. She explains that this has caused other people to Road Rage at her, yelling, and even following her, all because she consciously choses to be inconsiderate. There she is, a devout Catholic, but is that the way a Christian behaves?

I always believe that the best thing any one can do is to be nice and be considerate. Take the other person in consideration. With that, all things get better and nothing gets worse, no matter what religion you do or do not follow.

Does it really make your life any better to not let another driver into your lane? Do you really get to where you are going all that much faster? Isn’t it better to leave a good feeling with all those people you encounter, even if your interaction is only for an unseen second?

Think about other people. Care about other people. Be considered to other people. Do this and everything becomes just a little bit better.

***

Why do you become angry at a person? Because they are doing something you don't like, saying something you don't like, or behaving in a manner you don't like.

What makes what they are doing wrong and what you are feeling right?

Nobody Can Understand Your Enlightenment

There is a very small percentage of the world’s populous that seeks enlightenment. But, for those who do, they take this practice very seriously. Throughout Asia, particularly in India, one will find people doing all kinds of things to reach that end goal.

There is an essential problem in the quest for enlightenment that many people encounter, however. They encounter this problem but they do not even realize that it is a problem or that it is what is keeping them from experiencing cosmic consciousness. That problem is, they are listening to the description(s) that other people have laid down as to what enlightenment actually is. From this, they are questing towards someone else’s something. But, this can never happen in or during enlightenment. As enlightenment is a distinctly personal experience.

Many of the people who quest towards the experience of enlightenment do so by reading the ancient text of those who are believed to have achieved this divine understanding. They may also listen to the words of those who detail the experience. Thus, they try to find and attempt to experience what someone else has experienced. But, this is entirely the wrong pathway towards enlightenment, as true enlightenment is such a unique experience—experienced only the True Self when it reaches the stage where it can encounter it.

This is the reason why so few people who are on the path towards enlightenment ever find enlightenment. By listening to others, by believe that what that other person has experienced is the only enlightenment; they keep themselves from finding their own enlightenment.

For any person who has encountered Satori, Nirvana, Samadhi, or any other names that enlightenment is defined by will immediately understand, what they experienced was something within themselves that caused them to interact with the cosmic whole in a way they never had previously experienced or ever expected. Thus, enlightenment is outside of the boundaries of definition. Though one may be able to tell another person what they have encountered, that other person can never truly understand what the person is describing. At best, they can simply rationally that person words in their own limited perception of Individual Self.

One can only understand what they have the ability to understand. What one understands is solely defined by their own state of mind, their own list of life experiences, and their own definition of how they define other people. Thus, listening to what someone else has experienced is a very limited process defined by individual personality. Listening is not a pathway to enlightenment.

Enlightenment can only be found by the individual embracing cosmic reality by their own release of definitions. By feeing themselves from what they desire and what they expect.

Enlightenment is haveable. It fact, it is easily haveable. But, to find it, you need to let go of what you want, what you think you know, and what others have told you. Enlightenment is found in the non-defined mind.

***

Are you looking for someone to love or are you looking for someone to hate?

Are you looking for a reason to love or are you looking for a reason to hate?

Do you actually know what you are looking for?

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It's easy to tell a person that they should do something differently but if you don't provide them with an alternative then they can never make the change.

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For every enemy you make that is one friend you will never have.

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Revenge is the worst way to get revenge because then all you have done is to create a situation that you must answer for.

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Who's fault is it when you've followed a person down one path because you thought that they would help your life but it turned out to be just the opposite?

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Because you've changed your mind about a person does not mean that the person has changed, it simply means that your perception of that person has changed.

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Whenever damage is created, damage is created.

No matter what your logic or your motivations, if you create damage you have set a course of destruction into motion that will find its way back to you.

I Broke a Wine Glass AKA Thinking of the Demon Lover and How Nothing Last Forever

I was rinsing out the wine glass I had been enjoying my nightly bottle of wine via in the sink the other night and I was about to put it into the dishwasher. Out of nowhere, it just kind of slipped. I banged it on the sink and it broke. No big deal, really… It was kind of funny as I was just earlier that day reflecting on the fact that I had not broken a glass, a cup, a plate, or anything in I can’t remember when… …You know how it is, every now and then some piece of glassware gets broken. But, for me, it had been a very-very long time. But, I’ll get back to that in a moment.

The next day, my lady and I were out in the Valley and she suggested we go to Chili John’s for lunch, as we had not been there in a long time. Great idea, I thought. I headed over in the direction of Burbank Blvd.

As I sat there in Chili John’s, I couldn't help but think back to the early days of Zen Filmmaking and Donald G. Jackson as we used to eat there all the time. In my book on Zen Filmmaking, in the chapter I wrote on The Roller Blade Seven, I discuss how some of my happiest memories, during that production, were when we were doing the Telecine on RB7 and the studio runner, Alex would hop over to Chili John’s and grab us, our colorists, and himself, our lunch so we could stay focused on the film.

…It’s just kind of weird but I have so many abstract memories of that restaurant, associated with Don and I—having impromptu production meeting, taking actresses with us to eat, etc…

Anyway, after our chili I realized that my taste buds must have changed a bit over the years as now I find their chili a bit salty. But, their French Press coffee was AOK.

I got home that evening and I read an email from somebody wondering why Don had signed the rights to his film Demon Lover over to me but I have never done the sequel. …Just not my kind of movie… There’s the answer to your question if you are reading this because I never answer emails with questions like that. Why? Because no one ever seems to be satisfied with the answer you give them.

Anyway, it all got me to thinking about The Demon Lover, Don, and how he has been dead for like seventeen years at this point in time. It also got me to re-pondering a conversation I had with a fan of Don’s several months back. The gentleman had referenced that he had seen, Demon Lover Diary, my doc on Don,
Diary of a Michigan Migrant Filmmaker, etc…

Shortly before Don passed away they showed, Demon Lover Diary at the Director’s Guild of America in association with the Los Angeles Film Festival. It was like the last grand stand for Don as he became very ill soon after that and checked into the hospitable for the last days of his life. At the showing there were all of these film aficionados. But, only his closest friends, of which there were very few, surrounded Don.

Standing in the lobby that evening, it was so bizarre to me that no one even knew who Don was. No one recognized him. Yet, they were there to see a film made about him. Plus, there had been tons-and-tons of press on the movie in all the local newspaper. His picture was out there. Sure, he was a few decades older, but his essence had never changed.

Also, to understand all of this, it is really essential to keep in mind; I never watched the movies that Don made, unless I was directly involved with the production. They just weren’t my style of cinematic fare. Thus, I had never seen this documentary created by Joel DeMott and Jeff Kreines. So, it was an experience for me too.

When it was time for the movie to start, Don and I and his crew sat near the back of the theatre while Don loudly talked, telling stories about the truth about what was going on, and about the part that the filmmakers cut out or did not truthfully represent. Don always hated that film but he was the star of the film.

On a funny side note, referencing the film aficionados in attendance, one guy leaned over to me and asks if I could tell that guy (Don) to be quiet. “That’s Don Jackson,” I exclaimed. The guy moved to another seat. Happy

I mean, come on… Who do you really want to hear the story from?

The film was over and they asked Don to speak. He and I were walking to a secondary auditorium with photos snapping away.

For you photographers, who were taking those pictures, if you have a shot of Don and I, hook me up; I would love to have one.

Don spoke, answered some questions, and that was that. Afterwards we and the crew went to another of Don and my favorite dining establishments, Juniors Deli over in West L.A. Now, like Don, that restaurant is no more.

Skipping forward… Sometime after Don passed away, I did the documentary I promised him I would make, Diary of a Michigan Migrant Filmmaker. Though certainly not as critically acclaimed as Demon Lover Diary, I think it provides the viewer with a true window into the mind and the filmmaking style of Donald G. Jackson. Which also brings me back to the point of mentioning the fan of his filmmaking… During the aforementioned conversation, I mentioned the fact that I could have created an entirely different take on DGJ in that doc.

Don was one of those people that from the moment the video revolution hit he was always having people film him. As I’ve stated in the past, he really had an Elvis complex, believing that he was the center of the universe. Me, I’m not like that. I don’t like photo or videos being made of me. Though, when I’m occasionally acting in the A-market that is exactly what they do the entire time you’re on set.

Anyway… I have a lot of footage of Don. And, a lot of it is very unflattering. As I told this fan/gentleman, I could have presented an entirely different perspective on Don. In fact, when I was doing, Diary of a Michigan Migrant Filmmaker, I thought to perhaps make the Yin and Yang doc. One good, one bad. But, I don’t know… Editing that old style video footage just takes such a large amount of time, I’m just not really into it anymore. So, I guess, unless some new inspiration hits, I will probably leave well enough alone…

So, what does this all tell us? It tells us that things break, that people die, that people are presented to the world in the way other people view them but in all of these cases it is only the true inner knowledge of the person that knows who they truly are. It is only the way a person wishes to be perceived by the world that causes them to project themselves in a specific manner. It is only the people that truly know them that truly know them. It is then only the personal memories that we have that lead us to the way we present those memories and to describe the life of another person. And mostly, it is only what we live in this moment that provides us with the creative fuel to define what we create and give back to the world.

Times change, we change. Chili John’s chili is saltier than I remember it. Me, I am one of the last people to hold the torch for my friend Donald G. Jackson. I guess when I’m gone he will be gone and all that will be left is the documentaries that Joel and Jeff created and the one(s) I created, each presenting only a very specific view of an individual. That's just life… And, a very important thing to keep in mind whenever you are pondering the life of anyone else. Especially someone you do not personally know. Remember, you don't know them!

As for me, I guess I must hit on over to the 99¢ store and pick up a new wine glass. …Cause that’s all we have, what we live in this moment and then what we remember that other moment to have been.

***

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.

Reviewers: Why Don’t You Review Your Own Life?

I am oftentimes amused when I read the review that some reviewer has written about somebodies something. Not just the reviews written about my stuff but also the reviews written about anybody’s creative project. I mean, love it or hate it, they are all written from a very specific point of view.

Now, the fact of the matter is, some reviewers are very good at their job. They don’t just say, “This is good or that is bad.” They really go into exacting detail. They really spell out the long, the short, and the all of whatever creative project they are discussing—at least from the perspective of their own opinion. And, that’s all good. But, here’s the thing—the thing that very few reviewers are ever willing to do… Instead of casting the focus away from themselves, onto somebody else’s creative something, why don’t they write a review about their own life and tell the world the truth—the truth about themselves. At least then the reader of their reviews may come to a deeper understanding of why they have become a reviewer in the first place and what is their motivation for casting the judgments that they cast. Because isn’t that the essence of any review, the casting of personal judgment? So, tell the world why you are who you are and why you think the way you think.

So reviewer, can you be that bold? Can you be that honest?

I have read that some people believe that I don’t like reviewers or I don’t like the reviews some people have written about my creative stuff. That’s really not the case. The thing I don’t like, if you want to define it as such, is when people present their opinion as fact when what they are saying is not true or when they intentionally disassemble and take limited parts of a creative presentation, out of context, in order to confirm their own misguided appraisal of that creative project. But, that’s just the reality of the game. You create anything and people are going to judge it. I get it…

The thing is, I am one of those one-hundred percent honest sort of people. In this blog and in all of my writings and in all of my talks, I tell people who I am, what I am, and why I do what I do. So, if you care enough to know whom I really am and why I do what I do, and create what I create, that information is out there. How many reviewers can you say that about? From them, the focus is always outside of themselves. All you hear about is what they do or do not like.

Certainly, my ideology has always been, that having an opinion or speaking or writing your opinion about somebody’s something is way more easier than creating a similar something. And, that is why critics and reviewers take on their job. It is much easier than writing a book, making a movie, painting a painting, or creating some music. For that—those things take inspiration. …It takes hard work. But, I think we can all agree that to just talk about somebody else’s something, that’s pretty easy.

So, here’s the assignment to all of you reviewers out there… Tell the world your story. Review your own life. Review the things that you have done and tell the world why you have done them. Tell them why you do what you do. Tell them why you cast the judgments you judge. Then, if nothing, a least no creative person can accuse you of not being honest—not honest at least in terms of your own emotions and cultural influences and definitions.

Ultimately, life is all about being honest. …Being honest with yourself and being honest with the world around you. So, before you judge anybody’s anything, review yourself. Tell the world who you truly are.

You Can’t Make Someone Feel

I believe that each of us have encountered situations in our life where we are feeling one thing but the other person is feeling something totally different. Perhaps the most obvious example of this is when an individual is in their younger years and they possess emotional feelings about a person but the other individual does not reciprocate those same feelings. Thus, equaling a heartbreak.

Though that is perhaps the most recognizable example of unrequited feelings, this situation goes much deeper and, in fact, to all areas of life.

Think about something that you hoped would happen between you and another individual. It does not have to be something as grand as love; it can be something very simple. Maybe you hoped to spend the day with a person. Maybe you hoped to have lunch with somebody. Maybe you hoped they would come over to watch the game. But, their mind was on some other activity and, thus, what they were thinking about doing was not what you were thinking about doing and from this the hoped for situation did not occur.

Certainly, what one person wants to do as opposed to what another person wants to do is a very elemental example of two minds being on different paths. The definition of people not thinking about another person’s feelings rises up from there. Think about somebody who has done something to you that has truly hurt your life or your life evolution. Maybe you even explained to them that they had done something wrong. But, did they care? Did they change what they had done? In many cases the answer to that question is, no. Why? Because they do not care about you. They do not care about what they are doing to your emotions. They do not care about what they are doing to your life. From this, no matter what you say or do to them they are not going to change their mindset because they simply do not care about you.

Of course, in life, there are those compassionate individuals who truly take it upon themselves to listen and actually hear and understand when someone is conveying something to them—when someone is explaining that something they are doing is creating a negative reaction. Though everyone should be like this, how many people are? Are you? Look around your life. Look through your life experiences. How many times has someone actually cared about how what they were doing was affecting you?

For each person there will be a different conclusion. For some, they have been lucky and people have truly cared about them. For others, it is just the opposite. But, no matter what the end result is, there is one factor that is undeniable, certain people do not care about the feelings of other people and there is nothing that you can do to make them care.

We can all say, that is the type of person we should not associate with. But, life is not that easy. In many cases we are forced into life situation that we did not consciously choose. When we encounter these situations there is no clear answer in how to eliminate the feelingless person from the equation. We are simply forced to deal with them, what they are doing, what they have done, and contend with their lack of caring.

Is there an answer to all of this? Yes and no. As a conscious, caring individual we can fight to be a positive conduit in our lives and be the one who cares about what someone else is feeling. We can also attempt to remove those non-caring people from are existence. But, beyond that, all we can do is deal with the reality of life and that reality is, you can’t make someone feel.

So, the next time someone is expressing something to you about how you are affecting or will be affecting how they feel, listen to them, care, and try to accommodate their feelings by overriding your own selfishness. For is you cannot do this, you cannot expect it to be done for you.

The Goodness That You Speak

Buddhism and many other formalized religions detail that the process of Right Thought is one of the primary components to living a good life. As what you think leads to what say and what you do, a refined since of thought is what will set the stage for your entire life. But, most people never think about what they are thinking; they simply allow their thoughts to run wild. This, then, leads to a life defined by undefined words and actions that lead to a less than ideal existence for the individual and all those they think about or encounter.

Right now, what are you thinking about? Who are you thinking about? How about ten minutes ago? How about one hour ago? How about yesterday? For most, their thoughts are a rapidly traveling set of abstract patterns that are solely controlled by whatever life situation has passed through their periphery of experience. Few ever attempt to investigate why they are thinking what they are thinking and what has influenced them to the think what they have thought.

Obviously, the words you speak are based upon what you think. If what you think is not thought out in a controlled pattern of realization then what you speak is nothing more than a projection of those undefined thoughts.

Do you think about what you are about to say before you speak? Do you question how your words are going to impact the world around you? Do you ponder how what you say is going to affect the person you are speaking with and/or the person you are speaking about?

Have you ever been in the presence of a very positive person who is constantly saying very positive things? How does that make you feel as an individual? Pretty good I would imagine. You walk away from any conversation you had with that person with an uplifted spirited and a positive outlook on life.

What about the person who is just the opposite? Have you ever been in the presence of a person who is negative and critical of people and all things life? How do you feel when you leave a conversation with that person? Most likely you will be experiencing angst and possibly even anger.

Of course, there are the people who say what they say with a smile on their face but what they are conveying is a very negative or judgmental mindset. They are a whole other breed that you have to be very careful of. But, as they fall into the category of negative speech, all you have to do is look to your feelings after you have encountered them to understand the essence of what they are communicating.

What you say defines your entire life experience. Think about a verbal confrontation you may have had in the past. What was said? Very negative things most probably. Think about a time someone said something very insulting to you or about you. What emotions and/or possible physical actions did that lead to? Assuredly nothing good. But, those are the obvious cases. Think about when someone has said something negative about someone other than yourself. How did that make you feel? Most probably, it motivated you to experience enchased emotions due to the fact that this person is either guiding your thoughts towards negativity or you are frustrated by what they just spoke.

The guidance that a person has over another person, due to what they say, leads us to the essence of the power of speech and why what you say or what you listen to has the potential to define your entire existence. But, do you ever think about this or do you simply speak—or do you simply listen? If you do not speak, if you do not listen with a very cultivated sense of refined thought all that occurs is that you spread unrefined interpersonal turmoil to the world around you or you are guided down a road of crude and chaotic emotions that has been paved by someone else.

But, here comes the kicker, most people don’t care. Most people do not possess the desire to refine their consciousness. They simply want to feel. What they feel is almost unimportant as long as they feel. And, as negativity is such a powerful emotion they are quite happy to feel that. Thus, they listen to those who embrace negativity in their speech. They speak negativity in order to invoke that emotion in others. Take a look at the world around. Listen to the words spoken anywhere you are. What do you hear?

Are you strong enough to take control of your thoughts? Are you strong enough to take control over what you say? Are you strong enough to only project positivity? Are you strong enough to actually make the world just a little bit better place by only saying what you say in a positive and refined manner?

The world begins with you. Speak positivity.

Studying Scott Shaw

I recently received a paper a university filmmaking student had written for a class she was taking called, Filmmaking and Filmmakers. And yes, she wrote it about yours truly. She asked me to read it over before she submitted it and tell her what I thought and inform her if she had gotten anything wrong.

Wow, that was a big one! It made me smile. First of all, I was amazed that anyone would care enough to actually write a paper about me and moreover contact me before they unleashed their discourse, as virtually no one does that. They just spit out what they think.

I mean, sure, I get it… I’ve been making movies for a long time now and amazingly there are actually some people out there who like what I do. But, it always strikes me as strange when someone creates something about me. Like what the characters Wayne and Garth said in Wayne’s World, “I’m not worthy…”

Anyway… Whenever I think about reviewing or writing about someone’s something, it always seems to me as such a judgmental process. I mean, think back to the book reports you had to write when you were school. You either liked the book, didn’t like the book, or were just pissed that someone was forcing you to read it in the first place and from all that what you wrote was a very opinion orientated discussion about that book. Some people follow this mindset throughout their life and everything they speak about is simply based upon their unrefined personal opinion. That’s not bad or good, that’s just the way it is but it does define how most people approach any subject or any person.

Regarding this subject… When I was in my thirties, I decided to get another Master’s Degree. So, I went back to grad school. My focus was on literature, so in many of the classes I took I had to analyze an author and the author’s writings from various perspectives. For me, it was a very enlightening experience because I was forced to take a writer and their writings apart from a very academic perspective. There was no room for personal opinion or I would be called out on it and be forced to redo the study. I really learned a lot from that period of time about how other people, and myself, approach anything outside of themselves. …How we project our own limited understanding onto other people and their material.

Most people never take the time or have the aptitude to learn those lessons, however. They simply want to project to the world how what they think is right or wrong; good or bad. I think that’s sad. For behaving in that way there is limited room for gaining new insight and/or realization because most people’s minds are already made up.

Anyway… I thought the paper this girl wrote about me was done from a thought-provoking perspective. Thought-provoking at least for me. It was really interesting to step back, hold back all judgment, turn off the ego, and simply see how a person sees me and my creations through their eyes. I think it would be a great and very revelatory thing for everyone to have this happen to them for then they would get to see how they are perceived by the someone else who actually cares enough to take the time to analyze what they think, why they think, and why they do what the do.

In terms of the paper… There was really not much I could say. She did her job well. I liked that she didn’t focus on Roller Blade Seven or Max Hell Frog Warrior too much, (as so many people do), realizing that those were films I did decades ago and that my filmmaking style has greatly evolved into its non-narrative state.

Was her assessment of me right or wrong? I don’t know? I know me as me. So, I see me as me. I guess some people of the world sees me as something else—some cinematic revolutionary. But, to me, I'm just Scott.

Ultimately, there was nothing that I could really say about her paper, so I just said, “Thanks.”

But, for everybody out there, take a moment… Think about yourself. How do you see yourself? Now, think about how do others see you? And be honest, is there a difference between how you view yourself and how others describe you? If so, why?

But mostly, how and why do you describe a person and/or their creations? Do you understand them from the perspective of attempting to comprehend that creative person as a unique individual or do you simply project your likes, dislikes, or judgments onto them?

Ultimately, how do you encounter life? Do you see it as it is? Do you see people as they are? Or, do you simply decide who you think they are and if what they do is good or bad and/or should be liked or not liked?

Take some time and think about how you think about things. Take some time and think about how others think about you.

The Projection of What You Think

How often do you find yourself assuming that you think you know what someone else is thinking? How often do you find yourself telling other people what you think someone must have been thinking? How often do you believe that you know why a person did what they did or said what they said? How often are you wrong? And, when you are wrong do you admit that you are wrong?

There is a certain subset of humanity that thinks they know what someone else is thinking. There is a certain subset of humanity who thinks they know why someone does the something that they do. But, where does this knowledge come from? What makes anybody think that they possess the insight into another person’s consciousness to the degree that they can know why they think what they think and why they do what they do? Take a moment and decide upon an answer to that question.

Certain people base their life upon a predetermined belief that they have knowledge into the mind and the action(s) of someone else. Why do they believe that? Again, take a moment and decide upon an answer to that question.

Now, let’s take a look at you. How about you? Are you one of the people who thinks they know why someone else says or does the things that they do? Are you one of the people who tells other people why someone thinks or does what they do? If so, why? Why do you believe you possess that knowledge? Now ask yourself, if you do believe you hold this knowledge, how many times have you been wrong? And, once you found out you were wrong, what do you do about the judgment they you previously believed or expounded? Did you have a conscious realization and correct yourself in your own mind? Did you find out the truth and work to restate what you once stated to others? If not, where does your truth lie?

Each person is a unique expression of themselves. Each person does what they do, motivated by a understanding that only they can truly understand.

Look at yourself. Look at your own life. You think what you think. You do what you do. You say what you say. You probably know why you think what you think, why you do what you do, and why you say what you say but does anyone else truly understand your inner-lying internal motivations? Most probably not. Perhaps you are close to a person and you may have revealed the inner-workings of your mind to them but what about the everybody else? They have no true understanding of who you truly are and why you do what you do. As they do not, that means you do not—you cannot and do not truly understand anybody but yourself. So, why should your present facts that you do not possess?

A certain subgroup of people constantly shift the focus away from themselves. They think, talk, and form opinions about someone else out there—someone who is not themselves. Though there are many reasons of what motivates a person to behave in this fashion, the primary factor is that it is easier to focus on the someone or the something out there instead of finding the interpersonal, internal truth within. By looking outside—by discussing the other there, one never has to confront their one internal being. As the focus is shifted from them, no one looks too closely at who they truly are and/or why they do what they do.

In life, there are a million methods for a person to hide from themselves. In life, there are a million ways to cloak yourself from the world. One of the most common ways is to constantly shift the focus from you studying your own mind, leading towards self realization, and instead place the focus on someone out there by believing you know why they think what they think and why they do what they do. But, there is no truth in that. At best, there is only speculation.

So, next time you think you know why someone is thinking what they are thinking, the next time the conversation arises and you are describing to others why you think a person thinks what they think, catch yourself, stop yourself, change the focus and find out why you are behaving in this manner. From this, if nothing else, you may realize that putting your thoughts onto anyone else only robs the beauty of understanding your own moment in reality.

Most People Can’t Meditate

Question? Do you ever think about meditation? Do you ever think about meditating? Do you ever try to meditate? The fact is, most people do not. Most people do not care about meditation. Most people do not care about calming their mind. Most people do not care about raising their consciousness. What do most people care about? You should answer that question for yourself, as the answer to that question is based upon your own unique perception of reality.

In some cultures, meditation is much more of a focal point of existence. Many look to Asia, as that was the start-point of the modern understanding of meditation, and they believe that meditation is much more commonly understood and practiced it that geographic region. Perhaps at one time in history that may have been the case. But Asia, like the rest of the world, no longer has an acutely focused mindset geared towards spiritual betterment. In fact, it can be debated that was never the case with Asia as a geographic whole. That is simply the perception placed upon that region as everybody, everywhere is solely focused on Self and the betterment that they desire from reality. If that betterment involves that Spiritual Something then, yes, meditation may become a part of that desire. But few meditate solely for the purpose of what meditation was designed to achieve, no matter where they find themselves on the earth.

Once upon a time, in the long ago and the far-far away, life was much simpler. Yes, people did what they did to survive, but they were not bombarded with information. They did not have radios, TVs, computers, the internet, or smart phones—all of which showers the mind with stuff. Stuff that you don’t really need but you think that you do.

In this place of, once-upon-a-time, retreating from all of the goings on of life was much easier. As there was really nothing much to do—doing nothing; i.e. meditating was a much more natural process. Now, meditating has become all but impossible. There is simply too much information pouring into each of our minds. This is why so many people become frustrated when they try to meditate in their yoga class or when they are sitting down in lotus posture at home. Their mind is reverberant with information and misdirected energy causing it to be all but impossible to actually calm the mind to the degree where it can meditate. Thus, the mind of these practitioners is never silenced. At best, they are just fighting off the thoughts.

How about you? Do you ever try to silence your mind? Do you even care about silencing your mind? Do you believe there are any benefits to silencing your mind? My guess is, probably not as most people don’t.

This leaves us with a dilemma. How can we become more spiritually pure and mentally refined if we cannot not even control our minds? The answer is, we cannot. What was once the practice of those who sought a greater understanding of truth, reality, and cosmic consciousness has been lost to the hands of time. Even if one attempts to leave the material world behind and goes to live in a cave, as some of the great spiritual beings of times gone past have done, that will never remove a person from the knowledge they have already gain, and the reality they have already lived in this modern age. You can’t run away.

