Welcome to the Scott Shaw Zen Blog.
Here you will find some new thoughts and essays along with some of the Greatest Hits from previous blogs. If you want to catch up on previous blogs, you can read one or all of the blog-based books by Scott Shaw. Check them out at: Scott Shaw Blog Books.
Be Positive and Smile.
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.
Like I long ago realized, “Everybody wants something from me but nobody ever gives me anything.” Now, this may come off as a bit of an egocentric statement but, in truth, it is anything but. And, more than just a statement about me, this is a mindset that goes outwards to a lot of the every-bodies who exist out there in the real world.
Think about the people you think about. Why do you think about them? For the most part, you think about them because they do something for you internally when you think about them. Maybe you love them. And, that causes an emotion to react in your body and your mind. Maybe you hate them. And, that causes an emotion to react in your body and your mind. Maybe you judge them. And, that causes an emotion to react in your body and your mind. Maybe you desire them. And, that causes an emotion to react in your body and your mind. Maybe you have all kind of brewing fantasies that are talking place only in your mind about what you hope will happen between you and them; either good or bad. And, that causes an emotion to react in your body and your mind. Whatever the case, you are thinking about them for a reason. You don’t think about anybody for no reason. Thus, not only is there, most probably, something you want from them but there is something you already are receiving. Maybe what you are receiving is only in your own mind. But, you are receiving something that you are not paying for. Again, you don’t think about anybody for no reason.
Of late, a lot of people have been asking me for a lot of things; large and small. In reality, this is nothing new. Perhaps it is one of the interwoven conditions of my life that I never really signed up for. You know, one of those deals you make with the devil that you never knew you made. I mean, as a young aspirant on the spiritual path I was taught that Karma Yoga (Selfless Service) was one of the greatest goods. And, I believe it is. I traveled up and down the West Coast doing the sound for my guru for years and I was never paid a dime and that was fine! I taught Hatha Yoga and Meditation for years for free and that was fine. I formally taught the martial arts for more than a decade and never made a dime all so my teacher could make his way through Western Society. I was fine with that.
As my later life has come on, the asking for something from me for free became far more subtle. Whether it was putting girlfriends through college, buying them a car, giving people a place to crash, appearing in films for free, directing films for free, giving people roles in my films they desired, teaching people how to make movies, and people using my name and credentials (both in a positive and negative way) to make a name for themselves and/or sell their product became much more frequent.
On a side note: Keep in mind, the publicity people claim they are providing my creations or me by talking about my films and me; forget about it. I don’t need it! It hurts more than helps. Anyway…
I mean, even look at the people who upload movies (my movies among others) to the realm of torrent. They are not doing that just for the hell of it. That realm does not exist in the eternal space of FREE. Somebody is making money from it or it would not exist. Thus, somebody is getting paid but not me. That’s why internet piracy is not a victimless crime and that is why I NEVER watch torrent stream films. I care enough about the filmmaker to care!
I am asked to teach a lot of classes on filmmaking. But, the fact is, there is just no money in it. I mean, at the college level they pay for shit. At the university level they pay well but the backstabbing politics that go on is just unbelievable. And, at the seminar level, the promoters always cheat you. I have written about all of this in the past. But, at one point I just decided, why do it? Sure, I can do it for free and/or for Karma Yoga. But, I have bills to pay too.
And, this is what I think nobody understands or at least nobody chooses to think about… I’m a person just like you. I have to find a way to live. For whatever karmic reason I am a creative person but if you are stealing the me in me—if you are stealing from me via torrent, duping, or anything else, then how am I supposed to survive. Moreover, if I wasn’t here, than you wouldn’t have anything to think and talk about. Yet, do you ever truly consider about me? I know, I am constantly asked to do things for people, give things to people, and not be upset when somebody steals something from me, but damn it people give me something!
Again, this is not some egotistical bombast. I am simply using me as an example because I know the facts.
When you are thinking about somebody else, do you actually think about that somebody else? Or, do you just mentally rob their existence with your thoughts and/or your actions?
If you don’t care, you really should care. If you think you have the right to take for free, given to you by some divine purpose or because somebody did it before you, think again, for someday it may be you being robbed. If you claim intergalactic rights and/or poverty and feel you deserve the all of somebody else for free, you are just lying to yourself and creating negative karma that will one day find you.
Life is about giving. Karma Yoga is a divine pathway. Taking for free, however, is just the opposite. Care enough to give to the person you think about and the person who causes you to think.
It was kind of funny… Yesterday, I was waiting for the light to change at a stop light and two young African-American men walked by in the crosswalk and one of them, who was smoking one of those cheap cigars with a plastic filter on it, flicked his ashes on the hood of my car and then glared at me. This made me laugh—literally. I mean, come on…
With the arrest of those two young men at Starbucks the other day, and all of the other nonsense that is taking place and being broadcast on the news, this has apparently empowered a certain subset of our population to use this as a reasoning to confront, “The White Man.” I get it, more than you know… But, like I always say, before you go breaking hard with someone you should really know who you are dealing with. But, I’m not a violent or a testy guy. In fact, I find all of that kind of adolescent bullshit amusing.
You know, a lot of people are screaming, “Racism,” right now. But, racism is everywhere. I remember a year or so ago when W. Kamau Bell was doing his show, The United Shades of America on CNN and he was speaking about racism and he alluded to the fact that even some of his relatives were racist. And, for those of you who may not know, he is African-American.
I mean, I’ve spoken about this before, but where I grew up, I was literally the only Caucasian kid in my grammar school. It was in the 1960s and racism was rampant. Me, being the only white kid, I saw racism from a completely different perspective as so many of the people around me hated me just because I was white. The shit I went through.
And, I believe that is the big issue. Sure, African-Americas have had a very sketchy past in the Untied States and no one will deny them that fact. But, as has been stated in so many documentaries, there are more African-Americans in jail right now then there ever were slaves. So, it is a bigger issue than what took place over a hundred years ago.
Move towards the 1970s and due to the fact that my friends and I had long hair, there would be times when we would go into a restaurant and they would not even serve us. And, that was in Hollywood! So, profiling and people deciding what to do based on the way you look is everywhere. …The pretty girl gets all the looks from the guys whereas the chubby or the homely girl does not.
Now, as far as Starbucks goes, they are a bullshit company. I go there all the time, and I have for decades, so I know this from experience. From my frequent visits, I have come to know a number of the people who work there. Some, I have even became very close to. And, the shit that goes on there is incredible. For example, they are all doing the run around now about what occurred at that shop in Philadelphia. But, all that manager did was to follow policy. Now, I am not saying that policy is right. But, that is their policy. No purchase, no bathroom, no loitering, get out. The manager may have overreacted but what she was doing was following policy—for which, she got fired. The Starbucks Big Wigs always try to cover their asses. I have known several people who were following Starbuck’s policy and due to them doing just that, they got fired. One after almost twenty years of employment. I couldn’t believe it! That’s why I say they are bullshit. At least the fired manager has hired a lawyer and filed a wrongful termination claim against the company for which I am sure she will be paid handsomely.
Did black or white have something to do with what when on in Philadelphia? Maybe, I don’t know? But, the men had been trespassed so when the police showed up and nicely asked them to leave three times and they would not, it was all on them for what happened next and them getting arrested. There is a price to pay for launching a protest. If someone asked me to leave a business establishment because I hadn’t bought anything, I would do it. I would not cause a fuss. Thus, I would not be arrested. I may be pissed. But, I would not be arrested.
Anyway, what this all goes to is how we (you and I) deal with reality. Sure, we can all wish it were different. Sure, you and I can be open minded and not let the color of a person’s skin dominate how we think about them or behave towards them. But, if you think white on black is the only racism, you are totally wrong.
The fact is, if you break the rules, you broke the rules. There are consequences. Black or white it doesn't matter. If you don’t break the rules, there are no consequences. Now, you may not like the rules, but that is beside the point. There are rules. So, was Starbucks wrong to make those rules? Maybe. Was the manager wrong to follow those rules? Maybe. Was that guy wrong to try to incite a confrontation with me by flicking ashes on my car? Absolutely. He chose to do something that is against the rules. Whatever his motivations were are irrelevant. He did something to attempt to instigate a negative response. And, as I say over-and-over again, negativity only equals negativity. And, negativity spreads, leading to on going bad things. Don’t do it! DON’T DO NEGATIVE THINGS!
“The Owl and The Cat.” It sounds kind of like a children’s story. But, it's not.
Where I live there is a field in front of me. I really like that field. It’s fairly small, as I live in the suburbs of a city, but there is always interesting plant and animal life that I can see.
Periodically, a new grouping of cats moves in. Where they come from, I do not know? I guess somebody’s cat runs away or somebody sadly dumps their cat or something like that. From that, a new family of cats is born. Add that to the raccoons and the occasional skunk and there is a whole biosphere of reality.
Recently, there has been a family of cats that has similar colorations to one of my cats. I always joke that they are my cat’s cousins.
I didn’t really think about it, but the number of these cats continued to diminish until there was just one that used to sit around and cry out—I guess he or she was screaming, “Where are you,” to his family. Now, I no longer see him (or her) either. No one is left for me to say, “Hi,” to.
A couple of nights ago my neighbor knocked on my door. We spoke for a few minutes and then she told me that, you know, we have an owl. Meaning, that there is a wild owl flying around. I had heard it woooing one night. But, I thought it just came and went. Anyway, she also told me that it was the owl that was killing all of the cats and raccoons. “Haven’t you heard all the screeching?” Yes, I had. I though it was just the cats fighting as they sometimes do or maybe the raccoons going at it.
I was told that this was a large owl and it had even landed near her when she and her husband were sitting out having a glass of wine one evening. Wow…
Now normally, I love all wildlife. But, the reason she was telling me about the owl is the fact that I let my cats go outside and sit on my elevated patio whenever they want. They love to lie around in the sun or in the cool evening air, study the life out there, meditate (cat style), and stuff like that; day or night. She told me, because she did not want them to be grabbed up by the owl and taken away—because that’s how owls do things. They garb an animal, fly it high in the sky, drop it, so it will be injured, and then attack and eat it.
So, that outdoor option for my cats has been substantially limited. Sad, for them, I think.
I have noticed a few flyers being put up around the area about missing cats of late. I guess that is the owl’s fault, as well. I always tell people, don’t let your cats out at night. Too much danger! They really are not wild animals.
Anyway, this is life. And, this is the reason that I don’t like to watch those National Geography shows where animals attack other animals. I just don't like that kind of stuff. It leaves bad images in my mind.
Sure, it is nature. But, does nature have to be so violent?
Overall though, this is a good reality check. I am so happy that my neighbor told me what is going on. I mean, if one of my cats would have just disappeared from the patio, I would have been freaked out forever, wondering what happened.
The moral to the story… I don’t know? Maybe it is, keep your family safe, warn people when you can of impending danger, and don’t do things that take things away from other people just because you’re a big owl and you can.
…Losing life you love is sad… You should never hurt or take anything away from anybody. I miss the raccoons running about at night and those cats that were the cousins of my cat.
For people who create things, they have a specific desire for their creations. For most they hope to get their creations seen, read, heard, or whatever by the worldwide masses. That’s why most people create; they have a unique vision or take on a specific art form and thus they want to get what they create exposed to as many people as possible. Though this is the norm, for anyone who creates, they will also understand that there may come a time where you have a different and/or new take on what you have created. At this point, you may no longer wish it to be consumed by the world. You want it to be lost and forgotten. Yet, there are those out there who will not allow this to happen. They refuse to listen to the wishes of the creator(s).
For the creations that the non-creator(s) did not create, this whole mindset becomes a very selfish and/or self-motivated process. They may have liked something (or not) but for whatever reason they want that creation to remain active and alive. They refuse to let it be forgotten, even though that was what the creator wanted.
Case in point; my Zen Filmmaking Brother, Donald G. Jackson made a number of movies. As he came closer to his death, he had a change of heart about a few of them. Specifically, those that portrayed violence directed towards women from the male characters. Of which there are two specific examples: Roller Blade and Roller Blade Warriors.
Don, in his later years, became a very devout Christian. Now, this is not an unusual attitude embraced by a person who knows that their death is eminent. He had leukemia, he knew he was dying. This is a time when many/most people seek a spiritual bedrock. Don’s was Christianity.
Ever since I knew Don, he did not like the sexual violence in those two films. He claimed that it was there due to the screenwriter. I don’t know if that was true or not. What I do know is that he wished they would fade away as they projected an attitude that he did not ultimately agree with.
For better or for worse, Don assigned all Rights, Title, and Interest to all of his films to me before he passed away. He did this because he knew I would be the best person to keep his legacy alive and to protect his body of work. Though it was not right away after Don's passing but people began to contact me about reissuing some of his films, most notably Roller Blade and Roller Blade Warriors. Knowing his feelings, I always tried to explain to these people that those titles were not available. In some cases, people did not listen and attempted to release them anyway. Thus, all the legal nonsense began. From this, the only people who befit are the lawyers who make the money. As I explained to a person today, this forced my hand. I had no choice but to release these films so that the unauthorized versions would not flood the market.
I did not want to. I am completely against sexual violence in films. I have never made a film and never will make a film that uses that in its storyline. But, when people have dollar signs in their eyes, they do not care about the way anybody but themselves is feeling.
The thing is, the entire motivation of these people who wanted to release Don’s films was money. They wanted to make money off of his creations for free. They didn’t create them. They didn’t pay for their creation. They just want to copy and sell them and, from a moral standpoint, that is just wrong! And, I am a moral guy.
Today, a man who is doing an event in the near future where a couple of the actresses from Roller Blade Warriors will be in attendance, contacted me and asked if he could do a small run of VHS copies of the movie for the signing experience. Wow! I was amazed that anyone would be honorable enough to ask me. And, I told him so. I, of course, said sure he could. I wish him, the actresses, and his event the all the best. But, here is the fact; Don hoped that movie would die. People are not letting it die. Thus, they are not respecting the wishes of its creator.
Do you ever think about this subject when you watch, read, view, listen, or talk about an artistic creation? Do you ever think about the wishes of the creator? If you don’t, maybe you should.
I was watching a TV show last night and one of the main charters, who held onto and was defined by a lot of childhood trauma, was lead to a place where he could speak about it, cry it out, and was then told that now he could get past it. Sure, it was just a TV show but this is a common belief, that if you can just talk it out, cry it out, then it will no longer hurt and your life will all be kittens and rainbows. But, this is just false. Though there are some tools which may make you be able to deal with what you went through in a more rational and progressive fashion than just continually reacting to what took place in your past; the fact is what was, was, it will always be with you. It will never not be a part of your past.
Youth is a common place where traumas occur in a person’s life. There are a million reasons for this. Most definitively is the vulnerability you inhabit in youth. Whether this trauma comes at the hands of bad parenting, growing up in a bad environment, by a dominant adult, or by childhood bullies on the playground, we are all defined by what we experience in our childhood. If what we experience was bad, then that is our earliest indoctrination into life and if what happened to us was negative it may come to define our entire life existence.
In life, we are all dealt a hand of cards. Good or bad, that is what we got. That is what we have to deal with and to base the rest of our life upon.
Have you ever known an adult who really disliked one or both of their parents? There they are, an adult, years past being dominated and/or controlled by that person or persons, yet they can never let go of what took place in their childhood. And, as we all know, a lot of bad things happen to children at the hands of their parents. Maybe the inception of this hatred was physical, maybe it psychological, maybe it was both, but whatever was done left the person in a state of lingering hatred and a life lost to remembering and being defined by their past.
This goes onto the things that happen to a child outside of the home, as well. Perhaps it was violence inflicted by the actions of some stranger. Maybe it was bullying. There is a long list of what could be the cause, but whatever it was, in some cases, some people are left in a state of forced remembrance, never being able to forget.
From this, many people are driven down the road to reenact the negativity they experienced over and over again. Maybe they are burden with depression or anxiety. Maybe they are unable to enter into and remain in normal, stable relationships. Maybe it drives them down the road to seeking forms of self-medication: alcohol, drugs, sex, or physical violence. Maybe it causes them to committee suicide. But, however they react, what happened to them once or over a long period of time in their childhood has come to be the defining essence of their being.
This brings us to the subject of dominance. Have you ever known a really dominant person? Someone who totally wants to control everything and gets really angry when they do not? Maybe this causes them to beat their pet, hit their partner, or just yell, scream, and throw a tantrum when they are not getting their own way? What is the basis of this behavior? It is the fact that they feel out of control of their life but they want to control their life.
This takes us back to childhood. More commonly than not, a person who behaves in the manner was overtly control, damaged or hurt as a child and thus they have been left with need to hold onto the reins of power in their life as best as they can. Thus, they try to dominate all those people and all those situations they encounter. Have you ever known someone like that? Are you someone who behaves in this fashion?
As stated, there are no easy answers to any of this. Think about a bad thing that happened to you in your life. Maybe it was a childhood experience. Maybe it occurred yesterday. Can you just forget about it and pretend that it did not happen? If you tell everyone you meet that it happened to you, will that make it go away? If you cry and cry until you can cry no more, does that erase that experience from your history? I believe that we all know the answer to all of these questions.
So, here’s the thing… Some of us have had some bad stuff happen to us. Some of us allow that bad stuff to lead us down a road where we are unconsciously controlled by those previously lived life moments. Thus, we live a life that not only hurts other people by our reacting and re-reacting to those experiences, but our own life is left barren because we cannot truly connect to others due to the fact that in that deep dark place inside we do not really trust other people.
Though we can never escape these experiences and we should never pretend that they did not happen, we can, however, choose to learn techniques to not let them guide us down a dark road where we continue to hurt ourselves by entering into bad relationships and doing bad, uncontrolled, self-motived things that damage the lives of others. Instead, we can accept that they did occur, find the help and the tools we need to process these experiences to the degree where they do not negatively define our entire life. Moreover, we can forcefully choose to not let these experiences be the dominant element of our life.
My advice to everybody always is, your number one rule should always be, don’t do anything that hurts anybody in any manner. With this as a life focal point, at least you will pass through your existence without putting anyone else through the pain you so intimately understand. Instead of hurting, consciously try to help. With this, at least the new experiences you encounter will hopefully be based upon smiles on the faces of other people rather than the shadowy essence that you know lingers in the back of your mind.
I forever find it curiously interesting how people do something—they behave in some manner that affects someone else in some negative way and then when they are presented with this fact, instead of acknowledging their blame, they become mad at the person who is alerting them to this fact.
These actions can be small things like yesterday when my lady and I were eating breakfast at a fairly high-end restaurant and the waitress was so busy talking to her fellow staff members and walking around oblivious to the customers that I could not even get her attention through out the entire meal to tell her that we needed more coffee. When she finally showed up to give us our bill, I told her about the fact and you could see the look in her eyes, she was more angry at me for bringing up the fact of her poor service than at herself for providing it.
A small thing, I get it… But, when you are paying for something you want what you paid for; right?
The things that people do go up from there… I mean, there are people that do illegal things and then they become angry at the person who confronts them about it or reports them to the authorities. They are doing something illegal! The reason it is illegal is that it harms the greater whole of the world. Thus, it is bad. Yet, when they are caught they become angry with the police and everyone else involved. But, they did something wrong! If they had not chosen to do it, all would be fine. Yet, the people who committee these are acts are never mad at themselves, they are angry at being caught and at the people who are involved in their being caught.
This behavior goes on farther… Think about all of the smokers who spread their cancer wherever they go. I remember a few years ago when Starbucks finally banned smoking on their patios, the shit storm that some people unleashed about their Rights and all that kind of misguided bullshit was immense. What Rights? To damage your own life and to kill other people through second hand smoke and destroy their coffee drinking experience?
Think about it, how many people have sued the tobacco companies and won large sums of money based on their choice to smoke. …Not to mention, how many people have died very bad deaths due to choosing to smoke. They made a decision to do something. That something hurt themselves. Yet, they want to blame someone else.
Now, this takes us to another element in all this… The people who do something that is morally wrong, yet they justify their actions based upon their own desire(s) or their desire to make money. How many people have either contracted diseases or have acquired a disease that eventually killed them via sex? Moreover, how many people choose to either steal something from someone else or take something that does not belong to them, to make a living? They do this until someone says something. Then, instead of saying, “You’re right. I got caught.” They get mad at the person who is enforcing their own ownership rights. Does the person who is wronging taking something say, “Sorry I hurt you or your life, I really messed up.” No. They just get mad because they were caught and they are forced to stop wrongfully taking something from someone else. Is that right?
