The Greatest Hits

Ganesha

The Scott Shaw Zen Blog is going to be on semi-hiatus for a little while. As such we wanted to present you with some of his most viewed previous blogs.

For those of you who are avid Scott Shaw Zen Blog readers or for those of you who have read the books based upon this blog, we hope these older entries will give you the opportunity to reread and rethink these writings. For those of you who are new to this blog we hope these writings will provide you with some food for thought and give you a chance to get an idea about what Scott Shaw blogs about.

And, of course, be sure to support the mission by purchasing the books based upon the Scott Shaw Zen Blog at
Scott Shaw Blog Books or:


The Scott Shaw Zen Blog 1.0
Scribbles on the Restroom Wall

The Scott Shaw Zen Blog 2.0
The Chronicles: Zen Ramblings from the Internet

The Scott Shaw Zen Blog 3.0
Words in the Wind: Further Zen Ramblings from the Internet

The Scott Shaw Zen Blog 4.0
The Zen of Life, Lies, and Aberrant Reality

The Scott Shaw Zen Blog 4.0: Aphorisms
Zen Mind Life Thoughts

The Scott Shaw Zen Blog 5.0
Apostrophe Zen: Further Zen Ramblings from the Internet

The Scott Shaw Zen Blog 6.0
The Abstract Arsenal of Zen and the Psychology of Being: Further Zen Ramblings from the Internet

The Scott Shaw Zen Blog 7.0
Zen and Again: The Metaphysical Philosophy of Psychology


Be Positive and Smile. Happy

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The truth is never a lie.

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You don't learn the rules of the game until you play the game.

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Who are you and what have you done with your life?

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When you do something bad and there is no on there to witness it do you think that makes it okay?

All actions have consequences.

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Does the squirrel running through the field care what you're going through?

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For every bad situation that occurs in your life if you look back through time you will realizing that it began by one choice being made and most often that choice was made by you.

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If you were going to die tomorrow how many apologies would you have to make? That number is a good definition of how you are living your life.

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When you are the only one who knows the truth if you tell someone else will they even believe you?

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If you don't know what you want out of life you can't get it.

If you do know what you want out of life you probably won't get it.

Now what?

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Life Philosophy in a Nutshell:

Say only good things. Do only good things. Help everyone you can.

Never judge anyone—their accomplishments or their creations.

Don't tell lies.

Never intentionally hurt anyone for any reason.

If you do hurt someone apologize and do all that you can to repair any damage that you've inflicted.

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If you were going to die tomorrow what would you do today?

If you live your life embracing this mindset your everyday existence becomes far more accomplished.

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

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You should really stop dreaming about the dreams that will never come true.

How Can You Help? Who Should You Help? Why Should You Help?

Do you spend any time thinking about how you can help another person? If you don’t, this says a lot about you.

Do you spend any time thinking about how you can make someone else’s life better? If you don’t, this says a lot about you.

Do you ever go out of your way to help someone, give someone something? Do you ever do this for someone that you want nothing from in return? If you don’t this says a lot about you.

When you need help—when you are feeling bad, unhappy, depressed, need a loan, who do you turn to? When you turn to that person or persons are they there for you? Do they give you the help that you need? If they do, how does that make you feel? If they don’t, how does that make you feel?

Have you ever needed help and there was no one there to help you? What impact did that have on your life and how did you recuperate?

Many people spend no time at all thinking about the feelings and the needs of anyone else but themselves and/or those they love. At best, someone may give a dollar to a bum or put some money in the collection plate at church. But, is this truly helping anyone? Does it actually change one person’s life for the better—that one person who really needs your help? You may feel better about yourself for doing it, but does it truly help anyone? Does it truly change anyone's life for the better?

If you don’t think about other people, if you don’t care about other people, if you experience the emotion of pride or happiness when you witness other people being hurt or suffering, what does that say about you?

It is easy to be cavalier in life. It is easy to be bold and demeaning of others when you are in a position of completeness. But, what happens when you are not? No one is whole, complete, and unhurt forever. Everyone eventually needs help. What happens when you need help but you have built your life upon helping no one?

Think about your moment right now. What are you planning to do with your day? Do your plans only involve you: what you want, what you desire, what will make you feel good? Do you have any intention of helping anyone else?

Most people never think about other people in terms of reaching out a helping hand. They think about themselves. They plan how they can get over on a person they may not like. They think what do, “I,” want and how can, “I,” make my today better for, “Me.”

What are you thinking about? Are you thinking about yourself? Or, are you planning how you can actually go out, do something positive, and help someone?

In life, it is easy to take. In life, it is easy to judge. In life, it is easy to think only about yourself. But, what kind of life will you have lived if you do not think and care about other people?

Ask yourself, “Who can I help today?” Now, ask yourself, “Are you willing to help them?” Are you willing to care enough about someone else that you actually go out of your way, stop thinking only about yourself, and do something for them—do something good that actually helps them?

We all need help. We all need kindness. We all need love. Are you willing to give it? If not, what does that say about you?

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Are you willing to change?

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When you've done something wrong and realize it how often do you go back and fix it?

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How often do you look in your rear view mirror?

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How much don't you remember?

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

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If you have to lie about who you are, you are no one.

One Minute Later

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You’ve Done Some Bad Bad Things

Have you ever had something negative happen to you and you think back to a time when you did something to someone and think, “There it is. I’m getting paid back for my karma.” You experience the event, you think that thought, you believe your karmic debt is paid up, but your life does not get any better. Why is that? Because it is not you (or anyone else for that matter) who can truly understand the complexities of karma and life debt.

The reason I discuss karma quite frequently is because people are always referring to it. It has nothing to do with religion, philosophy, or anything like that… It is just that it has become such a common belief in modern society that everyone references it. People talk about it all the time. But, what no one understands is that no one is so wise to truly understand the subtleties of karma.

All karma begins with you. If you say something bad, if you are judgmental or hurtful, if you do something bad, then you should receive your karma for that action, right? But, what is the appropriate karma? If you hurt anyone, through either conscious or unconscious action, you should get your karmic payback, yes? But, no one wants to get paid back for what they have done that has hurt someone or something else. At best, they justify their actions. Perhaps, they believed they were right in what they said or did. They believe they had the right. They don’t care about the injury they unleashed. But, the fact is, no one has the right to hurt anyone or anything for any reason, whether consciously or unconsciously. Thus, here is the birthplace of karma.

Ask yourself, is there someone out there who believes that you hurt their life? If they believe that you hurt their life, then you did hurt their life.

Now, ask yourself, do you believe you had the right to hurt their life? If your answer is, “Yes,” first of all, that is a very selfish, unthinking, and uncaring answer. And, if your answer is, “Yes,” now turn the tables on yourself. Is there someone out there who has hurt you? Do you believe they had the right to unleash that injury? Probably not.

You see, this is where the entire concept and ideology of karma becomes so complex. There are some people, in fact many people out there, who do not even think or care about anyone else but themselves. If you express to them that they hurt you or damaged your life, they don’t care. They may make excuses, give you justifications, or turn the blame around on you. As unconscious, uncaring, and unthinking as that is, that is the mind frame from where many people operate. Looking from the outside we can all say, “That is not right.” But now, look at yourself. Have you ever behaved in that manner? Have you ever hurt someone and not cared? Have you ever hurt someone by saying something or doing something that injured the life of that person? Did you do this either because you were not conscious enough to realize what your action may instigate or perhaps you believed you had the right? But, did you? Do you have the right to hurt anyone for any reason? Do they have the right to hurt you?

If you think you have the right to hurt anyone for any reason, you are wrong. If you think you have the right to judge anyone for any reason, and your judgments hurts someone, you are wrong. If your actions, whether conscious or unconscious, intentional or unintentional, hurts anyone or anything for any reason, you are wrong. From this wrong, negative karmic pay back will come your way.

Okay… Now, that this is established, think about this, “What would be the appropriate karmic payback for what you did to that person that believes you hurt their life? Take a moment right now. Think about the people that you hurt. Think about the people that believe that you hurt them. Think about how you hurt them. What will pay them back for what you did to them? What has to happen to your life to make them feel better about what you did?

This is the thing… Each action that you do sets forth an entire course of events that no one can anticipate or predict. What you say, who you say it to, what you do, who you do it to, creates an entire universe onto itself. For this reason, the conscious person becomes very thoughtful about what they say and what they do. They wish to hurt no one. They intentionally hurt no one. They put their ego in check and they control themselves. They wish to set no negative events into motion. But, the unconscious, the self righteous, the empowered, and the self involved person doesn’t think about anything or anyone but themselves. They believe they have the right to say or do anything that they wish. From this, a plethora of unknown, un-chartable events are set into motion in their life which ultimately equals a lot of bad karma coming their direction.

If you live your life based upon negativity and hurt, doing damage to the life of other people—if you justify your actions, believing that you have the right to take, say, or do anything that you wish; what do you believe will be the repercussions to your life? What will be your karma? What will you have to go through to pay back those you have injured? The fact is, no one knows and no one can predict the answer to that question.

Therefore, the next time you encounter a bad experience and think your karma is paid up, think again.

Do Something Special Every Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do something special every day.

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Who has to die so your secrets will be hidden?

Demons Among Us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Liar are everywhere; don’t allow them in your life. People who hurt people are everywhere; don’t allow them in your life. People who deceive other people about who and what they truly are, are everywhere; don’t let them into your life.

Study anyone and everyone you meet—any person you encounter. Don’t let a pretty face fool you. Don’t let someone who you think is smart fool you. Don’t let someone who you think will be the answer to your desires control you. Know everyone you encounter before you ever let them close enough to demonize your life.

Second Hand Fame

It has always stuck me as curious how certain people climb on the coattails of the creative and find their way to fame via using the name, production, and/or the method created by someone else. In some cases, I believe this is a very conscious decision to bask in the glory, (whatever that glory may be), of what some other person has created. In other cases, it is actually to hurt a specific person by saying negative, untrue, self-serving, or straight out bad things. But, whatever the motivation may be, whether it be conscious or not, what occurs is that someone becomes noted for their association with a person or with a craft that they had nothing to do with creating simply by talking about it.

This has happened to me more than once. And, from a personal perspective, I cannot understand why the other person(s) would let something like that happen to themselves in the first place. For all they have done is to tie themselves to me throughout eternity. Sure, maybe they became a bit more famous because of it, but at what cost? All they have done is hitch themselves to my bandwagon and they have taken the ride for free. Do people not think that there is a karma associated with that? Not to be cruel but how young was Gene Siskel when he died and did you see what happened to Roger Ebert’s face?

Now, I certainly understand that I am a small player in the grand scheme of things, so I find it very strange that this would happen to someone like me at all. But, I guess that is the cost one pays when you create something. People want a part of it—a part of it for free. They want it for free when they paid none of the life-dues that I had to pay to get to where I could create something in the first place.

Since I was a kid I have witnessed this—ever since the trash magazines were attached to the cash registers at all the supermarkets, they would say this and they would say that about whatever celebrity was a celebrity at the time. And, I guess they still create those mags, though more of the focus has shifted to the internet. Programs like TMZ have created an empire by doing this—making all of the talkers on the show famous in the own right—famous for talking about someone else and what someone else has created.

Certainly, there have been a few reviewers who have become very famous with their own newspaper review columns, radio and TV shows; simply for loving or hating what someone else created. But, what does loving or hating what someone else created actually mean? The reviewers didn’t do anything—they went through none of the trials and the tribulations to get the project actualized, all they did was to love it or hate it. What does that even mean?

Some people are good at this. I guess they are highly motivated. They set out on a course and they make a name for themselves by talking about the creation(s) of others. But, who are these people, what are these people? And mostly, why do they get to be famous simply because they attach themselves to someone else? Why do they get to take a free ride on the fame, the notoriety, and the creative blood, sweat, and tears of another person? What have they personally conceived and created?

Again, from a personal perspective, those people who did this in association with me, did nothing for me. In fact, they hurt me way more than they helped. They never reached out a hand of friendship, they never asked if I needed any help on a movie, with a book, with anything… None of them have even met me. Yet, they believe they know me well enough to judge my work, my thoughts, my actions, or me. And, what do they get for doing it? Free fame.

Now, I am not talking about the people who get out there and actually do something with their life; whether that is making a movie, writing a poem or a book, playing some music, painting a painting, taking a photograph, kicking a kick, whatever... If anything I have said or done helps, GREAT, take full advantage of it! Adapt it and make it your own. And/or, if you want to say something nice about me,
“Thank you!” But, to latch yourself onto someone just to take a free ride, that is just wrong.

Now, I have referenced myself a lot here but that is really not the focus of this piece nor is it what I meant to do. But, you know, free-form thinking and all… It just kind of happened.

The point I am trying to make is, do what YOU do. Make your own art form. Or, as they used to say in the 60s and the 70s,
“Do your own thing.” Don’t jump on someone else’s bandwagon just to make yourself look like some kind of something. Do something/anything from your own source of inspiration and creativity. Do it yourself! Create it yourself! Talk about what you have created, not about what someone else has created. From this, the new/next art form may be given birth to. Don't tie yourself to and ride someone else's bandwagon to fame. That just makes you look like you have no personal inspiration to create something uniquely your own. Create YOU. I've already created me. Get off the bus and stop taking a free ride.

The People Who Never Evolve

Life is a process of personal evolution. We are born, we experience, we are taught, and we continue to pass from birth to death; growing in both understanding and in wisdom. Many of us have done foolish things when we were young. When we look back to those times, we shake our heads and question, “How could I have ever been so unwise?” But, we have grown, we have evolved, we have become better people—we took a long hard look at our self, our life, we studied our existence, we learned from our mistakes, and we emerged as a better person refusing to ever make the same mistakes again.