So, where does this leave us? Where does it leave the person that actually does hope to become a better person, a better conduit of goodness, helpfulness, and raising human consciousness? It leaves us in a place where we must no longer look to the ancient past for guidance as to what we must do to reach a new and enhanced cosmic understanding. It tells us that we must chart a new pathway towards enlightenment. What is that pathway? It is one defined by embracing the reality we find in the world where we currently live. It is one where though we appreciate and even pay tribute to the techniques of the past but we move forward in our own new definition of reality. We start with ourselves. We take control over ourselves. We define ourselves by where we find ourselves in life and then we move forward, aware of our reality, and make living a good life, hurting no one and no thing, helping all we can and from this we form our own pathway for our own spiritual growth.

Make your life—make living your life your meditation. Make doing good things, helping people, keeping yourself from hurting anyone, and forgiving your foes your meditation.

Meditation does not have to be defined as simply sitting down in lotus posture with your mind lost to the world. Meditation can be performed with your eyes wide open as your mind continually and very consciously refines itself.

Living in an Amusement Park

For me, Israel is one of the greatest places on earth. I go there whenever I can. Not only does the country have all of its religious history but it is also a beautiful place inhabited (for the most part) by very nice, beautiful people.

Certainly, Jerusalem is a great place. Particularly, walking through the streets of the Old City takes you back in time. You are touching the history of the Jewish, Christian, and Islamic faith. Plus, it is beautiful. My recommendation is go there very early in the morning before the crowds hit the streets when walking there can be a true revelatory experience.

All this being said, what a good percentage of the people who visit the Old City either do not think about or do not understand is that people live there. Yes, in some ways, it is a tourist attraction (an amusement park as it is bound by large stone walls) but people also live there. It is their home. So, though locals shop in the Old City all the time, there are businesses, cafes, and souvenir shops in association with holy shire but look upstairs and there are apartments that are the homes of many-many people. You are walking in their backyard.

The last time I was there I had kind of an interesting experience. I was at an elevated location and looking onto the Wailing Wall and out across the city of Jerusalem when I started hearing someone saying in the background, “You’re not suppose to be here.” This went on for a few moments in association with some other comments. Then, he finishes, “Just making a joke.” What the concealed voice turned out to be was some teenager and his friend talking at me from the window of their apartment in the Jewish Quarter. Though the kid was joking, I totally got it. There we were in his backyard. People probably walk through there all the time. Most, I would guess, do not explore the hidden depths of the city in the manner that I do but I am sure that it is not uncommon to see people that he did not know walking in the area that he calls home. I was invading his space. I get it.

From my own perspective, I too have lived in tourist attraction for much of my life. I grew up in Hollywood, which is a tourist attracting onto itself. But, as long as you are not on Hollywood Blvd. in the heart of Hollywood, or on the Sunset Strip, you are more or less protected. I’ve also chosen to live adjacent to the beach for much of my adult life. People pile in from everywhere all the time. From this, they can really shape your environment: what you see, what you hear, and whom you interact with. So, I am not unaware of what my and/or anyone else’s presence can mean when I enter a space that is not my own.

In terms of locations like the Old City of Jerusalem and the beach, I am speaking of very obvious circumstances. But, is it any different wherever you or anyone else travels? Do you even think about the impact you are having on where you go?

Recently, due to all of the rain we had this year, there was this intense bloom of poppies in this one region of So. Cal. Everyone was going there to take Selfies and have pro photographers take their headshots and family shots. The problem was, the minute someone stepped out into the field, they killed the poppies. At first the Rangers who worked the area tried to stop the people, telling them to stay on the trail. But then, the crowds became intense. On the news they would show the literally miles of cars trying to get off of the freeway to go play in the field. News crews would interview people about the fact that by stepping in the field they were killing the poppies but each person would have their own excuse. But, an excuse is just that, an excuse. These people were going somewhere and altering that somewhere all based upon their own motivations. Is that right?

So, this is just something for you to think about. …To think about anytime you go anywhere. Wherever you go, you are entering into someone else’s home and just because you see it as an amusement park does not mean that your impact is not having an effect on the people that actually live there.

Think about the other person before you act. Think about nature, think about life because everything we do is interactive. Everything we choose to do affects someone and something else.

***

If your religious teacher is charging you for his (or her) teachings they are not a religious teacher.

That’s the Thing About Karma…

In life, everybody operates from their own perspective. They do what they do based upon their own reality as they know it.

Most people do not intentionally do things that hurt or take from other people. This being said, most people rarely take other people into consideration as they are charting the path for their life.

There is a very simple experiment for you to perform to confirm this fact. Think about the last undertaking you undertook. When you did it, why did you do it? Who was it designed to benefit? And, in this calculation, did you consider the impact of what you were going to do on the other people involved in the endgame of your action—whether they were knowingly involved or not? Your answer, though probably muddled in denial about your true motivations, will obviously point you to the truth of whom and what you were actually thinking about; yourself.

What does this tell us? It explains that the majority of the world’s people only views life from the perspective of themselves. That is why people do not understand karma. When they are hit with some karmic attack they wonder, “Why me?” They wonder this because they are only focused on themselves. They have never cared to study or take into consideration how their actions have affected other people. At best, all they do (once again) is to view the situation from their own perspective and maybe even blame the someone who is retaliating for what they set in motion. Thus, they are locked into a mindset of self and only self. They never look beyond themselves.

Think about the actions you have undertaken recently. Define how they affected you and your life. Think about not only the big things that you have undertaken but they very small things as well. Take a few moments and truly contemplate what motivated you to do what you did and how it affected your life.

Now, spread your consciousness away from your self. Look at those same actions. When you were preparing to perform them, did you ever even consider the impact they would have on that somebody else? If you did not, why not?

The fact is, whether you did or did not is almost unimportant because whatever you did almost assuredly affect the life of someone else in either a small or a large way. How do you feel about that? Seriously… Take a moment and define in your own mind how do you feel about that fact? …The fact that you, by doing what you decided to do, affected the life of someone else? Do you even care?

If the average person were to tell you the truth you would find that most people don’t care. They do what they do based upon a completely selfish perspective. The problem with this mindset is, however, it leads to karmic reaction. You choose to do something, it affected someone else, thus, those actions, whether consciously taken or not, will come back your direction.

So, here’s the question… Do you care? As stated, most people do not. They live what they live in their moment and as long as their moment is feeling okay, that is good enough for them. As long as their actions are equally what they want in any given moment, they do not allow their thoughts to go to the anybody else. How about you?

The thing about life is, we all do what we do. But, if we cannot be conscious enough to calculate the consequences of what we do on the somebody else then our life simply becomes a very selfish, karma reactive existence.

In all life circumstances there is the instigator, there is the doer, and there is the receiver. Instead of only calculating how you will feel when you set about on a course of action, take a moment and study how your instigated action will affect the somebody, the anybody else. By thinking how it will affect them, you can calculate how your karma for the instigation of that action will come back your direction.

If you want to understand life, if you want to live a conscious, caring, and giving life, think before you do. Think about the other person.

***

The people who speak the loudest are generally the ones with the least useful information to convey.

***

How much time do you spend expanding your understanding?

How much time do you spend expanding your knowledge?

How much time do you spend expanding your awareness?

How much time do you spend expanding your humanity?

How much time do you spend caring?

How much time do you spend helping?

How much time do you spend giving?

How much time do you spend thinking about yourself?

***

The biggest sinner is the person who hurts someone but never tries to repair the damage that they have delivered.

***

Have you ever noticed how some people's entire lives are defined by who they are in conflict with?

Jesus and Accolades After You’re Dead

There is certainly no other figure of modern history that has been discussed and worshiped more than Jesus Christ. For the past two thousand years no one else has been for the focus of more prayer, more war, or more belief than Jesus Christ. But, virtually all that happened because of and due to Jesus Christ happened after his assentation—after he left his physical body.

Except for the Bible, there is little else that anyone can turn to for a discussion of the life of Jesus Christ. Forget about the historic debate of Jesus, we will simply take the accepted historic understanding of Jesus Christ at face value.

Did Jesus live a good life? Well, no one really knows much about the life he lived up until the later stage of his physical existence. But, from that point forward was his life good? From a purely physical perspective, probably not. There was a lot of conflict and controversy surrounding him. Ending in his being put to death on the cross. A symbol that is today worn around the neck of millions of his followers.

From a Christian perspective, it is believed that Jesus is looking down on; guiding and protecting all of the believers. Millions pray to him for guidance on a daily basis. Even more worship him. But, when he was alive how many people were his followers? How many people believed in his teachings? How many people prayed to him? Very few, if any. Yet, today, he is the most worshiped deity on the planet. But, during his life, he personally, in his physical form, did not encounter any of that. He never knew, on a physical level, what it was like to be loved and revered by the people of his time period.

When someone is dead can they truly experience the love or admiration that other people have for them?

Have you notice that when someone passes away; maybe someone who did something nice for humanity, was a teacher, was very creative, or was well liked, all of sudden people get together and commentate them, maybe give them a posthumous award, or something like that? That’s all nice and everything… But, the problem is, that person is dead. They can’t really experience the love coming their direction or the giving of the givers. So, what does it all mean? Who is receiving the gift if the person the gift is intended for is not alive to accept it and appreciate it?

We all believe in who and what we believe in. We all like and respect who we like and respect. Some, perhaps even many of those people are no longer alive. So, what does our love and admiration for that person actually equal?

It is important that we begin to chart a better course for those people who are alive; those people who have helped us; those people we respect; those people who have influenced us; those people we like and/or love. We need to express our admiration while they are alive. We need to let them know that they are appreciated. We need to go out of our way, reach out a hand, and tell them, “Thank you,” by whatever method you choose to express that feeling.

When a person is dead, they are dead. Though they may be remembered, it is only when they are alive that they can truly interactively experience the fact that what they have done was like, appreciated, or helped to help someone in someway.

While they are alive, reach out to the people who have given your life something. Do what you can to make them know that you appreciate their existence. Do this before it is too late.

A Buddhist is an Atheist

Certainly, no one can deny that religion is one of the driving forces of this planet earth. Though many people have moved away from formal religion that is not the case for most. People want to believe! People want to believe that there is a purpose for their life. People want to believe that by behaving in a good way they will be rewarded in the afterlife. People want to believe that they can turn to a supreme being and receive guidance and help. That’s fine. Each person should believe as they wish to believe.

In each culture, a specific religion is programmed into a young child. What the parents believe is what the child is taught to believe. This is what has kept religious traditions alive.

In a few cases, there has been a vast shift in a religion at a specific point in history. This was certainly the case with Christianity growing out of Judaism and Buddhism rising out of Hinduism. In Christianity there arose one figure that came to define the religion, Jesus. This is the same with Buddhism. The ironic thing is, however, this was not the Buddha’s teachings. He taught of a mental landscape void of idol worship. Yet, look at his legacy, there are statues of the Buddha everywhere, people pray to the Buddha everywhere, and people look to the Buddha for guidance. Though these people consider themselves Buddhists, they have missed the entire point of what the Buddha taught. They do not practice the techniques of removing their mind from the constraints of the material world and thereby encountering nirvana, they simply pass through their life worshiping an idealize image of a person they believe possess the ultimate understanding.

So, what does this tell us about religion, religious teachers, and the human society as a whole? It teaches us that most people do not and/or cannot remove themselves from the constraints of everyday life. They do not want to. They are content being dominated by the external while avoiding the internal. They do not possess the mental wherewithal to transcend from common existence and move into a space of ultimate understanding. This is not right or wrong; it is simply the definition of human society.

This then leads us to one of the ultimate questions of life. For you, as a living person, what do you believe? Do you ever take the time to question this question? Do you ever take the time to study where your belief system arose? Where did you learn what you believe? And, why do you believe what you were taught to believe? Moreover, is what you believe the actual teachings of the instigator and source point of what you believe? Are you believing/are you practicing what the founder of your religion actually taught? Because if you are not, then you are not a true practitioner of the religion at all. Where does that leave you?

The Haves and the Have Nots

I had a meeting with a young filmmaker last night. He is planning to do a scripted short that he hopes to enter into film festivals in order to get his name out there. He asked me to come onboard as a producer/consultant. Though he is a fan my work, I, of course, declined the offer, feeling that the formalized structure that he hopes to employee is really not my forte. But, more than the meeting itself, going to this guy’s house was truly the experience.

This guy lived in his parent’s palatial mansion in the Bel Aire section of Los Angeles. It was a really nice house. There, he had a room set up that he called his Production Suite. In that suite he keeps some really high-end filmmaking equipment. The best cameras, tripods, sound and lighting equipment, you name it… The kind of equipment that most new filmmakers would only dream about possessing. But, there he was, he hadn’t even made a film yet, didn’t known how to use most of it, but he owned all of that equipment.

What will eventually come of his film and/or his filmmaking career, I cannot tell you. But, I will say, that when you come from a background such as that your chances of breaking through, in any arena in life, greatly increases.

All of this sent me to thinking back to my youth, my first girlfriend, and how I first encountered massive wealth. I am sure I have mentioned this in some piece of literature before but I was in the 7th grade. I lived in a rather junky one-bedroom apartment with my mother on 6th Street in the section of L.A. that later became known as Koreatown. Just a few blocks down the street from us began the Hancock Park District where there were and are a lot of opulent mansions. This is where my girlfriend lived. Her house was massive. It had a pool, a tennis and a basketball court. Though by my nature I have never been an envious person, I certainly did see the difference in our lifestyles. My mother and I didn’t even own a car. She would get up every morning and take the bus downtown to work and I would either walk, hitchhike, or take the bus to school. Though I liked the girl a lot, and she seemed to like me, I could never expose my humble background to her or where I lived as I believed that would not only be very embarrassing but it would be the deal breaker.

It was really very similar when I went to high school. There were those of us who lived in apartments in the flatlands of Hollywood and there were those who were raised in their mansions in the hills. They always drove the best cars, if they were would-be musicians they had the best equipment, if they were would-be actors they had the best clothing, and so on… Then, there was the rest of us…

Again, this is simply a definition of life and how it was very clearly illustrated to me in my youth. It is not a judgment call.

But, the one thing that is clear is that when you come up in an environment of financial opulence your chances of achieving your dream greatly increases. This is the same when you grow up in an emotionally supportive family and so on. There is the have and then there is the people like me, the have nots.

I believe due to my upbringing, I have always gravitated towards the downtrodden and the less than savory. It has became my signature. I mean, I obviously didn’t come from money. I never made very much money—though I have tried. Though where you come from does not have to be your ultimate definition in life, it certainly influences who you can and most probably will become.

If you come from money, you expect a certain lifestyle. If you come from money, you are breed into a world where there are other people with money. Thus, that is your peer group. Thus, those are the people you interact with and the people you take your inspiration and influences from. Just as those who come in on the lower levels of society associate with their own.

All this being said, there is really no perfect formula to move from being a have not to a have though many/most people attempt to do just that. Sure, a lot of people lie about who they are, what they have done, and what they have. Sure, a lot of people aspire to become more. Some even make it. But, who you are, who you were as a child, how you lived as a child will always be with you. It will always shape your vision, your emotions, your choices, and your decisions.

Hopefully you are a have. Then you live in a mansion, have a great car, and have all of this great brand new filmmaking equipment. If not, just give life your best shot. That’s all I have done. I still never made it to a mansion with a pool and a tennis court but that’s okay, I guess, I never really played tennis anyway and the chlorine in a pool always seems to give my blonde hair a tint of green. Happy

***

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.

Starting the Fight Verses Fighting the Fight Verses Non-Fighting the Fight

I forever find it curious the way people attack other people from afar. Maybe it is talking behind their back, maybe it is saying negative things on the internet, maybe it is punching them in the back of the head when they had no way to see the attack coming. Why do people find it necessary to do this? First of all, why do people want to focus on the life of someone else and attack him or her in the first place? Whatever the answer, they, none-the-less, do.

The other thing I forever find curious is the way people, who once were the secret attackers, behave when they are attacked or when they do not like the actions that others have taken towards them. Again, we find them acting and reacting to the action(s) of others but now they do so from, as I like to call it, an offensive/defensive posture. They are again attacking and attempting to cause damage but now they blame their need for attack on someone else’s instigation.

It is very easy to understand that if you live your life from a perspective of confrontation—if you live your life based upon taking actions that hurt someone else, no matter what your logic for doing so, you are going to encountering those who not only support you when you are attacking but those who are going to attack you because that is the mindset you embrace.

For most people, they do not want confrontation. They want to live their life as best as they can, doing what they do to find a means of surviving, without having to deal with the attacking protocols initiated by someone else. All you have to do is to look to your own life and ask yourself, “Do I want to be attacked?” The answer will most obviously be, “No.” Though this is the case with virtually everyone, there are those who seek to cause another person pain. This desire can be based in all kinds of psychologically motivated ideologies that emulate solely from the mind of one person but hurt only equals hurt and it only opens the door for others to hurt the person who initially caused the hurt. And, pain is never fun.

We can all agree that people should do nothing to instigate pain: emotional, physical, or otherwise, to someone else. But, just look to all those who congregate around those who do unleash the pain. Look at all of the followers and supporters they develop. They possess them at least for a little while until they too fall from favor; most commonly due to the attack instigated by someone from far—someone unseen and unknown, someone who changes the way that person is perceived.

At the heart of hurting anyone is not realizing or not caring about the fact that each person is a human being. A human being that must find a way through their existence just as everyone else, including the attacker. With each attack, that existence is harder to chart out and realize, however, because their life has become damaged.

Now, the attacker may not care about this fact. They may not care about it until they are attacked, which, as life has proven, will sooner or later come to be a reality. Even then, however, they are not looking to the attacks they have unleashed as the causation factor. They are simply looking to the pain that they now feel.

Do you ever watch as an attacker attacks someone? Do you ever witness as they grow strong in the power that they feel? Why do you think they do it? They do it to be enchased by that sense of power. …Power over the person they are attacking. Is this the way life should be live? No, of course not. But, look out to reality, look to all the people who hurt other people, are they the one’s suffering? No, at least not at the original instigation of the attack. But, once they are the one under attack, then all blame shifts from themselves. They never look to the actions they initially took that created a world of hurt, pain, and suffering.

So, what are you going to do with all this? How are you going to live your life? Are you only going to think about you? Are you going to attack from afar and never fix the damage you have unleashed? Are you never going to care about the people you have hurt? Are you only going to think about yourself when you are hurt?

Life is complex. Life is complicated. But, the one thing that life should not be is a fight. You should not instigate situations where people are hurt.

Why can’t you just do and say good thing? Say them about the people you love. Say them about the people you hate.

If you’ve done something that has hurt someone else, why can’t you be strong enough to say, “Sorry,” and try to fix it?

Living a good life is really simple to understand. Don’t attack. Don’t hurt. Don’t fight. Care about other people before you attempt to make a name for yourself via the instigation of pain. Really, it’s just common sense.

The 70s Were Great but They Ain’t Ever Comin’ Back AKA You Make What You Can With What You Have

I was kicking around in the late night, last night, flipping channels, and I noticed that the film, Jackie Brown was just beginning. I hadn’t watched the entire film in a number of years so I sat back with a couple bottles of the grape and settled into the cinema. Good movie.

As is the case with many a Tarantino film, the 70s are heavily referenced. The 70s were a great era for film and music. This was especially the case for independent cinema. There was some really revolutionary stuff accomplished. Tarantino, who is just a years or so younger than me, grew up in that same era and he often makes reference to the 70s in his films. Me too… Of course, due to budgetary constraints, certainly not on the level of his films. Jackie Brown is an ideal example.

And, that’s the thing; you do what you do with what you have…

Certainly, I have my share of fans of Zen Cinema. I also have my detractors, who always seem to be way more vocal. But, like I often say, “Let’s see you do what I have done. Make a film with the scope of my Zen Films for a budget of $300.00 (or less).” Because that was/is my formalized budget. Sure, it can be done. I did it. But, do you have what it takes to get it done?

As the years went on my focus in cinema changed. For those of you who know me or know about me, about ten years ago I stopped doing narrative films and shifted my focus to pure cinema. Cinema for the sake of cinema. No dialogue; characters but characters in their natural state. With visuals as the driving force.

Though many/most of the people who discuss my films speak of those I did before this point in my cinematic evolution, it is essential to note that they did not even start talking until I stopped making—making narrative films. So, what does what they have to say, say about anything?

This being said, it is essential to note that there was not a big, fast, and/or immediate break in my filmmaking style. I was doing non-narrative films long before that point in my cinematic evolution. It was simply that they were not as widely viewed as my other cinematic works.

All this being said, I am often asked what would cause me to do another traditional film? …Well, at least traditional in my sense of the word… Happy

I thought about this last night as I was watching Jackie Brown. One of the things would be to be able to make that 70s style film with actors from that era like Tarantino accomplished. But, the sad fact is, they are all so old now, if they are even still alive. So many of them are gone. Though the cinema of that era will live on forever. The people who created the cinematic art of that era are rapidly waning. Thus, the talent pool is forever diminishing and will soon be eternally lost.

I guess this is like life. There are those who do what they do, done in an era. There are those who rise up in that era and are forever defined by that era but then life is gone. We all get old. We all die. There are forever those who will discuss what others have done. But, they are not the doers. They are not the knowers. They are not the livers. They are not the creators. They are simply the talkers. But, once it is gone, it is gone. The life, the people, the era. So, all we can do is what we can do. All we can do is make what we make defined by what we have available to us in whatever era we live.

***

Does a baby know what god is?

All Beings Are Bound by Karma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Creators of Karma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

It is easy to lie when nobody knows the truth.

***

Every step you take gets you farther away from where you started.

Zen Filmmaking: Process Verses Product

Here’s a piece that I wrote several years ago that you may find interesting.


It seems that there is no way that I can ever discuss Zen Filmmaking without speaking about Donald G. Jackson. And, that is not bad thing for without him having the deal in place for Roller Blade Seven I may never have come up with the philosophic ideology for the process and continued forward with making Zen Films.

After Don’s passing, I was helping his wife clear out some of the tons of things Don had collected—as she and their daughter were moving from the house they had lived in for over twenty years. Don was a terrible hoarder. (Oh, I mean collector. Happy) In any case, as we were going through some stuff we found something that referenced Zen Filmmaking. She handed it to me and said, “I guess this is for you, as you’re the source.” I smiled, “That’s me…”

But, it is much more complicated than that. Zen Filmmaking really goes to the source and the difference between who Don and I were as human beings. Don was very explosive, egocentric, a total power tripper, and he did not care about people; their feelings or their thoughts. Though he did spend a lot of money on his young wanta-be starlet paramours getting them boob jobs, paying their rent, and stuff. His payment was retuned by… Well, you can figure that out…

Anyway, working with Don was always both a blessing and a curse. On one hand he was a total hustler, so we had some high budgets for our films. In fact, on one of the last big galas before he died, Demon Lover Diary showed at the Directors Guild of America here in L.A. I thought that was a great blessing from the beyond as Don got a lot of press surrounding that event and this happened as he was getting very sick and closely approaching the end of his life—though I and his direct family were the only ones who knew this. After the screening they asked Don to do a Q&A. One of things he said to describe himself, when being asked a question, was, “I used to be an artist, now I’m just a guy who asks other people for money.” Sad but true.

And, I guess that leads to the point of this piece. Yes, Don was a filmmaker. And, I believe a truly revolutionary and artistic one. But, he was more into the process than the product. I mean, we would hang out everyday. We would meet at our offices in North Hollywood, do casting session, eat burgers, (Don’s favorite food), hang out with young actresses, go see obscure Blue Grass and Alt Country bands at night, but rarely would we film. Maybe once a week we would actually break out the cameras and get something shot.

For example, it took us months-upon-months to film Roller Blade Seven. Guns of Chupacabra went on for over a year. I remember when we were filming the scenes at the Cinco de Mayo celebration at Olvera Street, I looked at Don and said, “Remember we started filming this movie over a year ago in January.” He just shook his head.

That was the way it was working with him. The other problem was, once we did film something, he would hide the footage away until it was an absolute necessity to finish a film before he would turn it over to me to edit. As he held the purse strings, he was in control.

This is why, soon before he passed away, when he was in the hospitable, he made sure his wife turned over all of the footage to me, as there were so many films yet to be edited. I immediately started editing and did my duty to his legacy. That is why more films involving Donald G. Jackson came out after his death than while he was alive. And, for the record, there are a number of films created by either DGJ or myself or us as team that are out there that no one but the initiated have figured out that they are us using different names. Anyway…

The thing about being in association with Don was, there was always a price to pay. I said that while he was alive, (to his face), and after he died. Perhaps his mindset and the far reaching implications of his behavior were all optimized during the period of time when we made the Roller Blade Seven. …Though I cover the process of making the Roller Blade Seven, the first Zen Film, pretty well in a chapter in my book, Zen Filmmaking, I think that it is almost necessary that I write another extended account, at some point, Roller Blade Seven: The Darkness In The Light, because a lot of bad things happened in association with that film, intermixed with good things all based on the behavior of Don. …Things that have traveled forward to today.

Perhaps an ideal illustration of what was to come was shown to me on the very first day, on the very first set, that involved Don and I. It was for the film, Roller Blade Three. Check out the doc I made about the film if you care to… Anyway, I had met Don shortly before that and he had asked me to star in the film. I arrived on the set, as did all of the rest of the cast and the crew. The female lead asked me if I wanted to run our lines, as it was a script-based production. I said, “I’m a natural actor. I don’t really do that. Let’s just wait till we get on set and let it happen.” See… I was Zen Filmmaking before there was Zen Filmmaking.

In any case, on that day, I went looking for Don as nobody knew where he was. I found him outside, taking all of the junk he had in the trunk of his 1962 Plymouth and setting in on the ground of the parking lot. And, there was a lot of stuff in there! “Just thought I would get this all in order,” he stated. He was doing this while the cast and crew walked around with no direction. Organizing the junk in his trunk… That situation provided a very clear illustration of who that man was.

I always believe that life provides you with signs as what is to come if you are aware enough to watch for them. In the case of Donald G. Jackson, my first thought was to bail that fiasco, as up until that point in my career I had been working on high-budget or at least very organized independent productions. But, I stayed and it led to what it led to… Zen Filmmaking.

Am I sorry I stayed? No, not at all. But, as stated, there was always a price to pay and that price was often times quite high. But, from my staying, for better or for worse, Zen Filmmaking was born.

In closing, Don and I were very yin and yang—very different parts of the same puzzle. Me, I am about completion. I like to get it done. …Because then you have accomplished something. Don was not like that.

Life is always a battle between: process verse product. Modern Spirituality commonly provides people with the excuse, “Enjoy the process.” Sure, enjoy it, but many people use that as a life-excuse for not making things happen and/or getting things done.

If you don’t get it done, then it’s not done. What have you accomplished?

So, if I must state one firm premise of Zen Filmmaking, that premise is, in Zen Filmmaking you get your project completed.

If you’re not a filmmaker, this ideology doesn’t only apply to filmmaking, it applies to everything.

