Archive for spirituality

I crave equanimity.. sometimes.

Posted in Culture, Philosophy with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2010 by 99ppp

I recall as a teen seeing those infomercials on Transcendental meditation. They were usually quoting studies on how they calmed the mind and lower stressed and I was fascinated by it. I knew little or nothing on eastern religions, yet it seemed that they were peaceful, and even as a youngster, I tended to analyze situations from a myriad of angles before making a decision. The line between thinking and worrying is very fine, so I was fascinated by it. My mother got a bit panicked, thinking it was some cult (some might argue that it might be). Yet this started my exploration into equanimity, meditation in particular, and pined for the ability to remain cool under pressure, and even handed in stressful situations. The journey has been sporadic and elusive, as I am both attracted to equanimity and skeptical simultaneously. Spock-like stoicism seemed attractive at one point to one curious of the world around him and gravitating towards science.

Dispassion, objectivity, perhaps this was the way to stop craving, wanting, pining. Buddhism is described as the middle way, evenhanded, as any leanings could could make one suffer. While the Four Noble truths resonated with some part of me, the eightfold path didn’t as it sounded pretty moralistic despite I may agree with many of the principles. Then there is the apparent paradox of wishing suffering to end. I’ve read enough commentary, and several books on Buddhism attempting to reconcile them, making exceptions adding more and more words to what should become simpler, without being simplistic. Detachment or attachment, indifference or commitment. Both seemed right and wrong.

Paradoxes fascinate me, I eventually ventured into Taoism through a wonderful book called The Tao of Physics. Connecting both my interests, I found Taoism somewhat more flexible, allowed for mystery, allowing for harmony and flow rather than stoic discipline. There seems to be a sense of humour in the Tao Te Ching, telling the reader the Tao cannot be defined, and yet the book attempts to describe it. Sometimes the passages read like fortune cookies or a conversation with your drunk uncle.Buddhism still held many important ideas, many shared with Taoism, yet seemed a little rigid, and more structured. However, I could not dismiss it.

Meditation practices are pivotal to both traditions so I began to investigate how to do so. I lost interest in Transcendental Meditation, and began to dabble in ways to experience thought-less, ego-less mindspace which seemed to promise some respite from my constant overthinking and fretting. I even used “Theta wave” cassettes which did hold some promise, experienced some lucid dreams, but didn’t like the idea to use technology to get there. I believe these states of mind are accessible to all and not reliant on some gadgetry or decades sitting in a cave. Eventually, I decided on Dr. Herbert Benson’s “Relaxation Response”, a simple secular form of meditation. Then came Zen.

The Zen tradition intrigued me since it was a mix of Buddhist practice and Taoist philosophy. I’ve read several books on the subject over the last two decades, but have yet to sit zazen, a form of meditation with eyes open. What boggles my mind is that the most powerful transcendent experiences came to me while doing the most mundane tasks. The first one came while washing the dishes. The second, while cropping my hair with an electric clipper. I lost my complete sense of self, everything was effortless. Then I just discovered there was no dishes to wash, no hair to cut. I didn’t do anything. A verb with no noun. Cutting, washing. I am now persuaded that the key to awareness is attention. To WHAT one pays attention to matters little, whether it’s sweeping, a mantra, a prayer, counting the breath, or a yoga pose. Conversely, it appears that these states are so elusive because we are continously distracted. I still struggle reconciling the irony that becoming so focused on one thing can make one dissipate from everything else, yet seem connected to everything else. Maybe there is no else, just everything.

Advertisements

Expressing Doubts

Posted in Culture, Media, Philosophy, Relationships with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 24, 2009 by 99ppp

I looked at the name of the blog and I still feel it’s sincere: 99% Pure Propaganda. That is what all media is, including this blog, even if an expression is authentic and sincere, since there is always an intent when sharing it. I sense we are all influenced by others to various degrees, whether we like to or not. Sometimes we express ourselves in direct opposition to some perceived media triggering rebellion, yet the influence there exists, even when disagreeing since we care enough to dissent. Others wish to perpetuate ideas (memes) just to see how effective they are. Should we stop? Has language become meaningless? Why don’t I just close down the blog, and by doing so reduce the noise of the internet?

My long hiatus from writing has been a painful one, and it was getting tougher to write since my reevaluation post, since I am not exempt from reevaluating, and it seemed premature to share any impressions in a state of doubt. I sense I am not alone and many of us are in doubt, and we are afraid to express it, fearing we’ll be wrong and hoping to be certain.  This has dogged me for a few months, not knowing what to write about, what is important, and at the end of it all, who cares anyways? People are just bombarded with information nowadays, with the web, cable tv, texts, cellphones and so on. The perceived insignificance of my voice was dwarfed by the chasm of misunderstanding that can be plainly seen, both in real life and on the web. I don’t mean this post to be a whining lamentation in my writing drought, but an attempt at an authentic exploration on my difficulties.

We seek certainty, we seek meaning. Who wants to hear other’s doubts? It might ignite my doubts, erode the firmament of my convictions and beliefs. It is rather unpleasant, yet perhaps it seems necessary to share it, both doubts and convictions. We’ve followed leaders, great philosophers, heroes, parents and role models, hanged on to their every word, followed their example.. but to what? We’ve looked for certainty from those who’ve “succeeded” yet what is success? When have “we arrived”? I don’t like neat answers, since often it can create a rut of dogma in ones’s mind.