Not everyone is like this, however. There are some people who never change—they never evolve. They are so lost in the realms of misplaced self-adsorption that they never take the time to learn from their mistakes and to understand that bad thoughts, bad words, and bad deeds not only do nothing to help the overall evolution of this world but they, in fact, hold them back, (as a person), from ever achieving anything of substance with their life.

Having been involved in the martial arts for over fifty years, I have watched as many so-called martial artists have played the game of attempting to make themselves, their teacher, their school, or their system look like something more by diminishing the accomplishments of others. Throughout these years I have watched as most of these people have grown into something more—became something better and have left this foolishness behind. But, this is not the case of everyone. Every now and then I will encounter a person, years later, and discover that they are still locked into the mindset of believing that it somehow makes them look like something more if they say something negative or bad (be it truth or a lie) about someone else. I forever find this very-very sad. The martial arts are about making someone a better; more whole, more complete person. The martial arts should never be diminished to the level of personal attack—motived by individual ego. This type or behavior destroys the true essence of the martial arts. It robs them of their true beauty, as this type of behavior is simply motivated by a very sad and low level of human consciousness.

Having been involved in the film business for the past three decades, I often encountered this type of behavior, as well. The one thing I will say is that the film business is an industry motivated by ego. So, unlike the martial arts, which should solely be about focusing on the higher self, the motivation for this behavior can be more understood in this arena of life. This is not to say it is right or good, but it can be explained.

The fact is, it is easy to find a reason for criticism in the film industry. You may not like a performance, a storyline, or a style of cinematography. From this, judgments are made.

Certainly, the enlightened filmmaker does not follow this path. As a true filmmaker, they understand that each project and/or actor is art onto itself. The true filmmaker understands that whether or not they personally like a specific project, that project is simply a process of giving to the great whole of the art form. Thus, judgment is put aside.

But, as in all things in life, the low-minded, the unaware, the egotistical, and the unaccomplished are generally the ones who are screaming the loudest.

Over the recent years I have found myself discussing the internet and how it relates to human consciousness quite frequently. The internet is the defining factor of this period of history. As such, it has become the conduit for both all that is good and all that is bad with humankind. From this, many have found a voice where in times gone past they would have had none.

Here, on this internet, people can say anything about anyone with little consequence. Most hide behind screen names so no one even knows who or what they truly are. To me, this simply seems like a coward’s soapbox. People scream as loud as they can; scream about anyone or anything but they do not even have the personal level of Self-Honor to tell the world who is truly saying what, what they have accomplished in their life that gives the the right to voice an opinion, and why they are saying it in the first place.

This brings us back to the entire point of this discourse. Most of us evolve as we pass through life. We become more, we become better, we develop a deeper understanding of life and, from this, we possess less unfounded critical judgment. We, through our own personal accomplishments and our own mental evolution, become more whole onto ourselves. Instead of issuing critiques, criticism, and deformation, we reach out a helping hand. We want to make the world a better place. We want to help those that need help. We do not want to hurt anyone in anyway for any reason. But, the sad truth of life is, some people never evolve. They have become so lost in their interpersonal anger, the sense of unfulfilment, their lack of personal accomplishment that they remain lost in the mind of attack. From this, all that they do is attack, especially when they can hide behind the wall of perceived anonymity.

For those of us of who walk the path of consciousness, we cannot allow ourselves to be drawn into their web of misplace anger—anger that should be focused on themselves for behaving in an uncivilized manner but, instead, is broadcast to the world. These people are out there and you will, more than likely, encounter them. When you do, the best course of action is understanding and forgiveness. Forgive them, because if they were not a truly lost person they would not be doing what they do.

At each stage of our life we all need took at ourselves. We need to view what we have done: whom we have helped and whom we have hurt. We need to study our own personal trajectory. Where are we going in our life? What will be the consequences of the actions we are currently performing?

Many people hide from the truth of their life. They hide as many do on the internet. They believe the actions issued by a screen name are not true and their will be no ensuing karma leveled at them because of these seemingly anonymous deeds. This is, however, the explanation of the unaware and the unenlightened.

Everything you do sets everything else in motion. Whether people know who you truly are or they only see a screen name is virtually irreverent. What you have done is what you have done. What you have said is what you have said. If what you have done or what you have said does not produce immediate positive reaction your world will be negatively influenced. This is why so many people fail in life, because what they are doing is not adding to the greater good.

People fall prey to the addiction that can be had from the adrenaline of unleashing negative emotions outwards. But, take a moment and study that emotion. What are you experiencing when you embrace that negative emotion? Is it positive? No, it is anger and it is rage. Does anything positive ever come from of anger and rage? No, it does not.

Now, think about this, if you have spread that anger and rage outwards, perhaps on the internet, think how many people are encountering your anger and your rage. What do you think will come from that? What you have done is set a negative course of events into motion and those negative events may be wide spanning. Yes, maybe your ego was stoked because you said or did something to someone or something that you do not like. But, that is you unleashing your personal judgment—which is egotism. And, we all know what happens to those who base their life upon egotism. Thus, ultimately, what have you done? At best, you found a moment of ego stimulation and a momentary adrenaline rush. In the long run, however, you set a course of negative events into motion which will, sooner-or-later, all come back to haunt you.

Now, to the evolved person, they will immediately understand and agree with this. To the unevolved they will argue in their mind and defend their right to say or do anything that they feel like. …The world and its people be damned.

But now, for those of you who behave in this manner, let’s look at your life. Is your life all that you hoped it would be? I would bet that it is not. And, that is probably why you are embracing your unevolved mindset. You are angry at what you are not.

Again, let’s look at you. You can turn this around. Yes, it can be addicting to spew out negativity. But, if you are not living the life that you want to live, then what is that addiction giving you? Just like all additions, it is harming you. Stop it! Be more! Do more! Undo the negativity you have created and redo it with the positive!

Your life can be more. It can be what you want it to be. But, you have to make it that way by not allowing yourself to be seduced by the negative and doing only positive things.

I Believe: Compounding Factual Inaccuracies

Life is based upon a set of beliefs. These beliefs come to us from many sources. We gain them from what we are taught, what we hear and read, what we witness, and then; once we have been provided with a certain set of parameters given to us by our culture, our desires, and our placement in life and time, we decide what we believe.

Some people decide what they believe and then simply do the conscious thing; believe it. Others decide it is they who have the calling, the desire, the ability, the power, the gift, and/or the need to broadcast their beliefs to the world. From this, they spread their ideologies out, from within in their own mind, to others. Why do they do this? The simple answer is ego. They want to be seen as a knower. If they are not seen as a knower then, at least, they believe they will be understood to be a discontent, sewing the seeds of controversy and anarchy.

There is one essential problem is the conception of, “I believe,” however. Belief is opinion, it is not fact.

In a free society every one has the right to have their opinion. But, if a person lives a life of consciousness they understand that their, “Opinion,” is just that — it is not a fact. It is simply what they believe and belief is an interpersonal process, it is not a factual accounting of reality and something that someone should expound outwards to the world for then only one thing occurs; the compounding of factual inaccuracies which have the potential to negatively affect the life of others.

It is like the conspiracy theorists, they look for and try to find logical reasoning for what they believe to be an anomaly of life, time, space, and/or occurrences. But, there is fact and then there is theory. Some people attempt to broadcast their theories to the minds of other people. This does not make their ideologies fact; it simply makes them broadcasted theories. And, each theory is simply some-thing that a particular some-one hopes to make fact based upon what they, personally, believe. It is not fact, however, it is simply belief. Yet, they hope to pull others into the web of what they believe. This is how many of the falsehood that have been disseminated through societies, throughout time, have come to take hold. Not fact, simply belief that a large number of people have come to believe.

The fact is, some people are so locked into their beliefs that even if you present them with factual evidence that what they believe is wrong they will argue with you about the validity of your presentation and will not concede that their belief about a practical subject and/or their belief system in general may be wrong.

Some people become very lost between the concept of opinion and fact. If they do not possess an analytical mind they simply assume that there is no difference. People driven by ego, desire, jealousy, or anger often fall prey to their own undefined differences between these two mental concepts. They believe, so what they believe
IS. But, is it? Is your belief ever the defining truth for the entire world? Yes, it may be the defining truth for your world but should your belief be expounded to others? Do you ever ponder this fact before you spread your belief(s) outwards?

How much of your life mind-time do you spend pondering the fact of understanding where your belief system arose? How much of your life mind-time do you spend actually contemplating why you are saying, what you are saying, when you are disseminating your beliefs outwards, beyond yourself? When you do speak of your beliefs do you only care about the fact that you desire your beliefs to be witnessed as the truth? In fact, do you ever think at all before you speak of your belief? Finally, what is your desired end result when you propagate your belief? Why do you discuss your belief(s) at all? These are all important concepts to think about as you pass through life.

It is essential to contemplate why you believe what you believe. Think about this, have you ever believed one thing and now you believe it no more? This is the simple formula to help you define for yourself the difference between belief or fact. And, it is also essential to keep in mind, just because other people believe something (even large groups of people like a religion) this does that mean that you are forced to believe it?

Belief is only what it is; an ideology formed in your own mind. As long as it is kept in your own mind, it can hurt no one. As soon as it is released chaos is given birth to.

Belief is never fact.

Not of Our Culture

Cultural indoctrination is a really interesting process in that where we are formed is where we learn how to behave and from that we go through life behaving in a very specific manner. Now, this is all fine and good if you spend your entire life living in one culture (or subculture) and never step outside beyond its boundaries. But, if you do move away from YOUR culture into an another culture, you must adapt. If you do not, then all you do is create havoc, chaos, and discomfort in the lives of those you come into contact with. This discomfort can be small or it can be large. It can be a simple annoyance or it can create a life changing event. But, the one common factor in all of this is that one or more person(s) enters into the realm of another and if they behave in a culturally unacceptable manner, the person or persons whose life they have entered is altered for the worst.

How do you behave? Do you take your culture with you or do you adapt to the culture around you?

It is important to preface this writing with the fact that I am not demeaning any culture. Just the opposite, in fact. But, the fact of the matter is, cultural adaptation, guiding by the blending of cultures, ideally takes place over long periods of time. If someone attempts to immediately pressure cultural adaption by forcing their cultural beliefs into the place they newly have come to inhabit, then conflict is given birth to.

I have spent much of my adult life traveling the globe. Many years ago the foreigners I would encounter, while abroad, were most commonly Americans. This is not the case anymore. Due to the overall demise of the U.S. economy and other factors, it is much more likely that you will encounter a traveler from another region of the world than America. The point being, it used to almost be a joke about the way Americans would behave in other countries. Even me, I was embarrassed by the way they acted and would have nothing to do with them. They expected that the world should be just the way it is in America — that all those across the globe should behave in a manner that the American mindset deemed appropriate and due to the fact that they were, “American,” they should be kowtowed to. Very sad. Very inappropriate. But, this is how some people behave.

Even me, I remember the first time I travel to Berlin, (back when it was West Berlin), my German was very poor. I went to the post office to mail a package and I tired to communicate with the postal worker in English. He scolded me, yelled ay me, told me to learn German and I totally got it. This was his country. German was their language and I couldn’t speak it very well. Finally, he changed his tone and spoke to me in perfect English. But, it was my fault. Not his.

From an American perspective, in the recent decades, large numbers of immigrates have immigrated into the United States. Many, if not most, have come here hoping to be a part of the American culture. But, some have not. Though they are here, they wish to hold-fast to their own culture and simply reap the rewards of America. From this, I have witnessed conflict, disharmony, and distrust arise. For example, in the area of Los Angeles where I live there is a lot of new money and a lot of old family money. I have watched as large numbers of people of Middle-Eastern heritage have come to the area and completely disregarding common cultural courtesies. For example, I think back to a time recently when I was sitting outdoors at a Starbucks. As we all know Starbucks is a smoke-free environment. This one guy drove his top of the line BMW up and parked right in front of the shop in the red zone. He didn’t care… Went and got a coffee, came outside and lighted up a cigarette and started blowing smoke. This, even though there is a no-smoking badge on the table where he sat. Now, I really hate conflict. I think most of us do. But, was I going to let this man ruin this environment for the old guy, the high school girls, and myself sitting on this patio? No. I straight-away went up to him and told him about the rules and told him he was being very rude. But, he knew and he didn’t care. He was just going to push the boundaries as far as he could and the rest of the world be damned. Smoking was who he is. He looked at me. He said nothing. He went and sat in his car, parked in the red, drank his coffee, and smoked his cigarette.

This is just one small example about how people (culturally) invade the space of others. In his culture smoking everywhere/anywhere is fine. But, not here. But, he didn’t care. Though it all turned out fine and that was good. This is not always the case, however. This man unconsciously created conflict simply by bringing his culture with him and not caring about the culture of the land where he now resides. And, creating conflict, based upon cultural indoctrination, is never a good thing.

In various articles and in the various incarnations of this Zen Blog and in other places, I have detained how periodically people have come into my life, uninvited, and really messed it up. They have done this because they were inconsiderate of my life and the life of other people and/or maybe they just did not care. In some cases, when confronted about what they had done, they have sited reasons like that was they way they learned to behave where they were from and nonsensical excuses such as that. But, the fact is, they came in and damaged my life — they damaged the life of others. And, they did this because they were not aware enough, not conscious enough, to care. And this takes us to the heart of the matter. In life, we each move from place to place. Whether this is miles upon miles or simply across town, in each of these places we find people who behave in a certain manner and they expect to be treated in a specific manner. If you behave differently, if you act wrongly, if you go into their space and do something that negatively affects the life of anybody; you are in the wrong. It is a simple as that. And, if you do wrong things, that hurts the lives of other people, based upon how you believe it is okay to behave, you are the one causing the problem. Thus, all the blame goes to you.

Now, the fact is, some people don’t care. They take their culture with them wherever they go and the world be damned. But, that mindset is the cause of conflict. That is where all the fights, all the wars, and all of the problems of the world begin. Is that how you behave?