Think about what you are doing. Think about why you are doing it. Contemplate what will it equal. Then, if you’re going to do it, do it. Finish it. Make something special that is uniquely your own.

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.

***

The moment you take something without permission you have become a thief.

Christianity and all other established religions say that stealing is a sin and that negative repercussions happen to sinners.

Are you stealing? Are you a sinner? If so, how do you feel about that?

***

It is only a cult if you don't believing in what they are teaching.

Consciousness

Here is a piece I wrote many years ago.

Zen is a pathway of consciousness. The more consciously your live your life, the more direct your path towards spiritual realization.

Defining Consciousness
People on the Spiritual Path commonly talk about consciousness. But, what is consciousness? Many believe it to be some mystical state that can only be achieved by an ancient sage after years of meditation. This type of definition removes consciousness from the realms of the here and now. It makes it something distant and unobtainable and provides the framework for all kinds of justifications why you cannot become conscious, Right Here, Right Now.

As human beings, schooled by this modern world, we have, in fact, been guided away from consciousness. There are an untold number of distractions, self-orientated philosophies, and teachers who guide us towards selfishness, but not consciousness.

Consciousness must, therefore, be redeveloped by each of us. This is accomplished by transcending the limitations of learned physical existence and evolving to a new level of universal awareness and understanding.

The Bathroom Detail
When I was sixteen or seventeen I was asked to accompany a fellow disciple and professional electrician, whose spiritual name was Bhagwan, to the Montecito home of our guru, Swami Satchidananda. I was to assist in the installation of our Guru’s jacuzzi. Though I had spent a lot of time in the presence of my Guru, I had not been invited to his home. So, I was obviously filled with an untold amount of youthful exuberance.

Bhagwan and I arrived early in the morning and spent the day working on the jacuzzi. Occasionally Swamiji would come out, check on our progress, correct the logistical mistakes he thought Bhagwan had made, and occasionally make joke with me or pat me on the head. He was obviously amused that I was much younger than the majority of his disciple. I was still in High School...

This personalized interaction was, of course, a higher honor than I could ever have hoped for at that point in my life.

As the day concluded, we were scheduled to travel a few miles up the coast to Yogaville West, were Swamiji was to give a talk to his disciples. As we were a bit dirty, our Guru invited us to use his personal bathroom to clean up. This was a blessing of an unparalleled degree. When I later related this fact to the other disciples, their jaws all dropped in disbelief that we were allowed to use the Guru’s bathroom.

Bhagwan was the first in. He took seemingly forever. I sat on Gurudev’s bed, anxiously waiting, knowing that Bhagwan was taking way too long. When I finally was allowed in, the bathroom was a mess. Bhagwan had left dirty water all over the sink, the dirty towels he had whipped his hands with were thrown haphazardly on the ground. I couldn’t believe it! I immediately got to work cleaning up his mess. Approximately two minutes into the job, a knock came upon the door and Swamji’s secretary said I really needed to hurry up, as Gurudev needed to get ready. So, I had only a moment or two to finish my clean up of Bhagwan’s mess and to wash my own hands.

I exited none too happy with my spiritual brother. I mean, how could he do that? Make a mess and leave it for me to clean up. And, he made me look I was the one taking way too long...

I was very young and naive so I keep my opinions to myself, as he was in his early thirties with a family and a job. But even then, I understood conscious verse unconscious actions.

Not to be critical of any individual, but we all possess our own set of foundations. Me, I was taught that you should not make a mess in someone else’s house. Bhagwan, even though he possessed the outward appearance of walking the Spiritual Path, obviously had not learned the same lesson—nor had he opened himself up to the level of consciousness where you take other people into consideration.

The First Step to Consciousness
You must begin at the beginning. The first step on your path of consciousness begins with your foundations—with what you already know.

You must study yourself and detail how you have learned to act and react to situations. For example, what would you have done if you found yourself in the aforementioned situation? How would you have naturally reacted?

Once you have defined these areas of your personality, you must consciously decide if they are right or if they are wrong.

Each of us will find areas that appear to be fine and other areas where we know we need to change. This is the point where you make your first conscious decision to make the person you are into the more universally conscious person you hope to become.

This is not necessarily easy. For we have all learned how to react certain ways—encounter specific situations with a particular attitude and interact with people in a prescribed manner. For the most part, this education never took place in a formal manner. We, as children and young adults, learn how to treat people and encounter situations from those around us. In many cases, we learned from people whose lifestyles were in complete contrast to consciousness. Thus, you must focus and motivate your own change.

Change does not occur overnight. It must be practiced.

This is where your first formalized steps into consciousness take place. You must decide to alter an area of your own personality and then do it.

If you slip and retreat to your old patterns of behavior, don’t beat yourself up about it. Simply realize that you are on the Spiritual Path. The Spiritual Path is a step-by-step road to realization. You are now taking the initial steps you need to becoming the more conscious individual you know will emerge.

Keep in mind, that this preliminary step to consciousness is essentially important. For without a complete internal assessment, you can never hope to truly know yourself. You will simply pass through life reacting unconsciously to whatever situation you may encounter. This is the most animalistic level of human evolution.

Without knowing self, you can never transcend self. Transcendence requires that you know what you are ascending from and where you are ascending to. Thus, knowing you, is the first step of refined consciousness.

R. Buckminster Fuller
When I was an undergraduate at California State University, Northridge, I observed another interesting occurrence, which delineated varying levels of consciousness. R. Buckminster Fuller, one of the greatest analytical minds of the twentieth century, came to speak at my campus. The hall was stuffed beyond capacity and they were not allowing anyone else to enter. I was not willing to be turned away, however, so I eventually found my way up to the second level mezzanine where the spotlights found their source. From there, I could see and hear him fine.

He began his talk at about 12:30. A little before 1:00, half of the audience began to get up and leave. He asked, “Where are you going?” “To class,” was the answer, which rang from the mobile audience. “Why are you going to class,” Bucky exclaimed. “They have nothing to teach you. But, I do!” Unfazed, the exodus continued.

I was standing there in disbelief—nobody even knew what Bucky was about. He was just a name and a lecture to attend during lunch.

For me, this optimized the perfect example of unfocused consciousness. You do something for the doing, with no mental content.

The lecture proceeded with half of the auditorium empty.

The Second Step to Consciousness
The second step to consciousness is to consciously perform all actions.

To focus your consciousness you must make all of your actions as precise as possible. This is how all of the great spiritual teachers have truly given something to this world.

As long as you do not think or do not care, your acts will forever remain simply unconscious actions. Unconscious actions only cause reactions.

If you wish your acts to transcend the limitations of this material world, you must do whatever it is you do from a perspective of pure one pointed consciousness.

Doing things conscious is not as easy as it may sound. For example, think about the brown rice you prepare. When you wash your rice before you cook it, do you ever allow a few grains to fall into the sink and be swept away? If so, think about this next time you are hungry. How many of those grains of rice, that you have unconsciously let slip away, would it take to fill your stomach?

This is obviously simply an example. But, if you wish to enter the realms of true consciousness you must do everything you do in a very refined manner.

There will always be mental justifications to forgive yourself for the unconscious actions you take if you allow yourself to accept them. If, on the other hand, you choose to live a life of consciousness, those justifications can never be embraced.

The Third Step to Consciousness
The next step in ascending consciousness is you must ask yourself, “What are you doing with your life?” If you cannot answer that question, you are not walking the path of consciousness. Thus, you must take the time to sit down and define what is going on around you. Formally designate what has taken place in your life and what has led you to where you are today.

The best way to do this is to actually write it down so it is in front of you in black and white and can be studied. From this, you will gain perspective. From perspective you can conclude how you have ended up where you have ended up. Thus, you can chart the next step in your life from a place of consciousness.

Once the first question is answered, you must then ask yourself, “Why you are doing what you are doing?” Because without formulated reasoning, what you are doing is simple what you are doing. It is not performed consciously.

Nobody can tell you why you are doing what you are doing. Not religion, not astrology, not your loved ones. You are you. Each person is based in a secular consciousness. You have lived what you have live. These factors have defined the person you have become. Before you can transcend the limitations of self, you must know who self is.

So, at this point, acutely detail why you are doing what you are doing. You may like what you find. If so, then nothing needs changing. If not, then you must be the one to consciously make that change.

The biggest mistake that people commonly make at this stage of life analysis is that they decide they hate their job, hate their mate, hate their life and they throw it all to the wind. This is not consciousness.

From a perspective of consciousness you make changes to your life consciously. You chart out your actions, how they will affect others, and then you move towards a desired end in a slow controlled manner. From this, you do not damage the lives of others, nor do you leave yourself destitute.

The Forth Step to Consciousness
This is the stage where you begin to formalize your spiritual pathway. Though you have no doubt been walking the Spiritual Path throughout each of the previous stages, at this point you formally make it the defining element to your life.

Many people believe to do this that they must leave the material world behind and move to an Ashram or go to India, Nepal, Thailand, or Japan. This is incorrect.

Going is only going. Though you may have new experiences, you may even have fun, going is not the pathway to consciousness, as going is based in desire.

In Zen we understand that everything you need to find spiritual enlightenment is Right Here, Right Now. Going only takes you away from the here and the now. Thus, going never leads to Nirvana.

To become consciously spiritual, is to accept.

Life is life and there will be trials and tribulations. Many people falsely believe that they should not happen to a spiritual person. Yet, they do.

Embracing truly conscious spirituality is about accepting the perfection. Knowing that all is as it should be. If you want things to be different you are only embracing a mindset bound by desire.

The consciously spiritual person understands that by letting go of desires, they will be joyous at any life occurrence, as they will see it as a pathway to further refinement of consciousness.

Consciousness Unconsciousness
There are some people who walk the path of spirituality and place reasoning behind their unconsciousness. They provided seemingly poetic statement to justify their unconscious actions. “I am just doing what I am doing—simply a leave which has enter the stream of life and am flowing as nature guides me.”

Yes, you can place a leave in the stream and, yes, it will flow until it reaches the ocean or is stopped by some obstacle. But, does it care that it is flowing in the stream? No, it does not. It is simply flowing the path that was laid out before it, with lack of consciousness.

To consciously enter the stream of life is very different from unconsciously ending up in the stream of life and ending up wherever it is you end up. This is why you must take control and refine your consciousness.

The refinement of consciousness can only begin with you. Ultimately, consciousness is how you interact with this place we call life. Consciousness is the thoughts you think, leading to the actions you take. Consciousness is what you do and how your do it. Consciousness is your choice.

Choose to live consciously and Nirvana becomes obvious.

Assignment for the Day

Genuinely say something nice about someone you do not like. Experience the reaction.

This exercise may teach you a lot about human behavior, including your own.

Hearts and Minds Verses the World of Bombastic Magniloquence

In life, we each have a choice about how we encounter reality. We each have a choice about what we say and what we do. We each have a choice about how we interact with one another. We each have a choice about the wake that we leave with the words that we speak, the things that we do, and how what we say and what we do will influence and affect other people.

Most people never have to question what they say or what they do because they are simply living a simple life. They speak words that reflect that life. They do not venture outwards beyond their own reality: their own family and their own friends, because that small circle of realism and authenticity is all that affects them.

There are others, however, that wish to influence the thoughts, the minds, and the actions of those outside of their surrounding group of family and friends. There are many reasons for why they do this but the primary causation factor is due to a sense of exaggerated ego and self-importance. But, where does this come from and what causes them to allow this exaggerated sense of self to guide them to broadcast their thoughts to the world?

In order to find out the answer to this question the first thing that we must look at, to come to understand the reasoning behind the person who spreads their opinion(s) to the masses, is their perceptions and understandings of external reality. Does the person who speaks to the abstract masses care about those people? Are they doing what they are doing to help those people? No, they are not. All they are doing is attempting to create an external persona that the multitudes will listen to, be guided by, and will react to what they say. This is the same mindset that has created every dictator, every abuser, every sociopath, and every psychopath throughout history. These people do not care about the person they are speaking to. They do not care about the person they are attempting to guide towards discipleship. They simply want to be adorned.

Every person who takes to the pulpit will undoubtedly deny this fact. They will have all kinds of very logical and very articulated forms of denial as to what they are doing and why they are doing it. But, all one has to do is to look at what these people are doing and whom they are affecting by what they have done to understand that any words they speak, regarding this matter, are simply justifications in order to enhance their own rendered sense of self.

Is what they are doing helping everyone? Is what they are doing causing anyone to be hurt? Is what they are doing forming a group of followers: large or small, that defend their words and their actions, even if their words and their actions break the law and/or hurt one or more people?

Look to any conspiracy theorist. Look to any political or religious pundit online or on broadcast television. Look to any YouTube star. What are they doing? They are seeking worshipers. They are seeking people to follow their actions and listen to their words in order to financially substantiate their life and feed their ego. If they were doing what they were doing from a perspective of purity they would take no money for their words. They would seek no believers. They would rebuke anyone who blindly followed what they had to say. But, this is not the case. They seek financial income from others who actually have to work for a living. And, they do this without even questioning what they are doing. They seek reverence without holding a religious degree. They seek discipleship without having lived a life based upon holiness. Thus, all that they do, all that they speak, comes from a position of seeking reverence from the masses that they will never know. This is the worst kind of life blasphemy.

So, next time you believe the words a person speaks, ask yourself, why are you listening to them? Next time you think to take actions in order to substantiate your relationship with an abstract person that you do not even know, ask yourself, why are you doing it?

From the ancient Vedic texts forward it is taught they we each are the center of the universe. Thus, why do we need to turn over the true power of your self-awareness to anyone else?

Think before you believe. Think before you follow. Think before you act. Think why.

The Very Bad Things That You Do

What are the bad things that you do? What are the flaws in your behavior that cause you to do damage to the outside world and to hurt other people? Do you even know what these elements of yourself are? Do your ever define them? Do you ever think to take control over them? Do you even care that there are bad things that you do that hurts the life of other people?

Many people never consider what is wrong with themselves. They do not self reflect. They do not study their actions. They do not contemplation the results of their activities. They never look to the hurt that they may have caused. They never think about the harsh words that they speak or the evil things that they do. Most, simply do what they do and seek no self-betterment. How about you?

Many people learn to behave the way they behave based upon family relationships. This goes in both positive and negative directions. Once a person has found a method of acting in and reacting to life, they associate with people of like mind. Thus, if they do something negative, they are instantly forgiven or even cheered on as their friends behave in exactly the same manner as they do. How about you?

This is an essential question that each of us must constantly study as we pass through life. We must understand what we are doing, why we are doing it, and how is what we are doing affecting the life of others and life on the whole.

Do you ever take the time to question why you do what you do in relation to other people and how is what you are doing affecting other people?

Many people only seek praise for their behavior. From this, they only associate with people who will provide them with this praise. They seek praise even if what they are doing is wrong and is hurtful to others. How about you?

Few people want to hear or are wiling to listen to someone who tells then that what they are doing is wrong or that the way they are behaving is wrong? All they want to hear is that what they are doing is fine and what someone/everyone else is doing is wrong. How about you?

Few people want to be told that they should alter their behavior. Few people want to be told that they should alter the way they are reacting to other people. Few people are willing to try to change who they are to make themselves a better version of themselves. Even fewer people personally take the time to study who they are and to choose to refine how what they are is projected to the world. How about you?

You can be better. The better you should always come by choice. Make the choice.

The Good You Do. The Bad You Do. And What You Do With What You Do.

Have you ever noticed that when you say something negative or do something bad in life, something undesirable happens to you? Have you ever noticed that when you have damaged somebodies something or you have hurt a person you are then hurt by life? Do you ever even think about this? Do you ever study life’s reactions to what you do? Some do. Most do not. Yet, everyone wonders, “Why me,” when they are hit with something unexpected.

If you ask the question, pretty much everyone can give you a reason for them doing what they are doing. “I like that person.” “I hate that person.” “I don’t like people who like that.” “I do like people who like that.” “That person should suffer because I think they should suffer.” “I don’t want them to have that so I will destroy it.” “I want that so I will take that.” But, in all of this action, leading to life reaction, how many people look for the sourcepoint of what they are feeling and reveal to themselves why they are reacting the way they reacting to what they are feeling?

Sure, the above are just a few of the very obvious pieces of logic someone will dish out as an explanation for doing what they do. But, do they hate a person they do not know? Do they love a person they do not know? Do they do things to hurt a person they do not know? Do they do things to help a person they do not know? Or, do they just do to do based upon no true logic, just innate, undefined emotion and desire?

If you do to simply do then this is where the doing presents repercussion. If you do based upon your own projection of another person’s reality, this is where consequences are born. Sure, you may feel what you feel. Sure, you may think what you think. That’s your right. But, where is your knowledge born? And, what gives you the justification to unleash those feelings simply because you think something whether it is true or not?

I often ask people when they hold a very strong opinion about a person or a subject, “What are you basing your knowledge upon?” In some cases, the person knows the person personally so they have experiential knowledge to base their opinion upon. That is a valid reason for their projection of personal reality. But, in more cases than not, they do not personally know the person. Thus, why do the feel what they feel when what they feel is not based upon interpersonal fact? Why do they feel what they feel, leading them to doing what they do, when all that they do is based upon secondhand knowledge?

You know, life is very clear if you allow life to be clear. If you say something bad, something bad will happen. If you do something bad, something bad will happen. You may want what you say to hurt someone, and that is why you are saying it. You may want what you do to hurt someone, and that is why you are doing it. But, simply look at life—simply look at the experiences you’ve experienced in your life. If you attempt to hurt someone you have set a chain of events into motion based upon hurt. Where do you think that chain of events will end? Yes, you may hurt your intended target but that hurt will continue to reverberate around your life until it comes back to attack you. You instigated it. What will be its ultimate target?

The good you do equals good. Not only to the person you did the good for but also it enhances the ongoing goodness of the world. This is the same with negativity and badness.

Just because you think something does not mean you should act upon what you think. Why? Because maybe you are wrong. Maybe you do not know all of the facts. By not knowing the facts or by basing all that you do simply upon a misdirected feeling, all that you lend to is the ever-growing chaos of the world. You do, it will be done to you.

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?

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It's easy to talk it's much harder to do.

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If you are sitting around concentrating on what someone else is doing that means you are doing nothing with your own life.

What Do You Think About When You Wake Up?

When you wake up in the morning what is the first thing that you think about? For most, it is perhaps analyzing the dream they just had, anticipation or trepidation about the day that they are about to live, whom they love or whom they hate, maybe that they must quickly get up and feed the kids, or maybe they lay there and fantasize about the person they want to be with or the life they wish to live. What virtually no one wakes up and contemplates is how to focus their mind and live a more focused, spiritual, and consciously refined existence.

On the Spiritual Path, one of the key components is to rise from the sleeping state and formally enter into interacting with the cosmic mind. It is for this reason that it is taught that you must train your body and your mind to rise at a specific time each day, formally prepare, and then sit for meditation. With this, the faulty and flawed definitions of the ego and the human mind are replaced with an understanding of cosmic awareness. But, who does this? Virtually nobody.

Think about your life. Think about the things you are doing with your life. Why are you doing them? There is no right or wrong answer for this, just think about it… Why are you doing what you are doing?

For most, their life is filled with a never-ending list of uncontrolled emotions and unfulfilled desires. They feel what they feel, they want what they want. But, they do this with absolutely no mental control. This is the birthplace of karma for from this mindset a person wants to achieve what they want to achieve, they want to feel what they want to feel, and to actualize these goals they do not think about who or what they are hurting in the process. As they possess no sense of refined consciousness, as they do not contemplate the greater mind-space of cosmic awareness and enlightenment, all they are focused on is Self and what that Self wants. Even if they think about their Self giving something to someone else, that is still them, personally, giving something to someone else. Thus, that thought is not based in the Pure Mind. It is simply another thought dominated by ego.

There are many people who go to their church or their temple on their holy day. They may listen to the words their congregational leader speaks for an hour or so. But then, all that sense of spiritual refinement is gone. That’s it for the week. Back to the world of thinking about Self.

So again, what is the first thing that you think about when you wake up in the morning? Do you ever contemplate this? Do you ever contemplate why you think those thoughts?

No matter what religion you practice or what you do or do not believe in, there is one fact that is absolute, if you do not live your life from a place of refined consciousness all you will continue to encounter is happiness and sadness, exhilaration and anger, fulfillment and loss. All you will continue to feel is whatever your uncontrolled thinking mind causes you to feel. And, for most, they never even try to understand why they are feeling what they are feeling. Thus, enter all the complications of interpersonal relationships and the greater troubles of the world as a whole.

So, who do you want to be? Do you want to be the person who is out of control of yourself, dominated by undefined, uncontrolled emotions and by others? Or, do you want to be the best person you can be: whole, complete, with a sense of refined internal knowledge?

If you want to the ladder, it takes time. It takes control. It takes refinement.

When you wake up in the morning what do your think about? Instead of letting your unfettered mind decide where your thoughts will run, why don’t you take control, consciously turn off for a few moments, and meditate.

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

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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.

Actions in the Echo Chamber

In this life, all actions have a reaction. Everything you do equals something else. As much as people want to hide from this fact and pretend that it is not the truth, a person’s actions always catch up to them.

The reason I speak about this subject so frequently is that I am very commonly questioned by people who are dissatisfied with their life or frustrated by the fact that they have not achieved what they hoped to achieve in life. They want to know why they are stuck where they are stuck in their life. First of all, as I always say, if you have no desires then all of your desires are fulfilled. You are free. But, few people are able to let go of what they want out of life. From this, one must further investigate why they find themselves where they find themselves in life and why something is lacking.

Many people believe that they can hide from the actions they have unleashed if no one sees them perform those actions. But, think about the world today. People live on the internet. But, all actions performed on the internet are being followed by the abstract mind of Big Data. Moreover, for those with the skillset, they can easily tack down who has done what. They simply need to be given the motivation to do so.

There are cameras everywhere. Security cameras are recording everything/all the time. Most of us have security cameras in our homes watching over all those who encroach on our living space. In times gone past, people could do things to where a person lived and get away with it. No longer. People are seen. Their faces are recorded and kept in the cloud for eternity. All that is needed is a reason to expose who they are.

Pretty much everybody has a cellphone. Think about all of the crazy things that are broadcast on the news by people who recorded the bad actions unleashed by somebody who thought what they were doing was unseen.

The fact being the fact, you can no longer do and not be known for your doing. But, that should not be your motivation, guiding you towards doing what you do. Your motivation should be that you are consciously doing good things and never knowingly doing bad things.

Think about it… When somebody has done something nice for you, how did that make you feel? Good, I would imagine. From that nice action, you were probably motivated to do nice things and perhaps be kind to and help other people.

Now, think about when someone has done something bad to you. How did that make you feel? Very negative, I would suppose. How long did you feel negative about that action and that person? Probably for as long as that action affected you. Thus, that action reverberated for an untold period of time in your life. And, throughout that time, it was causing reactive actions to occur to the person who originally instigated it.

As it is commonly understood, all negative deeds a person performs are based upon unrequited anger. If a person is mad at themselves… If a person is mad at the world… If a person is unfufilled or unhappy… They expound misdirected anger. Instead of getting in touch with themselves and understanding why they are feeling the way they are feeling, they unleash this anger and dissatisfaction onto others. And, here is where the entire sourcepoint for the fall of humanity is given birth to. One person doing one thing.

Many people are so misdirected that they do not think and/or care about the affect they are having on another person or this life-space in general by the actions they take. They just act. For some, if they are living a good life and are more or less content with what is going on in their life, they may even feel good about unleashing negative actions directed towards another person or group. But, life is never about only what occurs in a particular moment. Life is about what occurs down the road due to the action(s) you took in that moment way back when. If your actions have hurt someone—if you actions are still hurting someone, what do you think is going to happen to you? Maybe not today but tomorrow?

Life is an echo chamber. Your life reverberates what you say and what you do. What are you doing?

So, whenever anyone asks me questions—questioning where they find themselves in life, I tell them to go back to the beginning, look at what they have done, who it affected, and what echo has it caused to reverberate farther down the line.

You want to find the person at fault for you feeling what you are feeling/for you experiencing what you are experiencing, look no further than yourself. And, when the hammer falls on you a bit father down your life line, look back to the day you did what to whom, way back in the way back when.

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Bạn có thể lắng nghe cái mà người khác đã nói về Niết Bàn.

Bạn có thể tôn thờ họ là những người hiểu biết vĩ đại.

Nhưng, nếu bạn chỉ hành động như thế mà thôi, bạn chưa bước vào con đường đưa tới Giác Ngộ Bản Thân, bạn chỉ bước trên con đường của một kẻ sùng đạo.

Sự giác ngộ chỉ tới khi bạn ngưng đóng vai làm một đệ tử và khởi sự làm một người tự giác cho chính bản thân mình.

Vietnamese translation of a passage from the Vietnam edition of Nirvana in a Nutshell.

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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.

Nice People Aren’t at the Top

When you look at your life where do you find yourself? Do you find yourself fulfilled? Do you find yourself content? Do you find yourself supporting yourself in an adequate manner?

When you look at your life who are you reliant upon? Who do you need in your life to maintain your level of survival and to continue living the life you have become accustomed to? Is your life, your finances, and your living situation in a state of stability or can it all easily fall away from you?

When you look at your life who do you turn to for guidance? Do you look to your family, your friend, a religious leader, or are you completely self-contained? Do you only ask yourself what you should do and do you only blame yourself for any mistakes that you make? Or, do you continually turn the blame elsewhere.

Life is a complex web of interpersonal relationships based upon human needs. Why we do what we decide to do can be defined by many ideologies and philosophies but at best, they are only a guess, for what a person ultimate does is only truly demarcated by what that person does. They are the only one who truly knows why. But they only know if they take the time to analysis and develop an answer to that question.

Once a person does what they do, (once any of us do what we do), then the rest of our life and our life choices are set into motion. Most people don’t think about this, however. They just do. They just are influenced into doing something, told that they should do something, and/or do what they do because it feels good. From this, absolute destiny is set into motion.

Some people, for whatever reason, find their way to a position of power. They either see a goal and work towards it or that position is handed to them. Sometimes, it is a little bit of both. Once they have arrived at that position of power, it causes them to take action and do things that will affect the life of other people. From this, they either do things that helps other people or they do things that hurts other people. Sometimes, the same action has a different effect on two separate individuals. Yet, it was one person doing one thing that helped, hurt, guided, or lead another human astray.

How many people attain where they are in life and truly understand why they have arrived there? How many people once they have arrived care that the influence that they have may truly change the life or another person? What they say, what they do, what they feel while doing what they do, all has consequence. But, are they aware enough of this fact to cause them to truly think before the do? Or, do they just do, motivated by an individualized desire to gain or maintain power, control, and/or continued fulfillment of their desires?

Recently, I watched the Netflix documentary, “Wild, Wild Country,” about the spiritual leader Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and his foremost disciple of the time Ma Anand Sheela. Though it was six hours in length and as a filmmaker I found it to be a bit long-winded, it truly provides a microscope into the complex psychology of power and how a person acts once they possess said power.