As we pass through our existence, each of us is going to encounter this style of behavior to varying degrees. …Based upon the people who do not want to take responsible for what they did, damaging our life. All we can do is what we can do and be as strong as possible when we encounter the backlash. Should there be a backlash at all? No. People should be sorry. Some are, I guess. But, most are not. So, all we can do is not let their anger at us, based upon the situations that they created, control us and hurt us further.
And, for all of you reading this… Think about what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how what you are doing is affecting anyone else. If you hurt someone/anyone be whole enough to say, “Sorry,” and care enough to try to undo the damage you created.
I started out my day by having breakfast at one of my usual haunts. A lady came and sat down in the booth next to where I was sitting. I didn’t really think anything of it. She was well kept and appeared to be very normal.
As she sat there, I began to hear her speak. She was alone so I initially assumed she was taking to someone on her cell phone via an earpiece. But, she was not. Her conversation began to voice things like, “You see, that’s why you should’ve worn that other blouse… I think I want to eat a breakfast with eggs; sunny side up. No, over easy… Hash browns are ucky… I hate coffee…” Obviously, she was talking to herself.
Now, I imagine that most of us have thought out loud every now and then. …Spoken something that we were thinking. But, most of us don’t go into a restaurant and carry on our inner-dialogue so that other people can hear.
Again, she appeared very normal. But, there was something slightly off. At leash slightly off defined by the average interpretation of common reality.
At bit later in the day, I was doing what we do here in L.A., driving from one place to another. I was listening to a couple of minor rock stars discussing musician suicide, and the reason for, on the radio. I am sure they were well intentioned in what they were saying but, at best, all they were doing was spitting out regurgitated dialogue that they had learned from their own shrinks. I just couldn’t take it. I changed the station.
As an undergraduate, my minor was psychology. In grad school, I took a few more advanced courses. I, of course, have read all of Freud, all of Jung, and all of several other leading figures in psychology. The main thing you take away from all of them, and the science of psychology in general is, we each interpret reality by our own methods. There is one commonality of interpretation, based in one culture, but there are far reaching variants among all that is considered normal. Thus, each person’s individual interpretation of reality is slightly different and what is defined as acceptable or unacceptable is individually expressed.
Have you ever had someone decide that they know what you are thinking and why? Has anyone ever attempted to interpret your reality, your choices, and/or your reasons for doing what you do? I have. But, the fact is, all anyone is doing when they do something like is placing their own judgment about what is right and what is wrong onto your interpersonal logic and your essence of being. How often are these people wrong? Most of the time, I would surmise. Yet, there they are, with no advanced psychologically training, attempting to tell the world how and why you think the way your think, what motivates your logic, and why you do what you do. How shallow and self-empowered is that? These people should be ashamed of themselves but I doubt that they are.
Here’s the facts… We each encounter life differently. We each like what we like and do what we do based upon how we perceive reality. Most of us would be considered fairly normal by world standards. Meaning, we behave within the constraints of what is accepted and what is expected. But, some of us exist outside of that realm. Are these people wrong in doing that? No, they are just different. As long as they hurt no one, they hurt no one.
A little bit later today as I was driving up the hill, towards where I live, there was a car in front of me driving very slow and very badly. They were just messing everybody up. When I finally could pass them, I looked over and the best way I can describe the driver is that, at first-glance, they looked like a mummy. The driver was wearing a full white face mask. I guess kind of like a ski mask or the face shields some motorcycle riders wear. They also had on gloves, a fedora, and sunglasses. They obviously wanted to block themselves from receiving any sunlight. Or??? Who knows? They were doing what they were doing based upon their own reality. Was their reality my reality? No. I thought it was all kind of weird. But, do I judge them? Absolutely not. As a bad driver, yes I do judge them. That is affecting my reality. Get out of my way! But, for doing what they are doing based upon whatever separate reality they are encountering, never… Just let 'em be who they are.
In the martial arts it is understood that there are one of two tactics you can take, let ‘em know or let ‘em go. Meaning, you have one of two choices when you encounter a combative situation.
As a trained combat technician, you can encounter any opponent with an assured sense of personal self-defense capabilities. Thus, if combat is eminent, you can be relatively assured of emerging victorious. Based upon this same ideology, because you are a trained combat technician, you do not need to fight. You can walk away without feeling a sense of loss. The encounters you have in life are very much like this, as well.
As you pass through life you will encounter those people who will attempt an attack upon you. This attack may be physical, verbal, mental, or otherwise. Just as in street combat, these people will most likely come at you from behind your back, attempting a sucker punch if you will. They will launch their attack at you from the unseen and from a position where your self-defense is not readily available as they are hidden. Of course, this is the mindset and the condition of a coward but look to the life encounters you have been involved in—how many times has a person walked up to you, face-to-face, and tried to start a fight? It is rare. Most people launch their attacks from afar—behind your back. There, they are safe and protected.
In life, there is always the thought to react immediately. This is how we humans are programmed: fight or flight. But, as most attackers calculate their assault from a position of superiority, your self-defense is oftentimes limited in its effectiveness. That is why they attacked in the first place.
Now, one could say to these people that they should be whole enough to confront a person they have a problem with face-to-face, but that is wishful thinking at best for the people who launch an attack are generally very self-motivated in what they are saying and what they are doing. Thus, honor to them does not apply, as they do not even understand the concept. They want to hurt. And, that is their only motivational dynamic.
But, back to the original premise, let ‘em know or let ‘em go. Here is where the answer to this question must be based upon a personal assessment of your situation. Sure, you can fight. If you are trained you may be able to defeat them with one blow. If not, the two of you may end up rolling around on the ground. Or, you can just be whole enough, in your own reality, that you spell out the truth for those who are willing to listen to it, let it go, and continue with your life as best as you can once the damage that someone else has instigated has be deflected to the best of your ability.
Here is the thing, and the thing about life… Most people don’t care about anything but what invigorates their mind in a particular moment. The reason for this is that most people do not possess a life-focus that is encompassing enough to hold their attention. Thus, they look outside of themselves to find emotional stimulation. This is why teenagers and those who are unencumbered with a family or with a focused profession fall prey to the instigative actions of those who attack others. They want and need that life stimulation. They want something to be mad at. They desire someone to hate. As their life holds no true purpose, they seek stimulus outside of their own realm of reality. Understanding this is also the best basis for the attacked to find a reason not to counterattack. Do you really care what a person motivated by that mindset thinks or feels?
Like I always say, life is a complicated mess of emotions and ideologies all forced upon everyone when many of us want nothing to do with any of this melodrama. But, also in life we are sometimes forced into confrontations. Thus, we must learn how to fight. Face-to-face you can block an attack and counterstrike. In the ethereal realm, however, you cannot.
At the root of all combat in the mind and the mindset of the combatant. The attacker has once frame of mind, just as the defender has another. But, at the root of either of these positions is your own interpretation of reality. One produces negativity which will eventually come back to haunt you, while the other produces positivity which will also set a course of destiny into motion in your life. Whatever your decision, let ‘em know or let ‘em go, a fight in never won or lost in one bout. Once instigated, it goes on forever and ever. Thus, the conscious person never instigates anything. They defend only when necessary. For then, their life is left less burdened and the wholeness of their existence is not defined by victory or loss.
Why are you so upset?
If you ask yourself this question when you are feeling this emotion you will probably realize that you are upset because you are not getting what you want in that particular moment. And, maybe some else is.
Thus, you are basing all of your behavior and all of your actions on a very selfish emotion.
Is that the way you should behave in life?
Think about this next time you are so upset.
The other day I was calling up my doctor to make an appointment. The person who answered the phone was so nice. “Oh, are you okay?” I mean, it was totally genuine what she was saying. You could hear it in her voice. She spoke with pure compassion. Her attitude kind of threw me, as you never hear compassion in the voice of anybody. But, it was obviously, she was one-hundred percent real. This, to a person she does not even know. Wow…
I could not help but wonder what my life may have been like if I had a person like that in it. …A person who embraced pure compassion. From my experience—sure people may like you, they may even love you, but what they are feeling is motivated upon getting something out the relationship. They are never there just because they care. Like I have long observed, everybody wants something from me but nobody ever gives me anything.
One of the primary tenets of Buddhism is Compassion. Along with Right Speech, saying good things, Right Action, doing good things, Right Thought, thinking good things, and possessing a meditative mindset, it is understood that Compassion is one of the instrumental elements to living a good life. But, who embraces Compassion? Do you? Do you question how the way you behave is affecting another person? Do you even care about that other person? Do you care about what they are thinking or what they are feeling? Do you even ponder what their life must be like? Do you even think about another person at all?
Sure, you may want to be their friend because they have something to offer your life. Sure, you may want to love them because being in a relationship with them will fill some desire or need that you possess. But, none of those reasons equal actually caring about that person. They do not equal compassion.
Most people, never step outside of themselves long enough to even contemplate what anyone else is feeling, let alone possess any care or compassion for them. The world is a selfish place.
Are you selfish or do you care? Do you ever even think about this? I you don’t, maybe you should. Maybe you should choose to embrace compassion and actually care. Don’t you think if you did then the life of other people would become better and even your own life would become better because compassion is one of the most pure emotions that exist.
Here’s a previously published article that I wrote a few years ago.
I believe that we live in a very interesting time in that anyone can become a celebrity overnight. Say or do something on the internet and if people find it interesting it can spread worldwide. A truth or a lie it does not even matter, simply by saying it and/or doing it, your words and your actions are out there and there are those who will believe every word that you have spoken. Thus, the world is no longer based upon fact, it is simply based upon what someone has said.
I think back to a friend of mine I met a few years ago. She was a young girl working as a barista at Starbucks. All was well with her world. She had met a guy, had fallen in love, and she was beaming that she was in a relationship. A few months go by and her boyfriend breaks up with her. Then, the guy begins to tell the personal story of their relationship online; attempting to make himself look more manly and her look bad. He begins to spread lies about her on Facebook and Tumbr. First, she is destroyed… A beautiful young girl who had been shunned by her boyfriend. She would call me up trying to find solace. I would help her as best as I could. Then, the lies began to be believed by others who read them. She told me how she would get messages from people she never even met reinforcing what her ex had said and they were condemning her. This, even though every word he wrote about her was from his own personal perspective and/or was a flat out lie.
The outcome… First she got fired from Starbucks because she came to working hurting from what her ex and his internet cronies had said about her. Then, she took her own life.
And, this is a true story.
I believe that most of us have enough positive people in our life who would help us and support us if and when people hurt us and/or if somebody began to tell lies about us on the internet. But, then there are those who do not. Sadly, this girl was one of them.
Have you had people tell lies about you on their internet? I have.
I certainly understand that my position is a bit different than many. For better or for worse I have, through many-many years of hard work, accomplished a few small things in life. From this, some people have come to love me, while other have come to hate me. Why? That is all based upon their own personal psychology.
The thing that I have realized is that those who are the most vocal on the internet are those who are the most insecure and negative in life. A secure person is whole onto themselves and thus they do not need speak about anyone. They do not need to write nonsense on the internet. Love a person or hate a person it does not matter as they are whole onto themselves—they are doing what they are doing, pursuing what they are pursuing, and that is the focus of their life. Their life is not based upon other people.
The fact is, a secure person is busy pursuing their own dreams and they do not need to reference others in their quest to achieve them. It is, however, the insecure person and/or those who are not something onto themselves that must continually reference others. They must talk about others. They must write about others. They must make comments about others. They must try to hurt others in the eyes of other people. They do this because they are not something. They are not whole onto themselves. For ultimately what is the purpose of saying negative things about anyone? What does it prove? How does it make you any more or any better?
If I think back to the friend I lost, there she was this young, in love girl, damned by someone who obviously did not deserve someone so caring as her. Yet, what he did set an entire course of destiny and karma into motion because he was not adult enough to simply move way from a relationship that he no longer chose to be in. And, look at what occurred. Look at what were the consequences of his actions.
I believe we each have heard stories about similar situations on the internet. From that, I believe that each of us truly needs to take a look at who and what we are and how we behave on the internet.
Do you attack people on the internet, hiding behind a screen name or even using your own name? Do you spread your particular side of a story on the internet about a person or a thing? If so, why? Why are you not enough to care more about another person than yourself? Do you believe that you are so special that you do not need to care about other people first?
The ultimate truth of life is we are only as good as the words we have spoken. We are only as good as the deeds we have performed.
Life is based upon what you have done. What have you done? Have you cared more about yourself and your feelings than you cared about others? Have you cared more about what you have wanted than what others have wanted? And, mostly, what have you done? For what you do is a choice and what you do sets your everything into motion. If all you think about is you, if all you think about is how you feel, if all you think about is how others see you and think about you then your life is lost. You will never be what you hoped you would become because you have hurt others. And, there is no justification for hurting others by your words or your deeds; especially if your words are not based in the truth. It is especially importation to note that this means not just your personal interpretation of truth but absolute truth.
In closing, it is far better to keep your words, your opinions, and your emotions to yourself—especially in this day and age where everything you write or say (on the internet) can have such wide spanning effects. If you hurt someone by your words, if you spread your personal opinions about someone, if you tell lies about someone, there can and will be consequence. If you set something in motion you are responsible for those consequences. Think about it.
For every minute of your life you spend saying or doing something bad, you create a never-ending backlash of negativity coming at you throughout your existence. Why do think you are unhappy? Why do you think you are unfulfilled? Why do you think you are depressed? Why do you think you have not accomplished what you have hoped to accomplish in your life?
Look at the world. What is going on? Answer: a lot of crazy negativity. What is the cause of that? The cause of that is personal dissatisfaction leading to aberrant acts.
If you are reading this, you are more than likely living in the free world where you have options and opportunities. Just take a look at the news, however, and you will see that a large percentage of this world’s population does not have the options you possess.
What are you doing with the grace that you live within? Are you making anything any better or are you lost in a space of hurtful actions that lead to every-growing life damage and dissatisfaction. If you hurt one person, you hurt the entire world. Thus, you hurt yourself.
Yet, people continue to behave in this hurtful/damaging manner. They love and hate all based upon a lack of personal realization. They react, based upon dissatisfaction and interpersonal anger. What they do not realize is that they are the creator of their own dissatisfaction and misery—they are the source of their own anger. Tell them this and they will deny it. Instead, they will cast these emotions outwards from themselves and focus it on someone or something else. But, that is just living in a space of denial. Thus, the cycle is re-instigated and the world becomes that much worse as the life of that person becomes that much more less evolved and less fulfilled.
Why do you cast your dissatisfaction outside of yourself? Why do you harshly judge? Why do you try to hurt anyone or anything? Why? Because you are lost in a space where you are not actively doing something creative, good, helping, and positive with your life.
For every negative word you speak, for every negative action you take, you create another day of your lifetime defined by destructive fall-out. Honestly, what do you think occurs when you say or do something negative? Sure, you may be venting your interpersonal dissatisfaction with your life. But, think about this, if you were doing something creative, positive, and good instead, would you even have the time to be thinking about anyone or anything else?
At the end of your days, your life will have been defined by what you said and what you did leading to your life opportunities be they good, bad, positive, or negative. Saying something good equals something good. Doing something good equals something good. Not just for you but for everybody. Tell me something good.
Discover for yourself.
If a person bases their life upon negativity, they do things that nurture their inner essence of negativity. You cannot say to them, "Do something positive," or "Your negativity is equalling a negative outreach to others," as they would dismiss your words.
What you can do is to strike back at their negative words and actions with conscious positivity. Encounter their negative negativity with forceful positivity.
From this, the negative things they have said and the negative things they have done will lose their forceful essence.
Choose to meet negativity with positivity.
If you are not strong enough to engage and countermand the negative instigated by someone else, then negativity wins.
Certainly, we all know about the wrongness of the internet. Since its inception there has been all of the goings on. Early on, viruses were the big and constant problem. Now, there is all of the camera hacking, hackers commandeering the computers and operating systems of banks, cities, and people, profile mining, character assination, identity thief, you name it... It’s a mess. But, here we all are. Our lives are defined by it.
Speaking of identity thief, I guess that is what this blog is about in an abstract way. Kinda funny, I guess… When you currently search my name on Google what comes up, in the basic info window on the side, is a photo and mini bio for the other Scott Shaw, (the cartoonist), his date of birth and then below that is my information: website, education, wife, movies, music, even links to my YouTube, Google+, and Facebook pages. Funny… Here is the most powerful search engine in the world, equalling one of the most powerful companies in the world, and they got it wrong. Bing has it right. Yahoo has it right. But, not Google! And, the thing is… There is no way to contact Google and say, “Hey, you messed up.” It is just going to remain like that until whomever or whatever is in control over there figures it out.
This is not the first time this has happened. Last year, they messed the two of us up, as well. The mix up was a bit different back then but the wrongness was the same. Interesting…
I don’t know why this is happening in these recent internet days. But, it didn’t used to be that way. Since its inception, Google had it right. Now??? I mean if they have messed up something so simple as the two Scott Shaw’s, what else are they getting wrong?
Flashback to Yahoo, the early search engine. Back in the day when you had a new site you would contact them directly, and their founder, Jerry Yang, would put it up on the site and get back to you personally. That is so crazy when you think of it by today’s internet standards. But, that was the way it was. You could communicate with him. It made it more personal or something… Google is not like that, however. Who or what controls that platform I have no idea. There is no way to contract them. But, what I do know is that Google is wrong.
Recently, I was told about a podcast that a team did about my Zen Film, Samurai Vampire Bikers from Hell. First of all I want to say, “Thanks,” to those guys for taking notice of the film, taking the time to watch it, and going to the effort of creating a podcast about it. For all of you blog readers out there, if you are interested, you can find the podcast by searching the film’s title on Google. That’s how I found it once I was made aware of it. But, that’s not what this blog is about…
It always dumbfounds me why people take the time to do anything like that at all. Now, this is not a criticism, it is simply a question. I mean, the podcast appears to be one hour and forty-six minutes in length. The movie, Samurai Vampire Bikers From Hell is only like sixty minutes. Though a couple of the other versions are a bit longer. But, here are these guys talking for an hour and half about a movie that was made over twenty-five years ago. And, it was made for literally zero dollars. There was no budget! SV was absolutely a No Budget Film! And, what was Zen Filmmaking then is not Zen Filmmaking now. This is one of the biggest mistakes that people who take the time to talk about these films make. Zen Filmmaking has evolved!
Again, “Thanks guys,” but I really do not see what there is to analyze about it.
Now, I am not one of those people who can listen to podcasts and those kinds of things about films. My interests lie elsewhere. So, except for a quick scan through, I don’t really know what they are saying about the film and or the filmmaker (me). Good or bad, that’s fine. I get it; you need to have something to talk about when you are doing a podcast.
The issue I have, and the question I always pose in these situations is, why doesn’t anybody talk to me? You want to know what went on in the film and why, I am the source! I am the filmmaker! Instead of guessing, speculating, and talking about the maybes; why don't you ask me?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be on your podcast. I don’t want to be in your YouTube presentation. But, the fact is, every time I listen to even a little bit of these productions or when I read a review, a discussion in a book, or whatever, much of what people are saying is totally wrong. To you creators of these productions out there, doesn’t that bother you? It would bother me.
Anyway… Again, thanks for the thoughts. But people, you want to know the facts, go to the source!
And, just for the record here… This seems like as good as place as any for me to say this… I believe there is some misnomer going on out there. At least there seems to be, as it is something that I have heard and/or have read when people discuss my movies and/or myself. For some reason, some people seem to think that I hold my movies on some sort of cinematic pedestal and I think that they are the greatest things ever. I have never said that, nor have I ever even thought that. All I have done, as a filmmaker, is to try to bring my cinematic vision to life defined by the circumstances and the budget that has surrounded each project. I have attempted to make cinematic art defined by the constraints of whatever reality has surrounded the individual project. And, as any filmmaker knows, each film possess its own unique blend of actualities.
Do I think my narrative films are all great? No. Most were made for zero dollars and because of that fact alone they could never have achieved what I truly hoped to create. In other cases, some of my films did realize what I hoped to capture to some small degree and in some abstract manner. But, the fact is, I believe most of them are not that great—particularly when seen by the outside viewing public who wants to compare and contrast everything to high-dollar productions. If you weren’t there, you weren’t there. You can never understand the fun and the excitement we possessed when they were created. At best, with any of my films, what I came away with was a small portion of what I hoped to truly accomplish. But, that is the reality of all art; cinematic or otherwise. You care enough to create art, whatever that art may be, and then you do it defined by what is available to you.