So is the only choice to stand on quick sand, to have no certainty? Our words themselves have showed to be unstable, untrustworthy. but we have no choice but to uses them, since they allow us in a limited way to share our human experience. In that chaotic cacophony we may stumble upon a pearl, a relationship however fleeting, in what we sense without question to be inately human. While we each might be a small part of some greater whole, it is no justification to consciously disengage. We are engaged whether we like it or not, but the nature of that engagement relies much on how we consciousy relate, instead of allowing the momentum of social conditioning to pull us towards normalization.

I believe there can be an optimal balance between listening and expressing. Often, in a world where many people are shouting over one another, thinking their point of view is the sole “correct” one, can disuade some to put their voices out there. They have a humility many of the former can use, yet their silence can also be alienating. Their art, their music, their expressions and opinions of beauty, ugliness, fairness, injustice, love, anger and humanity are hungering to be heard. There is no freedom of expression unless it is exercised.

Some convictions remain though. We need to create media instead of solely absorbing it. Express both our doubts and convictions. To remain silent is resignation. To abdicate responsability in the formation of culture. to not discuss, express debate.. and for most LISTEN. LOOK at the media we consume mindlessly. We may believe it is merely escape, but often it can be subtly influencing us. That’s why it becomes more and more important to look at all media critically, including the persistant beliefs we use within ourselves to endoctronate us.

The truth may be volatile , yet we feel its there: The Tao that can be defined is not the eternal Tao. Perhaps we can’t encapsulate it neatly, perhaps it simply flows through us.. and sometimes it can flow through our endoctronations, biases, bigotries that shackle us and filter “the truth” from our senses and escape to the other side, to another mind, creating relationship, however fleeting it may be.

Instruction Manual for Life

Posted in Culture, Philosophy, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on January 12, 2009 by 99ppp

Well worth a peek, good food for thought. [Vid: 8:01min]

Animation by TheraminTrees and QualiaSoup

Letter to a friend

Posted in Culture, Love, Philosophy, Poetry, Relationships with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 14, 2008 by 99ppp

Have I met you before?
Do you remember me?


One night,
While I slept
You knocked on that door
The door of my perceived reality
You showed me a beauty
I dare not see.
In a world I thought
could never exist.


The many lives intermixed
from past and present.
We had,
Hope and unity
no conformity,
No identity and no money
This was the beginning
of a new family.


How do we live in such
a place?
I was shown,
A place called
Community.


Ideas were shared
spirituality, philosophy
Technology,sexuality
The energy so bright.


That night
Before I died
You said to me
Do not fear, everything
shall be alright
I had to die to see the light.


When I woke
It was clear to me
Affinity and proximity
will help build this
community.


Have I met you before
?
You do remember me
Because you still
keep knocking on that door.

what is culture?

Posted in Culture, Philosophy, Poetry, Relationships with tags , , , , , , , on April 28, 2008 by 99ppp

religion, ritual
christian, gnostic
judeism, kabbalah
muslim, sufi
beliefs, traditons
is this cultural?
What is culture?
who decides, who defines?

society, civilisation
class, elite
upper class, ruling class
social class, racial class
middle class, lower class
What class, no class?
is this cultural?
What is culture?
who decides, who defines?

culture jamming
advertising, consumming
art, philosophising
popular, unique
texting, gaming
loving, hating
music, writing
symbols, language
is this cultural?
What is culture?
who decides, who defines?

understanding, creating
thinking, exisitng
values, systems
tools,rules
spirit, nature
universe, mysticism
is this cultural?
what is culture?
who decides, who defines?

capitalist, socialist,
sexist, fascist
evolution, revolution
democracy, freedom,
will we ever find a simple solution?
one word, many words
too many words, No words
silence, just for a moment
one conclusion!

do we really need another word
to further divide?

Untitled

Posted in Anti-War, Culture, Love, Philosophy, Poetry, Relationships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 17, 2008 by 99ppp

Are we searching
for what is common,
or what is right?
The struggle we fight,
The power we crave,
The EGO we feed.

The constant slave to a system
that feeds the machine of greed.
The new religion

Consumption, destruction.
We fill a void
Indulgence,Opulence
What a waste we create.

The constant slave to a system
That feeds the machine of greed.

Is our spirit lost ?
The battle, the war
Over mind, body and soul.

The constant slave to a system
That feeds the machine of greed.

Do we follow the masses?
Do we stand alone?
The system is failing
It can no longer sustain

The pursuit of love,
The pursuit of happiness,
The pursuit of acceptance,
We seek from others
Have we lost touch
with our own voice?

The constant slave to a system
That feeds the machine of greed.

NO LONGER A SLAVE
Scream,
Just scream
Scream out loud
Find YOUR voice

Revolution

Posted in Culture, Philosophy, Poetry, Relationships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 3, 2008 by 99ppp

Revolution is change
It starts with ourselves
Do we want it and why are we so afraid?
What do we fear?

With no revolution we just stay the same.

Can we rely on any movement
Or do we stand with community
Stand up for yourself
Have faith in your individuality
Have faith in your creativity

With no revolution we just stay the same.

Speak with conviction
Have strength to do anything
Face the fear, face the anger
Take the risks
See the evolution

With no revolution we just stay the same.

With spiritual anarchy
Chaos meets order and order meets chaos
Lose control over who you are
No one dictates our rising star
Just be free, just be free
Just be who you really are.

With no revolution we just stay the same.