As the TV news anchors say, “Full disclosure,” I must tell you, I spent time with and was initiated by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh in India in the 1970s. This documentary primarily focuses on the time when the group purchased a ranch in Oregon, which from the moment it happened I knew was a big mistake. Though Oregon sometimes has a description as being a bit of a hippie oasis, it is far more inhabited by rednecks than hippies. That was one of the group’s primary mistakes. Had they located in California, none of the ensuing destiny would have manifested.

When I was with Rajneesh in India, it was a very different time from when they arrived on the farm in Oregon. It was all about embracing freedom. For many of us who were there at that time and had been schooled in the realms of restrictive eastern metaphysics where celibacy and formal seated meditation was propagated, it opened a new window into reality and a redefining of true spirituality. It was great! He truly was a spiritual revolutionary.

Did I think he was the second-coming or anything like that, as some people did? No. He was just a man who presented a new take on the road to enlightenment. But, like all spiritual teachers I had met and have studied with, I saw his flaws. Everybody has them. But, it was not Rajneesh, himself, that caused me to leave his fold. Whereas in regard to my years with Swami Satchidananda, it was more the people that were in a position of power that caused me to leave the group. In Rajneesh India, it was more the uncontrolled chaos defined by people that were in need of a father figure or who weren’t really there for enlightenment but simply wanted easy sex and wild non-stop partying, all placed under the guise of spirituality. For me, I was about nirvana, not just another orgasms.

I never visited Rajneesh or the commune in Oregon. I had gained all I could from his teaching in India. But, to watch the documentary it was truly revealing about why people do what they do and what motivates them. If you can sit through it and keep an open mind, you can really witness a lot about the concept of human power and the cost thereof. You will see how Ma Anand Sheela, this charismatic figurehead, truly guided the community to… Well, I’ll let you decide… And, how the people who occupied powerful position in the U.S. government did what they did with absolute power while possessing no inner understanding of who or what they were dealing with.

And, to the source point of this blog, this is where all the problems with personal power, merging with a group consciousness, emerge. There is one person who has a vision and from that one person either great good is created or great bad is instigated. And sometimes, in the early stages, it is hard to see which is which.

So, as you pass though life, study who holds the power over you. Study who you allow to hold the power over you. Study why you do what you do because of what someone, who holds the power over you, asks you to do. But, more than all that, know yourself. Always question why you are doing what you are doing. Know the reason why. From this, even though there may be people in a position of power who overshadow your existence, you can stay true to yourself, doing things that only help people and hurts no one. Then, at the end of your days, you will know that there is no one to blame but yourself.

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.

Karma is Real

Twenty or twenty-five years ago I used to be asked to write a lot of articles about the advanced metaphysical aspects of karma from a Hindu perspective. You can read one of those essays over on the Human Consciousness page of this website if you feel like it. I don’t know that the interest in the subject of karma has really changed that much over the years but it seems that as the understanding has become fairly commonplace; delving deeper into this understanding has waned.

This being said, karma is real. What you do causes the next set of experiences you will experience to be set into motion. If you help one person, you help the whole world. If you hurt one person, you hurt the whole world. But, it seems that so many people are so lost in the action of doing that they do not consider this fact.

One of the great things about age and getting older is that you get to view things through the perspective of time. You get to witness how certain people’s lives evolve based upon what they have done.

For example, I have watched as some people have risen literally to the top of the world. They got there by using people and their creations to arrive at that level. And, they fucked everyone over on their way to the top. I have witnessed this particularly in the film industry. The higher they rose, the more they surrounded themselves with cronies and attorneys in an effort to kept doing what they were doing and to kept their lifestyle vibrant. They did this until it all feel apart. Then, they ended up with literally nothing. The stories I could tell you…

For most people it is not like that, however. Most people will never have the drive and the uncaring desire to achieve that level of life and lifestyle. And, that’s a good thing. But, that is not to say that many people do not follow a similar path of selfish, hurtful activity; it is simply defined by a smaller standard.

For most who enact bad karma, they are not even consciously aware enough to care what they are doing. They are just doing, motivated by the, “Whatever,” mindset. The most common reason for behaving in this manner is that their life is in such a state of unfulfilled chaos that they simply live a life based upon emotional reaction. They think, they feel, they do, but they do not consciously consider what they do. From this, many people never raise their life above the level they currently inhibit. Their entire life definition is based upon chaos and reactive destruction.

For each of these aforementioned mindsets you are not going to be able to tell these people that karma is real and it is coming. For the first, they are too driven by their ego and/or the financial gratification they are receiving. For the ladder, they are just lost in undefined anger and/or the need to lash out due to their own sense of unfulfilled desire. Thus, they want to hurt anyone they can focus their attention upon.

But, where does this leave us? It leaves us at the root source of why some people hurt, why so many people rise and then have a terrible fall, and why so many lives are hurt or damaged by the actions of another person. People don’t think. People don’t care. People just do until they can do no longer.

If you are motivated to say something bad about, do something bad to, take something from, or hurt another person in any way, do you ever question your motivations? Do you ever take the time to get to the root of your emotions and why you want to behave in that manner, towards that person, in the first place? Do you ever question how you would feel if it was done to you?

I think we all have had something done to us, by someone else, that has hurt us or hurt our life. I would imagine that most of us have done things that have hurt another person or their life, as well. But, it is whom we are on the inside that then dictates how we will react and what we will do next.

First of all, do you ever watch your own karma? Do you ever do something and then take notice of what happens next? Maybe it isn’t the next day, the next week, or even the next year, but do you ever get counterpunched by life and then realize, “I know why that happened.” Most people don’t. They don’t think about those things. They just become upset at the fact that something happened to them that they did not like and then they become upset. But, if you don’t look to your past, if you don’t study what you have done and what was the reaction, then you will never understand the true science of karma and life.

All life comes down to you. All life comes down to what you do. All life comes down to how you treat other people. You want to know what is coming next in your life, critically study your life and the karmic answer will be revealed.

Karma is real.

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
.

Five Minutes Until You Forget

How long do most life events stay active in your mind? About five minutes. If something truly grabs you attention and makes you think, ponder, be happy, or worry, maybe twenty to thirty minutes. After that, it is gone. It will most likely be forgotten forever and never remembered unless you are given a reason to remember it. This is a fact of life.

What do you remember? What thoughts continue to recur in your mind? Those activities or those actions that are done to you by yourself or by somebody else that have caused your life to shift—caused some large and/or emotionally stimulating event to take place. Be these things good or bad, happy or sad; because they are so life-changing—because they are so invigorating and/or traumatic they are remember for a very long time. If something that you have done or something somebody has done to you has caused an entire course of events to be set into motion in your life, where you are continually reminded of what took place, that memory may be rethought and relived for your entire lifetime.

As is taught in Taoism, “For the person of the world, everyday something is gained. For the person of Tao, everyday something is lost and forgotten.” Which is better? For each day of your life to become more burdened with thoughts based upon actions or for each day of your life to become more free?

In life, we all interact with one another. We each do things and things are done to us everyday. Some of these things happen by accident, while others happen due to the fact that someone has planned them out. Accidents are forgivable. Planned actions are not. Therefore, what are you setting your life on a course of encountering and creating; a life where you simply exist and embrace perfection or a life where others are forced to remember you due to deeds instigated by what you have done to them?

Happy memories are happy memories. When you think of them you smile. Negative memories are negative memories; they make you do all things but smile.

What wake do you wish to leave with your life? Do you wish to create a life where people remember you and smile or a life where people remember you and have ill feelings towards your existence?

Look around you; study your life. If you have consciously created even one situation where you are being negatively thought of, that becomes the overwhelming definition of your life.

What you choose to do with your life is what your choose to do with your life. Whom you help is whom you help. Whom you hurt is whom you hurt. Remember, what you choose to do will create how you will be remembered. Do you want your actions to only be the mind of someone for five minutes or do you want them to be remembering for a longer period of time? Longer can be a blessing but, more often than not, it is a curse.

***

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?'

***

Is your life based upon what you have or what you don't have.

Meditation in the Moment

Most people think of meditation as something that you sit down and do. You set aside a time, a place, you get calm, maybe you do some breathing exercises, you close your eyes, and then you meditate. Though this is, of course, one way to meditate. It is not, however, the only way.

Meditation can and should happen whenever you need it to happen. Meditation should not just be a formal exercise. It should not only be something that you can do when you are in the right, peaceful frame of mind. It should be something that you can do whenever you are experiencing just the opposite.

Maybe you are in a self-imposed hurry and you are waiting for a website to load or you are waiting for your computer to perform some function. You are impatient and are in no mood to wait for this nonsense so it is making your blood pressure go up and causing your heart to race. Meditate.

You need to be somewhere to meet somebody but you encounter a traffic jam and there is no way that you are going to be there on time. Instead of upsetting yourself, meditate.

You are mad at somebody. Somebody did something that really upset you. Instead of allowing their actions to take control over your emotions and your life, meditate.

Meditation is not only accomplished when you are sitting down with your eyes closed. Meditation can be accomplished with your eyes wide open in the middle of life chaos. You can focus your mind and you can meditate anywhere if you have desire and the will power to take control over your emotions and your mind and do so.

Meditation is the focusing of your mind. Meditation is taking control over your mind. Meditation is centering your mind. And, you are the only one who can do it. But, you have to choose to do it.

You can let life and life circumstances dominate all that you think and do. Or, you can choose to take control over your mind, not let the temporary occurrences of the external world control you, and meditate.

Whatever you meditate upon is your choice. Whether it is a mantra, the mental image of a divine figurehead, or simply consciously breathing; as long as it takes you to a place where you are calm and in control of your mind, you are meditating.

Think about it, who and what do you want to be in control of your mind? Someone or something out there or you? Meditate.

The Yin and Yang of Insecurity

People come at life based upon one of two mindsets: confidence or insecurity. If one is confident then they approach life with a sense of dynamic awareness. If, on the other hand, they are insecure, they come at life, and the people interactive with their life, from a space of fear, judgment, and dismissal.

As is explained in the theory of Yin and Yang, in all dark there is a bit of light, just as in all light there is a bit of darkness. We can also attach this understanding to the human condition of personal psychological definition and how a person behaves based upon their psychological conditioning.

There are two distinct breeds of the insecure person. The first is the meek. They are the very passive, the reserved, and the person who fades into any sphere of personal interaction they encounter because they do not feel worthy on any level of human comparison. The person who embraces this style of insecurity is commonly the one who is the most easily taken advantage of because they are easily manipulated.

The other style of insecure person is the boisterous, the outspoken, the hateful, the judgmental, and the all knowing. Though they appear to be very self-assured, in truth, they are not. In fact, they are just the opposite and that is why the behave in such a forthright manner. Thus, Yang in the Yin.

Due to the fact that they do not possess a clear sense of self, self-awareness, and are hiding their true inner-definition from the world, they focus on life elements outside of themselves in order to make themselves appear to be more than what they actually are or to keep the focus of other people from truly focusing on them.

Many times, the insecure person will project a position of all-knowing judgment. This, however, is just a disingenuous method to get people to not look too closely at the flaws this person possesses.

The thing about a person who bases their life upon personal insecurity is that they will rarely, if ever, state that they are an insecure person. In fact, some are so unaware of their interpersonal demons that they do not even realize it. For those who are aware of the fact that they possess an insecure mentality, many will hide this fact by any means possible in order to protect themselves from attacks and reprisals.

The number one thing that a person who is defined by insecurity will project is the mind reality of, look the other way. Do not look at me. This, as stated, may be presented by hiding from the world or it may be illustrated by throwing judgments left and right so others will think about other things and not them. In either case, the person who is based upon psychological insecurity will rarely posses the refined, discerning mindset to be able to admit their problem to themselves and dig down to the root of that life expression and thereby emerge as a whole, complete, and self-actualize individual.

The answer? There is none. As insecurity is a problem that exists within and is wholly expressed by the individual, only the individual can create a change within himself or herself. Thus, you can explain to them who they are. You can suggest what they should do and what they should stop doing. But, it is only when they choose to actually take a long hard look at themselves, study and then redefine their projection of reality that they can ever move away from being defined by insecurity.

The Fact of the Facts and Do You Even Care?

For each of us, we interpret reality in our own unique manner. Though there is a wide-spanning agreement as to what is taking place over the greater all of our experience—post that, each of us sees life and interprets what we are presented with in life by our own unique definition and standards.

For example, have you ever explained something to someone and though you believed you provided them with a very clear and pinpointed definition they completely misinterpreted what you said and took the subject off onto their own tangent? Was it that they did not listen? Was it that they did not hear you? Was it that they did not care what you said? Or, was it that due to their own personal life-interpretation and the way they want to read reality that this mindset guided them to the space where they heard what you said but did what they wanted to do anyway?

Everybody has a reason for believing what he or she believes. Just as everybody can explain why they do what they do. But, life is based upon human interaction. Therefore, it is expected that to have a conscious interactive process of communication, you must listen to what the other person says and then come to define your mutual interactive reality based upon both points of view.

How many people do that? There are some, yes. But, many completely dismiss what the other person is saying, what the other person is doing, what the other person is feeling or thinking, and simply walk down their own path based upon what they feel, what they want, and what they believe reality to be. As disingenuous as this is, why do you think there are so many lies spoken about other people? Why do you think so many people are hurt by the actions of other people? Why? Because many/most people are not listening and/or do not care what another person is saying. How about you?

So, as we pass through life we are all going to encounter this type of interpersonal interaction. We are all going to say something, expect that we were heard, and then be surprised to find out that the person we were speaking with did not hear, listen to, or even care about what we said at all; as they just continued to walk down their own road based upon their own interpretation of reality. Sad but true.

What can we do about it? We can re-express our feelings. We can yell, scream, and fight. We can take revenge. Or, we can simply accept that this is a condition of mind that those who are locked into the mindset of self-selfishness are not big enough to overcome and move along. Moving along is the path of least resistance. But yes, that does not mean that in moving along we are not left injured by the actions of a person who does not care enough to truly listen.

Listen.

Who Are You Doing What For and Why?

Who are you doing what for and why are you doing it? Do you ever ask yourself that question? Or, do you simply pass through your existence doing what you are doing, motivated by whatever feelings or desires you currently posses, and never reach into the core of your being and figure out why you are doing what you are doing?

Currently, we are in a time of a lot of conflict. Though there is always conflict across the globe, of one type or another, in the last few years, this energy (for lack of a better word) has seemingly overtaken all of us. Governments and people are going nuts!

Due to all of the recent mass murders here in the U.S., a lot of students have been walking out of their classrooms and organizing protests. For those of us who were alive or those of you who look back into history, a very similar thing was taking place during the 1960s. There was all of this emotional outpouring. People wanted to change the world and give everyone a better life. Listen to the music of that era and there is a lot of talk of the revolution that is in the air. But, did anything change? No, not really. People are still doing the things that people do, motivated by person desire(s).

Do they know why they are doing what they are doing? Do they ever look deeply in their soul and question why? Or, do they just do? Why do you do what you do?

I was listening to the news on my car radio today. They were interviewing a young high school student who was in favor of gun control and he had walked out of his classroom with a number of other students. You could hear the adrenaline surging in his voice. “This is a democracy! We are going to change this country! We will make the politicians listen! We will make them change! This is our world!” As it turned out, the boy was only sixteen years old and an undocumented alien who was in this country illegally. So sure, he has an opinion. And sure, this is a democracy. But, he is not a functioning part of that democracy, nor is he even old enough to vote if he were. So, what does all that anger equal? And, whom is it truly directed at?

Each of us feels what we feel. Each of us believes in what we believe in. But, why do we believe it? Do you ever ask yourself that question? Do you ever ask yourself why do you believe what you believe, leading to what you do?

Now, I will not go into all of the havoc the type of aforementioned energy, emanating from that young boy, can equal. Because I think we all understand where that style of hysteria can lead. But, more than that… Yeah, the world is nuts. Yeah, bad things are being done. But, who are these bad things being done by? They are being performed by someone who wants to hurt or dominate someone else. Do these people in the position of power ever study their inner being and perhaps come to a more enlightened understanding of the people they hope to hurt and/or dominate? Do they ever consider that they are people too—believing what they believing—doing what they must do to survive? Probably not. Yes, they may know their own motivation. But, do they know their reason why? Do you?

Does what you do hurt people? Does what you do hurt anyone? Does what you do help someone in particular? Does what you do help the greater all?

If you hurt, if you help, you are doing something. Hurting someone to help someone else is never a valid logical reason for doing anything, however. Because hurting is hurting. And, hurting only leads to one end; hurt. Do you like it when you are hurt?

Think of all of the world powers, run by powerful people who tell themselves they are doing something good for
their people by hurting another breed or subset of people. It is all a lie! Think of all of the people who are self-motivated to hurt some one or some people just because they believe they are somehow wrong. A lie! All of any of this is self-motivated desire to place themselves in a position of power so that they will be loved as powerful figurehead, as a martyr, or by god. But, that is all just an abstract painting that no one but the artist truly understands. It is a lie! It is a lie based upon the fact that they have not looked deeply into themselves and found the true essence of humanity where judgment and desire is left behind and from this there is no need to judge, exhibit power over, control, hurt, or destroy anyone or anything.

Who are you doing what for and why are you doing it? You should ask yourself this question, all the time.

***

Do people in Heaven have dreams and desires?

***

El movimiento es el factor que define el tiempo

***

What language do they speak in heaven?

The Psychedelic Church

For any of us who have liked to go out and party into the late night, we know it can be a lot of fun. The location is different for different points in time and distinctive personalities in time. Maybe it’s a bar, a dance club, a live music venue, and the list goes on. But, wherever it is, there is fun, companionship, and experiences to be had. In fact, it can become quite addicting.

Hand-in-hand with going to most of these places comes the drinking of alcohol. What is the ultimate purpose of drinking alcohol? To alter your consciousness.

For any of us who have partaken of the drink, we know it can be fun but it can also lead to certain problems when done in excess. Not the least of which is a hangover the next morning.

I think we all have seen depictions of the drunk saying and doing stupid things. Maybe you have been that person. I know I have.

The thing about alcohol, and alerting your consciousness via alcohol, is that it is looked down upon. The chronic drunk and/or the alcoholic are always considered to be one of the lowest of the low. The place nobody wants to end up. Though there are a lot of them out there, due to the ease of obtaining alcohol, the drinking of alcohol is not respected in any way. It is not viewed as a religious experience, even though the consciousness of the person who partakes of the drink is vastly altered.

Beginning a bit earlier, but really taking hold in the 1960s, the use of hallucinogenic drugs entered into the mainstream of understanding. Though the established thought was that any new drug that altered the mind was bad, there came to be a group of people that made the use of these drugs almost a religion. Whereas alcohol was seen to be a drug that drove the mind to decay, hallucinogenic drugs were propagated as being a pathway to rising consciousness. But, where they? Certainly, all types of states of altered consciousness occur when one is under the influence of these drugs but there is no one chartable occurrence—everyone experiences the effects differently. And, here lies the problem.

For example, what happens to each person who drinks too much whiskey is fairly standard. For the person who takes LSD or other hallucinogenic concoctions there is no charting what will occur. And, here arises the flaw in the false understanding that hallucinogenic drugs lead to cosmic consciousness. If hallucinogenic drugs were a pathway to higher consciousness, there would be a standard, chartable reaction. There is not. In fact, even if the same person takes the same dosage two days in a row, the effects are very different. What the drug does to a person is based upon many factors inculding individual personality, the state of mind of the person at the time of their ingestion, and many other aspects that are unchartable. In fact, some people react to the drugs in a very negative manner—so much so that it leaves some people mentally damaged forever.

Just as there are people who fall prey to alcoholism, there are also those who love the experience of encountering the psychedelic mind. As it is such a wild and unchartable experience, this has given birth to the belief that it must be some sort of cosmic revelation. But, it is not. It is just a thing that happens. Your mind goes wild for a few hours. Though it is an experience filled with things that you never encounter in normal existence, it is not a religious experience. It is simply an experience instigated by a drug that works differently on the mind of each person. As it is not a natural occurrence, there can be no cosmic realization attached to its experience.

Certainly, for those of us with a mind geared towards self-realization, we view all things we encounter as a pathway to rising consciousness. But, rising consciousness is not artificially altered consciousness. Artificially altered consciousness is just a thing done to us by a some-thing.

Though hallucinogenic drugs were, and to a lesser degree still are, touted as a pathway to enlightenment. They are not. They are just a thing that some people like to do instead of going out to a nightclub.

***

Have you ever tried responding with silence?

Does Saying Something Bad Ever Equally Anything Good?

Does saying something bad ever equal anything good? My answer to this is question is obvious. No. Why is that? Because when you say anything bad, negative, or critical, you are enacting a negative form of energy. And, once any energy is instigated, it spreads outwards from that point of inception, impacting all that it encounters.

As we all understand, there are tons of trolls on the internet. People that hide behind screen names or fake names and go out there doing all kinds of waste of time nonsense. But, the people I find more curious are the ones who actually use their given names and do the same thing. There they are saying, “Hey, look at me.” But, what they are enacting is no different from the trolls. Yes, they may want the fact that they are the one stating the opinion to be noted and known but they are creating the same energy; negativity. What does negativity energy lead to? More negativity.

Some hide behind the belief that their opinion matters—that others should hear their opinion—that their opinion is worthy of guiding others… But, this is nothing more than egotism. …Believing that they know more, are better educated, or possess a more refined consciousness than anyone else. They want to be known for saying what they are saying. But, if it hurts anything or anyone, it hurts.

Some people have come to define their entire life by spending much of their free time or making a living off of critiquing the works of others. Whenever I see someone walking this path I draw their attention to the film critic team of Siskel and Ebert, as they are the prime example of what comes next by behaving in this manner. Look at how each of them died. Seriously, that’s all you have to do to see the type of energy they evoked.

The problem is, once you evoke a style of energy, you come to be defined by that style of energy. Thus, if it is based in any realm of the negative, it comes back to encompass your life. You instigated it, thus, it defines you. This is why you always see the people who do this kind of stuff failing in life and not achieving what they hope to achieve. In fact, as in the case of Roger Ebert, they encounter some hard-hitting blow back.

So, what does this tell us? Say good things, do good things. Good is always good! Bad is always bad! And, though you may gain a momentary rush by unleashing your inner angst by sending out your negativity, that momentary release may ultimately be the downfall of your entire life.

Nobody Ever Asks Me Anything

You know, it is a very strange experience… And, this is something that has been going on for a long-long time in my life in association with my creative works. People talk and talk about what I have created but nobody ever asks me anything. They just decided to produce a project based upon what I have done and then talk about it. But damn, they are more often wrong than they are right.

Hey everybody, I’m right here! Why don’t you ask me?

Certainly, it is a bit flattering. I did something, I wrote something, I filmed something, I did something with someone and people loved it or hated it enough to talk about it and do a full-on production about it. Okay… But, doesn’t it even matter to these people that what they are describing—what they are saying when they are recounting the way they assume I thought, what took place during the creation of the project, or how we did what we did or why we did it, is totally incorrect?

Today, I was contacted by a guy who apparently just did a podcast about one of my old films. …It seems everybody talks about the films I did twenty or thirty years ago. Hey people, I’ve done a lot of movies since then. Anyway, by his Facebook page he seems like a solid and interesting guy. He invited me to listen to his podcast. But, I did not. I virtually never do. The reason I don’t is that every time I listen to and/or read what someone is saying they are generally totally wrong. They are totally missing the point. And, it is not so much that this upsets me but it simply makes me question a person’s motivations.

For me, I come at all this from an academic perspective. Long before I was ever a filmmaker, I was a researcher. My facts had to check out. I could not guess or speculate. And, that is still who I am. I look for the facts. I mean, I love to read autobiographies or watch factually based and well-researched bio docs. But, it seems like nobody does that—they don’t care. They just want to talk, critique, criticize, tear apart, and insult the creator. It seems like all anyone wants to do is cast an opinion. But, what is an opinion? It’s really nothing. It just individualizes judgments pretending to be something more. But, it is not anything more. It is just mind junk.

Some people have gone so far as to take apart my films and do pseudo docs on them. Some have even stolen my movie footage, that is protected under U.S. Copyright Law, to do just that. But, even with these elaborate presentations, they were predominately wrong in their conclusions. They misrepresented my thoughts and my motivations. They weren’t there when the film was being created, they didn’t ask me anything, and so what are their conclusions actually based upon? Simply what they observed on the screen and/or what they like or don’t like. But, that’s just individualized estimation. That is not reality. But, when you present it to the public as something more, then it becomes inflicted damnation.

Like I always say, let’s see the kind of film you can make with no budget. And, let’s see how many of them you can make.

Now, I know… I know… I’ve talked about this kind of stuff before in this blog and elsewhere. And, I am not disparaging anyone. I am just saying; if the source is there, go to it. What is the point of doing anything about the creative works of any person if you do not actually understand why they did what they did?

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.

***

Do you ever spend any time contemplating what your actions have done to someone else's life?

How much time do you spend repairing what your actions have done to someone eles's life?

***

How much of what you are planning to do today is going to make your life better?

How much of what you are planning to do today is going to make someone else's life better?

***

Have you ever noticed that whenever you confront a lair about lying they deny that they told a lie?

***

Jesus didn't write the Bible. The Buddha didn't write the Dhammpada. How do you know what they really thought?

***

Everybody has an excuse.

***

If you steal something from somebody you owe that somebody something forever.

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.

***

Hurting the one who has hurt you only causes more hurt. Where does the hurting end?

***

If someone forces you to do something against your will, they are one-hundred precent at fault.

If you choose to do something and later regret it, you are one-hundred precent at fault.

People should own their blame.

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.

He’s Not One of Us

“He’s not one of us.”
“What are you talking about? He’s drank blood with the best of us.”
“That was in Hell, Marcus! He’s never drank blood with us here on Earth.”

As a starting point for this blog I thought I would jokingly reference some of the dialogue from my Zen Film, Samurai Vampire Bikers from Hell, as it seems appropriate to set up this discourse.

As I am on the Awards Voting board of SAG/Aftra and the Academy I recently watched a screening copy of the movie, The Big Sick, which is basically the life story of actor/comedian Kumail Nanijani. I always find it interesting when people play themselves in biopics; i.e. Mohammad Ali, Howard Stern, etc. Anyway, the movie ideally details how people are not only shaped by but live a life defined by their families. I believe that if any of us takes the time to truly view our interrelationship with our family we will see how we were not only molded by them but how we actually mimic much of their behavior; whether intentionally or not. It is only the very strong willed and strong minded who can leave that programming behind if desired. But, few desire to do so.