Sure, I’m glad when some people see the art in my films and find them enjoyable. That’s all any filmmaker can ask for. But, if you don’t like them, you don’t like them. That’s fine with me. I get it. Zen Films are not everyone’s cup of tea. Overall, you should really stop trying to analyze and compare them to anything but what they are, as what they are is in a category all their own.
Again, go to the source and check your facts before you make your assumptions.
I believe that for each of us there is something in our life that we wish we could erase. Maybe it was something that we said or something that we did—something that we wish we had not said or done. Maybe it is something that was done to us. But, every time we recall that thing we experience the emotion of shame, embarrassment, or regret. The problem with life is, you can’t go back—you can’t erase what you have done or what was done to you. It is there and if someone else witnessed it then it is remembered by more than yourself which makes the memory of this remembrance even more painful as someone else was there and knows what took place.
Most of us, attempt to live a conscious life. We try to do right by people and we try to do right by life. We are aware that there are other people involved in virtually all that we do. Conscious of this fact, we think outside of ourselves so that we will not be driven down the road of holding too many regrets. But, this is not always the case. Some people are very good at living in denial. They are very good about making excuses for what they have done. They can hide from the emotions that most of us feel. This is not good, but this is also the way that life is.
Recently, I read the autobiography of Steve Jones of Sex Pistols fame. Though many of the stories related in that book he has also spoken about on his radio show. But, when you read an autobiography you are provided with a peering look into the character of the author, as they are the one presenting the stories of their life. I mean, biographies are all opinionated bullshit—opinionated one way or the other by the author, whereas autobiographies at least present the story of a person's life the way they want to be seen by the world.
Anyway… In the case of Jones, he was an admitted thief. He describes how he received such a sense of joy from hearing about the things he stole and the people he stole them from in the news. He also became a junky. He details all the things he stole to support that habit and how he would do things like sell his blood plasma knowing that he had Hepatitis C. This, at a time when blood was not tested for Hep C. Between those two acts; think about all of the lives he has negatively altered or flat-out destroyed. And, though he discusses how he had a bad childhood (Boo Hoo. Welcome to the club.), his eventually getting Clean, and going to years of therapy and all that… He even discusses his undertaking Step Nine of the Twelve Step Program: Restitution and Reconciliation. Key Principal: Wherever possible, make direct restitution to all persons you have harmed. But, aside from replacing the Beatles albums and leather jacket he stole from Pamela Des Barres, what has he done to fix anything? He stole and he destroyed the life of so many people by the actions that he took, yet he does not/cannot even know who they are. So, how do you provide restitution to those people?
Now, I see Steve all the time at this one restaurant I eat breakfast at. I have for years… But, celebrity means nothing to me. If I did speak to him, more than wanting to talk about music, I would want to know how he lives in such a state of denial about what he has done?
I’m using Jones for an example here. But, this entire principal stretches out to the all and the everybody. Think about your own life. Think about the things you regret. Think about the things that bring you shame or discomfort when you remember them. How many of those things were something that you did to someone else and how many of those things were things you did to yourself. In other words, who are you thinking about, you or them?
When you come up with the answer to this question, that it is going to provide you with a keen insight into who and what you truly are.
Who and what are you? Who and what have you negatively affected by what you have said and what you have done? What regrets and shame have you caused in the life of someone else? How do your justify your actions? What have you done to fix any of it? And, do you even care what you did to someone else or do you only care about yourself?
I had lunch in Pedro yesterday. Afterwards, I took a walk down the street to this local record shop to see if there was any vinyl I wanted to pick up. Directly following me into the shop were three people: two women and a chubby middle-aged bald white guy with a beard. He had a camera around his neck and was carrying a cheap tripod.
Inside the shop, me I went to search the bins of vinyl. The trio started to set up the tripod. I though maybe they were going to take some photos of the young, blonde girl who was part of the team.
I continued to flip through the records as I heard the blonde girl taking all of the chitchat that I hate that takes place on movie sets, “Oh, I auditioned for this…” “I auditioned for that…” “We were doing scenes from whatever in my acting class…” “My agent says…” I tired to ignore it…
I didn’t realize it at the time but I guess they were waiting for me to leave. In any case, I had a handful of records and I went up to pay. I made some small talk with the cashier and she asked me, “What are you filming this for?” I guess she thought I was with the other three because we entered the shop around the same time. Before I could give her an appropriately rude answer, the chubby guy chimed in, “It’s for a web series.” Awh, Jesus…
Anyway, what I would’ve said, initially anyway, was I would never shoot anything with that kind of camera… It was a few years old, bottom-of-the-line, Canon DSLR. They weren’t even using a microphone. Probably because those cameras do not have a mic input.
Now, I have written articles about the technological fact that DSLR cameras are not really designed to shoot video in the past. Yes, they can but they do not do it as well as a dedicate video camera. And, their on-board sound is not very good. So, shooting without an external microphone is just not the right thing to do if you plan to capture dialogue. But, there the team was, waiting to shoot their, “Web series.”
Now, I get it, this is the digital age, everybody wants to make movies. So, they were doing Zen Filmmaking at it’s purest. They were out there doing-it with whatever they had—even if what they had was a cheap, old Canon DSLR. But, if you’re going to shoot something on that level, I think it is far better to shoot it on your iPhone. The image would be just as good, if not better, as would the on-board sound. Plus, it is way more Punk Rock. “I shot it on my iPhone!”
Here we are in the midst of the digital age. By this point, a lot of people have made a lot of films using a lot of different methods. Good for them! Plus, here I am in Hollywood… The stories I could and have told and all the warnings I have given to young, pretty, blonde actresses. It was and is all the same.
So, some people are out there doing it by whatever method they have available. Zen Filmmaking, baby!!! Others just sit and dream and talk about what others have done and what they will do someday... But, doing is only really doing if what you are doing has an art, a purpose, and a philosophy. Other than that it is only chasing on the coattails of what has already been done.
Find your philosophy. Know why you are doing what you are doing.
How long do your memories last?
There is no one who can forgive you for your sins.
The martial arts are a system of physical movements designed to provide the practitioner with the ability to defend against and possibly overcome an attacking opponent. The martial arts are also a system where the practitioner is trained to mentally gage their attacking opponent and from this devise the best, most easily employed, method of self-defense.
It is understood that in combat, there are two primary participants: the attacker and the defender. The attacker is the person who has instigated the confrontational situation. The defender is the individual who is forced into the confrontation by the action of the aggressor. Understanding this, who is at fault? The attacker for attacking or the defender for defending? I believe the answer is obvious.
In life, most people wish to travel through their existence with as few confrontations as possible. Thus, they do not instigate confrontational situations. This being stated, many of us, as we pass through our life, are brought into combative situations that we did not create nor did we desire. Thus, this contentious situation is generated by the actions of someone else. Though it was instigated by someone else, we are none-the-less the one left with the need to defend ourselves.
Truculent situations are not only created by someone who wants to come up and punch you in the face. They are also generated by a person who says or does something that affects your life from afar. In some cases, these people are knowingly doing what they are doing. And, that is just wrong. In other cases, they are so self-involved that they are oblivious to the situation they are creating. In either case, you are the one that is left with having to defend yourself.
As is well understood in the martial arts, there are a number of ways to defend against the onslaught of an attack. Of course, you can just let it pass and walk the other way. Though this may be the most sanctified manner of encountering an attack, it is not always possible, as what the aggressor has done to your life may have resulted in a catastrophic event that is long lasting.
The main thing to understand when charting your response to an attack is, what was and/or is the motivation of your assailant? Did they do what they did intentionally? Or, was it accidental?
The fact is, there are those people who set out to attack and/or damage the life of another person. Those are bad people! Then, there is the person who is not consciously aware that what they are doing is hurting another person. They are also a bad person because they are so self-involved that they do not see beyond their own egotistical reality and by behaving in this manner, they may be hurting the life of another person or persons without even thinking about it.
Ultimately, whether the attack is intentionally or not is almost irrelevant as if a person or a person’s life is being negatively transformed by the actions of someone else, defense is necessary.
I imagine that many of us have encountered situations in our life where we were attacked in some way or form. Attacked, and we did nothing to instigate or ask for that situation. I know I have been. The stories I could tell… I am sure a lot of you have stories, as well.
In life, particularly in the age we currently live in, attacks come in all shapes, sizes, and forms. Sure, there is the guy who wants to come up and rob you or punch you in the face. These people are just animals. For them, your defense is obvious. Punch them before they punch you. But, there are also the more subtle levels of aggressor. Maybe it is the person who is just so mentally unstable, control by the demons of drugs or undiagnosed or uncontrolled mental illness, that they behave in a fashion that ruins the life of all those they encounter. Yes, you can kick their ass but that does not change anything. They are too lost to change their behavior. I personally have had my life messed up by people like this once or twice. When you present the fact of their sin to them, do they care? No. They are so lost in a space of mental instability and false reality that all they do is lie and deny. How can you defend against that state of mind? For them, deflection is the best weapon.
There are also, in this modern world, the people who attack from afar. It is very easy to do that now. As I have spoken about in this blog in the past, I have sadly known people who have taken their own life due to this style of attack. Sure, the instigator of that attack will someday suffer the karmic reaction but what they did will never change the life they destroyed.
People who do this and behave in this manner are cowards and they should be called-out on this fact. They are not even whole enough to speak face-to-face with a person if they have a thought, idea, or problem with them. Again, how can you defend against this style of attack? The only thing you can do is to meet them on their own battlefield as best as you can. But, in this style of battle, there is no real winner or loser. And, that is the ultimate lesson of all confrontations. Sure, if you are face-to-face maybe you can kick their ass. But, even then, there is all the emotional karma that is given birth to and all of the aftermath that must be rethought and relived.
I can say, if you are a conscious person don’t do things that instigate confrontations—don’t do things that have the potential to hurt people. If you encounter life in this manner then life is allowed to be live in its own perfection. For those of you who read this blog, I imagine that I do not even need to speak these words, as you are not out there doing things that have the potential to hurt the life of other people; as you are not thoughtless, judgmental, hurtful, domineering, or egotistical—you always think about the other person first. But, everybody is not like that…
So, in life, when you encounter an unwanted attack what are you going to do? As is taught in the martial arts, the best method is always deflection. Move the attacking energy away from yourself. Now, I get it, life is not always that easy. Some people are thoughtless, uncaring, power-trippers, or just so mentally fucked up that they do not even realize the damage they are creating. Then, all you can do is steer clear. And, try to be whole enough that you live an existence where people like this are not allowed to draw you into they confrontation the instigate in the first place.
The ultimate thing to remember, when you encounter a confrontational situation, is that there is always one person who is the aggressor. They are the one who instigated the confrontation. They are the one who dragged you into the fight. Thus, they are the one who is ultimately responsible and will suffer the karma. This being said, no matter what they say or do once the fight has been mobilized, they are one responsible so whatever you do to defend yourself do with consciousness—never allow things to escalate if you can help it for then all that happens is the furtherment of a negative situation that you had nothing to do with creating.
The ultimate understanding of martial art training is that while in the midst of a conflict you never allow your opponent to control your mind—you never allow them to suck you into their aberrant mentality. From this, you do not become dominated by negative emotions and thus you do not make radical, un-thought-out decisions that will lead you down the dark road to defeat. Stay conscious. Stay focused. Do not be controlled by the aggressions of your attacker. Emerge victorious.
Maybe a year ago there was this situation, here in the L.A. area, where an armed assailant attempted to carjack this guy outside of a Denny’s restaurant. The victim would have none of it and took off after the guy, using his car as a weapon. He chased the guy across the parking lot with it until he struck him with the car. The carjacker was not dead but was very messed up. It was a big story on the news and all that kind of stuff.
Interesting, at least to me, this Denny’s restaurant was next to a thrift store I sometimes check out. As I was walking through that same parking lot a day or two later, I looked down and I was stepping in a gigantic stain of blood on the ground and there was one of those big gauze things that the paramedics use to hold back blood. No one had cleaned up after the situation. Obviously, this totally weirded me out.
Since then, I have walk through that parking lot a number of times. I did so a couple of days ago. The thing that came to mind was, here is where that big news worthy situation took place. On one hand, there was the guy who was motivated to do that kind of thing—carjack somebody. What was in his mind? And, what would lead him down a life-road to do that kind of thing and think that it was okay? On the other hand, there was the attempted victim who would not let it happen even though a gun was pointed at him. Both of these people are people—they are human beings and a situation occurred to both of their lives that neither will ever forget. They will never forget but the rest of the world already has.
Gone is the blood. It was washed away with time. The news forgot about this incident the next day. What was once so monumental has been erased. If you weren’t there, if you weren’t watching the L.A. news that night, you would know nothing about it. A mammoth even; gone.
If something like that is forgotten, what about what is going on with your life? Can you/should you be so focused on the mundane events that are so important to you in one moment of time that you forget what everyone else is feeling—what they are going through? Or, can you/should you reach out and instead of thinking only about yourself, see that we are all only the memories that we specifically hold, and instead of becoming lost in a space of selfish Self, do something that unselfishly helps the greater whole?
What happens to everyone else is quickly forgotten. No one even knows or cares about what is happening to you. Understanding this, your only purpose should be to help others so at least the memory will be created in the mind of one person (or more) that someone was there that cared enough to help them.
For everybody who works, they get paid. That’s the whole point of the process, isn’t it? You do your labor and then at the end of the work week you get your paycheck. For those of us who work outside of the nine-to-five system, our getting paid is a bit different. But, we do get paid, none-the-less. If we didn’t, how could we survive?
For myself, as an author among other things, I look forward to getting my royalty checks from the publishing company every six months. That’s how it works for authors, you get paid twice a year based upon your book sales.
I have had some of my books published by this one particular publishing company for a lot of years. They initially were known as Samuel Weiser, Inc. They were really one of the first companies to publish metaphysical and Eastern-based books. They have been around forever.
When I first began to work with them it was great. The company was run by the son of the founder. His name was Donald. The accusations edition was his wife, Betty Lundstend, a great woman. Then, that company was so involved and so supportive of my publishing career, it was unbelievable. Every time I didn’t have a new book upcoming on the blocks, Betty would call me and ask for one. That’s how and why books like Samurai Zen were written.
In terms of getting paid, it was like clockwork. As stated, I was to be paid twice a year on the first of that month. Without a doubt, the check was cut and would arrive by the 3rd. It was so exact that I would schedule the shoots for my films around my royalty payment, as I never had a doubt about when it would arrive.
Times changed… Betty and Don were getting older and they sold the company. The new owners changed everything. No longer did I have an accusations editor in my corner asking me for new books. And, getting paid in any calculable way—forget about it. Not only did the new owners start to cook the books; i.e. pay the authors much less than they were originally paid, but the checks were never on time like mine right now. My check is a month late.
Now sure, I get it… Some people dream of getting a book published by an established publishing company and would be happy to do it for free. But, when you’re an established author as I am, with other publishing companies asking you for product, this changes everything.
The thing is, this whole lack of getting paid process is nothing new. It has been going on for over fifteen years since the new owners have taken over the company. I don’t believe I have ever gotten my check on time. And, this has really messed up my life a few times.
I have contacted the owner about this situation over the years and he has promised me it would never happen again. He even promised to pay me double if it did. But, here I am with no check and I am sure I am not the only author, published by this company, who has experienced this no-pay situation.
I don’t tweet but if I did I may instigate a hash tag, #payscottshawnow. But, unless you’re a major player on twitter, I doubt that would do much damage. But, it is a thought.
It seems that I never get paid by this publishing company unless I call them and ask for the check. I hate dealing with that kind of nonsense so I put it off and put it off. But finally, it seems like every six months I have to call them. This is something I did last week. It was all promises that it would be sent out ASAP. But, here I am a week later, no check, so I had to call them again. Of course, they did not answer this time so I had to leave a message. This time I was a bit irate and I reminded them, “I’m sure you’re getting paid on time.”
And, that’s just the thing… The whole reason this company is in business is due to authors like myself. That is the entire reason anybody working at that company gets paid. It is due to me and people like me. Yet, they can collect their own checks, but the people their company is based upon, do not get paid. I’m sure you wouldn’t work if you weren’t getting paid. I mean, this isn't a Karma Yoga thing.
Anyway… This is life. The life of an author. I just thought I would let all of you know…
PS: I don’t like to deal with this kind of stuff.
How much of what you do, do you hate?
In recent times we have witnessed a lot of police bad-actions being brought to our attention via media reports. Starting with the Rodney King tapes, the bad-actions of police officers have been blasted in front of our eyes. It seems that every week there is at least one or two new incidents of police officers being brought to task for their behavior towards citizens. These actions have not only hurt their original suspect—perhaps killing them but it has invoked riots, damage, and destruction. Thus, other innocent lives have been brought into play.
There is currently a coffee house in Oakland that refuses to serve police officers. I wonder if they get broken into or they have a customer causing a ruckus who are they going to call for help?
As a martial arts instructor, I have trained a lot of police officers in self-defense. I have done this from the 1970s forward. In each of them, I found a person who on one hand was a really dedicate person who hoped to help society and make the world just a little bit better. On the other hand was a person who always had a distant stare in their eyes because they had encountered so much needless violence.
When I was commonly training officers, this was a time in society when anything goes by the hands of cops. The stories I would hear. I was really surprised to listen to a now Capitan of the LAPD talking to new recruits on the news recently and he spoke of how in the past he would go up and punch a suspect in their face when he first approached them just to let them know who was boss. These are the kinds of stories I would commonly hear from my police officer students.
What causes this style of behavior? Empowerment. A person is put into a life position and then they run away with the power they have been given.
It is not only police officers that behave in this manner. Priests, ministers, or just the Joe or Josephine at the company who is put in a position of authority and their ego runs away with them. In fact, anyone who has developed a little anything has the potential to allow, “Empowerment,” to take control over their mind.
Many of those people who hold onto the Self-Motivational Model preach that empowerment is a good thing. The problem is, they are missing the elemental factor of empowerment. That factor is ego. Sure, a person may be given or may develop empowerment in the position in life where they find themselves. But, whenever you say, “Empowerment,” what you are really saying is, “Ego.” And, this is where the problem lies in empowerment.
Most people who come to a position of empowerment do so before obtaining the personal mental development to be able to actual work from that position and do good things for the people they encounter, leading to a greater world as a whole. Instead, all they are is an individual who has been provided with the keys of power—whatever that power may be. From this, all of the problems from personal empowerment begin. Whether it is a cop, a priest, a manager, someone on the internet, or just anyone walking down the street, if you have not trained your mind to be a caring and pure person first, then all of the actions you take are based upon the concept of, “You.” Thus, all you do is designed to either raise or maintain your position of power, control, and authority.
So, what does this tell us? First of all, it lets us know what the actual personal motivation is for all the problems that we are watching on our TV screens are born. Second, it let’s us know that if we ever come to a prominent position in life, we must never let our empowerment/ego over take us. We must care about and try to understand the other person first. From this, our empowerment may help to actually make any other person’s life we encounter just a little bit better, leading to an overall better world experience.
It seems that recently I’ve been writing a lot about the negativity that individuals unleash to other people and to the world in various ways. I guess that’s because I have been witnessing a lot of it lately and seeing the negative impact it is having on the lives of specific people and on the world as a whole. I suppose I hope that my words will cause people to rethink the life path they are walking and change but I doubt that anyone who is embraced by the addiction of negativity would even have an ear to listen. Sad…
It’s like; have you ever known a junky? Maybe this was a nice and a good person once upon a time but the moment the junk takes hold of their life they will do anything to get that fix. And, I mean anything. It does not matter if it hurts other people or themselves. You can talk and talk to them but though they may hear your word, they cannot listen. Meth-heads are no different.
This is the same with a kleptomaniac. They steal. And, there are no words that you can speak to them that will make them stop. Telling them how they are damaging others people’s lives will not make them change their pattern as they do not care who they are hurting as that adrenaline rush of acquisition and then getting away with it is all that they care about.
Liars are the same. Have you ever known a pathologic liar? They lie. And, though they may know that you know they are lying—you can even tell them to stop lying but they cannot, as they are too lost in their aberrant psychology.