What are you the sourcepoint of and for? Do you care more about meaninglessly holding onto the bad habits of your culture or do you care about caring enough to care about others first? You really need to ask yourself that question whenever you find yourself in a new environment. Do you adapt? Or, do you pollute?

When You’ve Done Nothing Wrong or Have You?

Life is a curious conglomerate of actions and interactions. People are all around us. From this, we are set to encounter them in various ways throughout our lifetime. Some of these encounters are pleasant but some are not. In the instances that are less than ideal, we are thrown into the pit of disarray and though we had no desire to encounter this type of life interaction we are forced to do just that.

Negative life interactions can come at us in any number of ways. The one defining factor is that it is certain that we would have never wanted the occurrence to occur in the first place.

The list of these undesired interactions are as long as life itself. And, as we travel though life’s passageway, we will each encounter them to varying degrees. Though we may try to protect ourselves from them, there is no way to emerge unscathed — having never encountered one.

In some cases these interaction are accidents on the part of the person unleashing them. For example, most people who get into auto accidents do not desire to do so. But then, there are the people who are simply unconscious participants of life and they do not think about others. Instead, they only think about themselves. These people are perhaps the most dangerous in that they are not even aware of what they are unleashing upon another person. When confronted with this fact, for the most part, all an individual who behaves in this manner will do is deny any responsibly and/or make excuses for their actions. At the root of their essence, an individual who operates from this mindset, is simply wrong — they live life focused only upon themselves and do not care what they do to others or what events they set into motion.

Finally, there is the person who performs wrong acts, on others, very consciously and by design. These people are the criminals, the egomaniacs, the sociopaths, and the insane. Though we each, no doubt, attempt to avoid people of this caliber, at times in our life we may be forced to come into contact with them and from this, and based upon their actions, our life may never the same.

At the heart of life interaction(s) and the consequence(s) based upon those interactions, we who walk the path of consciousness must come to terms with how to encounter all life events and move forward once one of these undesired life occurrences has taken place. From this, though we may not be the one responsible for setting a life event into motion, we may emerge stronger and wiser from having encountered it.

For each event, the reaction to the action will be somewhat different and there is no one universal method for how to deal with all of them. The primary thing that should be accomplished, however, is that you walk away having been the most that you can be and having encountered the person or persons and informed them they did something wrong. Post that, the best you can hope for is that life can move on.

Now, here arises a problem, many people live their life in a constant state of denial and justification. Though they may be very wrong and have set a negative course of events into motion, many will deny it to their dying day — especially to the face of those whom they have injured or to the ears of anyone whom will listen to them. This does not take away or diminish what they have done; however, it is simply a constant of the existence for those people who base their life upon living in a state of denial.

The fact of human existence is, many people are willing to lie, at any moment, in order to protect themselves from what they believe will occur if they own up to the truth. This is not right but it is the way life is.

Liars are unconscious contributors to this life-space but they are everywhere. This being understood, you cannot define your reaction and ultimate recuperation by framing your existence upon the truth or the lies that come out of the mouth of the person who has caused you to encounter a negative life experience. Instead, you must express your dissatisfaction; via whatever method you may have, and then move forward to the best of your ability in your life.

But, life is complicated. Everyone has a reason for his or her reason. It is at this point that life becomes convoluted.

Let’s look at a few examples to hopefully gain a deeper understanding of the cause and the causation factor for the unleashing of negative life events, what can occur from them and how you could behave if you experience one.

Recently, here in the States, a group of African-American women were taking a wine tasting train ride through the California wine country, enjoying their wine, and having a grand old time. A grand old time, so much so, that they became very loud in their laughter and joylessness. As they were are on a train with numerous other people who began to complain about their loudness, they were initially nicely asked to tone down their voices and their exuberance. Perhaps due to the alcohol, they did not. Thus, the train stopped and police officers escorted them off. From this, rose the call of racism.

The news channels all ran stories on this occurrence. The talking heads spoke, some claimed, “Racism!” Others stated, “African-Americans are louder and should be left alone because that is simply the way they are.” Some said, “If they were white, this would not have happened.” But, that is not true. Have you ever been around someone who is very loud and they are destroying the atmosphere you paid for? Black or White, you do not care. The fact is, we each need to be conscious of our actions and behave in an appropriate manner in accordance with where we find ourselves. This is life. If you are not, you set negative life occurrences into motion and negatively affect the lives of those around you. Thus, it is you who is to blame, not the person who complained about your unacceptable actions.

For example, I know this oftentimes overly exuberant, young white male. He and his friends got onto an airplane. When the stewardess was demonstrating how to put on the life vest, he got up and began to mimic her. Yes, it was in fun but it was not appropriate for the environment where he and his friends found themselves. As such, they were evicted from the plane and ban from ever flying on that airline again. Racism? No, simply an appropriate reaction to an action?

Here lies the issue; most of us are conscious and try to be appropriate in all of our life actions and interactions. We think before we act. Other, however, are either uncaring or unconscious. From this, they perform inappropriate actions that negatively affect the lives of others.

In life, we must each be conscious of what we do and whom we do it to. We must study our environment and think before we act. This is the definition of a conscious individual.

There is also the other side of the issue, the place where people attempt to overreach with any power they may have in order to establish their placement in society and the food chain. To illustrate, I will tell you of a small life encounter that I had a few months ago that was both amusing and angering for I was accosted but I had done nothing wrong.

I was leaving a store that I had shopped in for years-upon-years. I was carrying the few items I had purchased out to my car. Just as I was about to open my truck, I hear a voice behind me, “Hello, hello!” I turn and it was the store manager. I questioned, “Me?” Yes, he wanted me.

To cut to the chase, a new employee had seen me walking out of the store with my items. As I try to do all I can for the environment, in any small way I can, I generally say, “No,” to plastic bags and simple carry my purchased items out in my hands. The new employee, not knowing me, assumed I had stolen them. I mean it wasn't like I was looking all sketchy or anything. There I was, fifty-six years old, wearing a Hugo Boss sport coat, three-hundred dollar Nike tennis shoes, a Rolex, I had a pocket full of money, and I am being accused of stealing — this, by a man, (the manager), who knows me very well. He asked me to come back into the store and show him my receipt in the presence of the other employee. Which I did. I then walked back to my car and put my items in my truck.

By my nature, I am always amused at life. I forever see the ridiculousness of action, reaction, and human nature. So, my initial emotion was amusement. But, then that emotion began to change. I became angry. Who were these people to accuse me of stealing? Me, someone who has never stolen anything in my entire life! I walked back in and confronted the manager. He apologized but what does an apology really mean and what does it truly repair. It is simply words. And words have no true meaning. Action is the only true test in life.

Having done all I could do, based upon anger and condemnation, I left the store. What else could I do? I decided to never return. And, that is sad for I truly enjoyed going to that shop.

You see, here lies the essence of this discourse; even though the truth is, you have done nothing wrong, people set life events into motion all around you, all for the time, and you are the one who is forced to deal with them. Whether it is the loud person who is thrown off of the train or a person who accuses you of a crime that you did not committee, the people who set negative actions into motion are the ones who are responsible, yet, you are the one left dealing with the consequences. In some instances, these are minor events and the emotions and the life reactions that they cause are quickly forgotten. In other cases, they may come to define your entire future. Though you were not the one at fault, you did nothing wrong, you are none-the-less the person who’s life has been changed due to the actions of another.

One of the African-America women, who had the aforementioned experience on the wine-train, claimed she would never be the same. And, I get it. If you were pulled off a train that you were having loads-and-loads of fun on by police officers, that would be pretty traumatizing. But, who’s fault was it? Had her group kept their interactions to an appropriate level, they would have had no problems with the other passengers and they would not have been escorted off of the train.

Get loud, you call attention to yourself. When you’re loud, if the people around you don’t want to hear what you have to say, there will be consequences.

Life is complicated. Like I have long, semi-jokingly stated, “Enlightenment is easy. It’s life that’s hard.”

So, as we pass though life and we encounter these events, it is essential to make the right decisions in the moments they occur. Because here is the fact, the person who has done something negative to you or set a negative course of events into motion is probably either not going to care, feel that they had the justification to do so, or play the victim card and claim that their face, their race, their thoughts, or their mind were infringed upon. Or, they will simply lie. Thus, what are you left with? You will never be able to gain true redemption without having that life event; they set in motion, undone. But, it never can be undone. At best, all you will have is your appropriate reaction to their action. Then, you will need to move along not holding on to what another person has done to your life as best as you can. From this, no matter where or by whom a life event was instigated, during your existence, you will be able to maintain control and put your own definition upon it.

That’s the best you can hope for.

***

Just because you believe something to be true does not make it true.

***

Everyone wants the other person to be paid back for their bad actions but no one wants to be paid back for their bad deeds.

There’s Millions of People Who Are Suffering

Have you even gotten into the shower and the water was too cold? Have you ever taken a shower and the water was too hot? Though you take a shower in the same place everyday, for some reason, on this day, you just have a very hard time getting the water just right.

I think back to one of the times I was in Burma. I was twenty-five and I was staying at the only hotel that was in existence, at the time, in Mandalay. I had woken up one morning and I went to hit the shower before I went out to the day. The water pressure was ify, the temperature of the water was inconsistent, the floor of the shower was a cold cement basin, and it was all making me really frustrated. Anyway, finishing my shower, having my breakfast in the hotel restaurant, I went out and was walking around the streets. As I was, I saw several of the locals taking their morning shower/bath. They were in front or to the side of their small wooden homes. What they had was a bucket full of water that they would dip their washcloth or a sponge into and wash themselves down with it. One guy, when he was done, took the bucket and poured it over his head. That was his shower. I wondered how the he liked the temperature and/or the water pressure?

Here’s the point, there are so many people out there who do not have any of the comforts that we do. Yet, we are the one’s complaining. We are the one’s obsessing about some-thing, some object that we desire, or some person. We are doing all we can for what WE want but we are nothing for anyone else. We are not thinking about anyone else but ourselves.

What do you do to help the people who are suffering? What do you do to help the people, across the globe, that actually need help? Do you spend you time mentally masturbating on the internet or do you get off of your ass and go out and do something that actual help someone who needs help?

If you do not take your mental focus off of yourself and what you want to do when you want to do it, your life is meaningless. If you do not get out there and do something positive, and actually helpful, to make the lives of those in-need better, your life is meaningless. If you focus your energy on hurting anyone, no matter what your motivation, instead of helping someone/everyone, your life is meaningless.

People are in need all around us. You don’t have to go to Burma to find them. There are millions of people who are suffering, are you one of them? Probably not. If you are not, then get out there and help someone. Get out of your own head and do something good. For this is the only true measure of a person. This is the only thing that you can actually take pride in accomplishing. This is the only thing that all humanity will actually applaud. The only thing that truly matters in life is, who are you helping, who’s life are you making better, and who’s life have you removed pain from?

Today’s a good day to start. Get off your butt and go out and do something that actually helps someone.

How You Handle It

Life is defined by events. Events: large or small, are defined by what you have done in your life and how you have reacted to previous events. A person’s life is defined by an ever-growing string of events and how they have reacted to or handled each of them.

In life, we are each deal a set of cards that defines who and what we can become. Some of us are lucky and are born in the Free World where an individual’s choice of religion, philosophy, occupation, and whom they will be in a relationship with is made solely by the person. Some are born lucky and they are given birth to in a happy home where their parents and the surrounding community are supportive and nurturing. Some are lucky and they are born with no psychiatric or physiologic detriments. Yet, do all of the people who are born with these obvious life advantages walk forward through their life making the right choices that hurt no one and handle their life events is a positive, productive manner? The answer to that question is obviously, no. And, this is where the chaos for an individual’s personal life and the effect they have on the lives of others is set into motion. This is where all the problems of the world are either created and/or are put to rest.

As stated, life is defined by events. Each day we each encounter a series of life events. These life events are largely defined by the choices we have made in relationship to the life we have hoped to live and, as such, we are the one who was the instigator of what life events we will most likely next encounter.

Where you have chosen to live, what you have chosen to do, what desires fill your mind, whom you have chosen to associate with — all of these elements come to define the events you will encounter in life.

Many people seek only a simple existence: a job that they like, a community where they enjoy living, and associating with people of like mind. They define their world based upon what was and is available to them, presented by where they find themselves in terms of time, history, and society.

There is the innate need in all people to be in a relationship with a person and persons and survive within in those relationships in a healthy, happy, and productive manner. The desire for this natural human interaction is what sets a good percentage of a person’s life events into motion. The desire for interaction, and the price one pays to have this, will often come to define much of a person’s life.

Human interaction is both good and it is bad. It has the potential to do great things for an individual. It also has the potential to be very damaging. Human interaction is the sourcepoint for where many a life event is lived and many more are set into motion.

It is very simple to see how this pattern unfolds. Think about what you have done, throughout your life, in your pursuit of human interactions; the words you have spoken, the things you have done. Now, think about the human interactions that were forced upon your life, when some dishonest, unsavory, or unconscious person entered your existence and cause chaos either by accident and/or by their personal choice. In each of these scenarios, think about the life events that you instigated and the life events that where instigated by the other person. Whether they were good, whether they were bad, whether they helped your life, whether they destroyed your life, they were set in motion by a human being making a choice to do something/pursue something and then you were left with making the choice about how to react.

Reaction, and the choice(s) you make, in how you react, is what sets all of life in motion. Not only in your life but the life of all other people that may be affected by your choice(s) — either in your now or in the ever-expanding ripple effect of time.

As life is defined by events, how you react to them is what defines you as a human being, what defines your life, and what defines the next set of events you will encounter. It also defines the life events of all those who may encounter your reaction to your life events. Meaning, you are personally responsible for the rest of the world. Your actions equal reactions. What you do and how your handle your life events have the potential to cause a never-ending, unstoppable expansion of actions and reactions. Thus, you must be very conscious about what you do and/or do not do.