In life, most people start with their immediate family and then branch out, interact with others, and eventually find their way to forming a family unit of their own. Some people are highly mindful of doing just that. Their entire life is devoted to this process. They meet a person and create a family of their own. In some cases, these are ideal environments. In other cases, they are not. Instead, there is just all kinds of inner turmoil, family fights, and one person or the other being called to the dark side. Yet, blood is blood. And blood usually causes all family members, no matter what crimes they commit, to reunite at the end of the day.

As I’ve discussed in this blog, I never had much of a family. What this has left me with was/is the ability to step back and watch the goings-on in other families without a lot of predetermined judgements. Good or bad, that has simply been my case.

Rapidly approaching my sixth decade on this planet, there have been a few families I have been closely involved with for a very long period of time. From this, I have watch as certain people have passed through much, if not all, of their life. It has been very enlightening.

As I have also been very closely linked to Korean culture, (a culture which is not my own), for most of life, I have been able to clearly peer into how a new ethnicity to our land assimilates and integrates into a newfound ethos. Sometimes/many times this assimilation is at the cost of the other culture, however. I mean, just for example, how many people do you know who have family members who have come to the country where you live and do not ever learn to speak the native language? I know here in the U.S. that style of behavior is very prevalent. And, that is just one very obvious example.

But, more explanative, I think to an experience I had with the Korean family I have become an extended member of. And, I use the term, “Member,” very loosely. I reference this as an interesting example of how the whole family mentality thing has been broadcast and how it affects they ever on-going evolution of life.

A number of years ago my sister-in-law got married. The evening before the wedding my wife and her mother stayed up late into the night making the bridal boutonnieres. My wife, in her first incarnation into the job market, was a floral designer and she was very good. So, the boutonnieres looked very nice. I got to the wedding venue early to help out if necessary and her aunt pins one of the boutonnieres on my suit. Okay, sure… A bit of time goes by, all the boutonnieres had been pinned on the immediate family members, and then arrives one of the cousins. But, no more boutonnieres… My wife’s aunt walks up to me and without a word takes the boutonniere off of me and goes and pins it on the cousin. I stood there in disbelief. Then, I got pissed. So pissed I walked out of the door, got in my Porsche, and was about to drive away. But, thinking to how upset my wife would be if I left, I eventually went back in.

Blood, baby… That’s the name of the game… I was not Korean. I was just the white man out…

In any case, sometime before that wedding there had been a major schism in the family. At the root of that family’s entire existence, here in the U.S., is one Caucasian man who married a Korean woman, (my wife’s aunt), and brought her to the U.S. in 1966; making her one of the very early arrivals of the later massive wave of Koreans that relocated to America. Without him, their family most probably would never have come. One of the newly married members did not want to do anything for the Caucasian patriarch’s sixtieth birthday, however, as she was Korean and why should she? Not caring about the legacy he evoked and all... So, until the wedding the two side of the family had split. But, arriving at the wedding came one of the members of the enemy side and BAM, there goes my boutonniere. Again, there I was, another white man, not of the blood. If you look to the family wedding photos, I am the only one not wearing a boutonniere. This, when my wife was the one who actually made them. Interesting… But, no matter what side you were on, they were blood, they were family, they were Korean, and I was not.

As the years have gone on, I have seen that family grow and multiply and I have witnessed some people die. Years have passed since that wedding. The husband of said female instigator of the family feud stole all his family’s money, got deeply into crack, and ran off with a Mexican girl until he had no more money and she got tired of him. Though sidelined for years, he is now back and a functioning part of the family. His son remains arrogant and all-powerful as he lives off his mother’s income, under her roof, with no job. It always strikes me as amazing how some people contributing absolutely nothing to anything and yet they still come off as arrogant and feel they have the right to. But, I guess that is just part and parcel to the Korean mind. Anyway, some of the other kids have ended up in college, others in jail, while most of the family members have become successful to varying degrees. But, at the root of all of this is their family bloodline. They never drift too far away from one another. Thus, they choose to take a boutonniere off of one person, who is not of the blood, and pin it on one who is.

I have also witnessed another family I have a long history with, evolve. My one friend’s wife passed away and after the appropriate amount of time he had another woman move in with him. The last time I spoke with him he was telling me stories of how they have these intense fights, so much so that he had grabbed the mattress they sleep on and dragged it out to the front yard, throwing in on the dirt. Now, anybody who’s in a relationship knows that there will be arguments but damn, that one was big. And, it sounds like that type of melodrama goes on all the time. But, he has his children from the previous wife and that stuff never goes on with them. Again, blood…

I am sure we all have stories like this. Stories about family: what they do, how they do it, and how it affects the future of all those involved. But, at the root of each group is the individual and the choices they make. In fact, everything goes back to the individual and how they patriciate in the goings-on that are taking place around them.

We are all dealt a hand of cards when it comes to family and to life. Some of us are lucky and find never-ending love. Others of us are left to own device no matter how hard we try to integrate. And perhaps, that is one of the key understandings to embrace as you pass through life. You are you. Yes, you may have a family: large or small or you may have no one. But, at the root of the All and the Everything is that all that exists is
you and how you interact with the everything else.

How do you interact? How do you live? How do you think? How do you take? How do you give? How do you exist in the realms of the family: personally or globally?

All there is, is you. What part do you play in the world family? What are you responsible for creating? What are you responsible for destroying? And, what are you responsible for in setting the never-ending course of life evolution into motion?

***

Can you see God?

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 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.

***

Before you believe anything, look at who is saying what and question why they are saying it in the first place.

***

If you want it for free, that means you are giving the person who created it nothing.

But, if they didn't create it, you couldn't want it.

If you want it, you owe the person who created it something.

Why are you unwilling to pay your debt?

The Helping Hand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

How many of your facts do you confirm?

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

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

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

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

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

The Bigger Question is, Why Do You Care?

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

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

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

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

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

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You have done something that has hurt someone.

Do you care?

Do you try to repair the damage?

In these answers; here lies the definition of your life.

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We all have to live with the decisions we make.

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

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Prayer is asking for something.

Meditation is asking for nothing.

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When you instigate the actions taken by others you are responsible for those actions.

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?

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

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

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ถ้าคุณไม่คาดหวังเกินไปคุณก็จะไม่รู้สึดผิดหวัง

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

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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!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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All negative behavior comes from a place of unanswered pain.

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Mañana será siempre un nuevo día. Conviértelo en un nuevo dia; no lleves contigo Experiencias negativas del pasado.

Every Creator Says the Same Thing

It always strikes me that whenever I see or hear a musician, a filmmaker, or an author being interviewed they each discuss the same issue. That issue is how they are frustrated with the way people believe they have the right to take their creations, utilize them as they see fit, and even, in some cases, redistribute them and make money off of that item without ever paying for that service. They each believe the same thing, (as do I), that if the people who are taking the creations of others, for free, actually were they ones who created them they would have a very different perspective as to what was taking place.

This phenomenon of, “Digital Stealing,” began very recently when one looks to the overall view of human history. I mean, just a couple of decades ago it was far too expensive to do any of that. People could not make a copy of a film, even duping large scale copies of video tapes was far to expensive. To rerecord and then repress a music album cost far too much money to make it a viable commodity. Books… Forget about it. To actually copy, type set, and then print a book was very expensive so it wasn’t done. But, in the digital age this has all changed.

When I taught classes on filmmaking in the late 1990s and even into the early 2000s I used to warn my students about placing their screen credits in white on black cards at the beginning and at the end of their production. As what used to happen, particularly in the Asian market place, was that unscrupulous distributors would take the film, remove the screen credits and add their own. It happened to me. This is why I told them, if they could afford it, to put the credits over picture as this was a way of assuring that even if the movie was stolen the true credits would remain intact.

But now, here you and I sit at our computers. The world is our oyster. And many, if not most, people do not even care about what they are doing to the creative works of others as long as they can do it for free. Some have even found a way of making money off of the creations of others. Do you ever think about this as you walk through your pathway of life and you take advantage of what others have created? Do you ever stand up for the rights of the creator?

I believe that each of us who walks the path of creativity wants to get our creations out to the masses. If we didn’t, we would be creating them in the first place. Nobody writes a book with the hopes that no one will read it. But, throughout history there has always been an exchange for goods and services rendered. This hasn’t always been via money. But, this system has always been in place. It has always been in place until now—in this current time frame we are living within.

It has always been the youth of society that has pushed the levels and understanding of human consciousness forward. This is because when you are young you have the time and the freedom to explore new realms of possibilities as you are not yet burdened by many of the responsibilities of latter life. But, this is also the time period when many people make the biggest mistakes in their life. They set themselves into a course of action that will come to define the rest of their life. Good or bad, this is just the way it is. But, also good or bad, in youth few people have the ability to look at the big picture and see or care how what they are doing is setting the stage for not only their own life but the lives of others.

If all of the people who are actually the, “Creators,” of things have the same problem with what is taking place, doesn’t that tell you something? Doesn’t that make you think?

The fact is, not everyone takes what is out there in cyber space for free. Some people are very honest. How about you? Do you take for free and feel that you have the right to do it? Do you take for free and feel that just because this other person you know is doing it, that it’s okay? Or, do you actually make money off of the creations of other people? If you do, don’t you feel you own that person something? Wouldn’t it be the right thing to do to pay them, in some shape or form, for what you have taken?

I always go back to the point that all of life begins with you. What you do has the potential to affect the entire world. The small things you do can progress and equal the big things. So, what do you do? Do you take for free and not even care about the consequences? Think about this, if you care enough about the person who created that thing you are stealing to make them the focus of your actions, don’t you think that you should care enough about that person to not steal from them in the first place?

Think about what you do. Care about the creators.

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Do you want to know the definition of your life?

Question: Do you think about you first or do you think about the other person first?

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Your life is defined by whom you have hurt.

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If you want to say something negative you can always find someone to listen to you.

If you are saying something positive, that is a different story.

The Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking Documentary: The Truth Be Told

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I imagine Allison may post a slanted rebuttal 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? 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.

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

Anyway, I have to go teach a class.

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

Be Positive and Smile! Happy
#bepositive

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

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

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

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

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

God Bless.

You can also read this piece at:
The Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking Documentary: The Truth Be Told

Life Philosophy in a Nutshell

Life Philosophy in a Nutshell:

Say only good things. Do only good things. Help everyone you can.

Never judge anyone—their accomplishments or their creations.

Don't tell lies.

Never intentionally hurt anyone for any reason.

If you do hurt someone apologize and do all that you can to repair any damage that you've inflicted.

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A saint in one faith is a sinner in another.

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You are responsible for all things that you incite.

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

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If you expect nothing you will never be disappointed.

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If it happens one time it is an accident.

If it happens two times it is a coincidence.

If it happens three times it is a warning.

If it happens four times it is a choice.

Start calculating the behavior of those you encounter.

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Believing that you know what another person is thinking is the sourcepoint for many of the world's biggest problems.

The Arts Should Have No Judgment

Most people do not create art. And, I use the term, “Art,” to define all aspects of creativity whether it is drawing, painting, sculpting, taking photographs, making music, dancing, doing the martial arts, making films, you name it…

Think back to when you were a child. I’m sure most of us can remember a time when we were busy drawing with crayons or maybe painting with watercolors. What we were doing was whole and perfect onto itself. We loved what we were doing. We didn’t judge it. It just made us happy to create. Our parents loved it. It was done by their child and they loved it simply because of that fact—they didn’t judge it. Maybe that art work was put away somewhere and you saw it many years later. “This is what I did!” Maybe you were a little embarrassed as it was so childlike. But, what happened between the time you drew that crayon drawing and now? What happened is that you decided that you know how art should or should not be. In other words, you became judgmental.

As stated, most people do not create art. Yes, as a child we all did what we did but as adulthood came on, any art development and expression was left behind. Sure, maybe you like a particular brand of music, style of painting, or a certain type of film, but that is what you like—you judged your way to get there. I am sure you have discussed what you like and why you like it with other people. You have probably also put the label of, “Bad,” on what you don’t like.

All this is fine. It is your right to like what you like and not like what you don’t like. But, if you base your life upon a mindset of judgment you are really missing the point. What you are missing is the whole and entire source of and for creativity.

Art is founded in the mind of freedom—of pure expression. It comes from that same place that you embraced as a child when you were drawing with crayons. Free expression; that is the place where all new forms of art are created. That is where contribution and evolution is given birth to in the arts.

So, if all you do is sit around and judge (love or hate) the art created by others, all you are doing is placing a blockade on the road to a better, more whole, freer, and more creative world.

Negative is only negative; it never leads to anything positive. Judgment is only judgment. It is only you actualizing negativity from your mind and sending it into the real world. It never equals anything positive.

So, the next time you find yourself casting judgment, they next time you find yourself being engulfed in the judgment cast by someone else, take control over your mind and remember back to your childhood when art was just art for the sake of art—when you drew or painted or created shapes with Play Doh—remember the purity and the innocence of artistic freedom. Embrace that artistic freedom, put away the judgment, and let art thrive.

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The truth is never a lie.

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When you do something bad and there is no one there to witness it do you think that makes it okay?

All actions have consequences.

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For every bad situation that occurs in your life if you look back through time you will realizing that it began by one choice being made and most often that choice was made by you.

***

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.

***

If you have to lie about who you are, you are no one.

One Minute Later

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do Something Special Every Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do something special every day.

***

Who has to die so your secrets will be hidden?

Demons Among Us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Liar are everywhere; don’t allow them in your life. People who hurt people are everywhere; don’t allow them in your life. People who deceive other people about who and what they truly are, are everywhere; don’t let them into your life.

Study anyone and everyone you meet—any person you encounter. Don’t let a pretty face fool you. Don’t let someone who you think is smart fool you. Don’t let someone who you think will be the answer to your desires control you. Know everyone you encounter before you ever let them close enough to demonize your life.

I Believe: Compounding Factual Inaccuracies

Life is based upon a set of beliefs. These beliefs come to us from many sources. We gain them from what we are taught, what we hear and read, what we witness, and then; once we have been provided with a certain set of parameters given to us by our culture, our desires, and our placement in life and time, we decide what we believe.

Some people decide what they believe and then simply do the conscious thing; believe it. Others decide it is they who have the calling, the desire, the ability, the power, the gift, and/or the need to broadcast their beliefs to the world. From this, they spread their ideologies out, from within in their own mind, to others. Why do they do this? The simple answer is ego. They want to be seen as a knower. If they are not seen as a knower then, at least, they believe they will be understood to be a discontent, sewing the seeds of controversy and anarchy.

There is one essential problem is the conception of, “I believe,” however. Belief is opinion, it is not fact.

In a free society every one has the right to have their opinion. But, if a person lives a life of consciousness they understand that their, “Opinion,” is just that — it is not a fact. It is simply what they believe and belief is an interpersonal process, it is not a factual accounting of reality and something that someone should expound outwards to the world for then only one thing occurs; the compounding of factual inaccuracies which have the potential to negatively affect the life of others.

It is like the conspiracy theorists, they look for and try to find logical reasoning for what they believe to be an anomaly of life, time, space, and/or occurrences. But, there is fact and then there is theory. Some people attempt to broadcast their theories to the minds of other people. This does not make their ideologies fact; it simply makes them broadcasted theories. And, each theory is simply some-thing that a particular some-one hopes to make fact based upon what they, personally, believe. It is not fact, however, it is simply belief. Yet, they hope to pull others into the web of what they believe. This is how many of the falsehood that have been disseminated through societies, throughout time, have come to take hold. Not fact, simply belief that a large number of people have come to believe.

The fact is, some people are so locked into their beliefs that even if you present them with factual evidence that what they believe is wrong they will argue with you about the validity of your presentation and will not concede that their belief about a practical subject and/or their belief system in general may be wrong.

Some people become very lost between the concept of opinion and fact. If they do not possess an analytical mind they simply assume that there is no difference. People driven by ego, desire, jealousy, or anger often fall prey to their own undefined differences between these two mental concepts. They believe, so what they believe
IS. But, is it? Is your belief ever the defining truth for the entire world? Yes, it may be the defining truth for your world but should your belief be expounded to others? Do you ever ponder this fact before you spread your belief(s) outwards?

How much of your life mind-time do you spend pondering the fact of understanding where your belief system arose? How much of your life mind-time do you spend actually contemplating why you are saying, what you are saying, when you are disseminating your beliefs outwards, beyond yourself? When you do speak of your beliefs do you only care about the fact that you desire your beliefs to be witnessed as the truth? In fact, do you ever think at all before you speak of your belief? Finally, what is your desired end result when you propagate your belief? Why do you discuss your belief(s) at all? These are all important concepts to think about as you pass through life.

It is essential to contemplate why you believe what you believe. Think about this, have you ever believed one thing and now you believe it no more? This is the simple formula to help you define for yourself the difference between belief or fact. And, it is also essential to keep in mind, just because other people believe something (even large groups of people like a religion) this does that mean that you are forced to believe it?

Belief is only what it is; an ideology formed in your own mind. As long as it is kept in your own mind, it can hurt no one. As soon as it is released chaos is given birth to.

Belief is never fact.

***

Just because you believe something to be true does not make it true.

***

Everyone wants the other person to be paid back for their bad actions but no one wants to be paid back for their bad deeds.

***

Is your truth the real truth or is it only a lie that you created in your own mind?

***

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?

***

If you look for the bad in everyone, everyone will look for the bad in you.

***

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.

Who Makes This Stuff Up?

For each person they have a belief in the concept of a great power, (god if you will), what happens to a person after they die, if you can or cannot communicate with angels or demons from the other side, and a million other things that tie this human form to the concept of and the desire for something more once one passes away. The concept of heaven, hell, purgatory, or reincarnation permeate the mindset of all people across the globe. This is especially the case as one grows closer to the end of their life; then the thoughts of these things become all-encompassing. But, where do all these thoughts come from? Who makes this stuff up?

Religious pundits will tell you that the practices of their religion are the absolute truth, as they have been proven by the Prophets of their religion and recorded in the doctrines. Though each person holds their religion beliefs and believes the teachings of their religion to be the absolute truth, there are a million other religious teachings out there. There is no one proven truth so who is right and who is wrong? Or course, the answer to that question, in the mind of the believer is, “I am right, you are wrong.”

In the West, we are bombarded by a mishmash of varying religious cultures and beliefs. So much so that here, religious ideologies have become an intermingled mess. Certainly, Christianity, in its varying forms, is the dominate religious of this culture but people seek answers, they want to believe that they have a purpose, that there is something more, so they turn to those who promise these answers, opening the door to financing the lifestyle and stroking the ego of many a False Prophet.

Generally, when we are young, there is a belief system programmed into our minds. This is most likely the religion of our parents. Some hold fast to these beliefs throughout their life, others do not; they seek something more. The one thing I can tell you about this practice, as I too am one who sought other things, is that due to the childhood programming there is something that has been embedded so deeply into our psyche that no matter where we go, what we study, the games of dress-up we play, at our core is that religious ideology. I have watched so many people as they were preparing to leave their physical body, near the time of their death, revert to their original religion. This, even though some had spent the better part of their lifetime claiming to be, believing that they believed in something else.

In fact, when spirituality and human growth was at its height, in the 1960s and 1970s, it was often taught how one had to consciously let go of all of their childhood programming. Though this may be a nice thought, it is virtually impossible.

So, for better or for worse, we are what we were taught as children. Yes, our minds expand, yes we come upon new ideologies and philosophic concepts that we may like, and we may even encounter new religions that we may even believe in, but at the end of our life we are bound by the beliefs that were indoctrinated into us in childhood.

Throughout history religions have evolved. The Christianity that was practiced two thousand years ago is not the same as it is practiced today. This is the same with all other world religions and even the lessor known or long forgotten ones. What does this tell us? It tells us that the Buddhists of the first century were taught, believed, and practiced their religion very differently than they do today, just as is the case with Christians, Muslims, and so on. The basis of their beliefs may still be in place: i.e. the Bible, the Koran, or the Dharmapada, but, via the mind of man, the teachings of these religions have expanded, evolved, and, in fact, been guided by the desires of man.

It is very easy to study the evolution of Christianity. Documents are everywhere. You can trace how what we know as the Bible came to be fortified and how the teachings and the practices of Christianity came to formulated. What do you see when you study this evolution? You see the mind of a man or a group of people deciding what they thought Christianity should be. And, this is the case from this religion’s inception forward. Jesus did not write the bible. His disciples did after he had died or ascended depending on how you want to look at it. As it was formulated in the minds of man, based upon their own personal remembrances, visions, and desires, how does that make it holy? Certainly, the zealots will say that they were guided by the hand of god and stuff like that. But, were they? Look at Christianity’s evolution, it was based upon power grabs and desire. And, this is not just the case of Christianity, study the evolution of the other world religions, as well. All are based in the desire of man proclaiming that they know the appropriate interpretation of the teachings and the scriptures.

So, what does this leave us with? It leaves us believing in something that we were programmed to believe—something that we were told was the truth and was holy but it was simply formulated in the mind of man. Yet, at our inner core, we are damned to believe it. It is inside of us.

So, who makes this stuff up? Some guy… Why do we believe it? We have no choice. What can we do about this phenomenon? I have no idea. But, you should think about it before you believe what you believe.

Trolling for Dollars

I listened to a fairly interesting report on NPR today as I was driving back from Hollywood. It was about this one female politician who had gotten trolled pretty hard. They brought in a person who was an expert on the subject. She detailed how the people who troll do so for a number of reasons: insecurity, self-anger, a way to make themselves feel empowered, a means to channel the anger they feel towards life due to their lack of accomplishment, and so on. It was all the psychologically based reasons that we would assume causes a person go on the troll.

Having been trolled myself, once or twice, I find the focused actions of these people very curious. I mean sure, we all have our anger, we all have our likes and our dislikes, we all have our desire to live a better, more fulfilled life but most of us who experience these feelings do something to actualize a better existence. We try to make our life better. We do not waste our time attacking someone for a reason only harbored in our own mind or in the misplaced consciousness of a cyber group that we frequent.

One of the people on the program discussed how a troll had actually set up a twitter account using her dead father’s name and just struck out at her in the vilest ways. I mean, I would question who is even so low to do something that? The fact is, it’s messed up, but there are people out there who do that kind of stuff. Eventually, this lady wrote an article about this troll and the effect he was having on her life. Apparently, the guy read the article, contacted her, and told her how he never realized all the pain he was causing, as he never thought of her as a person. He apologized and they spoke for hours.

This, of course, is the ideal end to being trolled but I would bet this rarely, if ever, happens. People out there trolling are anonymous; they are out there lying about who they are. And, like this guy before he had his mystical realization, he didn’t even think about this woman as a person, he wanted to hurt her, so he trolled her to the max. Why?

I think that most people like me (especially if they have met me) and understand what I’m doing. So, my troll hits have not been too hard. Like I said in a recent blog, people either say, “Fuck you,” or write these articulate pieces that though based upon altered facts and misrepresentations of the truths, are at least well written. Thus, they make me smile. Though they probably do hurt my reputation in the minds of people who actually read that kind of stuff and believe it. But, what can I do? Ultimately, the karma goes back onto those who concocted their words in the first place.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that none of the people who have trolled me have ever asked for my side of the story before instigating their troll. Additionally, they have never woken up, seen that I am a person, and said, “Sorry,” or anything else for the mistruths, harsh comments, and lies they have spread about me. And, if they have trolled me, that means they have done it to others. Certainly, I am not all that special, so I am sure they have hit others much harder.

The fact is, tracing an ip addresses is pretty easy. In some cases, I have watched from where these troll hits have arisen. It’s pretty easy to know who some of these people are. …Some have even friended me on Facebook. They don’t remove the lies that they put out there but they want to be my friend. I think that’s pretty strange. I guess they want to see what I'm up to? Weird…

You know, I came up in a world of spirituality. For me, life is all about Karma Yoga — doing for others and asking nothing in return. I realize that the world has changed a lot since then. There was no internet and none of the non-stop babble that goes on via the various cyber space methods. All this being said, think about it; isn’t doing something good for other people; saying something good about other people, better than being a troll? I mean, doing something good, helping someone; doesn’t that make you feel good?

So, if you’re angry, frustrated, insecure, whatever; instead of going on the troll, get up off of your butt and do something positive for someone else. The world then becomes a better place. Be a conduit for positivity. Not a negative troll.

Anyway, like I always talk about… I think the main thing in life is not to focus on other people: what you like or dislike about them, what you like or dislike about what they have done. Instead, never use other people as your basis of suchness. Do something for yourself. Do something that makes you, YOU. Create your own something. And mostly, own who and what you are. If you’re going to say something be brave enough to claim it or be adult enough to understand that we each have our own life and our life-missions and say nothing at all.

To the trolls out there, think about it, from the doing something and being something positive you won’t be lost in all that insecurity and self-directed anger that makes you troll people in the first place. BECOME and then you won’t need to attack and criticize.

BE and YOU are.

The Moral High Ground

I forever find it curiously amusing when I see some religious or political leader speaking about a subject and denouncing the people who are of some specific subset of culture and condemning them for their practices and/or beliefs. I mean how many times have we heard about the minister who was caught having an affair with someone other than their wife and then begged for forgiveness from their congregation once they were caught? How many times has a minister or a politician condemned those who are gay and then been found to be having an affair with someone of the same sex?

Here’s the thing… It is easy to have an opinion. It is easy to present your opinion to the world as fact, especially when it is an opinion that is believe to be culturally correct. It is easy to have an opinion when that opinion condemns someone or something. Why? Because people always get emotionally invigorated when someone finds a way to focused their undefined internal anger on a person, a religion, a political movement, onto anything as long as that anything is some-one or some-thing else other than themselves.

But, why is this? This is because people are dissatisfied with their own life. This is because people are envious of those who have more or have achieved more. This is because it is easy to hate because hate takes no effort. All it takes is to tap into a negative emotion which invigorates their entire being.

Most people will deny this fact. Most people would rather state, “That person is immoral, bad, wrong, against what I believe is right, or against the ways of god.” But, any person who employs these definitions as a defining factor for anyone or anything does not understand what they are feeling or why. All they are running on is induced adrenaline — which is such an addictive conduit that has lead to much of the bad that has been unleashed in this world.

Why do you dislike anyone, especially if you do not know them? Why do you hate an entire race, religion, or biological makeup, especially if you have not even met a person who has practiced this precept? Why do you think you have the right to cast judgment on anyone or anything?

Just because you think you are right does not make you right.

People want to form opinions. It makes them feel whole onto themselves. But, how many of those opinions are whole and organic decisions and how many of them are induced by the thoughts and the words of someone else?

Where do your opinions come from? How did you come to the conclusions that you have concluded? Who or what guided you towards believing what you believe?

If what you think, feel, and express is not based on pure empirical fact — if it is not based upon the actual factual truth, it is simply based upon an opinion. An opinion is never a fact. It is not the truth.