And, the list of negative actions that hurt the lives of other people and the world go on from there. But, whether it is an intentional or unintentional negative deed performed or a negative word spoken, those actions have an impact. If they are intended to hurt someone the person who is preforming them is just wrong on all levels of life. But, think how many people are out there saying and doing negative things. Do they care? Do they change? No. Can you tell them to change? No. It seems that the only time they may ever even choose to change is when something really bad happens to them as then they may start to realize the true impact of negative actions. But, not always. The fact is, most people are lock into a space of Self and self-gratification, so much so that they do not care who or what they hurt and, in fact, may find pride and power in damaging the life of someone else. All of us attempting to walk the high road in life find this mindset hard to believe. But, it exists everywhere.
Here are the facts, if you instigate negativity, (no matter what your motivation) you are responsible for all of the negativity that is then unleashed. If you join in and participate in negativity, that has been previously released, whether that negativity is physical or verbal, you become just as responsible for all the negative occurrence that continue to unfold. Do you realize that?
Now, most of us only want to say and do good thing. If we do something bad, as we all do sometimes in life, we try to fix what we have damaged. We understand the karma and we set about on a course to undo or at least repair what we have done. The person embraced by negativity does not do that, however. Why? Because they are locked into a mindset of Self and they gain misplaced satisfaction from the control they believe they have unleashed upon someone or something else. But, it is just like the thief who steals a woman’s purse. Sure, maybe they will make a few dollars. Sure, maybe they will feel like they got away with something. Sure, maybe they got some sort of rush. But, they will never know the damage that the stealing of that purse may have actually done to the life of that person.
If you care, you never consciously do things that can hurt someone. If you care, and you understand or are told that you have hurt someone, you try to repair the damage no matter what the cost is to you life or your ego. If you don’t care, you don’t care. What does that say about you?
Stop negativity in its tracks.
For all of you Zen Filmmaking enthusiasts out there, here's the link to an article I wrote about twenty years ago which you may find interesting.
Tip of the Day: When you're trying to get publicity for your film or other creative project and you write a good piece you can change the title and alter it just a bit and then you can send it out to several publications. With this, you do not have to write an entirely new piece for every newspaper or magazine. That's what I did with this article once it was originally published.
Historically, little is of absolute certainty regarding the life of the being who has become commonly referred to as, The Buddha. Throughout history, however, his life has been chronicled in legend.
Siddhartha Guatama, the Sakyamuni Buddha, “Buddha from the Kingdom of Sakya,” is generally agreed to have lived from 563 to 483 B.C.E. Legend states that he was a Prince who lived a very sheltered life. Upon witnessing poverty, illness, and death for the first time, he lost faith in all that was material and left behind his Royal Lifestyle, his wife, and his newborn child in pursuit of the ultimate truth of human existence.
What is historically established is that during the lifetime of The Buddha a revolution was taking place in South Asia. Iron had recently been introduced to the Indian Subcontinent from China. This led to many rapid advancements in society—agriculture was vastly improved and landscapes could be readily cultivated. No longer were the forests the daunting obstacles they had once been. Now, they could be cleared so crops could be harvested within their once impenetrable boundaries. New structures, particularly palaces, were constructed in a much more substantial fashion. And perhaps most definitive of the era, the tool of warfare were vastly improved. So much so that near the end of his life The Buddha’s own kingdom of Sakya fell to the neighboring Kingdom of Kosala. Within a century of his lifetime, the entire region of what is now Northern India and Nepal would be united as the Magadha Empire.
The prominent religion of this historic era was Vedic Brahanism. This religion can trace its roots back a thousand years prior to the life of The Buddha. Its scriptures, known as The Vedas, began to be composed in 1500 B.C.E. This religion is the basis for modern Hinduism.
The highest practitioners of this religion were the Brahmans. They were identified as the highest cast and obviously the wealthiest of this ancient society. From this, they claimed privileges not afforded to the average individual.
As formalized power, secular wealth, and religious privilege rose in this region, dissatisfaction among the populous also escalated. This gave birth to a group of ascetics who were known as Sramana. The Sramana shunned society, renounced material possessions, and became wandering holy men following an undefined path to enlightenment. This group laid the foundation for what has become more commonly known as the Sadhu. The mindset of this group, undoubtedly, influenced the path the young Siddhartha Guatama as he would ultimately follow.
The Buddha’s path to enlightenment is historically unclear. It is believed that he studied with two primary teachers, Arada Kalama, who taught Akimcanya Ayatana, “The experience of nothingness” and, Udraka Ramaputra, who taught Naiva Samjna Asamjna Ayatana, “The experience of conscious unconsciousness.”
The legend persists in China that Lao Tzu, the Great Sage who is credited as the author of the Tao Te Ching, upon becoming disheartened with Chinese society and leaving his royal post, actually entered what is modern day Nepal and also became one of The Buddha’s teachers. As romantic as the pairing of these great souls appears, there is no historic evidence to provide factual substantiation to this claim.
The Enlightenment of the Buddha
Legend states that The Buddha dissatisfied with not obtaining the ultimate understanding of life from his two teachers or following the path of a wandering holy man, sat down under a Bodhi Tree and swore he would not rise until he became enlightened. Though many legends have been written about what The Buddha experienced during this period of intensive meditation, it is known that he did, in fact, emerge an enlightened being.
The Buddha, upon his realization, gave his first enlightened discourse at what is now Bodh Gaya, near Varanasi, India. This talk is known as, “The First Turning of the Wheel of Dharma.”
It cannot be established, with absolute certainly, what The Buddha actually said during this discourse, however. All that is written, claiming him as the source, was done so years, and in some cases centuries, after his physical death.
The Pali Canon
The Theravada tradition of Buddhism claims that the language of the Buddha was Pali, and thus, their collections of scriptures, known as, The Pali Canon, is the most accurate. This, however, has proven to be linguistically incorrect, as Pali came into existence after the time of The Buddha—who left his body near the city of Kusinagra, when he was eighty years old.
Thus, his spoken words, though possibly initially recorded in his native dialect, most probably, Magadhi, were handed down from disciple to disciple for an undefined period before they finally found their way into scriptural form.
The Buddhist Religion
With the end of Buddha’s life came the Buddhist religion. But, The Buddha did not invent the concept of enlightenment, nor was he the first or the last, being to reach this highest level of conscious evolution. Throughout the centuries, the followers of Buddhism have come to idealize his life and his teachings to the degree that it was impossible for them to reach their own Buddhahood, due to the extensive set of parameters they have assigned to the advancement of human consciousness.
There is an elemental problem with this mindset, however. Was the Buddha a Buddhist? No, he was not. He was a Hindu. Did the Buddha ask for worship? No, he did not. In fact, legend states that when he was asked, “Are you an Avatar,” he answered, “No, just a man.” When asked, “Then, are you a Guru?” He answered, “No, just a man.”
This is the portrait of the true, perfectly enlightened teacher, who achieved the highest level of human consciousness. Yet, he did not seek admiration due to his realization.
It is the unenlightened mind of humanity that has forgotten this simple truth and chosen to make him a deity of worship and his teachings the basis for a religion. From this mindset has come centuries of Buddhist that have been unable to encounter the realms of Nirvana—solely due to the fact that they project such an orchestrated, idealized image of what enlightenment is supposed to be. This problem is amplified by the fact that many Buddhists hold fast to the belief that the teachings of their sect of Buddhism or their individual teachers hold the only great truth and the purest pathway to higher consciousness. They miss the point...
The teaching laid down by The Buddha are absent from formalized religion. Formalized religion employs ritual. Ritual, though beautiful to watch, is based in physical actions. Physical actions only leads to physical reactions. Thus, Karma is set in motion—not enlightenment.
If enlightenment is the core teaching of The Buddha and it is understood that it is possible for each individual to achieve this level of consciousness, then why do anything other than become enlightened? Arguing that my school or my teacher is the best and yours is wrong does not produce enlightenment. Only enlightenment produces enlightenment. Be enlightened.
If you look around your community how many people do you see? Are your streets filled or are they barren? Are the businesses full or are they empty? For me, I have witnessed as all of the places I like to go have become overrun with a deluge of people.
I live in Los Angeles. This has always been my home. In years gone past, getting somewhere was very calculable. For example, in the '80s I lived in Hermosa Beach but I ran a martial art studio in Reseda, which is in the valley. Basically, that is completely on the other side of town, up and over a hill—not close. But, if I left by 2:30 or 3:00 I was all set for my afternoon and evening classes as I had an associate watching the door and answering the phones during the day. It would take me about forty-five minutes to get there. Traffic, at that time, was never bad. Now, forget about it. Any time, day or night, the 405 freeway is jammed and I never even think about going to the valley unless I have an industry gig over there.
Restaurants… I tend to eat a lot of meals in restaurants. I used to have it all timed out. For example, there was this beach place I used to go to for breakfast for years upon years upon years. If I’d get there before 11:00, my breakfast was set. A nice table overlooking the ocean. Now, day or night, getting a table there is almost impossible. That’s great for the owners but bad for the customers. I just never have been one of those people who is willing to put my name on a list and wait for table that I don’t really want. So, I never go there anymore.
And, that’s not the only place… There’s even this little crappy coffee shop I like—just your average Americana food that is bad for you. But, it has a very cool, old school vibe. So, I used to go there all the time. Now, you can’t even walk in and get a table. It is always crowded. So, like the other place I just mentioned, I crossed it off my list.
I spend a lot of time in Tokyo. I have for much of my adult life. And, though that place it jammed; people everywhere, all the time, there is a certain order to it. You can get from here to there without encountering road rage or people who want to push you out of the way and/or start a fight with you. You can go to restaurants and find a table. More people—way more people, but the art of getting from here to there and doing what you want to do once you arrive is obtainable. I guess that is just a byproduct of cultural indoctrination.
The population of the world is growing. That’s just the natural order or things; the more people there are, the more babies they have; thus equaling more people on the face of the earth. Though this is the case, the world, as we know it is rapidly changing—so many more people having so many more babies. Even once small towns here in California are now jammed with people.
I guess the U.S. is a hot and desired destination point that brings people from all over the world. And, as California is also a desired destination point, that brings people from all over the country. But, what has occurred is an overload of the populous creating an atmosphere where life and the living of that life has become not that enjoyable if you attempt to live anything on the outside. As once outside, that is where all the trials and tribulations begin.
The answer? I have none. This is simply an observation of the realities of realty.
I see this from the perspective of a person who used to like to drive all over the place to get to that special location or establishment. Now, it has forced me more inwards to kept myself protected from the nonsense of the outside.
I know people who everyday of the workweek get in their car and drive through massive traffic to get to their jobs. They are the true Zen Masters as they have created a mental space where they can do this and accept this as a condition of life. A meditation, maybe? But, if nothing else, learning how to deal with a world that is changing and becoming more and more overcrowded is an art form.
Live the art!
Have you ever had something occur in your life that changed your everything forever?
Maybe it was something that somebody did to you. Maybe it was something that just randomly happened. Maybe it was a mistake you made. Whatever the causation, your life changed and the prospects for your future were forever altered.
There are a lot of people out there who say a lot of things about positive empowerment, about taking control of your life, and about how to overcome obstacles. Though these words are spoken, if you have encountered one of these forever life alerting situations you understand that it is true that you may move forward through your life but who you were destine to be, how you were destine to live, and what you were destine to become will never be actualized.
If you have experienced this, you understand what I am talking about.
People commonly do things to other people that negatively change their everything. Have you done this to someone? How do you feel about having done that? Did you even take notice?
Most people who have walked down that road do not care. At best, they say, “I’m sorry.” At worst, they do it again to other people. Yet, they are the impetus for universal damage occurring to a person’s life and though you can believe in karma and all that kind of stuff, you can even pray for that person’s demise but that does not change what they have done. You are the one left with the life that will never be the same.
Youth is a great thing. For in youth there is always the belief of tomorrow. There is always the feeling that there will be time to accomplish your dreams. Because of this fact, if one of these very negative events occurs to a person still in their youth, there is at least the hope of a new and different future unfolding. Though, of course, that new future will be predicated upon the previous event that took place.
The youth situation is also the impetus for people acting badly and doing bad things. As they are young, as they do hold onto the concept of tomorrow, they do not contemplate or understand the fact that if they do something that negatively alters the life of a more mature person that action can be devastating to that person’s ongoing existence.
Most people downplay the severity of their actions. They make excuses if they have done something that has altered the existence of someone else. They make excuses if they are even self-aware enough to care. Few ever try to undo what they have done. And, this is sad.
For those people who have encountered this style of life altering event there are no words that can change what has happened. At most, all one can do is to provide a method so that the person can make enough excuses to themselves to get through to the next day. As such, these type of events are one of the main causes of suicide. This occurs when the excuses no longer work.
So, as you pass through life, you should care enough to care and be carful that you do nothing to damage anyone's anything because it can alter their everything.
And, if your everything is altered, all you can do is what you can do. Try to work the best you can within what is left. It’s not going to be easy. But, that's all you have.
Over the past several months there have been a couple of people who have taken footage from The Roller Blade Seven and used it to make music videos. This is not the first time this has happened. Back in the '90s there were a couple of bands that did this. One was an electronica group from Sweden (I believe). Their music was very good. This was back before YouTube became the massive force it has become and the video was uploaded to a different platform. I forget the name of the band and I never downloaded the video. I guess I thought it was going to be up there forever. Obviously, I was wrong. If you know who that band was and/or have a copy of the video, let me know.
More recently, a couple of people have followed suit. I’m not going to name band names here, just to keep this simple, but the first time this happened (recently) I thought it was done by the band themselves so I contacted them via their website as I always liked their music. The leader of the band got all pissy with me asking if I was trying to promote my movie by using his music. As I told him, Roller Blade Seven needs no publicity. I even told him how he could do a Copyright Take Down on YouTube if he wanted to. But, at least so far, he has not. So, I don’t actually know who combined their music with RB7 footage or why?
Overall, I have mixed feelings about this whole process. On one hand, it is kind of flattering, as the fact is we made RB7 over twenty-five years ago and there is still a lot of discussion surrounding it and a lot of footage being appropriated. On the other hand, it is all kind of weird because no one has ever contacted me asking me if it is okay to use footage from one of my films to make their music videos. And yes, I do own all rights, title, and interest to the film. So???
From a certain perspective, this is all fine, great, and interesting but it sets me to questioning, “Why.” One of the main issues is that I have moved on so far as a filmmaker since we made RB7. Everything about my filmmaking style has evolved. Yet, people are still looking to the past. They are not coming to me and asking me to make the kind of music video, for a specific song, that I would do today; they are just grabbing footage and running away with it. And certainly, no one is paying me any money for the use of my footage, which is one of the whole points of Copyright Laws, nor is anyone even asking me if I like the music that they are using Roller Blade Seven footage for—which I believe should be one of the elemental criteria. So again, I have mixed feelings.
For example, the most recent band that I have found using RB7 footage for their music video, I am not really about. I don't really like their music. Initially, I thought to do a Copyright Take Down on it but then I realized that would be a bit disingenuous as I am sure some people like their music.
For anyone who has read the story of Roller Blade Seven, they understand that the movie cost my life a lot. So, to not even ask me if it’s okay to use the footage is a bit discourteous. If you love the movie, great! If you like the footage, great! But, you should at least have the reverence for the filmmaker to ask him (me) if it’s okay to use the footage in association with your music video or any other visual project before you just grab it and run.
For the record, I don’t work cheap. But, I can be hired. So, if you want to do it right, you should contact me and maybe we can make a Scott Shaw Zen Film Music Video, twenty-first century style, for your song. Yeah, yeah, I get it… You want to grab RB7 publicity (as shoddy as that is) and you want your footage for free and you don’t want to have to work too hard to get your music video out there. But hey, if you like Roller Blade Seven, think about the filmmaker first!
This is all kind of like when you’re in a room and someone is talking about you and you know they’re talking about you and you want to say, “Hey, you realize I’m standing right here.” But, you don’t say anything and you just let them speak.
Over the past weekend there were numerous large-scale marches and protests all across the United States. Even Paul McCartney took part, as well as numerous other celebrities. These demonstrations were based on attempting to curb gun violence. And, though they were well intentioned, I do not know what they will truly accomplish. They were kind of like the Occupy Wherever movement of a couple of years ago in that as that movement did not have a clear focus, the message of what they were actually trying to achieve became convoluted and eventually after all the late-night hippy drum circles that took place at their city hall campout locations, nothing was really consummated. Plus, I wonder how many of those people who were playing Caring Citizen over the weekend on those marches have ever bullied someone or consciously did something that hurt someone/anyone which would mean that they are no one to carry the banner of personal goodness?
Sure, gun violence is bad. But, it is essential to remember that the young individual who recently did that mass shooting in Florida obtained his gun legally. He could do it then and he could do it today. This is a fact. Plus, most of the gun violence that occurs on that large of a scale is orchestrated by individuals who can purchase guns legally. Certainly, there is all the gangland violence that takes place across the U.S., particularly in areas of urban blight, and that is bad, as well. But, as these crimes take place in the ghettos, it is more common than not that they are over looked by the media and by mainstream America. That is wrong but that is the truth.
At the root of all/any manifestations of outward violence is the anger that one person holds towards another person or directed towards a larger group of people. But, where is that anger born? There is obviously no one answer to this question but what is for sure is that anger is what gives birth to violence and anger breeds—it easily spreads from one person to another. This is why I always warn people that they really need to be careful what they say as it is so easy to instigate violence as so many people have unresolved anger within themselves. This is why you see it breed so quickly on social media once someone says something negative about a person and others, not caring if what is being said is true or false, immediately join in. This is also why you see riots rapidly brew whenever just a few people start a commotion in a public place.
We can all agree that people should get their anger under control. We can also all agree that people should not instigate people’s anger by saying and doing negative things about one person or a larger entity. But, how many people out there are self-aware enough to hear that message?
Anger is the causation factor for much of the negative actions that take place in this this world. But, anger begins with you. It begins with one person feeling one way and then acting out on that emotion.
Anger is indoctrinated into us from birth forward. Think about what you parents did when they felt you did something wrong. They got angry at you, which then caused them to perhaps yell at you and/or hit you.
From a greater perspective, many people, in this current era, have tired to not treat their children as harsh disciplinarian and, instead, attempt to reason with them in order that they learn the lesson that needed to be taught. This is a good thing. But, for example, here in California, there have been a few cases recently in the news where parents and stepparents actually killed their child by unleashing ongoing physical punishment. So, this style of forceful discipline has not left us. What was that punishment based upon? Anger. They were mad at their child for some reason. I know when I was a child my father’s weapon of choice was a belt when he felt I acted wrongly. My mother’s was a metal coat hanger. I remember how proud she sounded when she would tell her friends of the welts and bruises she left on me when I had been, “Bad.” But, what it is bad? Isn’t that just a point of view that makes you angry? Thus, anger leads people to violence even towards a small child.
I remember one time when I was about five; my father owned a very successful restaurant. The cook had brought his son over who was out in the back of the establishment playing with the neighborhood kids and myself. All, except myself were African-American. The kids found out that the cook’s son was referred to as, “Junior.” They all started making fun of his name, as kids tend to do. I knew that was not nice and I did not say a word. When my father found out what had occurred, he took me into his office. I told him I had not said anything negative about the boy’s name. But, he was angered. I could see it in his eyes. He took off his belt and beat the shit out of me. I was convicted for a crime I did not commit all based upon someone else’s anger.
My case is not all that unusual. A lot of children were beaten by their parents who felt that it was necessary and okay to discipline their child as they saw fit. Having been involved in the Korean community for much of my life, due to my involvement with the Korean martial arts, I have witness some fathers literally relentlessly beat their children. It is well documentary that this takes place in the Korean community. In fact, one time, one of my instructions beat the crap out of his teenage son at our studio when his son had gotten into a schoolyard fight and, as his father had insisted, he did not fight back. He didn’t fight. He just got hit and had one of his teeth knocked out. This, even though due to his training it would have been very easy for him to defeat his opponent. He was one of my best students. Yet, there his father was, harshly disciplining his son anyway.
Uncontrolled anger is what causes this style of behavior. But, this anger also breeds anger in the next generation and in all of those who encounter it. People learn how to behave and how to interact in life from their parents. Thus, how one is treated as a child is commonly how they come to treat others and particularly their own children. As I am getting somewhat long in the tooth, I have come to see this ongoing, ever-expanding behavior in the children of my childhood friends in the way some of them have developed through their life.