As each individual is the sourcepoint for the choices they make, each choice has the potential to spread out from that person and engulf the world. Think about how many times you have said something or done something and what you said or did caused other people to think a specific thought and/or then react in a prescribed manner. Though this may be on a very small scale, this demonstrates how what you say and do has the potential to spread outwards and define much more than any moment that any of your life events was lived within.

Each person has the potential to change the entire world. With this fact as knowledge, it is essential that you think very consciously about anything you say, anything you do, the way you react to physical and emotional thought-patterns, and the affect it may have, as that affect may come back to haunt you.

Anything you say or do, particularly anything that you say or do that directly affects another person, becomes a direct causation factor for the next events that will take place in your life. As you have directly affected another person's life, then your life becomes defined by what happens to that person because of your instigation. If it is good, then you are responsible. If it is bad, then you too are responsible. And, if you hurt anyone for any reason, what do you believe will be the consequences in the course of your life events?

Though we all wish this was not the case, not everyone is a good person. Not everyone is what they claim to be. Not everyone is honest. Not everyone is consciously trying to do good things and help people. Many, are lost in an undefined sense of self-loathing. Many are lost and defined by their psychological inadequacies. Many are simply liars, mean people, and so desire-filled and out of control of their Self that they do not care what they do to others as long as they can get their momentary fix of whatever it is they are craving. Who are you? What do you do? How do you do it? How does it affect others? And, what events does it set in motion in your life and the life of others?

People turn to the idea of god. People turn to the concept of karma. They do this to seek out a reason for why what is happening to them is happening to them. But, this is all metaphysical mumbo-jumbo. What is happening to you is defined by what you have chosen to do and what others have chosen to do with their life. What you choose to do defines, in a large part, what events you will meet in life.

You cannot define all of the events you will encounter in life because there are other people bringing their own sense of circumstance into your life. Though you cannot define all of the events you will encounter in life you can define how you react to each life event. You can rage and become angry. That is how those defined by an uncontrolled mind and unharnessed emotional reactions behave. Or, you can meet any life event with understanding.

No one ever said life is easy. We each hope to pass though life obtaining what we desire and being rewarded and content in that progress. If we live a simple, conscious life, we are more likely to not encounter large life events that have the potential to devastate us at a moments notice, brought about by those who seek to gain something from us. But, the fact is, in each of our lives, sooner-or-later, we will encounter an event that we do not like. Then, it is how consciously we encounter that moment that not only defines the next set of events we will meet in life but also how our life will be defined, because each thing that we say or do has the potential to spread forward from our self and define a much larger spectrum of reality.

Life events begin and end with you. What life events are you setting in motion?

People Never Think About the Effect

People never think about the effect they are having on the life of another person.

I was speaking to a shop-girl I know the other day and I asked her how she was. She tells me that both her and her boyfriend’s car had been stolen in one week. “Wow,” I exclaimed. “That’s terrible!”

If you think about it, that is pretty hard core. Here are two young people, attempting to make a life together, and BAM, someone enters their life, (uninvited), and really messes it up without even caring about what affect they are having on these two people.

The couple only had the basis car insurance and was not cover for theft so they were completely screwed. Screwed, here in Los Angeles, where living is expensive and they both hold low-paying jobs. Very sad.

This is the thing about life, most people never care about the effect they are having on the life of another person. They simply do what they do and think only about themselves.

Certainly, most people are not so low as to steal a car but that is not even the point. Think about it, how many bad things are done by people who do not care about the effect they are having on the life of someone else? In fact, look at yourself, how many things have you done in your life that negatively hurt someone else? Why did you do them? What was the result? Did it make you a better person? Did it make your life any better? Did the world become a better place because of what you did? Or, was someone else’s life simply left hurt and damaged? And, do you even care?

How you think about others defines who you truly are.

People always look to karma and the, “They will get theirs,” mindset when something bad happens. And yes, probably the person who has instigated a bad action will be negatively repaid someday… But, someday is not now. And, that repayment will probably never be witnessed by the person or persons who was wronged. So what does karma actually mean?

Most people live their life from a very unconscious mindset. They only think about themselves. They only think about what they want, when they want it, and what they need. They take or they break and then they blame everyone and everything else once they get caught for their taking or their breaking.

But, life comes down to one thing, it comes down to you. What do you do? How does what you’re doing help, hurt, or affect other people? If what you’re doing hurts anyone, for any reason, what you are doing is wrong. It is as simple as that.

Life is not only about physical/material possesses being wrongly stolen. Life is about how you affect others and the world around you.

What do you do? What do you take? How does what you do and what you take help or hurt others? What do you think your karma will be?

A person’s life is never ultimately defined by the spin they put on what they do that has hurt other people. A person’s life is defined by whom they have helped. And, a small amount of hurt vastly overshadows any amount of help you may have provided.

What are doing and who are you doing it to?

Always think about other people first.

***

Just because you buy a pair of shoes that are too big does not mean that your feet have grown.

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If you think that saying something bad equals something good you're wrong.

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Is your truth the real truth or is it only a lie that you created in your own mind?

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

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You can deny your actions, you can justify what you have done—your friends and your family can support your deeds but if what you have set in motion damages the life of another person then you are the source of that destruction and no words or rationalizations can save you from what will eventually befall you.

***

What happens if no one believed in God?

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If you look for the bad in everyone, everyone will look for the bad in you.

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When you criticize somebody, the only person you make look bad is yourself.

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

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Everybody has a reason for doing what they do but most of these reasons are simply excuses.

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There is no going back in time.

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Are you stating your opinion as a fact?

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You will never truly understand another person's reality.

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If it is only in your mind it is only in your mind.

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When you have high expectations life is never going to turn out the way you want it to turn out.

You Are What You Speak

We have all heard the old adage, “You are what you eat.” As truthful as that statement may be, what is even more definitive of a person’s life is, “You are what you speak.”

Think about this, how do you talk to other people and how do you speak about other people? What is your demeanor? Each person has one. Developed in childhood, it moves forward throughout one’s life. Based upon personality, each person speaks with a distinct style and focuses upon specific things. Some people are loud and rude, always trying to overpower the conversation, others are soft-spoken and reserved. Some speak about what they have learned. Others speak about themselves. Some people simply tells lies at every opportunity, altering truths to suit their own needs.

Studying how other people speak and what they talk about is an essential method to come to understand the motivating factors for human consciousness. You can really learn a lot by actually taking the time to watch, listen, and study what a person is saying, how they are saying it, and then come to the conclusion of why.

It is also essential that you study how you speak; what you say and why. Most people simply pass through their life never truly taking note of how they are perceived by the rest of the world. Some don’t care but all should. For it is how we are seen by the world that sets forth our opportunities.

Take a moment right now and review the people you know. Isolate them one-by-one and define how they each speak, what they each commonly speak about, how they present their message, and what occurs to their life and the lives of those around by how they present that message.

Once you have defined, in your own mind, the factors that make several of the people you know who they are, turn the microscope around on yourself. Think about your words, what you say, how you sound, what you emphasize, and the truths and/or the lies that you tell. Do you manipulate with your words or are your words based in caring about others?

Though many of us will immediately have a reason based in logic, at least in our own mind, as to why we speak the way we speak and why we say what we say, spread your analysis out farther and think about what effect you are having on those around you by speaking the way you speak; about the subjects you speak. And, perhaps most importantly, what effect do those words have on your own life? Have they helped you? Have they helped others? Or, have your words caused hurt and isolation?

Few people ever take the time to think about anything. They rarely take the time to study their why and their wherefore. The problem is, if you don’t your world just becomes a mishmash of random events. Good things may happen or bad things may happen but the most essential element in that equation is you and how you interact with the world. As much of this interaction is based upon what you say to others in this world, thus, what you say and how you say it is one of the most essential elements in the evolution of your life.

Know who you are. Know what you say and why. And, then take control of what you say and how you say it. From this, not only will your own life be lived from a more conscious state of mind but your interactions with the world will be much more beneficial to the all.

Who Makes This Stuff Up?

For each person they have a belief in the concept of a great power, (god if you will), what happens to a person after they die, if you can or cannot communicate with angels or demons from the other side, and a million other things that tie this human form to the concept of and the desire for something more once one passes away. The concept of heaven, hell, purgatory, or reincarnation permeate the mindset of all people across the globe. This is especially the case as one grows closer to the end of their life; then the thoughts of these things become all-encompassing. But, where do all these thoughts come from? Who makes this stuff up?

Religious pundits will tell you that the practices of their religion are the absolute truth, as they have been proven by the Prophets of their religion and recorded in the doctrines. Though each person holds their religion beliefs and believes the teachings of their religion to be the absolute truth, there are a million other religious teachings out there. There is no one proven truth so who is right and who is wrong? Or course, the answer to that question, in the mind of the believer is, “I am right, you are wrong.”

In the West, we are bombarded by a mishmash of varying religious cultures and beliefs. So much so that here, religious ideologies have become an intermingled mess. Certainly, Christianity, in its varying forms, is the dominate religious of this culture but people seek answers, they want to believe that they have a purpose, that there is something more, so they turn to those who promise these answers, opening the door to financing the lifestyle and stroking the ego of many a False Prophet.

Generally, when we are young, there is a belief system programmed into our minds. This is most likely the religion of our parents. Some hold fast to these beliefs throughout their life, others do not; they seek something more. The one thing I can tell you about this practice, as I too am one who sought other things, is that due to the childhood programming there is something that has been embedded so deeply into our psyche that no matter where we go, what we study, the games of dress-up we play, at our core is that religious ideology. I have watched so many people as they were preparing to leave their physical body, near the time of their death, revert to their original religion. This, even though some had spent the better part of their lifetime claiming to be, believing that they believed in something else.

In fact, when spirituality and human growth was at its height, in the 1960s and 1970s, it was often taught how one had to consciously let go of all of their childhood programming. Though this may be a nice thought, it is virtually impossible.

So, for better or for worse, we are what we were taught as children. Yes, our minds expand, yes we come upon new ideologies and philosophic concepts that we may like, and we may even encounter new religions that we may even believe in, but at the end of our life we are bound by the beliefs that were indoctrinated into us in childhood.

Throughout history religions have evolved. The Christianity that was practiced two thousand years ago is not the same as it is practiced today. This is the same with all other world religions and even the lessor known or long forgotten ones. What does this tell us? It tells us that the Buddhists of the first century were taught, believed, and practiced their religion very differently than they do today, just as is the case with Christians, Muslims, and so on. The basis of their beliefs may still be in place: i.e. the Bible, the Koran, or the Dharmapada, but, via the mind of man, the teachings of these religions have expanded, evolved, and, in fact, been guided by the desires of man.

It is very easy to study the evolution of Christianity. Documents are everywhere. You can trace how what we know as the Bible came to be fortified and how the teachings and the practices of Christianity came to formulated. What do you see when you study this evolution? You see the mind of a man or a group of people deciding what they thought Christianity should be. And, this is the case from this religion’s inception forward. Jesus did not write the bible. His disciples did after he had died or ascended depending on how you want to look at it. As it was formulated in the minds of man, based upon their own personal remembrances, visions, and desires, how does that make it holy? Certainly, the zealots will say that they were guided by the hand of god and stuff like that. But, were they? Look at Christianity’s evolution, it was based upon power grabs and desire. And, this is not just the case of Christianity, study the evolution of the other world religions, as well. All are based in the desire of man proclaiming that they know the appropriate interpretation of the teachings and the scriptures.

So, what does this leave us with? It leaves us believing in something that we were programmed to believe—something that we were told was the truth and was holy but it was simply formulated in the mind of man. Yet, at our inner core, we are damned to believe it. It is inside of us.

So, who makes this stuff up? Some guy… Why do we believe it? We have no choice. What can we do about this phenomenon? I have no idea. But, you should think about it before you believe what you believe.

Trolling for Dollars

I listened to a fairly interesting report on NPR today as I was driving back from Hollywood. It was about this one female politician who had gotten trolled pretty hard. They brought in a person who was an expert on the subject. She detailed how the people who troll do so for a number of reasons: insecurity, self-anger, a way to make themselves feel empowered, a means to channel the anger they feel towards life due to their lack of accomplishment, and so on. It was all the psychologically based reasons that we would assume causes a person go on the troll.

Having been trolled myself, once or twice, I find the focused actions of these people very curious. I mean sure, we all have our anger, we all have our likes and our dislikes, we all have our desire to live a better, more fulfilled life but most of us who experience these feelings do something to actualize a better existence. We try to make our life better. We do not waste our time attacking someone for a reason only harbored in our own mind or in the misplaced consciousness of a cyber group that we frequent.

One of the people on the program discussed how a troll had actually set up a twitter account using her dead father’s name and just struck out at her in the vilest ways. I mean, I would question who is even so low to do something that? The fact is, it’s messed up, but there are people out there who do that kind of stuff. Eventually, this lady wrote an article about this troll and the effect he was having on her life. Apparently, the guy read the article, contacted her, and told her how he never realized all the pain he was causing, as he never thought of her as a person. He apologized and they spoke for hours.

This, of course, is the ideal end to being trolled but I would bet this rarely, if ever, happens. People out there trolling are anonymous; they are out there lying about who they are. And, like this guy before he had his mystical realization, he didn’t even think about this woman as a person, he wanted to hurt her, so he trolled her to the max. Why?

I think that most people like me (especially if they have met me) and understand what I’m doing. So, my troll hits have not been too hard. Like I said in a recent blog, people either say, “Fuck you,” or write these articulate pieces that though based upon altered facts and misrepresentations of the truths, are at least well written. Thus, they make me smile. Though they probably do hurt my reputation in the minds of people who actually read that kind of stuff and believe it. But, what can I do? Ultimately, the karma goes back onto those who concocted their words in the first place.