Before you say anything about anyone or anything, first look to your motivation(s) for why you are doing it and then look to your basis of fact. Are your, “Facts,” based upon your desire for your opinion to be seen as the truth or are you stating something that you have proven to be true? Then question, once you have established this level of personal knowledge, why do you need to say anything about someone or something at all? What is the point? Who does it help and who does it hurt? If what you say or do hurts anyone or anything, if what you say or do incites anyone to hurt any other person, if what you say or do causes damage in any way, what you are saying and what you are doing is wrong — it is self-motivate and does not lead to the greater good.

Good, is saying and doing good things. Good, hurts no one.

Do not base your life upon negative opinions. Negative opinions only lead to negative actions. Negative actions only hurt, they never help.

A better world begins with you.

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.

Do You Care About Me?

In life, you can only care about someone else when your life is not on the line. You can only care about someone else when you have the time to think, feel, imagine, and dream. You can only care about someone when you possess the ability to know how to love.

People speak about caring about someone else all the time. But, who are these people? And, do they really care?

Life is made up of a complex set of human interactions. When someone, “Cares,” about someone else do they really care or do they simply care about what that person can give them: be it love, lust, money, companionship, knowledge, you name it? Is their caring true caring or is their caring based upon some hidden agenda—a hidden agenda that the individual who claims to care may not even realize that they have?

Have you ever had to fight for your life to survive? In those situations, there is no time to care for someone else. Your entire life experience is brought into the absolute now of the moment and survival is all that can be front and center to your mind. A fight, a war, drowning, starvation, a plane crash, a car accident, all of these things and more bring an individual to absolute now consciousness. Who do you care about when you don’t have time to even think about caring?

Caring only takes place when you have the time and the presence of mind to care. Some people are very selfish, they never truly care for or about anyone. Others, do care. They want a person or an entire people to be safe, happy, and fulfilled. But, just because they care does not mean that the caring is returned. Have you ever cared about someone, did something for them, and they returned your gesture with dismissal, indignity, or injustice? Did you still care for them after that innocent occurred?

Take a moment. Think about who you care about. Think about why you care about them. Really get to the bottom of your emotion. Ask yourself, “Would you care about them if they didn’t care about you?”

How many people have passed through your life and at one point you felt all kinds of emotions towards them—you really cared about them. Now, they are gone. How to you feel about them at this point in your life?

Caring is a choice. It is a good choice. It is better to care than to desire to injure someone. For anyone you injure, in any way, shape, or form, so too will you be injured. That is the simple truth of life.

You do not have the right to pass judgment on anyone for any reason but what you do have the right to do is to care. If you care, you care. Caring is forever good but you have to understand the source of your caring. You have to care even if they don’t know you care. You have to care even if they don’t care about you. That is true caring.

To many people caring is only a condition locked in their mind. They think about someone, wish them well, hope the best for them, even pray for them but all this is all just mind-stuff. It is not true caring. True caring is doing something positive in this physical world for a person. True caring is taking action to make another person’s mind, body, and life better.

Who do you are about? What does your caring mean? What does your caring equal? What are you going to do for them because you care about them?

Lose Your Identity, Erase Your History

The majority of people desire to become SOMETHING. Early in their life they see those who are respected for doing what they do and follow the path of seeking that same admiration. Ask yourself, “Do you seek to become nothing, to be seen as nothing, to be unknown? Or, do you hope for something more for YOURSELF?”

People do all that they can to achieve. Though most never find the pathway to find their ultimate dream, they, none-the-less, try to rise to a position of respect and authority within their place of employment, in their community, or at their school.

Most people eventually find the road to marrying and having a family. At that point, the focus of their life quite often shifts from desires for Personal-Self to desires for their child and/or children. “I want the best for my child. I want them to have a better life than I have had.” How often have you heard those words spoken?

Having a child is not a bad thing. Having desires for one’s child is not a bad thing. In fact, having a child often takes the egocentric focus off of the individual allowing them to rise from a life of self-centered thinking to a life of caring and giving. How many of the people you have met, who do not have children, are truly caring and giving people? Most, are simply lost in a Life-Pattern of selfish thought, thinking only about themselves.

Life-Patterns are instigated by the individual. What one does now leads to the next set of available options in one’s life. As such, the desire(s) that are pursued defines the entire evolution of a person’s life. Though desires may change and what a person does may set a new course of options and availability into motion in a person’s life, everything you desire, and everything you do to gain that desire forever defines your life as your life is one continuous emulation of who you want to be leading to what you are.

Think about the actions you have taken to achieve your desires and your dreams. Have they hurt anyone? Have they hurt you? Are you proud of them? Do they make you ashamed? Do they make you happy or do they make you sad? Remember, you wanted something, you went about achieving that something, thus, it was you who set your ALL into motion by wanting what you wanted, desiring what you desired, which means you are personally responsible for all the goodness and/or all the damage you created in that pursuit. If you hurt anyone in that pursuit you will be forever bound to that person as you did what you did and their life evolution was changed because of it. Remember that.

The thing about personal achievement is that most of the achieved have not cared about their personal effect. They only think about themselves and achieving their desire and thus, the thought of damage to others rarely, if ever, comes to mind. As much as the person of consciousness will say, “This selfish mindset is not the attitude one should possess,” this has been one of the key traits of humanity since its evolution to the realms of thoughtful-self. People only think about themselves and what they want!

Now that this has been established, let’s turn this scenario around a little bit. What if you desired nothing? What if you wanted to be nothing? What if you did not care about your position or your legacy? How would you be feeling right now? What would you have done differently in your life? What would you not be regretting? Who would you have not hurt? Who would you have not been hurt by?

If you did not want to be something, if you did not do the things you have done to be that SOME-THING how would your life have evolved differently?

The fact is, in life we can never go back in time. We never get a re-do. But, what we can do is to become conscious enough to look deeply into the patterns of life and learn from not only our evolutionary movement but the evolutionary movements of
all those around us. We can open our eye.

If you can take a moment and step away from yourself and your desire(s) long enough to truly witness what is going on with your life, the lives of those you interact with, and the lives of the Greater-All, then you have the chance to become more than your limited, selfish self. Instead of possessing a desire for your life to be some idealized ego-driven machine, adored by the masses, you have the chance to truly do something good for the world by becoming something that no one else can see or worship, a True Being not driven by ego and desire.

Most people don’t want this. Most people don’t understand this. Most people if they heard about it simply dismiss it as nonsense. They do this because they are so locked into the realms of their own identity, of their desire to become what they desire, that they are too lost to understand that they will never achieve what their mind sees. Why? Because what is, “Out There,” is never “In Here,” it is all an illusion. What you see other people BE-ING is never what you can BE because you are not them, just as they are not you. What you see out there is a projection of an idealized reality you have fantasied in your mind. It is not real. At best, it is only what you hope it will be.

By comprehending this you allow yourself to realize that all that you hope to be, all the steps you take to get there, are, at best, simply your projected desires where you attempt to live a reality that may
never be had. Thus, your desires to BE are nothing more than a Self-Instigated Illusion.

Knowing this, you have one of two choices to make. …Two choices that now you can make very consciously. One, are you going to continue on the path you are on, doing what you are doing, damaging who what you are damaging? Two, are you going to let go and simply BE? By being, you become free. Your desires are let go so you create nothing: no bad, no good. From here, you can be happy and whole within yourself. From here, no one is hurt, thus, you are not re-hurt. You are complete free and not trapped by the hurt that arises from not having what you want.

Freedom is always a better perfection that a life bound by desire. You are you. YOU is all YOU will ever be.

Do you want to be happy in your freedom? Or, do you want to be tormented by what you desire?

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.

Success Equals Niceness

If you look around your life at the people you have the chance to interact with you will quickly see that one thing is very clear, those who have achieved success are very nice and giving people, those who have not are just the opposite. 

In life, we have been presented with the opportunity to grow and reach for our dreams. Particularly those of us who are blessed enough to live in the Western World and/or in advancing Asian or Middle Eastern cultures have been presented with vast opportunities to grow and to flourish. The fact is, however, this simple definition has caused many to reach for success, not achieve it, and then become angry due to their lack of accomplishment. What this oftentimes leads to is a person driven by internal frustration and rage. From this, they unleash their unhappiness onto the world.

Think about this, how many people have you known that relish in the demise of others? How many people have you known that have hurt other people? How many people have you encountered that do things like say or write untruths or self-motivate negative appraisals of another person? How many people have you known that instigate fights and/or confrontations by their words, deeds, or actions? Why do people behave in this fashion? They behave in this manner because they do not possess an inner-peace motivated by being whole, full, and successful onto themselves. Thus, they allow themselves to be driven by negative thoughts and actions based upon unfulfilled desires. 

The truth is, achieving inner-peace is very easy; simply desire nothing other than what you already have and you are free. In this modern world, where everything moves at such a fast pace, however, we are all constantly bombarded with the facts of what others have achieved and how they live a grand lifestyle due to their accomplishments.  They are loved and they are rewarded. What this input of information does to the individual who is not self-achieved is that it makes them want what other people have. And, it makes them lie, cheat, hurt, and steal to achieve their desired end. In fact, most people who exist in the un-successful state of mind will deny its existence even to themselves for if they were to acknowledge it then they would be internally knocked down another notch in life as they do not even possess the ability to control their own emotions and actions based upon their desires.  

Many people turn to spirituality to answer their inner needs and longings. This is not a bad thing, for through spirituality people can find an inner-peace based solely in their spirit and in their mind. Thus, their needs and the desires of the material world fall away. This being stated, there is the other side of the issue; those who seek accomplished by become spiritual. Here lies one of the most demonic forms of human consciousness; people who claim spirituality when they themselves, are not whole, complete, or mentally tempered. They are not holy (wholly), they are not truly spiritual. All they are is attempting to gain accolades based upon claiming to possess some form of spiritual knowledge. 

Spirituality is a training ground, it is not an end-point — it is not an accomplishment. Those who claim spirituality, (by any name or any form), and claim that they are something because of it, have completely missed the point. True spirituality teaches no ego. True spirituality teaches no desire. True spirituality teaches humbleness. True spirituality teaches faith in the greater whole. True spirituality teaches, “Do good things.” What true spirituality does not teach is that you are more than anyone else or that you have something that someone/anyone else does not possess. 

It is at this point where all the false-profits arise. They claim they have something to teach you or to give to you. And, as so many people are unhappy — seeking a more fulfilled life, there are always those who fall pray to the words and deeds of the individual who attempts to use spirituality as a means to gain their worldly desires. 

For many who read these words they will say, “I would never fall prey to that type of person.” That is good. But, look around you, the various forms of spirituality are everywhere. Churches, temples, mosques, ashrams, and monasteries have continued to flourish across the globe. That is not a bad thing. It provides people with the opportunity to focus their faith and develop their inner spirituality. As they are formalized, (though by no means a perfect representations of divine consciousness), they are at least held to a system of checks and balances. And, as the world has become smaller and smaller and as information can be researched and disseminated via the internet quite easily, those who are faulty in their representation of divine consciousness are more easily found out.

Throughout my entire life, as I have spent much of it interacting with those on the Spiritual Path, I have frequently encountered individuals who have claimed spirituality but were far from it. And, these people have crossed all the boundaries of faiths and proclaimed spiritual relevance. This fact is, however, I have more frequently encountered the true believers and those who are whole heartily seeking the truth and inner knowledge. But, they are not the ones claiming anything. They are not the ones attempting to use spirituality as a stepping stone to the MORE of life’s purported offers. They seek only to become more spiritually whole and complete individuals — which from this they can go out and give back to the world.

Here lies an important point, people that truly want to
give never claim they have something to give. They simply give. They claim no title nor do they seek any acknowledgment for their giving. This is Karma Yoga. There are those, on the other hand however, who are completely lost in the space of SELF.  They are the first to tell you, “I am this.” “I can give you that.” And, most commonly, there is a price attached to their giving. But, that is not giving. That is not spirituality. That is vanity. 

Does the true person of god claim that he or she can speak to the spirits for you? Does the true person of god claim that they can invoke the angels or the cosmic energies for you? Does the true person of god claim that they can tell your future?  If they do, I always suggest that you ask them a question about you or your past that they have no way of knowing the answer to. Then, observe their response when they have no way to answer your question. If someone claims to have any of these powers, then they should be able to pierce the Akashic Records and know the answer to any question. But, most assuredly, they will not be able to do this.

Here lies the essence to existing in a world where we are bombarded by what we should desire and seeing those who have accomplished what we hope to accomplish — stop pretending to be anything but the truest you. See yourself for who and what you are. Know and observe where you are in life. Embrace that true you and never falsify or exaggerate any element of your being to attempt to gain something that you desire for then all that is born is the distaste of those whom you have lied to, hurt by your words or actions, charged for your services, and/or deceived by your claims of spirituality and knowledge.  For by behaving in this deceitful (non-whole) manner, you have negatively altered not only your own future karma but that of all those whom you have interacted with. 

Have you ever looked to the sky and asked god the question, “Why,” when you were not happy with your life’s circumstance? Most people have. This is a natural condition of human consciousness. But, what did you do then? Did you throw a fit at not having or not getting what you desired? Probably not. For that mindset is only practiced by those who exist on the lowest level of human consciousness. What you most probably did was to feel sorry for yourself for a moment or two and then move on with your life. That’s natural! We all want what we want and we are not happy when we don't get it. But, it is us who can consciously choose to do something positive with a desire that is not fulfilled instead of letting it control our inner being and negative affect our life and the life of those we interact with. 

At the beginning of this discussion I referenced the fact that the successful are commonly the nicest to all of those around them and the most willing to give and to help. But, what is success? Is it you getting everything you desire in any given moment? No, it is not. Success is being the best YOU that YOU can be at any point in your Life-Time defined by no lies, no desires, no emotions, and no hurtful thoughts, words, actions, deeds, or wishes. Success is you doing what you do in the most conscious and helpful manner possible. Never hurting, only helping. Never saying or doing anything negative no matter how you may feel in a particular moment in time.  

Who are the people that are positively remember? They are the ones who gave to others, did for others. They are the ones who asked nothing for their actions and claimed no accolades. Those who are remember for hurting others, saying bad things about others, doing bad things to others, are only the despised. Those who are remember for their positive gifts to the world are never judged by the extravagance of how they lived or by the amount of money they possessed. Thus, wealth, money, and privilege are an illusion. They are not success.  Success is the person who gives but never takes. 

Be Successful. Be Nice. Give.

Guns of El Chupacabra: The Lies People Tell and The Truth Be Told

Normally, I never respond to negative (or positive) comments made about me on the Internet. My belief is that everyone has their opinion and I wish them all the best. This being stated, it was brought to my attention that a Chris or Christopher Richard Winkler has a website detailing compete untruths about the creation of the film Guns of El Chupacabra, Donald G. Jackson and myself at Guns of El Chupacabra.com. As someone who knows the truth about the creation of this film, I personally find the falsehoods in his presentation almost amusing. But, due to the fact that other unsuspecting people may believe his words, I feel I must respond.

First of all, on his website, he claims that he gave Donald G. Jackson $14,000.00 to finish the film Guns of El Chupacabra in 2000. This is untrue. The film was completed near the end of 1997 and we began screening the full feature film in early 1998. Prior to this, we screened an extended trailer of the film at the 1997 American Film Market.

All anyone has to do is look at the films that were being offered by Donald G. Jackson and myself at the 1997 and 1998 American Film Market(s) and you will see this film was screening in our suite at both of those events.

Like the old saying goes, the proof is in the pudding.
The 1998 Hollywood Reporter, American Film Market Special Issue. Click on this title to see the listing for Guns of El Chupacabra in the Hollywood Reporter, proving the falsehoods of this person's claims. 

To continue… In fact, we had created and were releasing the sequel(s) to the film, Guns of El Chupacabra II in 1998 and Guns of El Chupacabra III in 1999.

Next, Winkler claims that we were both, "Broke," and didn't have the money to complete the film. Again, the falsehood of his timeline proves this statement to be untrue.

My relationship with this person: Donald G. Jackson introduced Chris Winkler to me. How Don met this individual I do not know. I only personally interacted with Winkler on two or three occasions and he never mention anything about money to me at any of those meetings.

The reason Don introduced him to me was that we were going to re-score the film. Originally, Guns of El Chupacabra had a completely Blue Grass soundtrack. So, if you can find a copy of that version, it is Rare-Rare-Rare. We decided, however, that to make the soundtrack more appealing to the general public we would integrate additional styles of music into it. I am told Winkler contacted his friends in a band named, The Sun City Girls, who provided us with all of that GREAT, (for lack of a better term), Punk Rock, Art Music that is in the film. Thanks guys!

I was asked to approve that Winkler's payment for introducing us to the music of the Sun City Girls would be that he be allowed to create a DVD box and poster for the film, (as I was told he was a budding graphic designer), and then produce a single pressing of one hundred DVD-R copies of the film that he could then give to his friends and to use as a tool to generate graphic design work. I agreed.

Note: his poster design was to only be used in association with that limited DVD-R pressing as we already had more than one professionally designed poster for the film.

Donald G. Jackson passed away in 2003. God rest his soul. At some point soon after this, Chris Winkler contacted me via email and told me that he had given Don $6,000.00. I had never heard anything about this prior to that moment. He told me the money was given in relation to the completion of the film. I told him that was impossible as the film was long ago completed.

On his website, Winkler, himself, states that he has no paperwork to back up his claim. My question/statement is, who gives anyone $6,000.00 or $14,000.00 without receiving some sort of contract or IOU? Moreover, what kind of person puts up a website like Winkler’s once a person has passed away and cannot defend themselves? I believe we all can recognize that is just not right. 

In any case, after Don's passing Winkler asked if he could continue circulating his remaining DVD-R copies of the film. I initially said, "Yes," because I assumed that he was simply going to continue giving them to his friends and using them as a tool to seek work as a graphic designer. Then, came the problems…

I began to be contacted by film distributors as Winkler was attempting to sell the film. He was telling them he was the Executive Producer, had financed the film, and he owned all of the international rights.

The fact is, Guns of El Chupacabra was financed by Donald G. Jackson and myself from profits we had made from some of our previous films and I can tell you, $6,000.00 or $14,000.00 would not have even purchased the film stock for this project.

Next, I found out that Winkler was taking his DVD-R to the American Film Market and was again telling people he was the Executive Producer of the film and was attempting to sell it to foreign buyers. The problem was, as he had no comprehension of film marketing protocols, he was offering it to some of the sleaziest distributors. In fact, due to his giving DVD-R copies of the film to them, it was bootlegged in a couple of Asian country. From this, all possible legitimate sales to those countries were destroyed.

Then, he began to offer his DVD-R for sale on eBay and Amazon.com as a Special Edition from the Executive Producer. Which he was not!

So, did I ask him to stop selling the film on the Internet and from his bogus, unauthorized website? Yes, I did. Did I ask him to stop attempting to market it to all the wrong people? You damn right I did! Were those actions based on greed, as he states on his website? No, they were not. They were based on protecting the integrity of the film! And, the fact is, it was the FBI who stopped Winkler from selling the DVDs on his site, due to copyright violation, not me.

On his webpage, Winker insults Jackson's finances and mentions the bankruptcy of Jackson's estate upon his death. This is a very unconscious statement as Winkler, himself, went bankrupt in approximately 2002 and then again in 2015. (Christopher Richard Winkler Bankruptcy Chapter 7, Filed March 26, 2015, in California, Case Number: 8:15-bk-11516-TA). In the case of Jackson, the man had endured a very long and painful illness, and his family was forced in that direction after his death due to the enormous amount of medical bills he had incurred. This was obviously not the case for Winkler and his bankruptcies, however, and I wonder how many people were really upset with Winkler after not receiving the money he owed them when he went bankrupt twice that I know of.  

After Christopher Winker filed for bankruptcy in California he moved to Texas and apparently became a real estate agent. If you're interested, his Facebook profile is, Christopher Winkler Realtor. You can also find his bio at Chris Winkler Silverwood Capital Fund LLC.

Finally, for him to warn people about investing in my films illustrates how little he knows about me. Why? Because, I NEVER TAKE MONEY FOR MY FILMS! Everything I do is financed one-hundred percent out of my own pocket. I can be hired as a Director. I can be hired as an Actor. But, I never take money to make my original movies.

In closing, I have never been anything but nice to this person and I obviously did not force him to take down the website, as he claims, as it is still in existence. If he gave money to Donald G. Jackson, which I do not know whether he did or did not, I feel sorry for his loss. But, if he did, that was money given to Don, that money was not given to the film or to me. I cannot be responsible for the actions of another man. And, this film and/or I should not be defamed due to said actions.

It appears that this man's entire life is defined by what he claims took place almost twenty years ago. I don't know… All these years later, I just don't get it? If he is the financial player that he claims to be in his bio, why attack me, a movie that was made over twenty years ago, and a man who passed away over a decade ago? I think we all can agree that is just not cool.

That's the story… I trust it adds some reality to Guns of El Chupacabra.com. If you want to find out the all and the everything about the movie read: Guns of El Chupacabra: The Story of the Production.

You can also read this piece at:
Guns of El Chupacabra: The Lies People Tell and The Truth Be Told

They’re the Ones Talking About Me I’m Not the One Talking About Them

Long ago I coined the statement, “You know you’re famous when people you’ve never met say things about you that aren’t true.” This came about when I read an article someone had written about me that was full of unsubstantiated falsehoods and flat out untruths. Yet, the person who wrote it had the appearance of being credentialed in his field and presented the paper in a very formulated format. Though the reading of it amused me to no end, I later begin to contemplate how someone who didn’t know me and read it would believe the false words to be fact, not fiction. And, here is where the problem(s) begin…

Ever since I first began writing poetry, novels, articles, books, painting, and making music and movies, people began to draw conclusions about me. This is a fact of life, when you create, people who love, hate, or don’t care about what you create are going to come to their own conclusions about your work and yourself; be they true or false.

In times gone past, opinions were kept to one’s circle of friends. If you were going to send your opinion about a person or their creation to a magazine, more times than not, the magazine would fact-check the writing before it was ever published. This is the world I grew up in. Throughout my studies at the various universities I attended and later when I began to be published as a journalist and an author, what I wrote had to possess a verifiable factual essence. You had to prove what you said. Then came the age of the Internet and the publish-on-demand world of printing. Anybody could say anything and there is no one there to challenge what a person says. Sure, you can get into twitter wars with a person but what is the point? People believe what they choose to believe, whether it be true or not.

The fact is, in today’s world, when someone says something about somebody that is not based in fact, the lie simply continues to spread. I have seen one person say something about me that was completely untrue and then I have seen that same statement quoted by another and another. All false, yet it is presented as if it were the truth, when it is not.

This is the thing about the life of the creative… The creative, create. The others talk about those who create.

Whenever I teach a class or a seminar I always pose the question to my students, “Who do you want to be? The creative or those who talk about the creative?”

In a world where you can say anything about anybody with little consequence, the only person you are beholden to is yourself and the karmic destiny you lay out that will unfold in front of you based upon your deeds, actions, and words. Therefore, it is you who must ask the question of yourself, “Are you a person who speaks of others, expounding your opinions about an individual based upon your own appraisal of their words and creations or are you a person who is the source of your own creations?” Yes, being the source point of your own creations will put you in the bull’s-eye but it will be something wholly you own. If, on the other hand, you spent your time focused upon analyzing the creations of others and the personage of who created them, all you are doing is further spreading the myth of that individual.

If you speak the truth that is the truth, then the truth will be known and the truth will embrace you. If you spread the lie, based upon your judgment(s), then all you will be known as is a liar once the truth is revealed and all you will be defined as is an individual who relished in the limelight of others.

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.

Can It Harm You If You Don’t Believe?

Many people believe in the power of suggestive energy. …Energy that can be focused and then transmitted to a person. Wiccans, Witches, Black Magician, Sorcerers, and various other centralized groups practice with these energies.

Now, I must preface this with the fact that most people never even think twice about this style of focusing of energy. And, that’s a good thing. Not thinking of it, their world is never defined by it. But, there are others of us, in the various traditions of metaphysics, which spend much of our lives investigating and defining how energy moves through the universe. Lord knows, I written tons-and-tons of words on the subject.

But, to the point; can focused energy affect you if you do not believe in it? Let’s take a look…

Dion Fortune’s book, “Psychic Self-Defense,” is without a doubt the most distributed book on the subject. The problem with that text, as I see it, is that it gets a little too deep into hocus-pocus and feeds the reader a lot of suggestive logic that only leads to paranoia. That is never a good thing.

This is certainly not the only book on the subject, however. An untold number of texts have been written: some good, some not so good. For example, The Rosicrucian Order, a group I have a certain interactiveness with has published a lot on the subject over the past couple of centuries. As have many others… Most, speak about how energy is all-pervasive and, as such, there are those who can control it and unleash it at will. But, is this factual?

One of my first interactions with focused or stored energy was when I was probably fourteen. This gay couple was moving from my apartment building in Hollywood to a building that was more gay friendly and they asked me help them move. I was happy to help. I was picking up and loading their stuff into their trailer. Behind one of their chest of drawers was a black tree branch. I picked it up, thinking nothing of it, but BAM I could sense the negative energy immediately. Later I was told that one of the men previously had been into Satan worship and Black Magic and that was his wand. Did I feel the energy? Yes, I did. Did it do anything to damn my life? No, I don’t think so. I do know on my first trip to India, however, I did consciously wash my hands in the Ganges to purify any remaining energy from that touching interaction. But, just because I felt the energy does not mean that it harmed me.

So, is energy out there? Yes. Is it focusable? Yes. Can and/or do people try to send it in a certain person’s direction? Probably. I have heard stories. Should you care? Why?

Here’s the thing… If you go up and punch somebody in the face, they are probably going to bleed. That’s reality. If you punch them a couple of more times, you will probably knock them out. That’s as real as real gets. It’s physical. It’s here. It’s now. There is no debate as to the cause or to the effect. But, everything that you can’t see, is debatable. And, here is where you define your own reality. Do you choose to believe that somebody has the ability to have power over you? Yeah, I know, in all the movies and in all the novels, it is claimed that people do posses this power. But, that’s just fiction. That is not truth. The only power that anyone has over you is the power that you allow them to have over you. Know this and the answer to the question is obvious.

Magical Thinking in the Modern Age

I have been writing about the dangers of Magical Thinking for a lot of years now. How if you do this, if you believe that, all will be well with your life—you will achieve all of your desires.

This is just a salesman’s ploy. A wandering salesman’s snake oil, to get you to buy into their bullshit so they can make a dime.

How many Self-Help books have been written promising the same miraculous life changes if only you employee a recited, time-and-time-again, statement to, “Be Positive,” “Believe,” I am this,” I can control the mind of them,” “I can focus and project my desired destiny,” and the list goes on and on. Then, when it does not work out, there is always the catch phrase, written in small ink, “It’s because of you.” “You didn’t focus hard enough,” You didn't try,” “You are not pure enough,” etc., etc., etc… Yet, the salesmen still get paid. Whether it be a book, a lecture, a whatever, you fork out your money and it is not their fault when you fail at what they promised. Stop the cycle!