But, more than simply continuing reaction based upon action within the family structure, this type of inflicted behavior spreads outward to others. Family is the base place for behavior that spreads outwards and this is the case from childhood through adulthood even long after the family members who dominate via anger have passed away.
People are indoctrinated into anger. They are taught that it is okay to behave in this manner. The child who encounters this behavior, and learns how to react in this way, then also becomes angry. Thus, that anger is spread outwards. Not only to family members but also to other relationships and the community and the world on the whole. From this, expansive anger becomes never-ending. Add to this being treated harshly or in a bad way by other children or people in the work place or in life and the anger a person was indoctrinated into expands outwards, leading to horrific events.
So, these marches and protests and stuff are all well and good. But, do they/can they fix the problem? No. The problem is an interpersonal thing. That thing can only be fixed within you.
What are you doing to save the world?
With the industry awards season over and my votes having been cast for the various films in the various categories, my at-home free-time viewing experiences have shifted to watching on-demand documentaries. I have seen a few very good, very informative pieces. I have also watch several, for only a few minutes and then turned them off, as they simply did not hold my interest.
One of the main things I have realized, while watching these docs, is that many of them put in a lot of filler. They either go off on a tangent that does not provide any new knowledge to the piece or they let people talk on and on saying nothing. They really need to trim ‘em down.
As a filmmaker I get it that there is a certain time frame required to fill that will make your project meet certain industry criteria. For example, back in the heyday of independent film, from the late 1980s onto the end of the 1990s, films had to be a certain length to be considered viable for international sales. They had to be a minimum of eight-two minutes. I know in some of the films I made I allowed either a scene to be included that I did not really like or I allowed scenes to play on longer than I would have liked for that very reason. This is also the case when you watch an indie film and they have very long front-end screen credits followed by the same at the end of the feature. Why did they do this? They didn’t have enough production to fill the necessary time slot.
Personally, by the early 2000s I had said, “Forget it.” In making my films I just put in the amount of footage that I felt told the story in the best and most efficient, interesting, and technologically correct manner possible. I trimmed ‘em down!
Now, I get it, everybody’s artistic vision is their own. They create things based upon their own set of predetermined requirements and what moves them as a filmmaker. So, there is no judgment going on here. But, what is going on is the understanding that in life sometimes you need to trim it down.
Think about how many words you have spoken that didn’t really need to be said. Think about how many actions you have taken that didn’t really need to be taken. Think about all of the things you have done, as you have passed through your life, that did not ultimately equal anything more than you doing them for the sake of your doing them. Think about all the words you have spoken and the things you have done that have set a course of negativity in motion in your life and/or the life of another other. Now, think about if you would have simply let things be and not said or done anything at all. Would not the all and the everything have been a whole lot better?
You can do and you can do. You can fill up your time slot in this life up with your doing and never even think about what it is being filled up with. Or, you can trim it down and say less and do less. With this, so much of your life junk is minimalized and you are allowed to exist and be free in the moment you are encountering without the calculated need to fill the all and the everything with anything else but the perfection of silence.
You can only make one more phone call. Who do you call and what do you say?
You have one last night. How do you live it?
You have one remaining day where you can do anything that you want. What do you do?
You can see one person, one last time. Who do you choose?
If you live your life defined by these parameters then your existence comes into focus and you know what you really want to do and whom you want to do it with.
I had the chance to watch the 2007 documentary, Children of God: Lost and Found last night. It was a good piece. For those of you who may not know, The Children of God AKA The Family, also known by some other names, is a wide-spanning Christian-based religious cult where limited homeschooling is provided to the youths and ramped sexuality, childhood sexuality, and pedophilia is embraced. There are a few known celebrities who came out of that group; perhaps most notable are River and Joaquin Phoenix and Rose McGowan.
In any case, this is a very interesting documentary shot on a shoestring budget, probably financed out of the filmmaker’s own pocket. The filmmaker had grown up in this community and he relates his experiences as well as speaking with others who grow up like him, pounded with the fear of god while encountering ramped physical and psychological abuse and sexual behavior. The documentary is compelling. He details how this lifestyle and this life indoctrination has lead several former members to suicide, attempted suicide, and even murder. Plus, as the filmmaker also explains, it has lead many of the former members down the road to not living a very good life.
One of the main things that I took away from the doc was how when asked about relationships, one of the former members, detailed how as he was so dominated when he was growing up the moment he enters into a relationship he begins to behave in that manner; very domineering. From this, he realized that it was better that he stays away from long-term relationship as he did not have the psychological makeup to behave in a normal manner.
This is very self-intuitive. Think about this, how many people ever even question the way they behave in relationships; be they interpersonal or on a larger scale. They just do. They just act. They just react. But, they never ponder why they are doing what they are doing, nor do they care about how what they are doing is affecting another person or persons.
Certainly, those young people who were brought up in The Children of God are a very exaggerated example of childhood abuse. As is always the case in life, some adapted better to it and stayed within the fold, while others did not. But, in all of those cases, each of those indoctrinated children emerged with a view of psychological reality shared by very few.
Many of us as children were brought up via methods that would be considered physically and psychologically abusive. For those of us who were brought up in this manner, it has left us defined by those indoctrinated traits. Some of us moved forward and got help. And, though we may be taught methods to help us move beyond the defining effects of the abuse, all that is still a part of us. It is still elemental to who we are. As none of us can ever truly move away from who we are and how we were indoctrinated into the world, we are forced to live a life defined by those predetermined realities. Good or bad, that is just the way it is.
Knowing and understanding this, however, we can choose, as the person interviewed in the film did, to not allow our flaws to dominate and/or hurt other people. We can choose to be more than someone who allows our own personal life indoctrinations to control the life of anyone else. But, to do this, we have to care enough to care. Care enough about the life of another/other people that we never let who we are hurt them. This may not be easy, because most people are very selfish and self-centered creatures. But, you can care enough to care and not let the negative aspects of who you are do anything to hurt the anyone else.
Care enough to care to learn who you are, why you are who you are, and then never let the what you are hurt anyone else.
What do you ask forgiveness for when you pray?
If you don't seek forgiveness that mean you don't care about what you have done that has hurt other people.
If you don't care, what does that say about your moral character?
A lot of people spend a lot of time explaining why they do what they do. Like I have long said, “Everybody has an excuse.”
Explaining what you do and why you have done what you have done especially becomes the case when it is revealed that what you have done has hurt some person or some people. The fact is, you can always justify why you did what you did. But, a justification is just that, just a justification. Like an excuse, it has no true value.
What have you stolen from somebody that allowed money to come into your pocket? What words have you spoken that have hurt the evolution of another person’s life? What actions have you taken that hurt one person or the whole world while you were trying to make your life better? These actions, though oftentimes denied and justified, are what you have done with you life. Thus, that is the definition of your life. Own it.
Most people do not care what they have done to the life of another person or persons. For example, look at the tobacco industry. How many people worked their entire life in a business that was designed to kill people? And, that is just one very obvious example. I am sure every one of those people will have an excuse for why they did what they did. But, what they did was to orchestrate and provide a method where a lot people died a very bad death. What honorable justification is there for that?
In many cases, what a person does to survive may not be that obvious of a detrimental to one person, many people, or the greater good. Yet, show me one person who has not hurt anyone. Though we all are guilty of that sin, the true problem arises when one person consciously sets about doing one thing that hurts anyone and does not care enough about that person, known or not, to stop themselves. From there, entire lives may be ruined.
The other side of this issue comes into play when people have not achieved the life or the lifestyle that they had envisioned for themselves. First of all, if you base your life upon desire, your ever-evolving needs will never be fully fulfilled. But, more than that, if your life is desire-driven then all you are thinking about is yourself. From this, you do not care whom you hurt in the process of obtaining your desires.
Remember, if you hurt one person, you have hurt the whole world because each person is a part of the interactive greater whole.
Though you can write your autobiography and justify all of the actions that you have taken and all of the things you have done that have hurt someone/anyone else; that does not erase the damage done. All that does is add the fact to the equation that you do not care about anyone else, nor do you care about the people you have hurt. If that is the truth, then why would you expect your justifications or your excuses to erase the damage you have caused?
A good person thinks about how what they are about to do will affect someone else. A bad person wants to take, steal, cast judgment, incite negative life expressions, and hurt other people with no care about the consequences. But remember, there are obvious consequences to those who have received what is done but there is also consequences for those who have done the doing.
Who are you? What have you done? What have you done about what you have done?
How many times have you done something that affected someone else simply because you wanted an end result to occur in your own life? How many times have you done something that affected someone else because you wanted something in your life but you did not take into consideration what affect what you want may have on that other person?
Commonly, people want something for themselves. Commonly, they have all kinds of reasons why they want that something built up in their own mind. Commonly, to get that something they need the assistance of someone else. Commonly, they do not consider the other person they have involved in what they want; they just add them into the mix because it will equal them receiving their desired end goal.
How many times have you behaved like this? Take a moment a think about those times.
How many times has someone treated you like this? Take a moment and think about those times.
To relate a couple of (now) amusing instances that have occurred in my life where someone attempted to drag me into their melodrama…
I had met this beautiful African-American girl who worked at Banana Republic back when it was a cool and fun place to shop. We set up a date. She wanted to go and see this obscure film. I was very impressed that she was so well versed in the arts and cinema. After the movie she was very amorous. I mean, she was all over me. Being a guy, I was quite enthralled. Somewhere between kissing and before it lead to anything else, I found out that she was in high school and was seventeen years old. What! I slammed on the breaks. Though by that point I certainly didn’t want to.
Now, I certainly understand that the whole thing of you are not considered and an adult and able to make definitive decisions until you are eighteen years old is a strange arbitrary number. I know back when I was running a martial arts studio I would feel very bad when seventeen year old young men would come in to sign up and I would have to ask them to get their parents to sign the training injury release form before they could step onto the mat. I know by the time I was seventeen I considered myself every bit of an adult. But, it is the law. And, it is illegal to have sex with someone before the age of eighteen—at least here in California. But, this is not the point…
Anyway, as it turned out, this young lady was already pregnant when I met her. Who, what, when, were, or why I have no idea. But, what she wanted was a baby daddy. My guess is that she had hooked up with some high school guy who she saw as having no future so was looking for an older guy who was established.
Just think… I was being totally played… If I did have sex with her, I may have never known the truth.
She had a plan. The plan involved me. But, it was all concocted in her mind. I had no idea. Think how many people something like that has happened to.
On the flip side of the age issue, another funny occurrence occurred to me way back in the way back when. Back when I was seventeen, I had met this very pretty girl at the Sufi Dances. We had a connection, so I suggested we meet up. She put me off for a couple of weeks, as the Sufi Dances happened once a week, but then she was all about meeting up—right away!
As the story goes, it was near the end of the month, and her previous boyfriend had just moved out. She invited me over to her apartment, which was at the base of the Hollywood Hills. She told it to me straight out; she liked me and wanted me to move in with her ASAP. She didn't ask me my opinion about the situation or anything like that. She had just made up both of our minds. She needed someone to pay the other half of the rent. Obviously, this made me smile. As stated, she was an attractive woman. But, I was still in high school. When I told her I was only seventeen, her attitude completely changed. It was almost like she became angry at me—like my age was somehow my fault. I never saw her again. She never returned to the Sufi Dances.
Again, here is a case of a person having built up an entire scenario in their own mind. In that scenario they included another person—another person (me) who had no idea about what they were thinking.
On a lighter note: I used to go into this one shop once a week or so. It was the strangest thing, whenever I would be there a few minutes later this guy who had taken one of my classes at a local college would show up. “Hey Scott, doing any movies I can be a part of?” As it turned out, the guy lived close to the shop and he told this one shop girl to call him whenever I came in. I thought that was kind of funny. He had decided he wanted to be in one of my films and he was all about getting in one. But, that's fine. I am always happy to put willing actors and actresses in my films. I happily used him in a movie when I had the right role for him.
So, this is the thing… What do you want for your life? And, who are you sucking into your realm of desire in order to facilitate what you want? Do they know how you are using them to get what you want? If they do, and they agree, that’s great. If they don’t, however, that means that you are being dishonest—not only with them but with yourself for you are not behaving in an honest and open manner and from that all kinds of life melodrama is given birth to.
Think about it… How many times have you brought people into your life scheme and that person did not know what you were up to? Is that the right way to behave?
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.
How often do you go outside at night and count the stars?
Sometimes change doesn't make things better it just makes things different.
Way back in the way back when, I used to do a section on one of my earlier incarnations of this blogs called, “What’s on the Decks.” There, I would list what music I was listening to at the time, for that day, or the day before—depending on when I wrote the blog. In fact, I sometimes would upload songs that the readers could listen to if they wanted, like when I introduced the world to songs like, “Body,” by Niia or, “I’m Callin’,” by Tennis. Or, reminded people of great bands from the era of the New Wave like 20/20. In life, times change and we do things differently… What we think about and why is in a constant state of evolution. Or, at least it should be. Thus and so on, I stopped doing that section.
I just received a question/message from a reader remembering those times in the times gone past. Thanks for remembering! They questioned why I stopped doing that section. There’s no real reason, I just did.
In terms of music, I think like a lot of us, I’m all over the place. Here in L.A., (where we’re driving all the time), we have a couple of great radio stations that are really groundbreaking in the music they play. KCRW and KXLU are two of them. I’m sure you can get to them online if you want to check them out. Plus, there’s CDs, (I still have one of those prehistoric units in my car), and then there’s all the stuff we can download or stream. Plus, I like to listen to the various news and documentary programs on NPR while in the car.
So, that’s the story of the times gone past bringing us to today…
For the record (record, get it?) and for a flashback to what I used to write… On the Decks (yesterday), I listened to The Sandmen, Western Blood and REM, Fables of the Reconstruction on vinyl and Sun Volt, Trace and The Wreckers, Stand Still Look Pretty on CD. I was kind of on a '60s vibe/Alt Country tip…
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.
What should you regret but you do not?
What is wrong with United Airlines? For those of you from a different country or those of you reading this from a different place in time, United Airlines is a major air carrier that has been around forever. I have flown them numerous times. But, no more…
Over the past couple of years, time and time again, they have been doing some really messed up stuff to their passengers: kicking people off of flights that they have overbooked, giving people’s paid-for seats away to someone else and making the passenger who paid for the seat carrying their children on their lap, and literarily dragging people off of flights. Sure, they are always sorry. Sure, they always want to give people a free makeup flight. Sure, they get sued and have to pay millions of dollars. But, what does that change? They keep messing up big time.
Most recently, this week, they forced a woman to put her dog in the overhead bin where it died. It is said that when the woman found her dog was dead she sat down on the floor of the aisle crying and crying. I get it! Have you ever lost a pet? It is devastating! They are part of your family! Me, now closing in on my sixth decade, I have lost several pets and it is absolutely heartbreaking each time. They are never forgotten but you are never the same without them.
Now, if it was me, and a flight attendant told me I had to put my pet in the overhead bin, and they would not let me keep it where I could see it and interact with it, I would have gotten off the plane. But, I get it; the lady was probably told her dog would be okay up there. WRONG! But, it is the fault of United. Sure, they are sorry. Sure, they are going to reevaluate their training and their policies. But, that does not bring back the life of that dog and it was only ten months old! It was just a puppy and now its life is gone.
Once again, the badness of United Airlines is all over the news. But, does this cause them to change? No, they continue to do bad things. It is kind of like when you write a negative review about a business on Yelp, does that make them change or put them out of business? Nope. I mean I had a mechanic completely mess up my car recently, and charge me a lot of money to do it. I wrote the review but did that do anything? Nothing at all. They are still in business and my car cost me a lot of money to be refixed.
At the heart of all negative life interactions is one person doing one thing. Generally, this negative action is performed, or at least instigated, by one person feeling power or empowerment; i.e. the flight attendant who made the lady put her dog in the overhead bin. I wonder how many tears that person has cried over the loss of that life?
…The flight attendant was empowered—he or she took control over someone else and made them do something that they did not want to do and the consequences were death. How wrong is that!
This is an important thing to think about as you pass through your life. Yes, you may have power. Yes, you may feel empowered but if you use that energy and direct it towards anybody very bad things can happen. Bad things are just wrong! Never allow yourself to instigate them.
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?
You can't like what you don't know.
I was driving down PCH in the LBC listening to the Ramones and off in the distance I see a monk standing on the sidewalk wearing orange robes. It is not uncommon to see monks in Long Beach, as there is a large Cambodian community that lives in that city. I wrote a book on that subject way back in the way back when, back when I was doing cultural studies and writing on those studies. Anyway, my plan was to give him pranam (prayer hands) as I drove by. Though I knew he probably wouldn’t see me, I have a lot of respect for monks, so I always like to pay them their due. As I got closer to him, a smile was put upon my face. There he stood, a Cambodian Buddhist monk; shaved head, orange robes and putting a cigarette into his month and preparing to light it up. I could not help but question, “What’s wrong with this picture?” This, as Sheena Is a Punk Rocker played through the speakers.
Now, I know monks are not always what they seem. For example, in South Korea most of the monks wear gold Rolex watches. I have even sat next to a couple of them traveling to or from Korea over the years—in First Class, of course. So, I get it, certain sects do things in a way the layperson would not expect. But, smoking… Isn’t the body supposed to be the temple of the soul and all that?
I don’t know… As a person who has spent their entire life deeply intertwined with Eastern Religion and Mysticism, I am still surprised by the way the supposedly holy behave and the excuses they assuredly come up with for doing what they do…
Make a list of all of the things that you did do with your life.
Are you are dreamer or are you a doer?
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!”
It is kind of interesting… People forever perceive the everything else of the everybody else based upon their own point of view. If they operate from a space of positivity, they see all things as positive. If they operate from a space of negativity, they see all things as negative. Most operate somewhere in between. That’s just life. But, here we all are. We are all attempting to operate our way through our life in the best and most beneficial manner possible.
Some people create things. It may be paintings, drawings, photos, music, poetry, literature, films, programs, businesses, children or… Other people do not create. This is not bad or good; this is just life and the definition thereof.
As everybody comes at the everything else of the everybody else based upon their own point of view, some people who do not comprehend the process of creation want to base their life upon judging what another person creates. I mean how many times have you heard people criticizing the art created by someone else? How many times have you heard someone criticizing someone else—meaning that they are criticizing the parents of that person as those parents not only gave both to that individual but raised them into adulthood, as well. But, all this criticism is just mind junk. It is just someone attempting to find something to do with their mind and the time that they have here in life instead of actually getting out there and creating and understating the process of inspiration equaling creation.
Okay, to the point… Zen Filmmaking is based upon the most spiritually pure source of energy that there is; instantaneous creativity. No definition, no judgment, no negativity, simply pure, in-the-moment, cinematic realization placed upon film or video or digital memory cards or whatever come next… It is about grabbing a visual instance in the purity of the meditative moment and realizing it upon film. What it is that is captured doesn’t matter. Whether it is perfectly framed or not, in or out of focus—if it captures a moment never seen again throughout human history or it is completely meaningless is unimportant; what it is, is just that—it is what it is.
Zen Filmmaking is about operating from a space of mental and spiritual purity. Yet, there are people out there who want to place their own definition upon Zen Filmmaking—based upon their own dominate emotion: be that positive or negative. But, by doing this, they completely miss the point. And, by missing they point, they miss the point! Thus, all they have done is to damn an elemental process geared towards generating enlightenment into the realms of interpersonal, self-defined, mind junk. Which means, they don’t understand it at all.
Free yourself of definition and criticism leaves your vocabulary. What happens next? Satori.
What is the definition of your life? Do you ever ponder this question?
Each of us has a defining factor that makes us who we are. Though this factor evolves as we pass through life, it is what makes us who we are.
For some people, they are defined by their family. For others, it is their job. Others define themselves by something that they do be it weight lifting, boxing, the martial arts, bike riding, or sailing. Some define themselves as a helper of those in need. Some are completely defined by the art they crate be it painting, music, or poetry. All of these defining external things are how a person sees themselves and what causes them to react in a specific manner to the world around them. It gives birth to their relationship with the world. But, the fact is, most people just do what they do but they never take the time to seek deeply within themselves and come to the conclusion of why and how they are defined by what they do.