It is important to keep in mind, however, that none of the people who have trolled me have ever asked for my side of the story before instigating their troll. Additionally, they have never woken up, seen that I am a person, and said, “Sorry,” or anything else for the mistruths, harsh comments, and lies they have spread about me. And, if they have trolled me, that means they have done it to others. Certainly, I am not all that special, so I am sure they have hit others much harder.

The fact is, tracing an ip addresses is pretty easy. In some cases, I have watched from where these troll hits have arisen. It’s pretty easy to know who some of these people are. …Some have even friended me on Facebook. They don’t remove the lies that they put out there but they want to be my friend. I think that’s pretty strange. I guess they want to see what I'm up to? Weird…

You know, I came up in a world of spirituality. For me, life is all about Karma Yoga — doing for others and asking nothing in return. I realize that the world has changed a lot since then. There was no internet and none of the non-stop babble that goes on via the various cyber space methods. All this being said, think about it; isn’t doing something good for other people; saying something good about other people, better than being a troll? I mean, doing something good, helping someone; doesn’t that make you feel good?

So, if you’re angry, frustrated, insecure, whatever; instead of going on the troll, get up off of your butt and do something positive for someone else. The world then becomes a better place. Be a conduit for positivity. Not a negative troll.

Anyway, like I always talk about… I think the main thing in life is not to focus on other people: what you like or dislike about them, what you like or dislike about what they have done. Instead, never use other people as your basis of suchness. Do something for yourself. Do something that makes you, YOU. Create your own something. And mostly, own who and what you are. If you’re going to say something be brave enough to claim it or be adult enough to understand that we each have our own life and our life-missions and say nothing at all.

To the trolls out there, think about it, from the doing something and being something positive you won’t be lost in all that insecurity and self-directed anger that makes you troll people in the first place. BECOME and then you won’t need to attack and criticize.

BE and YOU are.

The Moral High Ground

I forever find it curiously amusing when I see some religious or political leader speaking about a subject and condemning 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 minster 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 minster or a politician condemned those who are gay and then been found to be having an affair with someone of the same sex?

Here’s the thing… It is easy to have an opinion. It is easy to present your opinion to the world as fact, especially when it is an opinion that is believe to be culturally correct. It is easy to have an opinion when that opinion condemns someone or something. Why? Because people always get emotionally invigorated when someone finds a way to focused their undefined internal anger on a person, a religion, a political movement, onto anything as long as that anything is some-one or some-thing else other than themselves.

But, why is this? This is because people are dissatisfied with their own life. This is because people are envious of those who have more or have achieved more. This is because it is easy to hate because hate takes no effort. All it takes is to tap into a negative emotion which invigorates their entire being.

Most people will deny this fact. Most people would rather state, “That person is immoral, bad, wrong, against what I believe is right, or against the ways of god.” But, any person who employs these definitions as a defining factor for anyone or anything does not understand what they are feeling or why. All they are running on is induced adrenaline — which is such an addictive conduit that has lead to much of the bad that has been unleashed in this world.

Why do you dislike anyone, especially if you do not know them? Why do you hate an entire race, religion, or biological makeup, especially if you have not even met a person who has practiced this precept? Why do you think you have the right to cast judgment on anyone or anything?

Just because you think you are right does not make you right.

People want to form opinions. It makes them feel whole onto themselves. But, how many of those opinions are whole and organic decisions and how many of them are induced by the thoughts and the words of someone else?

Where do your opinions come from? How did you come to the conclusions that you have concluded? Who or what guided you towards believing what you believe?

If what you think, feel, and express is not based on pure empirical fact — if it is not based upon the actual factual truth, it is simply based upon an opinion. An opinion is never a fact. It is not the truth.

Before you say anything about anyone or anything, first look to your motivation(s) for why you are doing it and then look to your basis of fact. Are your, “Facts,” based upon your desire for your opinion to be seen as the truth or are you stating something that you have proven to be true? Then question, once you have established this level of personal knowledge, why do you need to say anything about someone or something at all? What is the point? Who does it help and who does it hurt? If what you say or do hurts anyone or anything, if what you say or do incites anyone to hurt any other person, if what you say or do causes damage in any way, what you are saying and what you are doing is wrong — it is self-motivate and does not lead to the greater good.

Good, is saying and doing good things. Good, hurts no one.

Do not base your life upon negative opinions. Negative opinions only lead to negative actions. Negative actions only hurt, they never help.

A better world begins with you.

Inspiration from the Obscene

In each of our lives there comes a time when somebody enters our existence and they really mess things up. Sometime these encounters only last for a moment. In other cases, these interactions have the potential to define many years of our life. In either case, we don’t want the negative experiences brought on by our interactions with this individual to have ever happened but, this is life, and at times we all encounter negative life experiences delivered to us by someone else.

In some cases, we invite these individuals into our life. We meet them, they may seem nice or appear as if they have something to give to our life that we desire. In other cases, they force their way into our lives in a way that we never hoped-for, desired, or have any responsibility for. These forced interactions can come from any number of causes: another employee at the workplace, someone moves into your neighborhood, an unconscious driver smashes into you with their car, and the list goes on. But, at the root of any of these defining factors is the element that the person enters your existence and things are never the same—they are worse.

Once this person enters your life and they mess things up, it is common to harbor a lot of frustration, dissatisfaction, and anger towards this person. They came in, they messed things up, and you are the one left dealing with the consequences. Commonly, a person who unleashes negativity is so lost to the true realms of higher consciousness and reality that they do not even care who they have hurt and never set about on a course to make it right. In fact, they may even blame you. Wrong, but it is seen as right in their distorted mind.

So, what can you do?

The fact is, there is no hard answer for what you can do as once these encounters take place each person’s life is damaged in a different way. Though you may want revenge, as a conscious individual you will probably never pursue that path. This being said, the one thing that you can do is gain inspiration from the obscene. The first thing you must establish is the villain in the equation. And, if you have personally made the mistake of letting that person into your life, you must draw the boundaries; stop the interaction(s) if you can or, at least, limit the interactions if they are, for example, a coworker or a neighbor. Then, you must study that person: watch them, listen to them, remember their actions; what they did and did not do; what they said and how they behaved. Once you have done this, you, as a conscious person, who truly wishes to make you and the world a better place, must then take what you have witnessed in this person and use it to guide you to never do what they have done.

Never let your actions hurt anyone else. And, if you have intentionally or accidentally hurt someone in your past do all that you can do to undo what you have done and fix what you have broken.

The mark of a caring conscious individual is caring enough to care.

The Process of Realization

Most people never take the time to study why the behave the way they behave. They simply pass through their life giving no thought to the process of personal realization.

Commonly, people know they have a personality and that they feel a certain way or behave in a particular manner when they are reacting to the various stimuli they encounter in life but they never take the time to study why they behave in this manner. At best, they simply write it off to the excuse, “That’s just who I am.”

But, why are you who you are? Why do you behave the way you behave, do the things you do, and act out in the manner in which you act out? If you do not know the answers to these questions you are living your life from a place where no personal realization can ever be had. You are living in a place where your emotions control your every move and can lead you down the road to alienating other people, damaging the lives of others and your own.

When some are confronted with these certainties they write it off to the fact that they do not care about truly knowing themselves — they do care about inner knowledge, all they care about is feeling okay a much of the time as possible and when they do not then their reactions, however hurtful or antisocial they may be, are called for. But, this is simply an excuse not a conscious realization.

This is the place in life that defines who a person truly is and what they can give back to others. For if a person does not care enough to define their own inner motivations they have no possibility of ever gaining control over them and raising to the higher levels of human understanding.

The world begins with you. The world begins with how you interact with the world. Your encounters, relationships, and ultimate life accomplishment are defined by how you act, react, and behave in the presence of others. If you do not take the time to know who you are and why, life simply becomes a random mess of chance encountered dominated by whatever emotion you are feeling at the moment.

Your life. Your choice. It all begins with you. But, it only truly begins when you understand who you actually are.

Swamiji and Me

As you may or may not know, I am a bit of a bibliophile. I collect books. My main quest is for rare Eastern Metaphysical and spiritually based writings. In any case, I came upon a book being offered online created around photographs of my teacher, Swami Satchidananda, titled, Sri Swami Satchidananda: Portrait of a Modern Sage. I was drawn to the book for two reasons, it was signed and it was a hardcover copy which is apparently hard to come by. It was bit pricy, but whatever, I bought it. The fact is, I never even knew about this book. It was published in 1996 but I guess I just never came across a copy.

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. Happy 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 ’76 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. Happy 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?

Do You Care About Me?

In life, you can only care about someone else when your life is not on the line. You can only care about someone else when you have the time to think, feel, imagine, and dream. You can only care about someone when you possess the ability to know how to love.

People speak about caring about someone else all the time. But, who are these people? And, do they really care?

Life is made up of a complex set of human interactions. When someone, “Cares,” about someone else do they really care or do they simply care about what that person can give them: be it love, lust, money, companionship, knowledge, you name it? Is their caring true caring or is their caring based upon some hidden agenda—a hidden agenda that the individual who claims to care may not even realize that they have?

Have you ever had to fight for your life to survive? In those situations, there is no time to care for someone else. Your entire life experience is brought into the absolute now of the moment and survival is all that can be front and center to your mind. A fight, a war, drowning, starvation, a plane crash, a car accident, all of these things and more bring an individual to absolute now consciousness. Who do you care about when you don’t have time to even think about caring?

Caring only takes place when you have the time and the presence of mind to care. Some people are very selfish, they never truly care for or about anyone. Others, do care. They want a person or an entire people to be safe, happy, and fulfilled. But, just because they care does not mean that the caring is returned. Have you ever cared about someone, did something for them, and they returned your gesture with dismissal, indignity, or injustice? Did you still care for them after that innocent occurred?

Take a moment. Think about who you care about. Think about why you care about them. Really get to the bottom of your emotion. Ask yourself, “Would you care about them if they didn’t care about you?”

How many people have passed through your life and at one point you felt all kinds of emotions towards them—you really cared about them. Now, they are gone. How to you feel about them at this point in your life?

Caring is a choice. It is a good choice. It is better to care than to desire to injure someone. For anyone you injure, in any way, shape, or form, so too will you be injured. That is the simple truth of life.

You do not have the right to pass judgment on anyone for any reason but what you do have the right to do is to care. If you care, you care. Caring is forever good but you have to understand the source of your caring. You have to care even if they don’t know you care. You have to care even if they don’t care about you. That is true caring.

To many people caring is only a condition locked in their mind. They think about someone, wish them well, hope the best for them, even pray for them but all this is all just mind-stuff. It is not true caring. True caring is doing something positive in this physical world for a person. True caring is taking action to make another person’s mind, body, and life better.

Who do you are about? What does your caring mean? What does your caring equal? What are you going to do for them because you care about them?

Lose Your Identity, Erase Your History

The majority of people desire to become SOMETHING. Early in their life they see those who are respected for doing what they do and follow the path of seeking that same admiration. Ask yourself, “Do you seek to become nothing, to be seen as nothing, to be unknown? Or, do you hope for something more for YOURSELF?”


People do all that they can to achieve. Though most never find the pathway to find their ultimate dream, they, none-the-less, try to rise to a position of respect and authority within their place of employment, in their community, or at their school.

Most people eventually find the road to marrying and having a family. At that point, the focus of their life quite often shifts from desires for Personal-Self to desires for their child and/or children. “I want the best for my child. I want them to have a better life than I have had.” How often have you heard those words spoken?

Having a child is not a bad thing. Having desires for one’s child is not a bad thing. In fact, having a child often takes the egocentric focus off of the individual allowing them to rise from a life of self-centered thinking to a life of caring and giving. How many of the people you have met, who do not have children, are truly caring and giving people? Most, are simply lost in a Life-Pattern of selfish thought, thinking only about themselves.

Life-Patterns are instigated by the individual. What one does now leads to the next set of available options in one’s life. As such, the desire(s) that are pursued defines the entire evolution of a person’s life. Though desires may change and what a person does may set a new course of options and availability into motion in a person’s life, everything you desire, and everything you do to gain that desire forever defines your life as your life is one continuous emulation of who you want to be leading to what you are.

Think about the actions you have taken to achieve your desires and your dreams. Have they hurt anyone? Have they hurt you? Are you proud of them? Do they make you ashamed? Do they make you happy or do they make you sad? Remember, you wanted something, you went about achieving that something, thus, it was you who set your ALL into motion by wanting what you wanted, desiring what you desired, which means you are personally responsible for all the goodness and/or all the damage you created in that pursuit. If you hurt anyone in that pursuit you will be forever bound to that person as you did what you did and their life evolution was changed because of it. Remember that.

The thing about personal achievement is that most of the achieved have not cared about their personal effect. They only think about themselves and achieving their desire and thus, the thought of damage to others rarely, if ever, comes to mind. As much as the person of consciousness will say, “This selfish mindset is not the attitude one should possess,” this has been one of the key traits of humanity since its evolution to the realms of thoughtful-self. People only think about themselves and what they want!

Now that this has been established, let’s turn this scenario around a little bit. What if you desired nothing? What if you wanted to be nothing? What if you did not care about your position or your legacy? How would you be feeling right now? What would you have done differently in your life? What would you not be regretting? Who would you have not hurt? Who would you have not been hurt by?

If you did not want to be something, if you did not do the things you have done to be that SOME-THING how would your life have evolved differently?

The fact is, in life we can never go back in time. We never get a re-do. But, what we can do is to become conscious enough to look deeply into the patterns of life and learn from not only our evolutionary movement but the evolutionary movements of
all those around us. We can open our eye.