If there is a fault, it is the fault with the soothsayers, promising you a reality that is out there… …Out there… But, only if you do what they say. Out there… But, only if you concentrate hard enough and are pure enough.

But, the question must be asked, “How pure are they?” How pure and whole are they to be making money off of you? It sounds to me like you are already more than them because you have the money to fill their bank accounts. If they were all that; there would be no need for charging a fee.

It’s like the psychic. Have you ever sat down with one? If you have an analytical mind, it is so easy to see through their game. The say, “Some one in your family died and you were very upset…” Okay, pretty much every one has had that experience. And, that is just one example of how they look at you, check out your clothing, your watch, your shoes, your style and quickly figure out what may be going on with you. What they are doing is, “Fishing.” Fishing for your emotional center-point. If you say, “No,” to their question, they quickly fish a little further until they find something that you respond to. It is all psychological mind fuck and bullshit. Say, “No,” to them time and time again and see what they come up with.

As I have also stated forever… Look to the lives of these people—the people who propagate his style of deception. They are false. Have you actually met them? Have you actually spent time with them? Have you actually seen or heard how they behave in real life. If you had, I doubt that you would ever consider listening to what they have to say.

It is easy to believe in a person if you have not been allowed to see their idiosyncrasy. Stop believe in the liars who are only out there trying to make themselves seem to be more than you, while they ask you to pay them for their services. And, most of all, never forgive a person for their sins when they try to make up excuses about the flaws in their own personality, while still professing to be any sort of an anything.

If a person is telling you anything… Claiming to guide you… Professing to direct you… If they are not a proven and registered saint, they are a liar trying to make a living.

Life if a complex maze.

Truth is free.

The truth is based in simplicity and not desiring.

Here’s some free advice (no charge) stop desiring what you desire and see how free your life will become.

No Truth

I was kicking around one of my favorite bookshops yesterday. There was an elderly lady stocking the shelves while speaking to another customer. She said, “I don’t think that there’s much truth in these books or there wouldn’t be so many of them being written.” This made me smile.

I’ll just leave it at that. Perfect truth in perfect words.

Do You Think That You Don’t Have to Pay for Your Karma?

The question that must be asked is, “Do you think that you don’t have to pay for your karma?”

Most people dance thru life, doing what they do, with little thought about the effect they are having on others. But, as they are doing what they are doing, with little thought, they are creating tons of karma. Then what?

If you are impacting the life of another person or persons, what are the ramifications? Do you think that you do not have to pay the piper?

Many people do not. They are all about getting over—doing what they do, when they want to do it. And, if doing what they want to do makes them feel okay, even for a moment, then all is well with the world. But, what if what you are doing is damaging the life of another person? Then what? What are the consequences to you and what are the ramifications to your life?

There are so many people out there who do not care. They take and they take, they do and they do. They may even think, “Why care about anyone else?”

Some people wake up; they see what they have done. They realize that they have hurt the life of someone else. But, then what? If you have come to understand that you have messed with the life of another person, are you going to fix what you have broken or are you simply going to sit in the realization that you have done someone wrong?

The fact of the matter is, you can stop doing what you are doing that is damaging other people or this life-space but if you do not fix what you have broken what does your realization prove? You must ask yourself, “What have I done to fix or undo my previous actions?”

You see, this is the ultimate flux point in life. Most people don’t care, until they are forced to have a reason to care. They only care, when what they have done has caught up with them and has begun to affect their own life in some negative way. Then, they wake up. But, waking up is not correcting what you have done. Correcting what you have done is correcting what you have done. So, what is it you are going to do to recreate life and fix the karma you have unleashed?

There is, no doubt, that this is a complicated question. But, if you actually care about the other people on this earth and if you actual care about the damage you have created, it is a question you must ask yourself. And, it is question that you must find an answer to. For if you do not fix the negative karma you have created all it does is to perpetuate itself and keep spreading out across this life-space. And, as you are the sourcepoint, who do you think it will ultimately affect the most?

Negative only equals negative, just as positive only equals positive. What are you going to do to fix the bad karma that you have created?

Even if you come to the conclusion that you only care about yourself, it is essentially important that you think about the effect your actions have on others and stop them before you unleash them and/or fix them if they have already been unleashed. Because if you don’t, what do you think will happen to you, your dreams, your life, and your life’s legacy?

You want a good life? It begins with what your do.

The Price of Enlightenment

It forever perplexes me why people turn to modern spiritual teachers who claim to be conduits of spiritual knowledge when all they do is reiterate the words that have been said a thousand times before. Sure, many people are seekers of truth, knowledge, and a better life, but all these false profits do is to capitalize upon this seeking and this desire for a more enlightened and spiritual life to make a living and gain ego gratification for themselves.

Oftentimes, these people speak of, “Energy,” how and why an individual should live a certain way and how by doing so All-Things will be better for them and for the world. But, they do not speak about this subject from a space of pure knowledge. They speak from the place of ego, or “I am teaching and you are learning.” Mostly, they speak to people who will pay to hear them speak. 

This is not true spirituality! If a person is not an ideal conduit of what they are saying, they are a false profit. Investigate whom you are listening to. 

Let’s examine this a bit further…

About a month ago I was asked to speak at a symposium. As I took the stage the announcer said, “Here’s Scott Shaw the author of many best-selling books and a spiritual teacher.” I immediately interrupted him, “I am not a spiritual teacher, I am just a guy you asked to come here and speak.” He was a bit taken back. The crowd all laughed. The lecture went on.

You can call me a martial arts instructor. I have the certifications. You can call me a professor. I have the degrees and I teach at the universities. But, I never refer to myself as a, "Spiritual teacher." Anyone who does is false unless they are truly living the life.

For example, when I was Swami Satchidananda’s soundman, I would travel with him and at every venue he spoke there would be hundreds of people in attendance. Sometimes thousands. He lived what he taught and people understood that. That’s why he was so sought after as a speaker. 

Now, I am not saying he was perfect. I have discussed him in other writings. But, I will say, he was who he was and he did not pretend to be anything else.

A funny story relating to this occurred at the Los Angeles Integral Yoga Institute. A few of the Swamis were complaining about one of the disciples preparing and drinking coffee in the morning. They asked Gurudev about this. He joking answered, “No coffee in the ashrams. That’s why I don’t live in the ashram because I like to drink coffee.”

That is truth. That is honesty. That is true spirituality.

He was not some fake, pretending to hold knowledge that he did not possess, while attempting to lure people under his spell to make money, live high on the hog, and make a name for himself teaching regurgitated words. He was who he was: whole and honest.

Here we arrive at one of the biggest problems of modern spirituality and those who teach it — the people who are doing it, and doing it wrongly, operate themselves and what they teach like a business. Spiritual truth and enlightenment are not a business. It should not be run like one. Yet, these so-called teachers run a publicity and marketing campaign like one would put in place for a business. They knowingly try to lure in more clients.
 
That is simply wrong. If you speak the truth, truth seekers will find their way to you. You do not need to say or do anything to get them to listen. 

This is my problem, (and it should be yours), with modern spiritual teachers. If someone is charging you for the knowledge they have to offer, there is something wrong in the equation. Knowledge, truth, and enlightenment are free. You should not have to extend any of your money, (or anything else), in order to receive spiritual teachings.

So why do these so-called teachers charge for their services? Because they are simply selling you their ego. 

As mentioned earlier, many of these fakes turn to the subject of, “Energy.” Energy has been one of the common focal points of spirituality since the New Age arrived. They will state, “Your energy is this. Your energy is that. You need to change your energy. You need to focus your energy.” But, what is energy? It is one of those nondescript things that anyone can call up and put their own unique definition upon. As it is not defined, it is one of the biggest factors of deception on the spiritual path. If someone is talking about your energy or cosmic energy they are simply using long spoken of false tactics to guide you in the direction they want you to go. And, moreover, energy is one of those things that they can blame when a person does not achieve what they had hoped, “You didn’t put enough energy into it.” Or, “Your energy was not pure and focused enough.” Nonsense!

Let’s look at this process from a bit of a different perspective…

If you want to look to a successful teacher of this modern era and veer away from specifically eastern knowledge for a moment, Anthony Robbins is an ideal personage. He came from a relatively middle-class background and now owns mansions, islands, and all the trapping of pure success. He accomplished this by studying human consciousness and then packaging his studies into a highly defined method that could actual help people move forward and rise up in their life. 

I must state, I am not a fan of him or his teaching, but he does provide an ideal example of a success story based upon helping to raise human consciousness and what can be achieved. 

There are people like myself who knowingly attempt to live a humble life in a reserved manner. Then, there are people like Tony Robbins who exist on a grand scale. The problem is, there are a plethora of false teachers who claim knowledge, yet they cannot even focus this knowledge to the degree to live at that higher financial level embraced by people like Tony Robbins or Deepak Chopra, yet they aspire to it. Therefore, what does that say about what a modern teacher has to offer you if it isn’t even precise enough to cause such a financial income that they can live on the large scale they desire? What it says is that they are trying to use hype and your desire to know more to get you to pay for what they have to offer so they can climb the ladder. But, that style of teaching and the foundational elements that go into it are just not right. Thus, they will never succeed in their aspiration but may damage the lives of a lot of people while they try. 

If a teacher is not an ideal expression of what they are teaching, if a teacher is repeating words that can be heard everywhere else, if a teacher is not a true embodiment of the energy they guide their students to embrace, they are a false profit. 

Don’t follow false prophet.

Do Dreams Know the Stories That They Tell?

I believe for all of us dreams are a unique element of our life. It is us in there, yet it is a different life. “You only live twice,” as the lyrics to the James Bond movie theme go.

Dreams have been debated forever. A person’s dreams are investigated when they go into psychotherapy. They are discussed in religious and philosophic texts. And, there have been tons of books written about the interpretation of dreams and what a dream actually means.

When I was around ten or eleven my mother and I purchased a book that, like a dictionary, supposedly broke down what each element of each dream meant. Every morning I would wake up and look to the book to see what the definition of my dream was and what I could expect for the day ahead. I did that until I realized that the book was generally wrong in its interpretations. Happy

Some people, in the morning, write all of their dreams in a journal. That’s chill if you can do it, I guess? But me, I have too much going on. When I wake up I like to jump out of bed and get busy.

Some people base novels, poems, and screenplays upon a dream they had. I tired to do that, but dragging myself out of bed in the middle of the night just to write down the storyline from a cool dream I had became too counterproductive to my life.

But overall, the writing down of your dreams is a good thing, I suppose... Good, if you desire to keep documentation for that part of your life—because, as stated, it is another completely different life that you live in there. And, as we all know, dreams are generally quickly forgotten.

For me, dreams were always a curious reality. From the time I was a very young boy forward, I began to have dreams of the future. I would be living my life and then, all of a sudden, I would be experiencing what I had previous witnessed in a dream. I would know exactly what was about to happen next. It was like watching a rerun of a TV show.

Many times, when I would encounter this experience, the outcome or certain actions of the participants would be slightly different from what I witnessed in my dream. Eventually, I begin to understand that this was do to the karmic life actions and personal choices that had taken place between the time of my dream and the now.

As I got older, I consciously stopped my mind from doing this. Me, I don’t want to know the future. I want to live the now, in the now.

But, all of this begs the question, “Do dreams know the stories they tell?” For if you can see the future in your dreams, if dreams are an integral and orchestrated part of your reality and your psychology, if dreams foretell things to come in your life, then they must serve some higher, more rational purpose, than simply a dance in a different reality.

No one really knows the answer. So, the question I ask is moot. Some people claim to know. But, as we have all witnessed, those who claim knowledge rarely, if ever, truly possess it. But, if nothing else, dreams are fun and I am sure they have some other purpose than just to live a new, different, strange, bizarre, limitless, reality.

Paying For Your Crimes

Whenever somebody is sent to jail for doing something that has been deemed wrong by society, it is stated, “They are paying for their crime.” Or, when they get out, people say, “They paid for their crime.” But, whom did they pay?

When criminals set about on a path to steal something or harm someone they know exactly what they are doing. They are setting about on a course that has a desired end result and they do not care who they hurt in the process. In fact, they generally do not even think about the impact that their actions may have on other people. They are simply thinking about themselves; what they want, want they need, and how they want to feel.

In fact, many people who commit crimes do not even view their actions as criminal and deny their culpability to the bitter end. Or, they deny both publicly and internally that they did anything wrong and try to gather a following of people to support and proclaim their innocence.

If you ever watch the shows that chronicle the time before a criminal is sentenced or the time they are spending in prison, little thought is ever given to the victims of the crime. Even if the victim or the families of the victim are allowed to speak at their trail, this changes nothing. What was stolen is rarely returned and the physical and mental injuries that are incurred by the victim can never truly be repaired. Ask someone who has been victimized by a criminal if their life was ever the same and most certainly they will answer, “No, it was not.”

Criminals do what they do motivated by whatever distorted logic they may possess. What is left after their actions is the damaged life of their victims.

Societies set up laws to deter criminals from committing crimes. Yet, this does not stop them. Courts hand out prison sentences that are felt applicable for specific crimes. Yet, that does not stop them. Religions allow people to find redemption for their crimes by confession their sin. That is just bullshit.

Like I have long said, if I was going to be a Christian I would definitely be a Catholic. In that branch of Christianity you simply go confess your sins to a priest, they give you a few Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers to do and you are good with god. Sounds great but what about the victims? Again, I call, “Bullshit.”

Have you ever been a victim of a crime? If you have then you know what I speak about. How has whatever happened to the perpetrator of the crime given you back the innocence you possessed before it happened to you? Yes, you may be glad they were sent to prison and are suffering while doing time but it does not give you back the you that you were before they did what they did to you.

It is the same scenario for people who damage our lives and cry out, “I didn’t know.” Yet, the damage still remains. So, that is no excuse.

There are some who claim, “Let’s go out and get an eye- for-an-eye.” I have known a few who have walked down that road, but then they too became criminals in the eyes of society. And, in a couple of those cases they ended doing jail time and encountering all of the bad things that are known to go on in those environments.

The answer? I don’t have one. I wish people would stop doing bad things but they probably won’t. I do know that all life begins with you and with me. Meaning, we must think of others before we do things that can knowingly or unknowingly hurt someone else or their life space. We must set an example of how people should behave by doing good things. But other than that, let’s just please stop saying and believing, “They paid for their crime.” Because they haven’t paid for, replaced, or fixed anything; at least not to the person it matters most to, the victim.

A Choice Lasts Forever

Right here, right now there area million choices you could make. Most people don’t realize this. Most people feel that they are stuck—locked into doing what they are doing. Most people follow a pattern. They live the same script over-and-over again. But, every one of us can make a choice.

Choices are everywhere. You can get up right now, go outside, stay inside, go and do something else. This, “Something else,” can be very spontaneous. It can mean going and taking a walk, going for a drive, calling somebody up, anything… But, there is one rule that applies to all choices we make. That rule is; a choice lasts forever.

Why does a choice last forever? Because whatever we choose to do sets our next set of available life circumstances into motion. Whatever we do, whatever choice we make, affects our lives. If we choose to do something with someone else, or to someone else, then karma is set in motion.

There is no choice that is free onto itself. There is no choice that does not come with a price to pay.

Some people set out to make positive choices in their life. Some people make choices that mess with other people’s lives. Both of these are choices. But, the ultimate outcome is very obvious. If you make good choices, try to do good things; the chances that good things are going to come to you are substantially better. If, on the other hand, you do bad things and mess with other people’s lives, than bad things are probably going to come to you from the choices you have made.

All of life is based upon choice.

What are you doing with your life right now? Do you have a job? If you do, how did you get that job? Probably, you needed to make some money to survive and pay your bills and pay your rent. Whatever the cause, you made a decision to go out there, apply for the job, and then you decided to make the choice to accept it, if and when it was offered. What course of events did that choice set in motion in your life? For each person it is different. Some love and some hate their jobs. Some see a job as a life-experience; others see it as a life-waste of time. But, it is what it is. You made a choice and now you are living it. Most people, never even try to reevaluate their choices. They lock themselves into them and they stay stuck.

Are you in a committed relationship? If you are that means that you chose to go out there and seek a companion. That also means that you chose to enter into that relationship. As most of us have found out, some relationships go very bad. But, it was our choice to enter into them in the first place. So, who is to blame? No one but ourselves. Other relationships, however, define our lives in a very positive manner. Again, all based upon choice.

From whatever you have previously chosen to do, bases upon whatever choices you have made in the past; here you are, this is your life. Your previous choices have defined where you find yourself now.

This is your life. You can choose to do anything based upon your life circumstance and the choices you have previously made that set your life-course in motion.

Choice is everywhere. Choice is everything. What do you choose to do now that you understand, a choice lasts forever?

Have You Hurt Somebody?

Have you hurt someone? Is what you are doing today going to hurt someone tomorrow? Did you hurt someone yesterday and is it still hurting them today?

Life begins with you. The world begins with you. Karma begins with you.

I forever find it very curious when somebody does something bad to another person and they don’t care. They continue down their path without even thinking or caring about what they have done. Some never question, “How did I damage that person’s life by what I did?” By not caring enough to ponder this, it illustrates that they do not possess the mindset to attempt to try fix what they have damaged. This is where all of the problems of the world begin.

Did hurting someone make you feel good? Did it make you feel powerful? Whatever your answer, think about this, "How has it felt when someone hurt you?"

My belief is that most people are good. They try to say and do good things and they try to help people when they see someone in need. There is another breed of person, however. They are the ones who do what they do and never even stop to think if they are hurting someone’s life by what they have done. Then, if presented with the facts that they have hurt someone, they simply justify their actions.

This is the paradox of life. Most people who hurt people and then ignore or justify their actions are either too blank or too self-involved to even care what they have done. This is a very sad state of life.

You have to decide who you are in life because what you do today sets your next set of available circumstances in motion. If you hurt someone today and you do not care, what do you think your tomorrow will look like?

One of the most important things to realize in life is that the things you have broken can be fixed if you take the time to try. Repairing what you have broken makes everything better.

The beauty or the ugliness of the world begins with you. My belief is that you should make the world more beautiful.

The Earth Still Spins

Whenever something traumatic or all-encompassing happens to you or something you care about, all of your attention is focused upon THAT. You are sad, you are upset, you are angry; you may even want to get revenge. What has happened has caused you to become very One-Pointed. But, no matter how much something that has happened to you or someone or something you care about may emotionally affect and control you, the earth still spins — the rest of the world goes on and no one else knows or even cares about how you feel.

This is one of the main things that you have to realize in life if you hope to pass through it with any level of refined consciousness. You have to understand that no matter how big the tragedy; other things are happening all across the globe that probably dwarf whatever happened to you.

Even in the case when some large catastrophe has occurred, most of the world still does not have a T.V or the Internet so even if they do hear about it, they cannot take the time to care, because they are surround by famine, by poverty, by violence, by war, or simply they need to go to work everyday to make ends meet. Thus, they cannot take the time to care.

People really get locked into their own head when they do not like what has happened to them or to someone whom they may care about. But, people can only behave in that manner, when they have the time, the money, and the emotional support to do so. They can only care when they do not have to worry about their own survival. They can only care when they have nothing better to do.

Think about this, if you have to focus on your own everyday survival would you care about the small things that you care about? Could you care about those things if you have no place to live, no food to eat, and no one to care that you care?

It really is a simply equation. And, you need to think about this before you spend the time and the emotional energy to be dominated by anything that is not Life-Essential.

Life is life. We pass though it. Things happen that we do not like to all of us.

Are you and your actions defined by those things? Or, are you more than that? Do they control you or do you control them?

Life and consciously living life on this planet is more than simply defined by how you feel about some event in the life of one person.

Seek something bigger than being focused upon you. That is the Greater Pathway.

How You Measure Time

Each of us has a moment that we call our Life-Time. In that timeframe we do what we do and then WE are gone. Much of life is spent taking care of the necessities: putting a roof over our heads, feeding our loved ones and ourselves, and taking care of business. Some of us are lucky, we like what we are doing while we are taking care of the necessities. For others, this is not the case. But, at the end of the day, how we spend our Life-Time is how we spent our Life-Time. Love it, hate it, when it is over it is over and that is that. Though we may be remembered, WE are gone. So, all that takes place after our physical existence doesn’t really matter—at least not to US.

I have discussed TIME is several places, most notability my book, Zen O’clock: Time to Be. Time and how we live it is a very interesting subject. Take, for example, a café’ that you go into all the time. The staff knows you. Then, you are gone for a month or more, you come back and they greet you as if you were never away. Why is this? Because they are locked into the time and space of the reality of the cafe, all they do is based upon that denominator. They know you from there. They see you there. Time passes and they take no notice of the time passing or your away-ness. When you return, they are simply seeing you THERE again. Thus, you were never gone.

We each want to life our Life-Time in a certain manner. We each want to make our Life-Time count. We want to live it well—be fulfilled, be happy, and exist in our own suchness. Most people are not afforded this luxury, however. They are dominated by culture, they give into the daily grind, and they go through their days in a daze; thinking of the promises of the Some-Times and the Some-Days. Thus, they are lost to True Reality and their TIME simply goes by. Others get what they want—at least so they think. But what they WANT ultimately robs their time and at the end of their days their time was gone just as everyone else’s but because they believed their needs were being answered, it took them too long to realize the lie of their own Life-Time — that getting what you want never answers the true desire of forever fulfilled time.

So, what is left? How can you live your Life-Time. How can you live your short moment of life to the fullest? How can you be HERE in the NOW? The ultimate answer is you can’t. Your human form defines you. Your are defined by the length of your Life-Time and the opportunities and availabilities presented to you in that space of reality. You are defined by where you find yourself in time, space, and culture. Thus, you are never wholly you. You are, at best, what you convince yourself to be or, more than likely, what you pretend to be.

Happy or sad… Those are temporal emotions. Fulfillment is simply having your momentary desires met. Fulfillment is not True Understanding.

Life is an illusion defined by time. When your time is up, your illusion will end.

I’m Glad You Received Your Karma For What You Did But How Does That Help Me?

As I’ve been involved with Eastern Mysticism for virtually my whole life, the subject and the study of karma has often been brought up as a source-point of conversation. I’ve written several pieces on this subject and spoken on it often. And, I can tell you, if there is one thing that everybody across the globe thinks about, no matter what religion they come from, it is the subject of karma.

Now, I am not going to go into the fact that I believe most people really do not understand the subtle levels of karma. But, I will say, think about it before you really try to apply it as a Life-Science, because it I complicated.

That being said, I believe that each of us who has been wronged by somebody thinks, (either out loud or to our self), “Just wait. You’ll get yours…” And, generally people who are selfishly motivated or do bad things have their karma catch up with them. That’s just the way life works.

Now, once I again, I could go into all kinds of discourse about who or what is actually wrong — because, (in many, if not most cases), good or bad is only a point of view. But, I think we can all agree that BAD is beyond just what one person thinks it is. BAD is done by someone who is only thinking about themselves and not caring about the affect or effect they are having on others. For example, stealing something is BAD. Hurting someone is BAD. Breaking someone’s something is BAD. And, no matter what your motivation or excuse for doing what you do, we can all agree that certain things are agreed upon as BAD.

So, we get to the central subject of this discourse. That person did something BAD. They got what was coming to them. But, then what? Yeah, they may be hurting from receiving their karma. But, did them getting hurt give you back what was stolen from you? Did it replace what you lost? Did it fix what was broken in your life? Probably not. Maybe it strokes your ego or your intellect to think, “They got theirs.” But, does that make your life any better? At best, that is simply Mind-Stuff. It does not take you back in time and fix what that person took from your life.

This is the whole thing about karma, (and the misinterpretation thereof), people may get what’s coming to them but that doesn’t fix what they broke.

Mad At Yourself Equals Mad At Them

Have you ever found yourself mad at something that you did? …Angry that you did something that did not turn out the way you had hoped?
 
Have you ever been mad at Life? Mad at your life-circumstances? Mad at the cards life has dealt you?
 
In these cases, many people do not get angry with themselves and state, “I really screwed up!” Instead, they get mad at god, another person who interacted with them in the situation… Or, in some case, they get mad at whatever person is sitting next to them — a person who had nothing to do with anything. But, they are closest one at hand, so they receive the brunt of the anger. Have you ever done this?

There are a lot of frustrating things that happen in life. I could go into a very long list of them here, but I will not. We all know what they are and that they are unique to where each of us finds ourselves in life. Some are small. Some are big. Some last only a moment, while others come to define our entire existence.

The thing about anger and dissatisfaction is that, it is a constant in life. If you want your life to be a certain way, if you want certain things, if you want people to behave in a specific manner, even if you want everything to be better; then, life is going to throw you curve balls. 

We could go into the whole spiritual perspective here… “If you don’t desire than you are free.” “If you let go than all is perfect.” "If you don’t do anything then nothing is left undone." And, stuff like that… But, most of life is not like that. Even a person who is considered to be very spiritual, desires their life to unfold in a, “Desired,” pattern. When it does not, dissatisfaction occurs.

But now, let’s look at what you do with dissatisfaction… 

Sometimes when you are face-to-face with the person or persons you considered caused the dissatisfaction, you lash out. You tell them how you feel. You blame them. It is their fault. So, you feel justified in whatever actions you take.

Then, there is the other case… You are mad! You are mad at life. You are mad at your situation. You are mad at the fact that you did what you did. You are mad that you don’t know how to change or to fix the place in life you find yourself in. Maybe you feel it was your family, your friends, or eve god who set all of this in motion. Maybe you even realize that it was you who made a choice that set the circumstance in motion. But, there you are. Someone is there next to you, and BAM, you lash out. You get mad. Maybe you yell. Maybe you scream. Maybe you break things, punch a hole in a wall, throw a tantrum. These are all reactions that take place every day, across the globe. 

The primary element in all of this is that it is you. It is you who is angry for whatever reason. As it is you, it can only be you who defines the reason why. As such, it is only you chart a course for what you do with this anger.

What is the answer? Well, this perhaps is the biggest problem. Life is an interactive place. But, the interactions in life are all defined by the people you interact with. Some people possess even-keeled temperaments.  Some people are reactive. 

We could go into all kinds of childhood and personalities studies to determine why people behave the way that do. But, at the end of the day, how they act and how they act-out is how they do what they do. How you do, is what you. 

To find any kind of an answer… And, I don’t know that there really is an absolute answer… We must go to the source. What that sourcepoint is, “Caring.” Not, “Caring,” in a positive way. But, caring that things are not going the way you want them to go. 

You, “Care,” around something. You want something to be a certain way. They, “Care,” about something. All the people you interact with want something to be a certain way. 