The way you act, feel, and behave is also one of the primary defining factors of your life. Some people are nice while others are rude. Some are caring, while others don’t give a damn about anyone. Some are happy, some are angry. Some love life, love people, and appreciate all they encounter, while others are bitter, judgmental, and vengeful. Again, we come back to the fact that though people behave in a specific manner, few ever take the time to find out why.
What you do, how you feel, and how you behave are all defining factors of your life. But, if you don’t know why you do what you do, why you feel what you feel, why you behave the way you behave, you are truly missing out on the most elemental quality of life; why you are you.
Does it really make you feel that much better when you unleash some level of negativity out to the world? Does it really make you feel that much better when you say something negative, when you yell, when you scream, when you insult somebody, when you have a tantrum?
The reason so many people’s lives are so unhappy—the reason there is so much dissatisfaction in this world—the reason so many people are depressed, suicidal, or living in a state of undefined rage is that they have become hooked into the expression of negativity instead of following a better, more positive life-embracing path.
How thankful are you for what you have? How thankful are you for the fact that you are not hungry—you have food to eat? How thankful are you that you have a place to live? How thankful are you for the clothing that you have that you like to wear? How thankful are you that there are family members and/or people out there that like or care about you in your life?
In each of our lives, there are things and situations that we do not like. That’s just life! How much time do you spend focusing on those things? How much time do you spend focusing on what you do not have? The more you focus on it, the more it overtakes your life. How much time do you spending focusing on unleashing your dissatisfaction?
Every negative word you say, every negative action you take, unleashes a never-ending spiral of ongoing negatively. You say it, you instigate it, you enact it, it moves forward from you. It hurts people and it hurts life. Thus, you are responsible. If you operate your life from this perspective, why would you expect to encounter the type of people and life situations that you hope to bring into your life? Negative never equals the positive.
If, on the other hand, you wake up each day and actually express in your own mind, to yourself, that you are thankful for what you have; everything becomes better. Why? Because you are embracing the positive—the positive aspects that are already in your life. Thus, you are not enacting the negative.
Take a moment right now. No matter if you are happy, sad, angry, jealous, anxiety ridden, or just pissed off—STOP all of those emotions. Take this moment, look deeply into yourself and consciously list all of the things that you are thankful for. A better life begins with appreciating what you already have.
Now… Certainly, there will be some people out there who are operating from such a state of negativity and anger that they will not be able to easily do this. But, even you, STOP IT! Stop that emotion. Stop embracing the negative. Take control over your mind! Are you strong enough to do that? If you do this, even for a moment, you will begin to see the results. Focus on the positive. Take the time to think about all that you are thankful for.
Being negative is an invigorating emotion. It supplies people with a false sense of power. As they are unleashing their dissatisfaction and anger they feel relieved. Even some branches of psychology suggest a person do this. But, leashing internal dissatisfaction and anger does not have to be based upon a negative expression. Go for a run. Run until you can run no more. Go punch a heavy bag. Punch it until you can punch no more. From this, aberrant emotions are released while the life of no one else, including the person who is releasing these emotions, is damaged.
As negative is always negative; where does embracing this lifestyle ultimately lead? To more dissatisfaction based upon personally developed negativity. In is a cycle that never ends.
Thus, when you catch yourself about to embrace and/or unleash a negative word, action, or deed; catch yourself—stop yourself and cause yourself to focus on what you are grateful instead of simply actualizing any anger or negative emotion you feel.
Remember, what is anger? It is you not getting what you want. What is dissatification? It is you not getting what you want. Be more than a spoiled child that unleashes your personally developed and internal motivated dissatisfaction out onto the world.
To end this cycle of negativity, start with appreciating what you have. Everyday, every time you are feeling dissatisfied or angry, catch yourself, and think about all you are thankful for. Instead of lashing out at others, be happy that you are alive enough to realize that people exist and that you are walking through a life space where anything is possible if only you focus on the positive and consciously move towards an affirmative and optimistic life placement.
Have you ever had the experience where you are trying to tell someone what you are thinking or how you are feeling and they are just blank, they are not listening to you? This blankness may arise out of many a cause, but what it ultimate comes down to is that they are not listening to you, as they do not care what you have to say.
This is a very common interactive factor among people who do not know one another very well. As they do not know the person, they have no true reason to care about that person. Though this motivational factor is based upon a mindset of selfishness and uncaringness, it is very common.
But then, there is the other side of the issue, when two people know one another and the other person is just not listening or caring about what the other person has to say. Here we move into the realms of selfishness and non-caring. Though they know the person, are physically hearing what they have to say, but they are so wrapped up into whatever else is going on in the mind and in their life that they pay no attention to what the other person is saying.
At the heart of Buddhism is the concept of compassion. Compassion means caring about another person. Whether you personally know them or not—whether you personally care about them for selfish reasons (like love) or not is unimportant. What is important is that you care enough to hear what they have to say and possess enough compassion to answer the questions and life-need they possesses. But, for the average self-thinking, self-serving world person, these words mean nothing. All they care about is themselves and those that give them what they want.
So, here lies the dilemma. You are thinking something, you are feeling something, you express that some thing to some person but they are blank, they are not listening and they do not care what you are experiencing; what do you do? This is perhaps one of the most elemental questions to life and life interactions for we all will encounter these situations in life; i.e. people who don’t listen. You can point out the way they are behaving to them, you can scream and yell at them to stop it and care, but if they don’t, they don’t. This is just a fact of life.
Yes, we can say they are a non-caring person. Yes, we can say that they are not walking the pathway of compassion but we can say all that we can say but they will not hear.
In life, though there are a million variants, there are primarily two kinds of people; those who are open enough to hear, listen, and care about what someone else has to say and those who do not. Now, one could say only associate with the listeners but that is impossible. In life, we are all forced to interact with so many styles of people. Thus, the only answer is that it comes down to you. You must be a conduit for compassion, you must be the one who cares, you must be the one if a person is not whole and caring enough to listen to what you have to say that you just stop stating it, at least to that person, as all you will say will be only heard by deaf ears.
Surround yourself with those who listen. Surround yourself with those who care. Be that person who listens and cares.
In every era, in every region of the world, there is one primary thing that comes to define a specific period of time. In this time frame, here in the Western World, we are defined by discourse—people talking, people discussing, and people stating their opinions as facts. But, what do all of those words means? What do they do for the betterment of the world? How do they add to growing human consciousness?
It is impossible to listen to any-anything anymore without someone telling someone else what he or she thinks or feels about some person, some action, or some thing. If you remember back to the early days of networks like CNN, they presented the news. They presented discussions and interviews with experts in their field. Now, more than anything else, it is simply a commentator leading a group of talking heads detailing what they think will happen next with whatever is the focus of the current conversation. But, they are virtually always wrong! What they predict virtually never happens! All this style of discourse does is to allow one or more people some face time with the public so they can grow their brand. But, they are wrong! As they are wrong, this is not news, this not cultural documentation, this is just babble.
What is an opinion? It is just that, an opinion. And, this is where the root of this problem begins. People forget that their opinion is just an opinion and they begin to believe what they think to be the truth. As they believe it and present their thoughts as facts, others come to believe it, as well, and this set all who listen on a dark course of belief verse fact.
People may argue that it is valid that they hold an opinion about a particular subject. And, this is true. We all have opinions. The problem arises when people present their opinions to other people and those other people than come to believe that person’s opinions. From this, arises belief. But, belief based upon personally motivated understandings only leads to chaos.
How many times have you believed something someone said about a subject that they weren’t intimately involved with and it turned out to be false? Moreover, do you believe someone just because they say something?
Belief is the cornerstone for all actions taken in life. But, if belief is based upon a lie than all actions taken, based upon that belief, are invalid and damaging to the greater good.
Before you speak; known. Before you believe; know. Whenever you listen, question why the person is saying what they are saying.
In the early days of scottshaw.com I used to have a Free Tibet and a Free Burma banner on the homepage. I was and still am truly a supporter of those causes.
At the heart of the Free Burma campaign was Aung San Suu Kyi; who was under house arrest for decades. When Burma seemed to be emerging from its years of turmoil (and I have spent a lot of time there) she was freed and became president. That all seemed like a great thing. But now, there she is, this one-time focal point of the Free Burma movement allowing horrendous acts to be unleashed on the Rohingya peoples of Burma. She is the president. She is responsible.
This is not dissimilar to the Arab Spring, as it was called a few years ago, when the peoples of the various Arab countries rose up to take back control over their countries and oust their corrupt dictators and leaders. What started out as a movement towards a new, freer Middle East, ended up being a religion-fueled bloodbath that continues forward to this day lead by religious zealots claiming that what they are doing is based upon the word of god. Thus, one person in a position of power leading those who are subservient to them.
In U.S. history there have been some seminal figures that have risen to the top of their individual callings and have aided in the evolution of this country. Certainly, John F. Kennedy is one of the most respected figures of that progression. But, to look deeper into this man we see, as people that knew him and historians have revealed, he was a very flawed individual. He was an unfaithful husband. He had affairs with Marilyn Monroe among others. In fact, he forced himself on one woman at a drunken party—the then wife of the editor of the Washington Post. And, this is only one woman that we know about. There may be others. Some may say that this was simply a byproduct of the era but right is always right and wrong is always wrong. Not to mention, he was the architect who lead us deeply into the Vietnam War. Though there have been numerous portrayals of him in film and on television, they have been glorified puff pieces; few have ventured into the truth about this man and his true personality.
Now, these are just a few very obvious examples. There are all kinds of people, throughout all of our lives, that we have respected and looked up to but once the truth was revealed, these people were not at all who we had hoped they would be. This goes from friends who betray us, to coworker who backstab us, to lovers who cheat on us, onto religious people who abuse us, and the list is onwards and upwards from there. In each case, however, these were people we have believed in and yet they let us down.
There is no way that any of us can go through life with a completely cynical attitude where we believe in no one. It is part of the human condition that we like what certain people do. We find inspiration in their thoughts, words, or creations. But, within all of this, we must understand that all people are flawed. Commonly, the farther a person rises up the ladder of life and notoriety, the more their flaws take control over them as they are put in a position of power and control. Now, one could say that this is the reason that we should never allow a person in a position of authority to hold any power over us. But, that is impossible. There are teachers in the school, bosses on the job, bullies on the playground, policemen on the streets, and people that we just like how they look or what they do. So, we will be sucked in. We will believe.
The main factor in all of this is what do you do with how you feel about a person. In many cases, people go all-in. They like, they love, they believe, and thus they give that person everything. This is where the problem with life begins. For by giving-in and then finding-out the all that you never imagined, all you are left with is anger and regret. Thus, it is essential that whenever you find a person or a cause (driven by a person) that you believe in, never allow yourself to fall prey to the actions based upon the personality of that person. For we are all flawed. Some more than others. And, just because you like what a person says, love what they do, respect what they stand for, or just like the way they look, they are just a person—no better, no worse than you.
Look to yourself. Do you have flaws? As you do, so do they. Never wholly believe in a person.
But, my reason is not your reason, just as your reason is not my reason.
If your reason hurts anybody your reason becomes invalid.
Who are you surrounded by? People that Do or people that Care?
People that Do, do what they do because they have never contemplated why they do what they do. They may love what they do; they may hate what they do. They may do what they do based upon a desire to get to something or to get to somewhere else. They may do what they do because they were forced into doing what they do by circumstance. But, they are doing. They do until they can do no more. Maybe this culmination comes because they become old, injured, fired, arrested, or die. But, they do what they do without ever considering why.
People that Care, care because they care. For whatever internal motivation, they choose to look outside of themselves, not consider themselves the all and the everything, and choose to try to make the things that surround their life better: the people and the goings-on. They do this because they understand that a better greater whole makes the everything better for everybody including themselves but not just themselves.
Have you ever meet a person who has newly found their way to religion? They are so motivated by the new life realizations that they have encountered—the promise of what will come from the knowledge they are now made privy to. Have you ever been that person? These people who are in a state of revelation want to spread what they understand to others. But, most of the others do not want to listen to what they have to say. If these others are not wholly content with where they find themselves in life, these people have at least given into what they believe that their life course will be. Thus, they rebuke anything else. They will listen to no one else.
How many times have you seen a person either about to do something bad or in the process of doing something bad and you try to warn them not to do that something bad? Did they listen? Was this person surrounded by other people who motivated that bad action and cheered it on? Or, was it simply a bad deed fully instigated by the mind of the person you tried to inform? You tied to care but they did not care about your caring. Thus, they did not listen.
Whatever the case, this person had a goal of doing. They did what they did without the thought for others. Or, perhaps they did what they did knowing what they did would do to others but they did not care. Thus, they walk the path of doing but they do not care what their doing does to others. How many people do you know that operate at that level? Do you?
And, here lies the paradox of life; the yin and the yang if you will… People who do, do not care. They do without caring. You can say whatever you say to them but they will not listen. People who care, care enough to care. They try to help, they try to make things better but the people who do will never listen and embrace what the person who cares has to say—that the betterment of all is simply a healthier life path to follow. …That hurting even one persons hurts the whole world. …That doing to hurt never helps on the personal or on the global level.
Who are you? Do you listen? Do you do or do you care? And, what does you doing do to everyone/anyone else?
Have you hurt somebody today?
Does the pain you caused them today still hurt them tomorrow?
Everyday the pain you instigated is felt, your negative karma multiplies.
Unhurt, thoes you have hurt.
I was recently contacted by a student at an Eastern University, (names shall remain nameless). He is a dual-major: journalism and film. “Wow,” as I told him… He had just read my new works on the Guns of El Chupacabra Screenplay and The Roller Blade Seven and he wanted to interview me for his school newspaper. I said, “Sure.” After the piece is published, I’ll put it up here on the site if it offers any new insight into Zen Filmmaking or just who the hell is Scott Shaw.
Anyway, we spoke of all things filmmaking and Zen Filmmaking. But, the point of this particular piece here is; a question he asked me about using, “Name Talent,” in the independent film. The thing is, I have heard this same question asked so many times and the understanding of it misconstrued in so many ways by so many people, that this offers me a good opportunity to answer it to all of you would-be and will-be filmmakers out there. And, to correct all of you people out there who have gotten my filmmaking ideaologies totally wrong…
First of all… The, “Name Talent Scenario,” was really a technique employed in independent filmmaking in and of times gone past. Back in the 1980s and into the 1990s, filmmakers would put an actor with a known name into their film in order to hopefully help market the project and/or to generate additional sales. In some cases, this worked. In many cases, it did not. But, the truth about this technique is, and something most people who are not actually in the Hollywood game never understood, there is an actual list, created yearly, about which actors or actresses can be used in order to help generate sales. If an actor is not on that list, forget about it; they do nothing for the film and they will not help sales. In fact, they may actually hurt the sales of the film.
The names on this yearly list, (and that list still exists today), are really up there. They are not low-budget actors or actors who have done a lot of low-budget films. They are known names that commonly work in the A-Market. What occurs is that a production will bring one or two of these actors onboard for a high-fee for one or two days of work. They will then give them high billing and put their name prominently on the poster, even though the real stars of the film will be placed farther down the casting list. The problem with all this is, however, the moment an actor starts doing these lower-budget indie films their name value diminishes very quickly. Thus, if they are not soon cast into another major motion picture or TV series, their name value rapidly decreases and they are removed from the list.
As indie films came into their own in the early part of the twenty-first century, (and I'm talking about the high dollar indie films), the use of, "Name Talent," came to be a detriment to the overall organic, independent standing of a film. Thus, this practice became looked down upon among the people who seek out the true avant-garde and revolutionary cinematic vision.
One of the questions the author of this interview asked me was about the, “Name Talent,” that commonly appeared in Donald G. Jackson and my films and did they help sales? The answer is, “No.” These people were our friends. And, it was much more common for them to be calling us and/or me, asking for a role, than us calling them. They needed money too. Sure, I was always happy to work with them as they were (and in some cases still are) very talented people. Plus, I like working with people I know. That way I know what to expect. But again, they were our friends. That is why Don and/or I used them.
The fact is, and this is something to really take into consideration for all of you new-filmmakers; if you put an actor known to commonly do low-budget into your film, their name will, in fact, keep you from selling that film to the mainstream market. Sad but true. So, in answer to the question and for all of you people out there who have wondered, most of the so-called, “Name Talent,” we used, hurt our sales more than they helped them. This is the reasons why on all of the films I did without Don during the 1990s and since the passing of DGJ, I commonly only use new talent and people I have worked with on previous films. As, “Name Talent,” is a dangerous game to play in the arena of filmmaking.
In closing, normally I turn all of these internet ramblings into some kind of philosophic discourse. Today, I will not. I will just leave you with, “You never know what you don’t know,”
But hey, now you know. How Zen is that?
Last night was the ninetieth Academy Award. I never really watch those award shows. I find them to be a bit pompous and boring—that is unless I am invited. Then, I must sit through it all: the pompousness and the boring… But, if I’m watching TV at that time, my eyes are generally on something else. Though I do tend to flip back and forth to it during commercials and stuff.
Last night, I was flipping channels and I noticed that the Academy Award’s Red Carpet thing was on one channel. I thought to the fact about how Ryan Seacrest was under scrutiny as someone who had previously worked for him had accused him of sexual impropriety—though the E Network investigation turned up no factual evidence to support this woman’s claim. I had heard that stars may be shunning him and many, in fact, suggested that he not do the show. But, he insisted on his innocence and did do the Red Carpet thing that he always does. I thought to take a look at it and see how people were treating him. I flipped over to E but it was black—the channel was literally black.
I have Fios so I literally have a zillion channels. I checked the other ones but, no, that was the only one that was black.
So, there they were, Fios TV, they were the judge and the jury, they decided that Ryan was guilty and that he should not been seen due to the allegations and they shut him down. They decided this for all of us, the viewing public. I guess they believe that we do not have a mind of our own.
I checked back a little later and, yes, the network was back up and the Kardashians were doing all the kind of stuff that they do.
Now, I do not know if what the lady said about Ryan is true or not. I do know that if you listen to him on the radio in the mornings he really loves his mother. And guys, who love their mothers, usually do not treat women badly. But, more than that, this is such an era of allegations that it seem that if any one says any thing they are believed whether what they are saying is true or not.
Has anyone ever said anything untrue about you? Was it believed? Did it alter your life for the negative? I think many of us have had that experience. Obviously, to a lessor degree than what happened to Ryan. But…
The thing is, in this age of allegation, people who do not like someone for some reason seem to have the vehicle to attack that person and be believed whether it is true or not. And, that is just not right.
For example, have you ever disliked your boss? Have you ever been fired and were really angry as you felt your firing was unjust? Did you ever feel you should have received a promotion but it was given to someone else? Maybe you liked someone in that relationship sort of way but they did not feel that way about you. The list is endless. But, all of these things and many more can cause a person to lash out. The bigger you are in the public eye, the harder the potential fall.
So, here we are—people saying all kinds of stuff. True or not, who cares? What is their actual motivation, who care? But, what is the karma for messing with someone's life based upon a personally motivated agenda?
Now, Ryan is a very successful man. I imagine he will weather this storm. And, I get it. This is a touchy issue. Plus, I completely support people standing up for their rights! But, in this age of accusation, the accusers really need to look to their inner-self and ask themselves what part did they play in the all and the everything.
Me, I always hold myself responsible first. I blame myself first for any relationship that went array. For the ultimate truth of life is, you made a choice, you put yourself in a situation, though what happened next you may not have anticipated, it was you who put yourself in the situation in the first place. So, who is ultimately to blame?
I actually received a letter (remember those?) from someone who had sent it through one of my publishers asking about my early blogs. She had apparently read my book, Scribbles on the Restroom Wall, where I discuss in the introduction about how I had encountered some very weird experiences due to my blogging. I also detail in that book that I was going to quit blogging. She wondered what those experiences were and why I recommenced blogging? To answer that question to her and to anyone else who has wondered…
Though I have written about my life experiences forever… I actually began blogging in about 2011. Back then, in association with writing about everything else, I used to detail things like where I was going to be and stuff like that in the blog. Though I never had what could be considered a truly bad experience, I did develop a couple of stalkers and the like. Sometimes they were just one-offs, other times I would see the same person in several of the places I went. So, it just got weird…
I mean, like I always say, I am a very approachable person—if you are cool, I am cool and I am happy to meet you. So, you don’t have to stalk me, just ask if we can meet. But, it kind of weirded me out.