If you can take a moment and step away from yourself and your desire(s) long enough to truly witness what is going on with your life, the lives of those you interact with, and the lives of the Greater-All, then you have the chance to become more than your limited, selfish self. Instead of possessing a desire for your life to be some idealized ego-driven machine, adored by the masses, you have the chance to truly do something good for the world by becoming something that no one else can see or worship, a True Being not driven by ego and desire.

Most people don’t want this. Most people don’t understand this. Most people if they heard about it simply dismiss it as nonsense. They do this because they are so locked into the realms of their own identity, of their desire to become what they desire, that they are too lost to understand that they will never achieve what their mind sees. Why? Because what is, “Out There,” is never “In Here,” it is all an illusion. What you see other people BE-ING is never what you can BE because you are not them, just as they are not you. What you see out there is a projection of an idealized reality you have fantasied in your mind. It is not real. At best, it is only what you hope it will be.

By comprehending this you allow yourself to realize that all that you hope to be, all the steps you take to get there, are, at best, simply your projected desires where you attempt to live a reality that may
never be had. Thus, your desires to BE are nothing more than a Self-Instigated Illusion.

Knowing this, you have one of two choices to make. …Two choices that now you can make very consciously. One, are you going to continue on the path you are on, doing what you are doing, damaging who what you are damaging? Two, are you going to let go and simply BE? By being, you become free. Your desires are let go so you create nothing: no bad, no good. From here, you can be happy and whole within yourself. From here, no one is hurt, thus, you are not re-hurt. You are complete free and not trapped by the hurt that arises from not having what you want.

Freedom is always a better perfection that a life bound by desire. You are you. YOU is all YOU will ever be.

Do you want to be happy in your freedom? Or, do you want to be tormented by what you desire?

The Holder of Your Secrets

In each of our lives we do what we do. Some of these, “Done Things,” we are very proud of and want the world to know about them; others—not so much. Some things we do are private; we want to keep them a secret.


Many of these, “Secrets,” are sealed. As no one saw or heard them so they are locked only into our mind and/or the mind of the person we performed them with. This is life…

There is the other side of the issue, however. Sometimes are secrets are found out. …Someone else saw them, heard them, or researched them. From this, at the discretion of
another, they can be released to the world.

There have been tape recorders and cameras forever. Video tape cameras have been around for a long while. Now, everyone carries all three of them on their phone. From this, personal secrets have become very hard to keep.

Most people do not set out to capture your secrets. Unless you are doing something bad to someone or something, your secrets are never sought out, as no one cares. In other cases, it is happenstance. You do something bad (something you want to keep a secret from the world) and what you say or do is so loud your secret is accidentally captured. Then what?

The fact is, people only keep secrets because they wish to hide who they truly are from other people. …They wish to hide what they truly do from others. Why? Because, in most cases, they wish to be seen a certain way by certain people. They wish to be seen as something they are not. They wish to be perceived in a specific light by a specific group of people. Whether this group is large or small is unimportant, it is simply defined by the mind of the individual who wishes others to not know who they truly are and what they truly do.

But, why is this? This mindset exists because people are not truthful about themselves – they are not truthful to themselves; for if they were there would be no need for secrets. If a person would not be attempting to project a persona, if they would simply be who and what they are, then there would be no need to hide anything.

Some people want to reveal and spread the secrets of another person. Some people make this their life quest. Some people lie about other people, pretending that they are telling someone’s secrets when all they are doing is telling a lie.

The fact is, finding out someone’s secrets is invigorating. …You know what you’re not suppose to know. You know what someone didn’t want you know. From this, you feel empowered. You feel you have power over that person. Think about how many negative life events have been set into motion by those who possess this mindset?

In this modern world, your secret(s) may now be easily captured. But, what if you have no secretes? Then, who would care?

Secrets are you hiding the truth about you from someone/anyone. If you existing in a space of being one-hundred percent yourself—one hundred percent honest about yourself, then what secrets would your life hold? You would be free.

Stop lying about who you truly are. Stop hiding who you truly are. Stop doing bad things. Then, you are free as you have no secrets. From this, not only does your world become freer are but the entire world becomes just a little bit better.

How is that Buddhism?

I am never one to criticize a person’s religion. I believe, we all believe what we believe, created by an untold number of influences, and that is the way it has always been. Occasionally, however, an individual brings their beliefs to the forefront of our conversation and it forces me to think…

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.

They’re the Ones Talking About Me I’m Not the One Talking About Them

Long ago I coined the statement, “You know you’re famous when people you’ve never met say things about you that aren’t true.” This came about when I read an article someone had written about me that was full of unsubstantiated falsehoods and flat out untruths. Yet, the person who wrote it had the appearance of being credentialed in his field and presented the paper in a very formulated format. Though the reading of it amused me to no end, I later begin to contemplate how someone who didn’t know me and read it would believe the false words to be fact, not fiction. And, here is where the problem(s) begin…

Ever since I first began writing poetry, novels, articles, books, painting, and making music and movies, people began to draw conclusions about me. This is a fact of life, when you create, people who love, hate, or don’t care about what you create are going to come to their own conclusions about your work and yourself; be they true or false.

In times gone past, opinions were kept to one’s circle of friends. If you were going to send your opinion about a person or their creation to a magazine, more times than not, the magazine would fact-check the writing before it was ever published. This is the world I grew up in. Throughout my studies at the various universities I attended and later when I began to be published as a journalist and an author, what I wrote had to possess a verifiable factual essence. You had to prove what you said. Then came the age of the Internet and the publish-on-demand world of printing. Anybody could say anything and there is no one there to challenge what a person says. Sure, you can get into twitter wars with a person but what is the point? People believe what they choose to believe, whether it be true or not.

The fact is, in today’s world, when someone says something about somebody that is not based in fact, the lie simply continues to spread. I have seen one person say something about me that was completely untrue and then I have seen that same statement quoted by another and another. All false, yet it is presented as if it were the truth, when it is not.

This is the thing about the life of the creative… The creative, create. The others talk about those who create.

Whenever I teach a class or a seminar I always pose the question to my students, “Who do you want to be? The creative or those who talk about the creative?”

In a world where you can say anything about anybody with little consequence, the only person you are beholden to is yourself and the karmic destiny you lay out that will unfold in front of you based upon your deeds, actions, and words. Therefore, it is you who must ask the question of yourself, “Are you a person who speaks of others, expounding your opinions about an individual based upon your own appraisal of their words and creations or are you a person who is the source of your own creations?” Yes, being the source point of your own creations will put you in the bull’s-eye but it will be something wholly you own. If, on the other hand, you spent your time focused upon analyzing the creations of others and the personage of who created them, all you are doing is further spreading the myth of that individual.

If you speak the truth that is the truth, then the truth will be known and the truth will embrace you. If you spread the lie, based upon your judgment(s), then all you will be known as is a liar once the truth is revealed and all you will be defined as is an individual who relished in the limelight of others.

Life and Living with Others

I imagine that we each have had people come into our lives and really mess things up for us. Had we invited them in, then it would have been our own fault and there would be no one to blame but ourselves. But, this is not commonly the case for once we know of a person’s prediction for negativity, lying, deceiving, cheating, uncontrolled behavior, and doing other bad things; we very consciously shun them. But then, there is the other life-scenario—there is the case when someone intrudes his or her way into our life, forces their way in, and then by their deeds and actions all we are left with is the life damage and life destruction that they have created.

Hopefully, these experiences will be few and far between in one’s life. But, the fact of the matter is, no matter how few or how far better these life interactions are, once they have occurred, all we are left with is the never ending memory of the damage another person has caused us.

Most people do not set out to hurt others. Though some are of this mindset and intentionally devise a scheme to harm others, they are the worst of the worst; all of their acts are criminal and eventually they pay the price for them. But, more often then not, the people that damage our lives are those who are too unconscious, too self-centered, too unaware, too full of themselves, too much in self-denial and self-deceit and possessing too much unjustified self-importance to even fully comprehend or care about what they are doing. Once they have done what they have done, they lie, they deny, they live in a state of self-imposed superiority so that they will not have to accept that they are truly a bad person, doing wrong things to the lives of others.

In fact, have you ever encountered the situation where a person did a really bad thing to your life and then they tried to turn it around on you and blame you for your reactions based upon their negative actions? This is one of the prime examples of a person who is completely out of touch with the reality of what they are doing to the life of another person. But, people like this are everywhere; lost in their own self-deception and hoping to damage further the life of a person that they already damaged.

Truthfully, it is very sad… Sad, because the lives of the people they negatively affected are affected forever. The person’s life experience, their life chances, and their next level of life opportunities are damaged forever. But, what does the person who instigated the damage do to correct anything that they have done? Commonly, the answer to that is nothing. They lie and they deny. They run away from the truth about who and what they are. And, as previously stated, in some cases, they even attempt to blame the victim for their own actions of instigation. These people are simply bad and nothing that they can say or do will ever change this fact. They cannot change this fact unless they choose to go to source of their problem and undo all the negativity they have unleashed. But commonly, they are too egomaniacal to even attempt this feat.

And, here lies the ultimate definition of a person’s life; does that individual try to fix what they have broken?

In life, most people are good. They try to do good things and attempt to exist in space of harming no one. They are not locked into a mindset of self-deception where they tell themselves that are something that they are not. If they do unintentionally damage the life of another person, they turn their ego off and they do whatever it takes to repair that damage, for they know that damage will haunt their evolution forever if they do not correct it.

The good are truthful to themselves and others. The bad live in a space of denial and self-deception, not caring about others.

In life, though we all want what we want, we all want to do what we want to do, it is essential that we think about our environment and others first before we do anything. For is we do not, our words, our deeds, and our actions can hurt others because we did not take
others into consideration before we performed said actions.

Others are the fact of life. There are others all around us, all of the time. We must think of others first, before we think of ourselves if we hope to live a good life.

In some cases, some people are too self-absorbed to hear or comprehend these words. They believe that it is okay to do whatever it is they are doing, as it is their means to their ends. It may get them money, notoriety, physiological release, or psychological empowerment. But, the root and the heart of the problem, in thinking about life in that fashion, is that it is all based upon the concept of ME. And ME, is a very selfish place to live at.

Others are the key to life as it will be others who define your life.

What have you done to others? Did you hurt others? No matter what your justification for doing what you did may have been, did you undo any hurtful action, did you fix the damage you created, or did you simply live in a web of self-deceit? The answer to that question will define your entire existence.

Others define your life. How did you treat others? 

You Are a Liar

Not only am I often asked to speak and write about the subject of truth, I am quite frequently confounded with the realities of life when someone lies to me. To begin this discussion I must state that ever since I was a very young boy I had this uncanny ability to know when someone was lying to me. In my early years I used to confront people with this fact, “You are a liar,” or, “You are lying.” I quickly came to understand that this was not the best method to keep any conversation or relationship moving forward. So, since then, I pretty much just let people keep talking — even if I know that they are lying to me.

At the central core of all that is right and good with life is the truth. But, what is the truth? The truth is not something big, grand, or abstract, the truth is the essence of who we each are. Where does truth come from? It comes from us. We are each the source or the truth or the lies. From truth, goodness is given birth to. From lies, all badness emulates.

People lie for all kinds of reasons. They lie to be seen as something more than they actually are. They lie to get something that they desire. They lie to protect themselves. And, the list goes on… But, at the central core of who and what a person truly is, the question must be raised, “Are they a liar?” Are you? Do you lie? It does not matter the reason or your reasoning? Are you a liar? If you are, all that you will ever be is a liar. For all things that you do and say set the next evolution of life into motion; not only for your life but also for all of those whom interact with you. If anything that you say or do is instigate from a lie, then there can never be truth. For without a basis in truth there can never be a greater good. A lie never equals the truth.

Most people, when they are confronted with the fact that they have lied will either re-lie, attempting to cover up their initial lie, or they will make all kinds of excuses for why they lied — providing all kinds of justifications for their action. But, again, this is not the truth. This is only exaggerating any lie that they already told.

If a person lies to you, they can never be trusted because they were willing to lie to you in the first place. If a person is willing to lie to you, (and justify their actions either to themselves or to you), they are not an honest person. A dishonest person is a liar, no matter what justification they are providing themselves with for doing what they are doing and saying what they are saying.

Life is a very simple place. The truth is the sole defining factor of all interpersonal relationships and with a person’s individual ability to achieve higher consciousness. Think about this, if a person lies to others, if a person lies to himself or herself, do you think they have the ability to obtain higher consciousness? No, they do not. A lie is never the truth, no matter what. If you lie you have tied yourself to the lower level of desire-filled human consciousness and you will never obtain what you hope to achieve for you have poisoned your own well.

As is always the case, the world begins with you. All you say and do affects the all and the everything of the further evolution of this place we call life. If you are lying, for any reason, that means that you are personally responsible for damaging the greater good.

I understand that most people don’t want to hear this and that many people do not even care. But, if you care about humanity, if you care about the greater good, if you care about your own self and your ultimate life-legacy, do not lie. For all lying does is create a world based upon falsehoods and deception. Stop making excuses to yourself for lying and become more. By you become more, via the truth, the entire world becomes better.

The truth is the ultimate defining factor for life. If you lie, stop it. If you have lied, undo your lies. Mostly, stop lying to yourself that your lying is justified. Stop being a liar!

What You Said. What You Should’ve Said. What You Didn’t Say.

Life interactions are based upon communication. We communicate to say what we want, get what we want, express our feelings on a particular subject, and to state our happiness or dissatisfaction with a life-situation or life-event.

Communication is one of the most natural forms of the human experience. We learn to communicate at a very early age. How we communicate, how we express our thoughts and our feelings is initially programmed into us by the way those around us communicate. Generally, we first learn how to express our thoughts, feelings, and desires by the way our parents and our other family members communicate. This is why those individuals who rise out of a loud, boisterous family generally communicate in loud patterns. On the other hand, those who come from a quiet, contemplative family-scape generally are must subtler in their forms of expression and communication.