Now, I could say, “Don’t care,” and that would solve everything. And, some people can turning their caring off. But, the fact is, we all care what we care about. So, that is not going to work. At eats not for most of us… 

Thus, the answer comes from a much deeper place. A place where we must earn to take control over ourselves. For some, this is not an easy place to find. As most people in this modern world have passed through their entire life with no sense of discipline. They have felt what they have felt, they have done what they have done, and that is that. But, are you that person? Can you be more than that type of person?

That’s the ultimate question? Can you be more? Can you control you? 

It takes practice…

So, here’s the deal, we all want what we want. We all get dissatisfied when we don’t get what we want. Large or small, we, as human beings, all feel the same thing. How we react to what we feel is what defines us as a person. 

You can yell and scream, you take things out on other people. You can get mad at yourself an punch the wall. You can do whatever you decide to do. Or, you see mistakes, you can view the undesired life results, you can take the curve balls that life throws us all and instead of exploding use them as a means to do something else, do something new. 

Yeah, your life may be a mess because of it. But, it is still you life. NO matter where you find yourself, you can still do something. …Something to make your life and the life of those around you better. You can choose to become more than emotion you are feeling right now. 

Each of us is responsible for our own actions. Even if it was someone else who set a course of events in motion in our lives, it is each of us who decides how to react. Yeah, sometimes things are pretty messed up. Yeah, sometimes we have that innate desire to lash out. But, this is where personal control equaling refined consciousness comes into play. We must decide to be MORE/BETTER than any negative situation we find ourselves in.

What If You Didn't Know

Whenever you are upset about something, (no matter what that something is), there is one common denominator to the equation; you know.

Think about this, what if you didn’t know?

If you didn’t know then you would not be upset about whatever it is you are upset about. And, the only reason you are upset is because you know about something that makes you angry, unhappy, sad, depressed, or whatever. Something OUT THERE is causing you to lose your peace.

How many times in your life has something been going on for a day, a week, a month, a year and you didn’t know about it? Through all that time, your life was fine. Then, you found out about it and you became enraged. Though it was already going on, you didn’t know, so you didn’t care.

It is an obvious expression of life for us to be unhappy about something that we are unhappy about. But, the main point is, all life is based on you. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean that the person next to you will not like it. Just as because something makes you angry does not mean that the same thing would make anyone else angry.

That being said, there are things that anger us all. But, it is essential to note that your life and your emotions are defined by you. How you decide to feel about any particular issues is also defined by you. There are obvious things that would make any of us mad if that THING was directed in our direction. But, how we choose to deal with that anger makes us who we are. This choice of dealing is also how we each set the next set of events into motion in our lives and the lives of others involved with us or involved with the issue.

Anger only equals so much. Understanding this, how you deal with your anger is what defines you as a person.

Do you internalize and simply sit around mad? That is understood to not be psychologically good for a person.

Do you react and take over-exaggerated reactions? Meaning, do you do something destructive when you get mad? That’s not good either because that type of reactive action can have devastating effects upon your life.

Do you take concise positive action to undo the negative or destructive actions of others? That’s probably the best action to take, if you decided to take action at all. But, that’s not easy. Most people who do something that will make you angry do not care how you feel or they would not have done it in the first place.

If they cared, they would care about you. If someone doesn’t care about the effect of what they are doing may be having on another person, or the greater scheme of things, that means they only care about themselves. And sadly, this is one of the biggest faults of the human condition; selfishness and not caring.

So here, we get back to the main point—what if you didn’t know?

Is there a way to erase your knowing? I think if this were possible, most of us would erase a lot of the things that have happened to us or the horrible things we have seen, heard about, or have lived. But, I do not think that it is doable, at least not in this day or age. So, we are stuck. We can pretend that we don’t know, but that is only pretending—we still know.

Ultimately, all we can do is do what we can do, as consciously as possible, and then let it go. Though letting go is, “Not knowing.” But, if we can let it go long enough maybe the bad things or the bad people that have made us angry will fade away, captured by their own negative actions.

People Don't Want to Know the Truth

People don’t want to know the truth. They want to believe what they want to believe.

People don’t investigate the truth. They make up their mind and then follow a course that allows them to hold on to and not diminish their beliefs.

How many times have you heard a person say, “I was wrong in my beliefs and I am sorry that I spread the falsehood.” How many times have you heard a person exclaim, “Sorry, I believed the wrong thing and I did something to hurt you. How can I fix that?” Probably not very many.

People don’t do it. They enter a subject based on their programing, what they have been told to believe, their hope to impress someone with their beliefs, and the desired outcome based upon their beliefs. That’s how it is. But, that does not make anyone’s beliefs valid.

The joke comedian George Carlin used to tell, “How many Catholics have gone to hell because they ate meat on Friday,” provides a good view into belief. For those of you who may not know, it was a Catholic tradition to not eat red meat on Fridays. In fact, it was considered a sin. Then, that tradition was overturned.

If traditions can be overturned by something as established as the Catholic Church, what does that say about your personal beliefs about a subject, a person, a religion, a politician, a war, a sporting event, a whatever?

Do you want to know the truth or do you want to believe based in your perceived reality? If you truly want to know the truth you must let go of your beliefs.

Momentary Reality

I always find it interesting in life how WE get so locked into the momentary reality of our lives. And, not in a good way. Not in the spiritual way of being in a natural state in the NOW. No, it is much more emotion and ego based.

Periodically in life, most people enter into a space that is overwhelmingly based in emotion. This is commonly due to the fact that either something great has happened so they are filled with an overwhelming sense of self-worth or something they don’t like has occurred and they are all encompassed with being upset.

This is a condition of life. Most people do.

In fact, when these sources of emotional life occur one of two events commonly rise out from it.

1. The person who is feeling it attempts to drag as many people into their life-situation as possible. From this, they experience a sense of power and command over others, as they are directing their action.

2. In other cases, people who aren’t even the person that is actually experiencing what is happening choose to become engulfed with the feelings and the sensations of the other person simple so that they get that adrenal rush. From this, the two or more of them can keep escalating their feelings be they positive or negative by bouncing their perspectives back and forth.


Though this is a common condition of life, this is where the path of consciousness comes into play. Because those who choose to walk the path of consciousness, the spiritual path if you will, at least try to not be guided and defined by emotion. The reason for this is that emotions, particularly strong ones, are very temporary. Though they are temporary, they are very addictive. This is why you see people out there who are continually falling in and out of love, attempting to argue and cause controversy wherever they go, and so on. They do this, because they have come to find that when something extremely positive or negative is going on, they feel ALIVE — they feel they have power, they feel they have a purpose.

Another factor related to this is that power, like emotion, is temporary. Power, like emotion, is based in ego. Therefore any situation based in the power of emotion is ruled and defined by one specific mindset, one person. Therefore they are the one in control. And, if they are in control, they are the one to set the tone of the moment. So, other’s are simply following their lead. They are not being in control of their own life and life-time. This is where mod mentality is born — being a part of something to get a boost of that adrenalized energy. And, we have all see the bad things that rise from mob mentality.

Ultimately, emotion is based in a specific person’s appraisal of a specific situation in a given moment in time. For example, what may make one person feel great will make another person feel very bad. So, there is no commonality to emotion. Why? Because emotion is based in personal definition. Emotion is based in ego. Emotion is based in like and dislike. I am, you are not. You are, I am not. I like this, you do not. You like that, I do not.

The problem with emotion is that people do a lot of bad things based in it. All anyone has to do is look, not only at themselves, but at the whole evolution of human and view the things that were done, based in emotion, that later people were very sorry about.

Though action(s) taken in a moment of emotion may seem very right and empowering in that moment — actions enacted due to emotion are the ones that most commonly will later be seen to have actually damaged the evolution of your life.

The ultimate understanding is, Reality is Momentary. What you feel now, you will not feel in a few moments. The things you think are all so important now, will not matter in a few days or weeks. Who you see yourself as now, will change. The things that empowered you now and you take action on, may very well come back to haunt you later in life. With this as a basis of understanding, it can be concluded, it is far better to let the emotions of the moment be noticed, even experienced, but never allowed to control who and what you truly are.

Ultimately tomorrow is based upon what you do today. If you seek a life defined by emotional upheaval, then you will always be chasing the high of emotion. If you seek a life based in peace, and a future not defined by things down yesterday, you choose to not be dominated and control by your emotions and the emotions of others. From this, you become free, because emotions will not dominate you. You will see any emotion for what it is, Momentary Reality.

The Road You're On

The road you’re on is obvious. What you’re doing while you’re on that road is obvious. What you have to do to stay on that road is obvious. Where that road will lead you is also obvious. Though this is fact, many people pretend that is not the case.

In life, it is very obvious that what you are doing now will lead you to your next set of available circumstances. Many people avoid this fact, which is why so many people end up in a place where they never wanted to exist. Because of this fact, you must ask yourself, “Is the road you’re on leading you to where you want to be?”

When you ask yourself where you want to ultimately end-up, this is where things get a little bit complicated. Why? Because we all want something from our life. We all want to end-up somewhere. We all want to do what we ultimately what to do. And to get there, we have to take certain actions. But, there is a very big difference between being guided down our life road by ego, desire, and thirst for power, over that of choosing to consciously enter a path and then follow through with what it take to obtain our end-goal.

This is why so many lives become corrupted or end unfulfilled. This is also why so many people are injured by people who do not care what about the affect they are having on others as they are only focused upon their own end-goal.

The fact of life is, if all you are thinking about is yourself and/or how you feel, you road will forever be troubled as you will injure others on your path to self-attainment.

Ask yourself. “Does what you are doing help me, help others, or both?” Now, turn off your ego and re-ask yourself the same question. With the ego turned off, the true answer is always self-evident.

Remember, just because you want something does not mean you can or should have it. Wanting is the way of the world. Knowing what you should have is the path of consciousness.

Listen To How You Walk

If you ever want to gain immediate insight into an individual's personality, listen to how they walk. Are their steps quiet and precise or do they stomp across the floor? This tells you a lot about a person.

How do you walk?

Have you ever even taken the time to ponder that question?

If you walk quietly, you are confident and secure within yourself. If, on the other hand, you stomp up stairs and stomp across the floor, you are attempting to bring attention to yourself. Here, look at me! I need your attention.

In the martial arts, practitioners are trained in the ability of exact footing placement. As each move you make, each technique you perform, must be very exact—all step are made very consciously.

Walking softly is refinement. Walking hard and deliberate, is not.

Who are you? What do you want to portray?

You're Either Doing Something Positive or You're Doing Something Negative. But, Which is Which?

The fact of life is, we each set our destinies on a course and we are either going to do something positive or we are going to do something negative with our lives. Certainly, there are a million variants within both of those extremes. And, we each do both positive and negative things in our Life-Time. But, there is the course, either positive or negative, that we set ourselves upon and then we continually return to that path. That path, which is decided upon totally by you, is what defines who you are and how you will be remembered in this place we call, "Life."

There is a lot of negativity in the world. Sometimes it is very obvious. Other times it is much more subtle. There are those people who hate and criticize everything. Yet, they do nothing positive or creative with their own life.

There is also the arm-chair quarterback. It is very easy to sit and watch T.V. and believe that you could play the football game better than the players and judge it better than the referee. But, you do nothing to get on the field and actually prove that you can play the game.

It is kind of like the German term, "Schadenfreude," where people take pleasure in other people's misery. Do you do that? A lot of people do.

You know what is or isn't negative. The simple equitation is, "Is what you are doing or saying taking something away from another person or is what you are doing or saying going to affect another person or person(s) in a negative manner?"

The other side of the issue is those who thrive on positivity. They see the best in everyone and everything. Though people who embrace this mindset sometimes come off as naive. Who would you rather be around?

Negativity, criticism, hating the world, or whatever you want to call it, is a developed trait. Yes, we are each born with a personality, then we are shaped by our socioeconomic and cultural environment, but then it is us who chooses to do what we do with those formative factors.

The problem is, so many people are so dissatisfied with their own lives that they are attracted to the dark side. They prefer to embrace the negativity rather than working towards making their own life and the world a better place. This attitude is the sourcepoint for those who follow cult leaders who preach death and destruction, (and/or anything else negative).

It is very simple to make the choice to be positive. If you catch yourself being critical or negative; stop it! Don't make excuses for why you are doing what you are doing. Negative is negative.

Though being positive may take a little more work — especially in this crazy modern world we live in where we are bombarded by the power hungry people attempting to overpower us at every turn. You can be positive.

If you make positivity a part of you. If you catch yourself and shift your mindset whenever you are feeling critical or negative. If you stop making excuses for doing what you do — positivity will emerge.

A previous asked, "Who would you rather be around?" A person who is passionate about positivity or a negative being? The answer is pretty obvious. BE the person you would like to BE around.

The Process

In Zen there is always a lot of focus placed on the process. Whether this is meditation, meditative walking, making tea, or painting calligraphy, no act is ever just done. Instead, it is systematically prepared for and then precisely actualized. Practitioners of Zen feel that this is the best way to add to the overall experience, which ultimately leads them towards nirvana.

Most people simply jump through their life. They do what they do and that is that. Any planning is more based upon financial parameters than any level of consciousness.

Lord knows, I’ve written a lot about this subject—the subject of Consciously Doing as opposite to Simply Doing. Though both can be a process of enlightenment, if you know how to live them, for many it is more beneficial to begin isolating a few areas of your life and start adding consciousness to their doing. From this, life becomes more refined, understood, and conscious.

These, “Doing,” things can be very simple and very ordinary. For example, if you drink coffee in the morning, instead of simply getting up and pouring it from the pot, take a little time to grind the beans, take a moment to pour the water into the coffee maker, then, if you have the time, watch the coffee brew. When there is enough for a cup, pour it into your chosen cup, sit down, and consciously enjoy this moment of enlightenment.

Though purists may say, “Coffee? No way! Only the teas ceremony and the brewing of tea is the pure Zen path.” But, as anyone walking the path of consciousness understands, consciousness is consciousness. If something/anything, even brewing coffee helps to focus and refine your consciousness, it is all good.

You see, Consciously Doing can be done anywhere, doing anything.

It is your life. How do you want to live it?

This is Reality

Reality is very simple. What you see is what you get. Though it is very simple, religions and superstitions attempt to feed all kinds of nonsense into it.

Religious and superstitions tell you all kinds of things about all kinds of altered states. They speak about this equals that. And, if you do this you get that. They detail that if this happens, it means that will occur.

Then, there are book written about religions and superstitions to make everything that is stated it them some kind of holy proclamation. From the writing of these books, those of later generations can quote them and claim that what they are speaking is the truth, based upon what holy knowledge has been written in the past.

Some people want to/need to believe all this nonsense. They are, in fact, programmed into believing it from the time of their birth. But, what is the difference between superstation and religion?

One person’s superstition is another person’s religion.


Think about how easy and free life would be if you just let all of this nonsense go and experience reality the way reality actually is; what you see is what you get…

Make Things Better

I am commonly asked the question, “Hey Scott, what do you think I should do?” My answer is always the same. And, it is always quite simple. “Make things better.”

What does this mean? Well, just like the answer, it is very simple. Wherever you go, what ever you do — do what you can to make things better.

Now, I am not talking about some selfish act that makes your own life better. Nor am I saying do something based on some stupid religious ideology that your preacher told you was the way of god. What I am saying is that if you see something that needs fixing, fix it. If you see someone that needs help, help them.

For example, if you are in a store and one of the pieces of clothing has fallen on the floor, pick it up, put it back on its hanger, and put it back on the rack. If something has fallen off of a shelf, put it back in its place. If you are walking down the street and someone has dropped something, pick it up off of the ground for them. And, these are just a couple of examples.

Situations occur in each of our lives where we see things that we can do to make things better. Do them. It is as simple as that.

“Hey Scott, what do you think I should do?”

“I think you should make things better.”

Human Beings Are Very Self-Centered Creatures

The reality of life is, human beings are a very self-centered creature. They only think about themselves. When they do think about others, they do it to equal their own desired ends.

Now, I do not mean to sound cynical here. Because, in fact, I am not. But, the truth be told, the only concern most people have is about themselves and those they have direct feelings for.

Why do they care about people they have feelings for? Because the see them as their possessions. And, they do not want their possession to become damaged.

Let’s think about this for a moment… Remember the last time that the injury somebody incurred really moved you. Maybe you saw it on the news or read about it. You felt really sorry for the person. But, then a week, a month, a year passes — do you ever think about that person’s injuries anymore? Probably not. If the memory does arise in your mind, it is only for a moment and it does not touch you the way it once did.


With the earthquake and tsunami that recently occurred in Japan fresh in our minds, attention has gone to the Japanese people. It is discussed how there is no looting taking place, as is commonly the case in western and middle eastern societies the moment something goes awry. There is no looting because they are a group-orientated people. This may be true. We are all indoctrinated by our cultures. But, the reality is, it has already been proven that the company responsible for the nuclear reactors has lied and has sent its workers into the plants, to attempt to control the leakage, without the proper equipment to even monitor the levels of radiation they are encountering. How, “Group orientated,” is that? And, who knows what other falsehood they have spued? Only time will tell.

Why have they done this? Because they only care about themselves. They only care about the image of their company and the image of Japan on the world stage. And, I will not even go into the amount of lies that comes out of the mouths of government officials.

Religious leaders are no better. They do all kinds of things to stir up the pot and create disharmony directed against other religious or other sects within their own religion. They do this, in the name of God. I mean, God is on our side; right? Our side and nobody else’s… I could go on-and-on about this, but the news does it for me. So, I will not.


On an interpersonal level, think about the people you have met in your life. How many of them were out for themselves? Out for themselves to get ahead, get what they wanted; and they do not care about the cost their actions have on others? I think a good percentage of the people, we have each met in our lives, have been like that.

Some people seem very good. They teach for small money, simply to help the children. They donate their time to animal shelters. The give blood to help the injured. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera… But, why are they doing it?


Do you think that the teacher who earns far less wage than they deserve is not receiving some sort of reward for teaching? Does teaching not put them in a position of power over students? Are they not told by all their friends, what a good job they are doing — truly helping society. And, so on.

People who help the less fortunate in developing countries, ghettos, the reservation, get to feel that they are doing something for the greater good. That they are helping humanity.

And, this list can go on and on.

Even people who appear to be doing something good for no reason, have a reason. You may not know the reason. But, if you look below the surface, it can be seen.

For better or for worse, this is simply the reality of life, human beings are a very self-centered creature.

Why do you do what you do?

Trapped By Circumstance

In 1983, when I was in graduate school, they had re-released the movie, Last Tango in Paris. As I had never seen the movie upon its original release, (I was too young as it was rated X), I decided to go and see it as it had become a modern classic. It was playing at only a few theaters around L.A. One of them was on Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills.

I had a few hours to kill this one early afternoon before my classes were to begin in the evening. I remember I invited my girlfriend but she was mad at me about something. I had probably done something she didn’t like. In any case, I went by myself.


I saw the movie and was on my way out when the man who took my ticket at the door, asked, “Are you Scott?”

As it turns out, he was a guy I went to high school with. In fact, in high school, we were friends. We often walked to school together.

In high school, he was one of those really smart people. I mean, you could just sense his intelligence. I really felt the guy was going to go far.

Me, on the other hand, I was anything but a good student. My mind was far more fixated upon my work with the Sufi Order, the Integral Yoga Institute, playing music, traveling up and down the coast, and following a few other abstract roads to spirituality that most people did not understand.

When we were in high school, he lived in a bungalow apartment with his parents a few blocks from where I lived. His father was a longhaired projectionist at a movie theater in Hollywood. That seemed like a pretty cool job back then. Plus, he had long hair, which was more than unusual among parents of that era. It meant that he, “Understood,” and that he was cool.


But, more than that, his father owned one of the first synthesizers in the home that I had ever seen. He was pursing a career as an electronic musician.

I had long been enthralled with electronic music since its birth. His father was a true inspiration to me. Wow, I thought, you could actually have your own synthesizer in the 1970s. As soon as I could afford it, I bought one. My first synthesizer was a Roland SH 3.

In the lobby of the theater that day, after we got reacquainted for a moment or two, he asked me what I was doing in life. I told him I had spent some time in India, was in graduate school, was teaching the martial arts, was writing, pursing music, and so on. I had no intention of creating this affect but I could see his face drop. He, in fact, made the common, “You’re doing all that and I just work here at a theater.” I guess it didn’t help, but I explained to him I thought that he would go on to college after high school and do something big. “There’s still time, man!” I exclaimed. I mean, we were only twenty-four years old.


For those of you who may not know, here in California, in the 1970s, up to the early 1980, the community colleges were virtually free to attend if you were a California resident and had a high school diploma. All you had to do was buy your books. Anybody could and should go. I did.

I mean look at me, the bad student, who was far more focused on other aspects of living life. I went through the community college system, transferred to a university, and had ended up in graduate school. But, my one time friend never choose that path. He had followed in his father’s footsteps.


Now, this may be a bit hard to understand for you who grew up in other places. But, in Hollywood, there were the haves and the have not’s. There were those who lived in the Hollywood Hills, some of them in virtual palatial mansions. And then, there were those of us who lived south of Hollywood Blvd. Like my friend and I. We were the ones born of the working class. Not the children of producers, directors, industry moguls, rock stars, deejays, and movie stars.

“The Haves,” whether they were smart, talented, or not, seemed to be presented with a path paved in gold. The others of us… Well, we were not.


Except in one case… A situation that truly motived me in life.

Back when I was in school, junior high was three years: seventh through ninth grade and high school was three years: tenth through twelfth grade. So, our first year at Hollywood High was tenth grade. I know it has changed since then...

The first year, there was this guy, who lived up in the hills, who scored with a couple of the prettiest freak girls on campus. We referred to ourselves as, “Freaks,” back then because we had long hair and were more or less ostracized from society. You know, we were the drugies and the etc…


This guy dropped out in the beginning of eleventh grade. One day, early in the twelfth grade, I see the guy. His long locks are gone and he is wearing a green jumpsuit. He had become a janitor at our school.

Now, certainly there is nothing wrong with being a janitor. It is a needed profession. But, not only did this guy come from money, his future could have been joyous, if he had only played the game. He didn’t. Thus, the guy who had it all in tenth grade, by the twelfth grade, his road to the stars was over.


Now, believe me, being who I was and involved in the numerous off campus activities that I was, I had many times pondered dropping out of high school. Seeing this guy, however, sealed the deal. I would finish high school and do something with my life.

But back to the main subject... After we spoke for a few minutes, I left the theatre. I never saw my one time friend again. At least not yet...

I really felt for the guy, however, because he was a good dude that could have truly succeeded in life. But, he was trapped by circumstance. I’m sure he needed to get a job after high school to help pay the bills. There was probably no time for college or pursing whatever dreams he had.


In my life, I taught yoga and the martial arts. So, I could make money while remaining more or less free to pursue my life goals. Sadly, it is not this way for everybody. They are trapped by circumstance.

I believe that we need to think about this whenever we question why someone has ended up where they have ended up.

Locked Into Your Own Mind

Let's face facts. People live in their own heads—their own minds. You think the way you think. I think the way I think. And, we each think things that only we can understand.

Moreover, each person thinks and experiences you differently than any other person. I mean, how many times have people described you to other people and they were completely wrong? They didn't get YOU at all. Yet, that is how they perceive you. But, another person will hold a completely different impression about you.

Why is this? It is because people base their opinions upon their own perception of reality.

Furthermore, think about how many times you have projected a reality onto something that you expected to happen. You planned to say this, do that, you thought a particular situation would unfold, but the situation never materialized. It was all in your head.

These mind-things are not right or wrong. They are simply the way it is.

But, what this style of mind-stuff behavior does cause in life, is problems. Why? Because each person thinks and they experience life differently—even if they are living in the same place, at the same point in time. From these individualized perceptions, conflict is born.

This may be the reality of life. But, it is a reality that you do not have to take part in or be defined by if you do not choose to be. Why? Because that's the point, your life and your mind is defined by you.

For example, how many times have people asked you, “What did you mean by that?” When you thought you were very clear in your statement. Or, how many times have they wondered if you have had an ulterior motive for what you said, and they have thought-and-thought about your words in order to try and figure out their meaning? They did this when you meant exactly what you said or you meant nothing at all. You just said something.

This goes to the perception of reality, as well. Due to our undying mind-stuff, we each perceive the events that shape our reality in unique manner. Though we may be living at the same point in history, we each are who we are, we each have our own mind. Thus, what happens in our time and space reality is perceived, contemplated, and understood in a manner that is only wholly defined by ourselves.

The fact is, some people are highly delineated by the perceptions that they hold in their mind and they are
very locked into their own thought process. They define life by how they see things, what they feel about them, and the definitions that they place upon these perceptions. These people are very locked into their own mind and their own thought process. These are usually individuals who either live a very solitaire life or those who have developed the mindset that they are somehow superior to other people.

There are others, however, who are more open and decide not to be dominated by how they see or perceive life-things, because they understand the transient-ness of life, emotions, desires, and ideologies. In either of these cases, an individual’s personality and how they consciously choose to live their life defines their reality.


So, what is the point of this? How locked into your own mind are you? And, how does this effect and affect your reality? It's your mind. Only you can answer this question. How do you want to experience your life?

I'll Have a Scott Shaw

I was having lunch with some friends a few months ago and one of the people ordered an Arnold Palmer. I asked, “What's that?” They thought it was very funny that I didn't know what this drink was as it has, apparently, become very well known. They suggested I have one. But, I'm not really a fan of iced tea, even with lemonade, so I declined.

I was having lunch with a friend a couple of days ago and she also ordered an Arnold Palmer. I told her the story, she laughed, and asked, “What would be the drink if they named one after you?”

It's kind of funny actually. Since I was a young child I have been concocting drinks. When I was six I combined ginger ale and grape soda. It tasted so good I was all set to go and trademark it. Of course, I didn't. I was only six.

Then there is vodka with orange and cranberry juice. I came up with that idea in Bangkok back in maybe '84. When I came back to the States, however, I realized this was long before most bartenders had cranberry juice behind the bar. Though it is fairly findable now. So, every now and then I order one.

The only downside of this drink is, you don't taste the vodka so you can tend throw back a few more than you should.

Then there is the always handy extra large coffee at 711. Add in three mochas and three half-n-halfs. Drink it with a straw. That is a drink I accessed many times before hitting out and into the night.

At Starbucks I used to drink a Grande, triple shot, heavy crème, latte. That would get my heartrate and my cholesterol going. But, I've since moved onto other drinks at Starbucks.

I guess the main drink that I would assign the title of, “Scott Shaw,” would be red wine, on the rocks, with two lemon twists.

Normally, if I am having dinner in a restaurant, I will set up with a nice bottle of Italian red wine. But, there is those times when you don't want to drink that much -- for whatever reason... In those cases, I order one of the above.

Most waiters have never heard of red wine on the rocks, let alone with two lemon twists, so they tends to give me a bit of a weird look. But, those who come to know me, don't think twice. And, those who have tasted it, tend to like it.

So, next time you need a drink in a bar or restaurant, order a Scott Shaw Happy