Also, every now and then I would develop a strange internet stalker who would write something negative about me on some website and then alert me to the fact hoping to get a mention in the blog—as I talk about my life experiences… But, that kind of stuff never really affected me one way or the other as it just reveled the low-level of human evolution that person possessed. So, they never received their desired publicity in the Scott Shaw Zen Blog.
Anyway, just tired of the nonsense, I stopped blogging. A couple of years later, I relaunched the blog. Same problem… I stopped for maybe another year or so. But then, I decided I kind of enjoyed it—for those times when I was not busy doing something else, it gave me a creative outlet. And, readers seem to like it, as well.
At that point, I would write for a while, feel like I had said all I had to say during that time frame, and then shut down the blog. This shut down was generally for about a year. Then, maybe two years ago, it all kind of changed. There were certain blogs that people seem to return to time and time again and ask me about when the blog was down, so instead of taking down the entire Scott Shaw Zen Blog altogether, when I was not writing, I left up what I called, “The Greatest Hits.” Though, the fact is, which blogs people focus on is continually in flux. Thus, and to answer that situation, came the blog based books; where you can read it all.
Now, I write when I write. I don’t tell the w w w where I will be. And, people seem to like it.
Oh… This person also asked me why I don't have my blog posted on one of those websites where I could make money by writing it? I don't really know how to do that but what I do know is that those sites sell advertising and they put whatever advertiser's ad on the people's stuff in some weird random manner. I'm just not about that. …I'm not about supporting, in some cases, stuff I do not approve of by tying it to my writings. Thus, this blog is my free gift to the world. If you want to support the cause, you can always buy the blog books.
In closing, I hope you like this blog. I trust even if you don’t like what I am saying about a particular subject, it will, at least, provide you with some food for thought. And that's the story of the Scott Shaw Zen Blog…
The Roller Blade Seven: The Story of the Production
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 someone else's life better?
In life, we each experience the emotion of anger to varying degrees. Some people, by their internal make up, have a greater ability to control their anger, while others allow their anger to control them.
Anger is a negative emotion. In fact, it is probably the emotion that leads to the highest level of unleashable damage; not only to the life of the person who is experiencing it but on the lives of all those that person encounters.
Think to your own life. Think to what has occurred when you have experienced anger. Think to how it made you feel, what it did to the internal workings of your body and your brain, and what actions it made you take that affected the lives of others. If you actually take the time to chart this course, you will quickly understand that all things anger-based do not lead to positive outcomes.
At the root of anger is one person being dissatisfied. Again, we come back to the premise; some people are better equipped to control and/or understand this dissatisfaction, while others completely erupt. This eruption is based upon a couple of elements. The most common one is the lack of personal self-control.
A person who erupts due to anger does not do it one time. It is a habit that they have developed from childhood forward. Perhaps it was instigated by the way they saw their parents behaving. Perhaps as a child they realized if they yelled long enough and hard enough, they would get what they wanted. In either case, it is that individual throwing a tantrum.
But, why do they do it? Why do they let anger control them? The reason is; they want power, control, and dominance over a situation or a person or persons that has caused them to feel anger. As they cannot control the emotion, they wish to control the situation or the person who is guiding them towards feeling the way they are feeling. Thus, many bad things have happened due to this lack of understanding and control over this interpersonal emotion.
Abuse in relationships is based upon anger. Certainly, it has long been understood that the person who becomes abusive in relationships more than likely was abused in a similar manner as child by a member of their family. This is why anger based violence is so common in interpersonal relationships; people are acting out the anger that was acted out upon them. As has also long been understood, people seek out mates with personalities similar to those they are accustomed to encountering. Thus, once they are deeply in a relationship, they enact anger, guided towards their spouse that was initially created and defined by their parents or their siblings. As the people they are reacting to are most likely very similar in actions and/or temperament to those they grew up around, they are acting out anger on this new participant but it is actually focused mentally, (all be it in unenlightened, undefined manner), upon that family member that abused them.
Now, this gets us to the source of anger in you as a method to raising your consciousness. Do you study your anger or do you just react to its control?
We can each look back to times when we were angry and think about how we felt and what we did. But, it is very difficult to actually study the internal turmoil of that emotion unless we are feeling it. Thus, you need to make anger your meditation.
The next time you begin to experience the emotion of anger: based upon what you are experiencing, how you are feeling, or what someone did—instead of simply reacting to it STOP and actually get to the source of what you are undergoing.
Now, the common reaction and answer to this study is, “This person did that to me and it makes me mad.” But, that is not an answer. That is a reaction. And, reactions are what sets all of the devastations enacted by anger into motion.
Sure, somebody did something you don’t like. Welcome to life. It happens all the time. But, by following through with the path of acting upon what someone did simply allows all of your reactions to be based upon the actions of that person. Do you truly wish to give that person control over your life? Probably not. And, this takes us to the heart of the issue. Anger is instigated by your reaction to the action of someone or something else. Thus, you are being controlled by that someone or something else. Is that who you want to be, a person controlled by outside stimuli?
Make your anger your meditation. Make you anger your practice. When you feel it, instead of allowing it to control you and guide you down a dark road, where negative actions occur that set further negative reactions into motion, get to its source. Study why you are feeling what you are feeling and learn to control it as opposed to being controlled by it.
If the world was not so dominated by anger, think how much better life would be. It all begins with you.
If you are going to do something illegal or immoral, sooner or later you are going to pay the price.
Kinda interesting… I was listening to the radio today as I was driving and the DJ and a music critic began talking about one of my friend’s recent album releases. The critic stated emphatically that the unique sting sounds on the record were obviously loop samples. This made me smile. Nope! What they were was music created by a lute and a harp that I had loaned my friend. Yet, there he was, the all-knowing critic, stating fiction as fact.
I forever find critics a curious breed. Sure, I get why they do it, they want to be seen as, “The Knower.” But, so often they are wrong! I’ve even confronted a couple of them over the years; telling them of their mistake(s). Did they change anything? Nope… I guess some people just don't care how being wrong makes them look really stupid.
I’ve written a couple of semi-joking articles about critics. You can get to them from the Zen Filmmaking page on this site if you feel like it. Or, click on the titles: Film Reviewers: Fact or Fiction and Film Reviewers: Getting it Right. Getting it Wrong. And, like I always say, “What is a film critic? With very few exceptions, (i.e. Peter Bogdanovich), someone who doesn’t have the talent or the dedication to make a film." But, it is really much more than all that. These people try to shape public opinion based upon their opinion and that is just not a good thing to do. Let people think for themselves!
Awhile back, I was shown where some jerk-off troll had been ripping on a bunch of my music and he said about one of my composition, “No one wants to hear your recording of a Chinese wedding.” This made me smile. Nope! That was me playing a piece of traditional Chinese music on a Pipa and a Erhu. The whole point of that collection of music was to make it sound distant and ambient. He got it wrong! Does he care? Probably not. Do I care about what he thinks? Not at all.
I think most critics can’t do what the creative do. They can’t create. What’s the next best thing? To get famous off of speaking about the creations of others.
Anyway, that’s just my critique of critics. My advice, find out the facts and think for yourself!
In the first exploration of Zen Filmmaking: 1992 until approximately 2005, the Zen Films were based upon character-driven dramas. Though always visually illuminating, by the mid-2000s, Scott Shaw began to redefine this Cinematic Art. Born, was the Non-Narrative Zen Film. These films initially held descriptions such as A Zen Film Mind Ride, A Zen Film Meditation, A Zen Film Acid Flick, and A Zen Film Movie in the Moment. In 2009, Scott Shaw created the last character-driven Zen Film. Thus, evolved was the final stage of Zen Filmmaking with all works being free of dialogue and focusing solely upon moving visual images and holding the titled, “A Zen Film.”
Freedom of mind is the ultimate definition of Zen Filmmaking.
Here's a flashback essay for you. I originally composed this piece maybe twenty years ago for a magazine and I just came upon the original text. It can also be found in my book, Zen: Tales from the Journey. Enjoy!
When one thinks about those who walk upon the spiritual path, the idealized image of an individual wearing long robes with a shaved head or a sadhu with long dreadlocked hair and an unshaven face is commonly the first thought which comes to mind. These external images of apparent holiness sets those who live in the modern world to somehow believe that an individual is not truly holy if they wear normal clothing, shave each morning, and get their hair trimmed one a month.
When I was an adolescence, forging my way on the spiritual path, I sent a letter to the modern American guru, Ram Dass. I posed him a few questions, which my adolescence mind believed to be very important at the time. Though I was not sure that someone so seemingly holy as Ram Dass would have the time to send me an answer, a month or so later, a reply did, in fact, come in the mail. Yes, a letter from the man himself. As I read his handwritten words, I found that it was not just a reply but I also received a personal invitation to meet with him at a gathering he had scheduled in the Los Angeles area the following month. My youthful mind was awh struck.
The day of the gathering arrived and I made my way to the location. I walked into the room and there he was, Baba Ram Dass, the man who the media had made mythical. I was somewhat set back, however, as he came up to happily greet me. I realized that he wore common slacks and a pull over sweater. Somehow, I had expected him to be wearing the traditional clothing of a Yogi: a dhoti and a kurta. Or, at least, the cotton draw string pants which were common place for the era. I mean, all of my friend on the spiritual path wore pseudo Yogi clothing. Why didn’t he?
This erroneous mindset is the perfect example of that possessed by many of this modern era. Holiness is gaged by external appearance. By how a person looks, not by how they live. It is for this reason that so many people play, “Dress up.” They somehow believe that if they wear the robes of a monk, have the dreadlocks of a sadhu; that if they appear holy, they must be holy. But, this is all folly.
There is an amusing story which details the other side of this issue and describes how a person who is not walking the spiritual path perceives one who is.
When I was in my third semester of college, I had already long been living the spiritual lifestyle. As such, I had been initiated into the order of sannyas and was wearing the orange clothing which delineate my standing. (Not orange robes, just orange clothing).
My collegian friends would just call me, “Swami,” as most of them couldn’t get their tongues around the longer version of the spiritual name I had been given. They were all supportive of my path, however, commonly asking questions; as strange as I may have appeared.
I was taking a class on philosophy, which at that time was my major. The instructor was an aging professor, who was one of those people who projected the mindset that they knew everything and the students knew nothing. He was obviously much different from my previous college instructor on the subject of philosophy who was a Vietnamese Buddhist monk.
We took our midterms. Though academic Philosophy is about as far from the root source of the word as one can get, I, none-the-less, believed I had done okay on the exam. When the tests were returned the following class meeting, I was presented with the grade of “F.” Down the side of my paper was a paragraph long discourse on why I had received the grade. “You cannot be a Swami, you are too young. You do not know enough. You will never know enough. You are Caucasian, not East India, etc., etc., etc...” There was, however, no comment on my actual essay answers.
At the time, this attitude shook me. Having surrounded myself, from a young age, with those walking the spiritual path or those who were my close friends and were very accepting of my chosen vocation, I had never encountered this style of prejudice.
The grade I received made my classmates quite angry, however. Much more angry than me, as I was locked into the pseudo spiritual space of, “It all is as it is. It is all perfection...”
When I left the class that day, I wondered how I was even going to pass the course if I was to be judge by how I looked, not by how I performed. This brought to mind the questioned which had been posed to me many times, “If I was walking the spiritual path, why even bother attending a university?”
For me, education was about learning for the sake of learning. Though being spiritually innocent is a benefit, being uninformed seems to serve little purpose. Though the established educational institution are certainly not the only pathway to schooling, for me it seemed the appropriate road.
As I walked across campus mentally debating the occurrences of the day, I thought back to a time a year or two the previous—I was going to the store to buy some supplies for a spiritual community I was involved with, the Integral Yoga Institute. I was standing, waiting for the light to change on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, when these two girls from the Midwest drove up. Seeing my long hair, long beard, prayer beads, and funny clothing, they asked, “Are you a Hippy?” I laughing answered, “No, I’m a Yogi.”
When I returned to the center, I told my story to one of the sisters of the order. She said, “See Shiva Dass, God was testing you.”
On the spiritual path you make a choice everyday. You can choose to follow the ways of the world. Or, you can choose to follow the divine order of the universe and be spiritual.
This understanding certainly has nothing to do with how you are dressed, however. But, how dress will delineate how you are perceived.
The Sikh wears a turban. This tells the world of their religious conviction. The Priest wears a collar. This lets everyone know of their profession. But, does what a person wears truly depict spirituality? No, it does not.
External is always external. External can never be internal.
What you wear for clothing can tell the world something about the life you choose. It can even influence how you behave—if you are seen as holy, you may behave in a more spiritual fashion. Though all of this may be seen as an aid to spiritual progress, in actuality, it truly is not.
External image also leads to ego. The monk who wears robes is immediately assumed to be and treaded as a holy crusader, just as the military officer who wears a uniform is immediately seen to be a trained combatant and is treaded accordingly. To truly embrace spirituality, you must transcend the need to be defined by your external image.
The modern teacher, Bhagavan Shree Rajneesh, though he became seemingly lost in the power of his position as his years as a teacher progresses, his original teaching, none-the-less, possessed a very pure understanding of universal suchness. He believed that if a person wished to renounce the world, even for a moment, he would provide them with the method to do so. This was the basis for what he called, “Neo-Sannyas.” And, explains why he had so many followers who wore orange clothing and possessed the title of Swami.
This ideology is very true. If you can simply renounce the world for a moment, the rest of your life will be altered for the positive. If you can let go of your desires: let go of caring who you are, what you are, what you are to become, and how the world perceives you, even for a second, then in that moment of freedom, you can touch Satori.
It is essential to remember that spirituality is not defined by what you wear or who you are on the outside. Spirituality is about who you are on the inside.
It took me awhile, but I left behind my orange clothing. It took me a little while longer and I left behind the Sanskrit names and the yogi clothing—though this was not before I received a “D” in the class from my all-knowing philosophy professor, who was the perfect example of the fact, perception are the basis for Maya. And, Maya is the pathway away from Satori. As long as you care about how you are perceived, you cannot perceive your true Buddha Nature.
Let go of perceptions and the world will be a much better place. Let go of excuses, forget about how a person, situation, event, or even yourself appears. Move past the external, embrace the essence of nothingness. This is Zen.
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.
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.
Taking pictures of family and friends has been the norm forever. But, since the dawning of the digital age, and everyone having a camera with them all the time, taking pictures of unknown people has also become quite common.
I think having our picture taken by someone we don’t know pisses most of us off. I know it does me. …I mean unless you are some sort of glory hound or fame whore or something, you really don’t want your picture taken by some unknown stranger. But, it seems that everywhere we go now, there is some person taking photos with their smartphone or videotaping an entire scene from their selfie stick. For the most part, I guess, this is pretty harmless. But, that doesn’t mean that most of us want our image being captured for who knows what purpose???
Having traveled the world for much of my adult life, I know I have been a photographic sinner, as well. I have taken photos of a lot of people across the globe. In most cases, out of respect, I make sure that the person knows and accepts the fact that I am taking their photo. But, I too have done a certain amount of long lens image captures.
I totally get it when some celebrity freaks out at a photographer who is taking their picture when they do not want it taken. I mean, here in L.A. there are paparazzi all over the place. It is one thing when some random stranger is just trying to let his family and friends know where he was and what he has seen, but it is a whole other issue when a guy with a $5,000.00 camera is getting up in your business.
I think back to the first time I was about to go off on a guy taking my picture. I was in this Italian restaurant, in San Francisco, a couple of decades back and my lady noticed this guy was sitting at a table on the other side of the restaurant, taking our photos. I got up and was about to go off but he saw me coming, knew what I was upset about, and said he would immediately delete the photos. “Here look, I just got rid of them.” AOK. He was just a photo geek trying to capture some art with his first-generation digital camera.
I was at the 2018 NAMM Show over the past few days. This is a big music industry event, where they showcase all the new equipment, that attracts a lot of music celebrities. I was walking into one of the rooms and this guy with a high-end Canon DSLR camera grabs a shot of my lady and me. I immediately glare at him and he scurries away. Did it piss me off? Yes, it did. Because the problem with the paps is, you never know what they’re going to do with the photos. But, what could I do? Smash his camera and kick his ass?
This is just the reality of the today; your photo is going to be taken. In fact, pretty much every business you go into, every venue or airport you walk through, and many of the city streets you walk along; you are being photographed.
I think back to my early emersion in the film industry. I had a role in this film and we were shooting at LAX. As it was a medium budget movie, they simply paid for the right to shoot outside one of the terminals but not to shut it down. They put up a big sign saying if you walk through this film set you may be on camera and you may be in a movie. Did the people who needed to travel from one terminal to the next or make their way to their car or taxi have a choice? No, not really. But, interesting approach, I thought. I wonder whatever happened to that movie?
As a Zen Filmmaker, I have shot footage at a lot of public events and used it in films. Is that illegal? Absolutely not. The fact is, once you are in public, you are public. If someone is filming, they can film you and there is nothing you can do about it. That’s how shows like TMZ, Cops, and Live PD get away with it. In fact, (kinda funny) back when they were filming Extra at The Grove and they were interviewing Arnold, I was walking through and it was like one of those strange conditions but almost as if it was orchestrated, in every cut they did, there I was passing by in the background.
So, here we are… Here in the digital age… Do most of us want to be photographed at every juncture of our existence? No, but there is not a damn thing we can do about it. You will be photographed.
What kind of a friend are you? Do you support someone you like when they are behaving the way you want them to behave? Do you support someone you like when they do something that you do not like? Do you stand up for them, to other people, when someone says something mean or negative about them? Are you willing to step up and go face-to-face, toe-to-toe when someone is threatening them?
Most friendships are lost in the condition of doing business. When a person is happy with the way a person is behaving they are friends. The moment someone does something they do not like; the friendship is over. But, this is not true friendship at all. This is just doing business. It is an exchange of niceties. Friendship is much more than that. True friendship is accepting the good with the bad—enjoying the nice times but being willing to stand up for and forgive someone when they do something that you do not like.
Take a look at your so-called friendships. How deep are they? How long have the lasted? Have they been there for you through thick and thin; the good and the bad? Have they remained your friend when you did something that they did not like? Now, flip the coin, have you remained their friend when they did something that you did not like?
Most friendships are Goodtime Charlie friendships. People remain friends while things are good. But, the moment they are not good, “Goodbye.”
But, more than simply taking the good with the bad and forgiving when a wrong is said or done; do you stand up for your friends? Do you take other people to task if they are saying something negative about your friend? Do you do this even though it may bring condemnation your direction? Do you stand up for them even if they do not know you are taking that action? Do you do it when there is no reward offered for your actions?
Most people do not do this. Most people will not stand up for their friends. Most people are not willing to go to battle for their friendships. Thus, and again, most friendships are not true friendships at all.
Take a few moments and think about the friendships you have had throughout your life. Think about how your friends have behaved towards you and how you have behaved towards your friends. Were they a true friend to you and were you a true friend to them?
True friendships begin with you: how you treat a person, how you act around a person, and how you defend a person. As friendships begin with you, how you treat your friends will be how your friends will treat you.
Think about who you are. Are you willing to be a true friend?
You should ask yourself this question before you ever speak because someday you may have to provide an answer to this question to someone who actually matters.
Because they are ashamed of their sins.
As I have been discussing for many years now, some of the most influential martial arts practitioners of the twentieth century have all but been forgotten. Out of sight, out of mind, and all that… I think this is very sad as if you had the chance to meet them and perhaps train with them, they really had a lot to teach. But, unlike people like Bruce Lee, who wrote books and was seen in films, most of them never cast that large of a shadow. Thus, their knowledge was more secretive. Now, it is all but lost.
I have witnessed this to a degree with my Zen Filmmaking cohort, Donald G. Jackson, as well. Very few people knew him. Most who did, did not like him or he offended them. But, those who did pierce the veil and actually come to be friends with him understood that he was a unique and very creative individual. “I’m an artist, god damn it,” as he would joking exclaim. Together, we instigated Zen Filmmaking. Without his and my interaction, Zen Filmmaking would never have come to be. Certainly, there are those out there who may wish it would not have been created. But, with art at its heart, it was. From this, I have been allowed to formulate it into a relatively cohesive ideology and continue to follow the path he and I initiated, guiding the participant(s) towards cinematic enlightenment.