Once we have had the basic foundations of our communication skills taught to us by our parents and siblings we then move forward and develop our own unique methods of communication guided by our individual personalities. It is quite common to understand that an adult that uses yelling and screaming to express what they are feeling found that as a child they could get want they wanted if they cried and threw a tantrum. On the other hand, if an individual allows people to rant and rave but does not become involved in their confrontational communications it can then easily be understood that they subconsciously learned, early in life, that expressing one’s self in this manner does not lead to any desired end. Thus, they remain passive with their communication skills.

In life, we each are provided with the ability to speak our thoughts. This is, of course, tempered by where we find ourselves in history and to which socioeconomic, political, or religious backdrop we are born.

Once we understand the definition of our communication skills, and which way of communicating is most beneficial and rewarding to our life, we then move forward and say what we say guided by our beliefs, our ego, and our understanding of interpersonal relationships. Some people are very conscious and thoughtful in how they communicate, other are rude, unthinking, and judgmental in all that they say. Who are you? And, are you honest with yourself in the way you communicate and how your communications are interpreted by other people? The fact is, many people are so lost in their exaggerated sense of Self that they do not even take the time to consider how the manner in which they communicate is affecting others that they speak with and/or the world around them as a whole.

In each of our lives we express how we feel — we say what we say. How many times have you said something that you wish you had not said? How many times have you said something that you believed came out wrong? How many times have you, once you have expressed something that you believed came out wrong or was not a correct or righteous expression of your thoughts, did you work to correct what you said? The answer to these questions provides you with deep insight into how you view the world, how you view yourself, and whether or not you have a truly respectful understanding of life and the lives of those that exist around. For, if more times than not you stand firm in what you have said, even if it was hurtful to someone/anyone or anything then this fact alone allows you to peer into yourself and see that you are a very self-centered individual. Moreover, if you do not care how what you have said affects other people and life events, it tells you that you exist in a space of vanity and unaware self-righteousness; sociopathy if you will. From this insight and understanding it allows you, if nothing else, to understand how you perceive this world. It also tells you that you may need to take a look at yourself, how you perceive others, and how you will be remembered because your life is defined through your words and your actions.

Aside from simply what we say, when we communicate, and how we say it, there are times in the midst of conversations when we realize the direction in which the conversation is heading and we consciously choose to not say what we internally wish to say. This is called, “Discretion,” and it is one of the highest forms of selfless, interactive human understanding. …You know what you want to say. …You know what you could say is the truth. …But, you choose not to say it because the truth, at least in that particular situation, will only cause the discussion you are involved with to progress towards the realms of negativity.

The thing about human existence is, many people are so lost within their own lying-mind that they do not have the ability to truly look within themselves and to see or care about what effect they are having on others. From this is born the mindset of irrational justification for a person’s thoughts, words, and actions. Therefore, to not fall prey to this selfish mindset you can simply employee your own internal sense of discretion. From this conscious action you are left
whole and self-aware enough to not have to express what you think in order to make yourself be seen as something more and/or better. This is a true state of self-actualization.

Many interpersonal conversations are based upon one person trying to make their thoughts and their feelings more prominent and more definitive than the other person or persons. But, this is not true interactive conversation. This is ego. And, many people base their entire form of conversation upon attempting to project that they know more, that they are more right than the other person(s) involved in the conversation. I am sure we have all interacted with people like this. But, if we possess enough interpersonal wisdom to not have to prove that our point is the
right point then this is where a true understanding of interactive human consciousness comes into play.

This fact is much harder to emulate when you are in a conversation with a person who has or is doing bad things. When they are hurting you and/or other people via their conscious or unconscious actions. Then, the term, “Bite your tongue,” really comes into play because though you posses the discretion to not need to win every discussion you enter into, what they are doing is simply wrong, and though you may want to express the truth via your words, your higher-self keeps you from doing so.

As is the case with all life, we each rethink what we have done or said once an unsavory situation has occurred. This too is the case with interpersonal conversations, especially when you have been forced to interact with an individual exhibiting lower consciousness by lying, changing the facts, or misrepresenting the truth. "I should have said…," is a common thought when we internalize these conversations after the fact. None-the-less, it is up to you to be more than that person, not fret about what you didn’t say, and move on and away from this type of individual as a person like this is their own worst enemy and is setting up the pathway for their own lack of life-fulfillment and self-destruction by not only being dishonest in their words but thereby projecting their own sense of lack of self-awareness to the entire world.

Conversation is at the root of human grown and expanding understandings. It also provides you with a microscope to view into the mind of those you are conversing with.

Know yourself. Know your own mind. Refine your interactive skillset and move forward into the world never spreading falsehood, only speaking your own truth in the most palatable manner possible.

Words lead to actions. What actions do you want to instigate?

Hidden Behind the Excuse of Mental Illness

When a person sees an individual with a physical illness, injury, or deformity the common emotion is sympathy. When a person encounters an individual suffering from a mental illness, however, the common emotion is to stay away from that person. This course of action is taken due to the fact that the person is most likely behaving irrationally and saying or doing inappropriate things. From this, the common course of action is to keep your distance. In fact, this is not a bad form of behavior or the wrong course of action as a person with a mental illness is unpredictable and they can lead any person who interacts with them down a road that they would have never traveled had they not encountered that individual.

As human understanding, medications, and psychoanalytical treatments have advanced over time many people have become much more accepting of those who suffer from the various forms of mental illness — both of the severe and the less severe. From this, there has become a more wide reaching acceptance of allowing certain individuals to act out and exhibit less than ideal human behavior. In times gone past, a person who behaved irrationally or presented an overabundance of uncontrolled emotion were commonly shunned or sent to a hospitable facility where it was believed they would be helped. Today, whereas those who suffer from the more severe forms of mental illness are generally treated in a hospitable and then only released once they are indoctrinated into the proper medication regiment, those with the less severe forms of mental illness are allowed to walk the streets, do what they do, and as long as their behavior does not become criminal they are allowed to live their life as the see fit. From this, those with these less severe forms of mental illness have been allowed to negatively affect they lives of those people around them. Here is where the root problem of either undiagnosed or hidden mental illness arises for the world on the whole.

Psychotherapy, which has many-many flaws, most commonly the fact that a person only tells their therapist what they want them to know and presents their life-facts through a very filtered perception, is the most common course of action for those with the more minor forms of mental illness. That is to say, it is the common course of self-imposed action for those who are self-aware enough to realize that they are behaving, acting, and reacting in an unacceptable manner to go and see a psychotherapist. Though a psychotherapist may guide their patient down the road to a more controlled life-existence, for the most part, they cannot remove the mental illness from their patient. This is particularly the case with a mental illness like bipolar disorder.

In the situation of bipolar disorder, one of the common symptoms is that of the lack of ability to control the sufferer’s emotional outburst. In fact, many a person with bipolar disorder, in this modern era, passes through their entire life without medical care as they are simply categorized as being very, “Emotional.” As such, they can commonly function to the degree that they can live among society without serious consequences. Though medication and psychotherapy may well help the sufferer of bipolar disorder, many who suffer from this mental illness are never alerted to this fact. This is most commonly due to the fact that many who possess this condition, and other relatively functional psychological disorders, are either not consciously aware of their inappropriate interaction with society or are simply in denial of the altered manner in which they encounter life.

For those of us who have encountered those with bipolar disorder, whether diagnosed or not, we have seen how a person with this condition can truly come to negatively affect the lives of all those around them. As they cannot control their emotions, they are prone to undefined outburst when there is no need for them. From this, not only are relationships damages but also verbal and physical altercations are instigated and lives may be sent down the pathway of unexpected and undesired occurrences due to the course of event set into motion by the person who possess this mental illness.

One of the key components of mental illness, that has come to be very prominent in this current timeframe, is that the sufferer has been feed the elixir that they are not responsible for their behavior; they are ill, they are trying to be better, thus, they should not hold themselves responsible for their behavior or their actions.

At the root or all mental illnesses is the sense of denial held by the person who suffers from the disease. From the modern psychological perspective, and via the words of a psychotherapist who makes their living by keeping each of their patients under their control for as long as possible so they can pay their rent, the sufferer of the disease is provided with a long list of excuses that what they are doing is not their fault, as such, they can continue down the road of negatively affecting the lives of those they encounter with no physical, emotional, or karmic consequences.

For any of us who have had any type of illness, from the most minor cold on up to breaking bones and beyond, we realize that we did not want it to happen to us. This too is the case with those who suffer from mental illness. This being stated, it is the individual’s responsibility, once they witness the problems they create and are diagnosed with a specific condition, that they do all they can to treat themselves for their illness. In the case of biologically based mental illnesses like schizophrenia, psychoses, or bipolar disorder, that means that the individual must seek help, stay medicated, and come to understand that though it may not be their choice to suffer from mental illness, they are the one who must take responsibility for their condition and continue to effectively deal with it. They must stop making excuses for their actions and tying to remedy themselves through self-medication, self-denial, self-deception, lies to others, and mediocre attempts to fix any interpersonal damage that they have created in their relationships. This is perhaps the hardest element to process for those with mental illness, for more often than not, that individual is so used to lying to get themselves though life, that they have lived in denial for so long and have hidden their condition from the world and perhaps even themselves that they are only indoctrinated into living a life based upon deception.

At the heart of all life is the individual. At the root of human interaction is how a person behaves and the patterns of good or bad they expound onto life by their actions and their behavior. Thus, each person must own up to the fact that the truth or the deceptions of life begins with them—the goodness or the badness in human interaction begins with them. Any person, possessing any understanding of mental consciousness and awareness must understand that they are the source for all that is taking place around them. Lies, excuses, and deceptions should be removed and a person’s true being placed out in front of all and any human interaction. From this, other people can come to define who a person truly is, why they are whom they are, and why they behave in the manner they behave. From this, an individual not only becomes true to himself or herself but the complexities of human consciousness can be better understood by all.

Was Your Life Better a Year Ago?

"Was your life better a year ago?" This is a question that I believe each person should ask himself or herself.

I think that we all know people; we have all met people who the first things they talk about is what they are going through and how things are bad or a least not as good as they were back then. What they are doing is comparing their life now to how their life was then. And, that’s fine. Verbalizing what you feel to friends and family is all-good as long as it doesn’t bring everybody down. Maybe this is you. But, though many people feel what they feel about what is going on in their life, few people ever take the time to study the reason why. Few people have the ability to truly look in the mirror and give themselves a true appraisal of what is going on in their life and why. They may justify their actions, they may blame others, they may attribute their current, less than perfect circumstances, to any number of reasons but what they rarely do is blame themselves.

All of your life is based upon what you have done. If you hurt others, you are a fault. If you damage things, you are at fault. If you lie, cheat, deceive, steal, you are at fault. Even if you believe you have a right to do the things you have done, if your life was better a year ago from where it is today, you must have done something wrong.

This is not about karma, self-guilt, or anything like that. For, the fact of the matter is, most people feel no guilt for what they have done—they could care less if they hurt or damage people or things. They feel they are entitled to do what they do when they do it and that is that. Again, few people possess the ability to take a long hard look at themselves in the mirror.

If your life is not on the path you desire; if your life is not fulfilled and abundant, if you are not living the way you want, then who else is to blame but you? You did what you did. You set a course of events into motion. Thus, you have ended up where you have ended up solely based upon what you have done.

Some people are not as selfish, unconscious, or as self-serving as the greater whole. Some people actually care enough to care. But, these people also, at times, find themselves living a life that is not ideal. But, why is this? Why is this if a person tries to give back? Commonly this occurs, in a giving person, due to the fact that they are giving from a space of ego. “I am this.” “I am giving to you.” “It is I who has this to give to you.” “I am doing this for you.” The central precept here is, “I.” “I” is about ego. “I” is not about giving. The true giver has no sense of, “I,” in anything they do.

So, if you are at a stage of your life where you are not happy and fulfilled, if you can look back a year ago and realize life was better then, it is time to make a change. The essential thing to keep in mind is that change is not about anybody else. Change is about you. Change is not about blaming anyone or anything else. Change needs to be based upon you looking at you. Change needs to be based upon you stop doing things that hurt people or things—even if those things are justified in your own mind. Things that you may have told yourself are right but you know, deep down in inside, that you would not want them done to you. Mostly, change needs to be based upon you being a conduit of giving, not taking. Giving with no sense of self or ego. Giving good and positive things. Giving in silence.

Give it a try. Then, in a year, again take another look at your life. I imagine it will be better.

Do You Step On Snails?

I think that most of us, since the time we were children, have seen the many aspects of life around us. Whether it was the seashells at the beach, which are now very few and far between, or the butterflies flying through the air, which have also diminished greatly, we see and appreciate the beauty of nature.

There are other forms of life that some people do not take note of and/or do not particularly like. Snails, for example. Yeah, they are kind of weird. But, they are also beautiful and an integral part of our biosphere.

I remember as a kid, some people I knew would intentionally step on them. That made just a yucky mess. Even way back then I thought that was a very wrong thing to do. Now, whenever I see a snail I have a great appreciation for its purpose and placement in life.

Whenever it rains here in L.A., snails come out to play. They move onto the sidewalks. Whenever I see them I tell them to be careful. I tell them to be careful because so many people are so unconscious or so full of the nothing that they believe they are that they do not even take the time to study where they are stepping and they smash them. Not only is it wrong to unnecessarily kill essential life but also it is wrong to be that unconscious of where you are walking.

This is the thing about human life, and perhaps its biggest downfall, people don’t care. And, they do not care that they don’t care. They are so wrapped up in their own superior-ness, or in whatever is going on in their ego driven mind, that they do not take the time to study where and how they walk. This is very sad. Snails get killed.