Once upon a time, people asked a lot of question about him. Now, zero… The only people who ever contact me, regarding him, are people that want to make money off of his movies by distributing them. No Thanks!
Sad, I think, he had a lot to say. Though, of course, he was completely self-centered, out of control, and crazy. But, he was a good friend and a visionary.
I have recently been contacted by a U.K. team that I am told is going to do a documentary on Zen Filmmaking. They didn’t ask me if they could, they just decided to do it. They did ask me to do a little talk for it, however, but as I told them, I’m a fairly soft-spoken guy and I wouldn’t want to bring down the intense energy of their production—as I have seen a trailer and it is great chaotic, psychedelic, anarchy. It sounds like they are going to use stuff from some other Zen Filmmakers out there. So, it will be interesting to see what they come up with and if they capture the essence of Zen Filmmaking or not.
In actually, I pretty much turn all requests for interviews down. Like I jokingly told my friend a number of years ago when we was giving me grief about turning down a TV spot, “Hey, if it was Charlie Rose asking I would be there.” But now, sadly, even Charlie has fallen from grace.
A production team did do a big documentary about Zen Filmmaking and me in Hong Kong a number of years ago. I saw it in a theater over there. It was great. Big! Hong Kong style. But, it kind of went away. I don’t really know what happened to it. I also lost track of the producers. So, it is in the wind somewhere. If you know where it is or have a copy, let me know.
But, this brings me to the point of all this… Back in the days when Don was still alive, it was so much more fun. It was fun to have a partner in crime. It was fun to not have to be the All and the Everything of every production. Though I certainly have worked with other filmmakers before and after Don, they all had agendas. They all wanted something other than the naturalness of Zen. They all had this idealized image of what a production should look like and what a finalized movie should be. A lot of the actors I have worked with totally got it and loved coming back for more. The so-called filmmakers, on the other hand, not so much. Thus, we all went our separate ways.
And, this is the thing about Zen Filmmaking, Donald G. Jackson, and Scott Shaw; what do you really know? Do you really know anything about me, him, or it? There are a few filmmakers out there who I am told I have influenced. Some large, some small. Some honest about their influences, some will never mention my name. In fact, maybe a month or so ago there was this guy who had obviously read my books and articles and his team had posted a doc about how he guides his actors with no script. He never mentioned Zen Filmmaking or me, but it was such an obvious rip off that it made me smile. But, that’s okay, what can you do?
All you can do is do what you can do. That’s what I do. I used to go at Zen Filmmaking with a much bigger scope of vision. But, as all that is left is me, (I have no partner in crime), I got tired of holding the weight of the All and the Everything on my shoulders. Thus, my vision became smaller, more abstract. Born was the Non-Narrative Zen Film. And, here's the thing about life; we all are here, we all are doing what we do, while wanting to do something else. But, what you are doing/what you can do is all you can do. Do you create art in your moment as much as your moment will allow you? Or, do you let the immense gravity in the ALL of life keep you from doing anything?
Let’s face it, creation is all any of us have. It is all that will be left when we leave this life. Whether your creations are loved or scorned, they are your creations. So, what are you going to create? What can you create alone when you don’t have a partner in crime?
If you choose to do something and later regret it, you are one-hundred precent at fault.
People should own their blame.
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.
“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?
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.
What do you do when you ask god for help and he doesn't answer?
A friend of mine and myself were at this coffee house in Venice, California last Saturday evening. We were sitting around, taking about life, love, god, and things in general. These two girls came up and sat down next to us. My friend, unattached, became quite exited. This was especially the case when one of the girls leaned over to me and said, “You look like a Buddhist.” I laughed, because what does a Buddhist look like?
My friend immediately became lost in conversation with the girls. Shortly thereafter, the one who had spoken to me pulls out a cigarette and begins to smoke. She looks over at me, “I know, I know, a Buddhist shouldn't smoke. I’m bad.” My infatuated friend immediately exclaims, “Don’t worry about it. Do whatever you want.”
It must be understood, however, "The do whatever you want,” mentality works fine in the realms of the material world for in that space of perception you can justify your actions and assign them to the mindset of, “I'm getting what I want. It makes me feel the way I want to feel.” The realm of a Zen is very different, however, as the mindset of, “I'm getting what I want. It makes me feel the way I want to feel,” is completely adverse to that of mindfulness.
The definitions of mindfulness and desire oftentimes becomes blurred in the modern world. The reason for this is because of the fact that within the scope of spirituality there are many conflicting teachings. Some tell you that you can only be holy if you adhere to a very strict vegetarian diet, drink only water and herbal tea, associate with only those of like spiritual mind, and so on. Other teachings detail that you can do whatever you want as long as you do it consciously.
Due to these conflicting teaching, many people become very confused on the path to consciousness. On one hand, they know they are drawn to the spiritual path. On the other hand, they are surrounded and influenced by materialism. As such, they are driven to perform decidedly worldly actions and not only find justifications for them, but realizing that they are doing something not good for their body, their consciousness, the environment, or the world on the whole; criticize themselves. None-the-less, the actions are still performed.
This is the place where many people fall off of the spiritual path. Due to the ease in finding associates who do not share the like mind of spirituality, the world draws one to the dark side.
So, what is the person walking the spiritual path, who is surround by the worldly, supposed to do? If we look at life in regard to mindfulness, the question that must be pondered is quite simple, “Is what you are doing leading you to a higher state of mind?” If the answer is, “Yes,” then the action may be mindful. If it is not, you are not walking on the path to higher consciousness.
As the actions you take in life are always based upon personal choice—the choices you make sets you on the road to higher consciously, universal understanding, a healthier, happier world, and enlightenment, or they do not. Thus, all things that occur in your life; all the people you meet, and the things that you decide to do in association with those people you meet—all of the outcomes that occur due to the decisions you make are based upon one single choice. What is your one single choice. As that one single choice will come to define your life.
If your religion is doing bad things to people or places you are a part of that negative act as you are supportive of that religion. Thus, you too will be held responsible.
What happens when your thinking changes?
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?
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 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?
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?
Do you care?
Do you try to repair the damage?
In these answers; here lies the definition of your life.
Meditation is asking for nothing.
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.
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?
- 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!
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.
Question: Do you think about you first or do you think about the other person first?
If you are saying something positive, that is a different story.
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. 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!
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.
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.
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.
After his presentation he asked if I thought he should upload it to his YouTube page. I said he could but he may run into copyright problems.
Now, for anyone who knows me understands, I am an avid proponent of Intellectual Property Rights. If somebody made something they are the only one who owns it and other people can only use it if they are given permission.
But, more than that… Each person should have the moral dignity to ask the creator of a, “Something,” if they can use all or part of it. Maybe the creator will say, “Yes.” Maybe the creator will say, “No.” But, every person who wants to tap into the creation of another person’s creativity should have the honor to ask if they can use it. That is just the right moral code of life. And, that is what I explained to my students.
Now, not everyone who infringes on another person's copyright gets sued. It's expensive and it's time consuming. Not every copyright infraction is reported to the FBI. So, some people get away with it. But, should they?
Have you ever asked the creator of a project, that you have stolen all are part of or have downloaded it for free from an illegal offshore website, how they feel about what you have done? If you haven’t, what does that say about you? And, as I always state, if you were the one creating the something that is being stolen I am certain you would have a very different opinion about what is taking place than you being the thief.
Many people do not personally create books, movies, music, or art. But, they like it. So, they want to view it. But, have you ever had somebody steal your bike, your car, your wallet, or break into your house. If you have experienced that feeling then you will know what the artist goes through when their creation has been stolen.
Okay… Okay… I won’t go off here… But, as you can plainly see, I am really against people stealing other people’s creations.
What I always suggest (like I did to my class) is be more than the thieves. Stand up for the rights of the creator. Understand that it took their creative vision, their time, their money, their mental focus, and their undaunted dedication to make that piece of art. Don’t steal 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.
Have you ever been the perpetrator of a crime? Have you ever stolen something from someone—have you ever hurt somebody? If you have done this, what was your reasoning and what was your justification? Did you think about the person you committed the crime against and what would happen to them in the aftermath of your crime? Did your conscience ever come into play? Did you ever realize you did something wrong and then try to repair the damage you unleashed or did you only continue thinking about yourself? Did you get caught and then make excuses and give justifications for why you did what you did?
Being a victim is painful. Being the perpetrator of a crime may be empowering but if you are walking down that road, if you have committed a crime against someone, what does that say about your moral character?
There are a lot of ways people become the victim of a crime. Certainly, there is personal violence and there is having something stolen from you. These are two of the most obvious forms of crimes.
From a personal level, in my early years I experienced bring on the wrong side of crime. One of the big ones of my early years occurred when a gang descended upon me in a park, stabbed me and took my bike. I still have the scar though it has faded with time. Sure, I had been training in the martial arts for a several years by that point in time but they cut me before I could get off of my bike. Smart street strategy. All that for a bike. That is very sad. But, things like this happen all the time. Then, I got a shot a year or so later. Luckily, it was a small caliber gun, aimed at me from a distance, and it didn’t do much damage but I still hold that scar, as well.
During my teenage years I had several radios, 8-Track players, cassette decks, and CBs (remember those?) stolen from my car. It was so upsetting having saved up the money to buy them and then to go down to my car in the morning on my way to school and see I had been robbed. Again, very sad. Small money stolen by a small person.
I’ve had friends killed. Shot in the head. And, the list goes on… Probably a lot of you out there have similar stories and some may, in fact, have far worse examples. Crime is just sad!
As a creator of things: movies, music, and the like, I have also experienced the crime of the internet. I guess the subtitles of internet crime all came into focus with the whole Napster thing a decade or so back when that, then, start-up company started taking the music created by bands and, “Sharing it,” without playing for it. Lars Ulrich of Metallica became the voice of that fight and became highly criticized for his position. But, think about it, if you made your living making music and someone was stealing your livelihood, how would you feel? A crime is a crime!
On the other side of the issue, at this same time period, I remember somebody asked Dave Grohl what he thought. His answer was great, “I’m already rich, why should I care.” Unfortunately, most of us are not in that financial position so stealing from us on the internet or otherwise does affect our lives.
Perhaps the primary source for crime, whatever that crime may be, is that people do not think about their victims. Especially, if the crime is as easy as freely downloading something from the internet. But, stealing is still stealing. And, someway, someday, somebody will pay.
I get it… I know… Everybody wants everything for free. But, that is just not how the world works!
Moreover, you have to ask yourself, why would you want to steal anybodies creative anything anyway? Why can't you create your own some-thing.
Currently, there is this whole false belief about, “Fair Use,” out there in the realms of cyberspace right now. I’ve even seen a few things written about the subject on-line. But, who ever wrote those pieces is writing for a captive audience—they are telling people what they want to hear. For someone who has personally walked down that road in court, I can tell you, without a doubt, there is no such things as Fair Use. The moment a person makes one penny based upon something someone else created they are in violation of the law. If they hurt a person’s existence, even in the smallest of ways, by stealing something someone else created they are in violation of the law.
That’s what a copyright is, somebody created something, they own that something, and you can’t use that something unless they allow you to use it. If you take it from them without asking that is stealing. Don’t believe me, ask an attorney who practices copyright law.
But, what is the law? Did the law ever catch the people who stabbed me in order to steal my bike way back when? No. Did the guy who shot me ever get caught for that? No. Did I ever get any of my radios back? No. So, I was the one left without do to somebody taking something from me.
If you have ever had a crime happen to you, did the person get caught and go to jail? I hope so. But… In many cases, that is not what happens.
Now, I am certain that the people who live the lifestyle of committing crimes do eventually end up in jail because sooner or later they will get caught. But, what they did to me and to all the other people they victimized was not healed in that process as we were simply the ones left without.
And, I think this all goes to the basis and the motivation for crime—people do things because they do not think about anyone else but themselves. They do things because they do not care about anyone else but themselves. If they are caught, they try to turn the blame onto the person they were victimizing and/or onto someone or anyone but themselves.
But, they committed a crime! They took something from someone that damaged that someone’s life! And, that is just wrong!
So, do you ever commit crimes? Do you ever steal things in the real world or in cyberspace? If you do, you are a criminal and you are doing something wrong that is hurting someone. Maybe you will get away with it, at least for the moment. But, what you are doing is not right. Can you open your eyes? Can you care enough about the greater good of the world to stop it? Can you care enough to stop justifying your actions? Can you care enough about the person you are stealing from or hurting to stop what you are doing? And, if you have committed a crime against someone can you care enough to go back and fix what you have broken?
If you have even been the victim of a crime, and I hope you have not, but then you know how it feels. Let that be your motivating factor for you not being a criminal.
Most of us are good people. We think about what will be the impact of what we are doing on the lives of other people before we do anything? Do you? Or, do you not care?
There is nothing anyone can do to anyone to make a person care. But, you can choose to care. From the small things to the big things, you do not have to be a criminal.
All actions have consequences.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
In any case, I ordered it and it arrived. I unpack it and I opened it up to a random page. Damn, there I am! A photograph with me, the L.A. crew, and Gurudev on page 135. I was both extremely happy and shocked. I obviously knew about this photograph and I clearly remember the day it was taken. But wow, what a flood of memories.
Swami Satchidananda and his teachings were a very essential part of my adolescent years, early adult years, and my spiritual upbringing. I have written about experiences I had with him in various other places, most notably in the book, Zen: Tales from the Journey. But, to be cast back like this, it was quite a happy shock.
Above that photograph is another photograph where it is the back of the disciple’s heads, as Gurudev was in the foreground. My head is there too. But, you’d only know it if you knew what the back of my long blonde haired head looked like back then. That photo was taken during one of the very intimate satsangs we would have with him on Saturday nights at the ashram in Santa Barbara when he was in town.
I was Swami Satchidananda’s soundman for a number of years. Back then, spirituality was very high on the minds of the masses. (Not now). So, he used to give a lot of lectures. I would pack my equipment up in my Dodge van and travel to, set up, and recorder the words he spoke. Man, so many memories from those experiences… He was a wise teacher. At these small satsangs, however, he didn’t need a mic. I did record some of them for posterity but not all. Obviously, the one portrayed in the photograph, I did not.
I really think if you truly hope to learn anything from a teacher you need to develop a personal relationship with them. You really need to be close enough to them to come to understand who they truly are. From this, you gain the complex understanding of what it takes to be a good human being, while remaining centered on spirituality. Too many people, I believe, cast their faith to those that are unmeetable as they are no longer in their human body. From this, myth is born. Is myth the truth? Usually not.
A couple of pages deeper in the book, page 138, if you look really hard you can see me again in and amongst the disciples. It was outside on a rainy day and it was the inauguration of the Santa Barbara ashram. My face is partially blocked by another disciple but my IYI (integral Yoga Institute) friend Hari is behind me, Uma is a bit in front. Shiva was in the photo as was Jadhana, and the list goes on. The funny thing is, at least to me, is that in the photograph all eyes are on Gurudev but I was obviously saying something to the girl I had brought with me, Carol. A girl who I had met at the Sufi Dances and was totally infatuated with at the time. I thought if there was a woman worth giving up bramacharya for, she was it. I joked to a person I showed the book to, “All eyes were on the guru but my eyes were on the girl.” That’s funny now but back then I was seriously devolved to the formal spiritual lifestyle. If you feel like it, you can read a story about that day, and my interaction with that girl and the spiritual group, also in the book, Zen: Tales from the Journey.
Those were good and important times for me…
The last time I actually interacted with Gurudev was when I was twenty-four. By this point I had fallen away from the IYI as I felt the people in control of the group had become a little bit too full of themselves. I had gone to India, did what I did there, had returned and was going to grad school. It had been a few years but, out of the blue, I received a call from Padma asking me if I would/could do the sound for a lecture Gurudev was giving. I accepted.
I got the equipment together, brought my beautiful Spanish via Cuba girlfriend with me, (yes, I had left bramacharya behind), and it was an overall great experience. It had been a few years since I had seen Gurudev by that point and he kept joking, “Who’s this, who's this,” in regard to me. The day went as the day went. I never saw him in person again.
It was a great memory churner to discover this book. I am sure that there are a lot of other photographs out there of me in association with Gurudev—photographs I will probably never see. Me, I never carried a camera back then. Just living in the moment and all… But, the memories are there.
From my point of view, most people just pass through their life, grabbing at whatever they can to keep themselves in a state of unsecured momentary happiness. They move from one thing to the next, one desire to the next, attempting to hold on to something that they cannot define. Few people attempt to find deeper meaning. I think that is sad. I believe that you must first know yourself, then study yourself, removing as many obstacles and bad qualities from yourself as possible, and then move forward into the greater MORE. How you do this, is your choice. For me, at least in my early years, it was defined by Swami Satchidanada and the Sufi Order.
Life is a funny thing. But, if we do not attempt to make ourselves more and better and do good things for other people, what does it all mean?
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.
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?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
That is never a viable excuse.
Recently, I was speaking with a young girl I know and she told me that she was, “Getting into Buddhism.” She went on to tell me that one of her family members had continue to suggest that she do so and finally she took the plunge. “Great,” I exclaimed.
Then, she began to tell me about how one of the teachers of her group had told her to define three things that she really wanted and begin to focus on them as she chanted. “Nichiren Shōshū,” I knowingly questioned. “Yes. How did you know that,” she asked. Well, she may not have known, but I am sure all of you know, that I have been walking this path for a long-long time, so my studies and my interactions are pretty vast in the spiritual realms and since my early time on the path forward, Nichiren Shōshū has been around.
Now, I am not going to discuss Nichiren Shōshū in this piece, for their formation, who, and what they are, is documented out there far better that I could ever abbreviate. And, at the core of their teachings is a very profound scripture, The Lotus Sutra. What I will say, however, is that ever since I first encountered this group some forty years ago, their main focus for bringing people into their fold is to promise the obtainment of a person’s desire by chanting this group’s primary mantra, “Namu Myōhō Renge Kyō.” This too was the case with my young friend.
One of the most profound and simple teachings that the Buddha taught was, “The cause of suffering is desire.” For me, this is the essence of Buddhism. If we look to the root of any problem we encounter we will easily see that is/was based upon a desire that we had; either for something, someone, to feel a certain way, or to experience life in a specific manner. The questions then arises, “How does any branch of Buddhism teach a path to the obtainment of desire when one of its foundational understanding is that, the cause of suffering is desire?”
Now, I am not saying that their technique does not work. I think we all can agree, the focusing on something and the consciously taking steps to obtaining it is the best way to actualize any desire. But, how is that Buddhism? Buddhism is about the developed lack of desire, not the obtainment of it.
In any case, as always, I let it go. I said nothing and let her walk down her own path, eventually finding her own realizations.
There were a couple of things that were additionally interesting about our conversation, however. She told me that she almost instantly obtained one of her desires. She wanted to play guitar and sing in public and one of her friends had invited her to a coffee house where that type of event took place. Once there, she got up and played.
It made me realize, if all of our desires were that easily obtainable, how easy our life would be. And, this is the thing to keep in mind as we walk down the road to obtaining our desires. If our desires are easily obtainable then, though we may not be free from desire, at least we will not be damned by wishing for things that we will never obtain.
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is pretty common that people quote my books, Zen O’clock, About Peace, and Nirvana in a Nutshell on twitter, because they are made up of short spiritual aphorisms.
Anyway, she noticed that somebody had commented on the original tweet, “That sounds pretty nihilistic.”
She turned and asked me, “What does nihilistic mean?”
Her question made me smile due to the fact that she didn’t know what nihilism was.
I gave her the basic off-the-cuff definition… Someone who is nihilistic believes that life has no absolute meaning and that religions and philosophies hold no absolute truth.
“Are you nihilistic,” she asked. Again, I smiled.
Do I believe that life holds an absolute meaning? No.
Do I believe that religion possesses an absolute truth? No.
Do I believe in a specific religion or philosophy? No.
Does that make me a nihilist? Maybe… But, I think it is a bit more complicated than that. By nature, I am extremely optimistic. I believe in people. I believe in goodness. I believe that people will make the right choices and do the right things — even though I have been proven wrong time and time again. But, I still believe!
So, is Scott Shaw a nihilist? Maybe. But, as a nihilist that would mean that I also don’t believe in absolute definitions. So, the whole question possesses no merit.
Ultimately, if Scott Shaw is a nihilist, he is an optimistic one.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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 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.
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?
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.
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?
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…
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.”
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?
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.
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?