If you are passing though life not caring and not being acutely aware of your environment, what does that say about you? If you don’t care, should anyone or anything care about you?

Being conscious, being caring is the sourcepoint of living a good, fulfilled, and giving life. Do you study where you step?

I Did It Because...

Everybody has a reason for doing what he or she did. That reason may be an excuse. That reason may be a justification. That reason may be a self-believed fact. But, a reason is never the truth. A reason is only a reason.

I did it because I was young. I did it because I was stupid. I did it because I was angry. I did it because I was horny. I did it because I was jealous. I did it because I was envious. I did it because I was hurt. I did it because I was hungry. I did it because I was broke. I did it because I was drunk. I did it because I was in love. I did it because I wasn’t thinking. I did it because I was only thinking about myself. I did it because I didn't know any better. I did it because I didn't care. I did it because I was wrong.

These statements, and many more, all define the, “I did it because,” mentality.

In life, we all do the things that we do. Some of these things are good, wholesome, and helpful. Some of these things are just the opposite; they are hurtful, desireful, and damaging. But, it is we who do them. Once done, we can claim all kinds of misplaced logic and excuses to justify our actions. But, it is all meaningless words because the ultimate truth is what was done is what was done.

This is why if you want your life to be more than simply a long list of excuses and emotional or desire-filled episodes you must take control of your mind, and never let your lower-self control what you do. For where is all regret born. It is born from actions taken by the lower-self.

No one is perfect. We have all done things that we regret. We have all done things that other people make us regret. But, if you choose to live your life consciously, you will not want to be defined by a long list of, I did it because…

Consciously become more.

Aftermath and the What of What You Do

People rarely take the time to think about how what they are doing will effect their future and the future of others. They simply do what they do based upon whatever emotion or desire is present in any given moment. And, here arises one of the biggest hoaxes of the modern spiritual path; living in the now. It is constantly touted that living in the now is the space/place to be. It is detailed as some illusive state of mind. No. Everybody does it all the time. In fact, it is the very few who make their actions conscious and focused as opposed to desired-based or now-reactionary.

People are driven by the emotions that they feel in any given moment. That is what causes them to take action and do what they do. Damn the consequences. I am doing what I am doing.

This is place where all the aftermaths arise. You did what you did. You did what you did without caring or thinking about the impact on your life or the life of others but then there is a price to pay.

Some people continually try to do good things. And, that is a good thing. They don’t speak negative words about people. They try to help instead of hinder. But, as the old saying goes, no good deed goes unpunished. This is simply the state of being in life; helping one person may hurt another. …Doing something that you see as good and right, someone else may view as a negative action.

Certainly, doing knowingly bad things, making negative statements about people and life situations, and not caring who you hurt is never a righteous act. But, at this level of life interaction, the people who behave in this manner should expect to experience the repercussions. But, do they? Most of the time, no. They believe they will skate through, they will get away with it, and no one will be the wiser. But, people were hurt. So, how can there be no aftermath?

What you do and how you do it will come to be the defining factors of your life. How you will come to be defined is actualized by the consciousness of the actions you take. Think about this, when you have done something unthinking and in the spur of the moment that created a wave of hurtful negativity farther down the road of your life, would you have done it if you had thought it through instead of simply acting out on whatever desire or emotion you possessed in that moment?

People make excuses for their actions. People find justifications for their actions. People try to blame others for their actions. But, they only do that when they experience the aftermath of their actions.

If you do something/anything there will be repercussions. What do you want the repercussions that will come to define your life and your lifetime to be? What they will be is defined by how much you thought about what you did before you did it. …By how much you thought about others before you thought about yourself.

Step out of the Now and enter the world of consciously thinking and discrimination. If you live your life at this level, the aftermath will be so much more enjoyable.

Can It Harm You If You Don’t Believe?

Many people believe in the power of suggestive energy. …Energy that can be focused and then transmitted to a person. Wiccans, Witches, Black Magician, Sorcerers, and various other centralized groups practice with these energies.

Now, I must preface this with the fact that most people never even think twice about this style of focusing of energy. And, that’s a good thing. Not thinking of it, their world is never defined by it. But, there are others of us, in the various traditions of metaphysics, which spend much of our lives investigating and defining how energy moves through the universe. Lord knows, I written tons-and-tons of words on the subject.

But, to the point; can focused energy affect you if you do not believe in it? Let’s take a look…

Dion Fortune’s book, “Psychic Self-Defense,” is without a doubt the most distributed book on the subject. The problem with that text, as I see it, is that it gets a little too deep into hocus-pocus and feeds the reader a lot of suggestive logic that only leads to paranoia. That is never a good thing.

This is certainly not the only book on the subject, however. An untold number of texts have been written: some good, some not so good. For example, The Rosicrucian Order, a group I have a certain interactiveness with has published a lot on the subject over the past couple of centuries. As have many others… Most, speak about how energy is all-pervasive and, as such, there are those who can control it and unleash it at will. But, is this factual?

One of my first interactions with focused or stored energy was when I was probably fourteen. This gay couple was moving from my apartment building in Hollywood to a building that was more gay friendly and they asked me help them move. I was happy to help. I was picking up and loading their stuff into their trailer. Behind one of their chest of drawers was a black tree branch. I picked it up, thinking nothing of it, but BAM I could sense the negative energy immediately. Later I was told that one of the men previously had been into Satan worship and Black Magic and that was his wand. Did I feel the energy? Yes, I did. Did it do anything to damn my life? No, I don’t think so. I do know on my first trip to India, however, I did consciously wash my hands in the Ganges to purify any remaining energy from that touching interaction. But, just because I felt the energy does not mean that it harmed me.

So, is energy out there? Yes. Is it focusable? Yes. Can and/or do people try to send it in a certain person’s direction? Probably. I have heard stories. Should you care? Why?

Here’s the thing… If you go up and punch somebody in the face, they are probably going to bleed. That’s reality. If you punch them a couple of more times, you will probably knock them out. That’s as real as real gets. It’s physical. It’s here. It’s now. There is no debate as to the cause or to the effect. But, everything that you can’t see, is debatable. And, here is where you define your own reality. Do you choose to believe that somebody has the ability to have power over you? Yeah, I know, in all the movies and in all the novels, it is claimed that people do posses this power. But, that’s just fiction. That is not truth. The only power that anyone has over you is the power that you allow them to have over you. Know this and the answer to the question is obvious.

Magical Thinking in the Modern Age

I have been writing about the dangers of Magical Thinking for a lot of years now. How if you do this, if you believe that, all will be well with your life—you will achieve all of your desires.

This is just a salesman’s ploy. A wandering salesman’s snake oil, to get you to buy into their bullshit so they can make a dime.

How many Self-Help books have been written promising the same miraculous life changes if only you employee a recited, time-and-time-again, statement to, “Be Positive,” “Believe,” I am this,” I can control the mind of them,” “I can focus and project my desired destiny,” and the list goes on and on. Then, when it does not work out, there is always the catch phrase, written in small ink, “It’s because of you.” “You didn’t focus hard enough,” You didn't try,” “You are not pure enough,” etc., etc., etc… Yet, the salesmen still get paid. Whether it be a book, a lecture, a whatever, you fork out your money and it is not their fault when you fail at what they promised. Stop the cycle!

If there is a fault, it is the fault with the soothsayers, promising you a reality that is out there… …Out there… But, only if you do what they say. Out there… But, only if you concentrate hard enough and are pure enough.

But, the question must be asked, “How pure are they?” How pure and whole are they to be making money off of you? It sounds to me like you are already more than them because you have the money to fill their bank accounts. If they were all that; there would be no need for charging a fee.

It’s like the psychic. Have you ever sat down with one? If you have an analytical mind, it is so easy to see through their game. The say, “Some one in your family died and you were very upset…” Okay, pretty much every one has had that experience. And, that is just one example of how they look at you, check out your clothing, your watch, your shoes, your style and quickly figure out what may be going on with you. What they are doing is, “Fishing.” Fishing for your emotional center-point. If you say, “No,” to their question, they quickly fish a little further until they find something that you respond to. It is all psychological mind fuck and bullshit. Say, “No,” to them time and time again and see what they come up with.

As I have also stated forever… Look to the lives of these people — the people who propagate his style of deception. They are false. Have you actually met them? Have you actually spent time with them? Have you actually seen or heard how they behave in real life. If you had, I doubt that you would ever consider listening to what they have to say.

It is easy to believe in a person if you have not been allowed to see their idiosyncrasy. Stop believe in the liars who are only out there trying to make themselves seem to be more than you, while they ask you to pay them for their services. And, most of all, never forgive a person for their sins when they try to make up excuses about the flaws in their own personality, while still professing to be any sort of an anything.

If a person is telling you anything… Claiming to guide you… Professing to direct you… If they are not a proven and registered saint, they are a liar trying to make a living.

Life if a complex maze.

Truth is free.

The truth is based in simplicity and not desiring.

Here’s some free advice (no charge) stop desiring what you desire and see how free your life will become.

No Truth

I was kicking around one of my favorite bookshops yesterday. There was an elderly lady stocking the shelves while speaking to another customer. She said, “I don’t think that there’s much truth in these books or there wouldn’t be so many of them being written.” This made me smile.

I’ll just leave it at that. Perfect truth in perfect words.

It Never Rains in Space

Since the dawn of humankind and the ever-evolving realms of human consciousness man (and woman) has stared at the stars with wonderment. From this, there have been all kinds of fantasies and works of literature created. The human mind traveled there since the reality of sense separation and the defining of human boundaries came into play. People wrote stories of the possibilities of what is out there since long before man ever made his first steps into the realms beyond this earth. Someday, perhaps, man will have developed the ability to actually travel into and streak across the galaxies as has been depicted in so many novels, movies, and television shows. Then is not now, however. Now is now.

In life, we are defined by life. We are defined by our available options. Our mind can wander, we can believe in anything we wish to believe in; we can hope and we can fanaticize about anything that we want—we can even take steps in making the next evolution of humankind possible. What we cannot do, however, is to change the reality we are defined to live within. Here, in the space and the time we find ourselves inhabiting is all we have. Meaning, we are defined by where we are.

Many people speak of what is, when it is not. They claim all type of aberrant realities. They make people believe in heavens, hells, parallel universes, and altered dimensions. This is why the proponents of the counterculture, which took hold during the 1960s and 1970s, were so able to establish themselves and their place in counterculture history by preaching the benefits of the use of hallucinogenic drugs—for in that altered reality, anything was possible.

The problem with the use of hallucinogenic drugs and their ingestion as a causeway to expanding consciousness is that there is never one-reality. Though two people may take the exact same drug at the exact same moment, their experience and what they each, individually, experienced will be completely different. Thus, hallucinogenic drugs are not a pathway to a new kingdom. If they were, everyone would arrive at the same place. They do not.

This same basis of individual consciousness, equaling religious ideology, is also easy charted. Though people may follow the same religion and even exist within the same sect or have the same teacher within that religion; each will have their own mental picture of what is what. If you speak to them, if you ask them to describe their religion, if you ask them to step beyond what is stated in their scriptures, than each will come to their own conclusion about the definition of life, reality, god, and the cosmos. Though, compared to the altered mental reality of an individual who ingests a hallucinogenic drugs, there will be more of a common thought process and definition, none-the-less, there will still be large gaps, revealing large differences, in conceptualized reality.

When you enter the more abstract and metaphysical levels of human consciousness and those who talk about and teach these realms, the sky is the limit. They can say anything because there is no common ground and basis in or of fact. In fact, the more grandiose the claims made by these practitioners, the more they elevate themselves to a place where they may be believed to be more than the common individual. In other words, they are claiming, “I am able to experience something you cannot, as such, that makes me more than you.” Some feeble minded people buy into this. From this, all kinds of nonsense and devious deeds have been unleashed throughout the evolution of humanity.

Human life was formed and, at least for now, it exists predominately upon this earth. Here: there is life, there is death, there is human conflict, there is success and there is failure. Here, there is weather. It rains here on earth. It does not rain in space. That rain gives us needed sustenance. In space it is absence. Thus, it is not where we are supposed to be.

No matter what our mind chooses to believe. No matter what we do or whom we choose to follow, there is one simply reality. That reality is, all we are is all we are.

We can fantasy, we can pretend, we can follow those we believe to be holy or who claim holiness. We can alter our reality with hallucinogenic drugs, but, at the end of the day, we will come down from that drug and who and what will we be? Who we will be is simply who and what we are. No more, no less.

No matter what we believe, no matter what holiness a person does or does not claim, they too will die. Though some claim they can transcend this realm and communicate with those who have left this life, this too is a falsity based upon the creative mind of some novelist from times gone past. To prove this point, try this, put two of the people who claim they can communicate with the dead together, will they speak they same words supposedly voiced by that person who now dwells in the great beyond? No, they will not. Thus, like hallucinogenic drugs all reality is based on the individual. There is no absolute definition, no defined absolute knowledge about this life space or what is beyond our life. There is only what we have here and now. Accept that and you are free.

Do You Think That You Don’t Have to Pay for Your Karma?

The question that must be asked is, “Do you think that you don’t have to pay for your karma?”

Most people dance thru life, doing what they do, with little thought about the effect they are having on others. But, as they are doing what they are doing, with little thought, they are creating tons of karma. Then what?

If you are impacting the life of another person or persons, what are the ramifications? Do you think that you do not have to pay the piper?

Many people do not. They are all about getting over—doing what they do, when they want to do it. And, if doing what they want to do makes them feel okay, even for a moment, then all is well with the world. But, what if what you are doing is damaging the life of another person? Then what? What are the consequences to you and what are the ramifications to your life?

There are so many people out there who do not care. They take and they take, they do and they do. They may even think, “Why care about anyone else?”

Some people wake up; they see what they have done. They realize that they have hurt the life of someone else. But, then what? If you have come to understand that you have messed with the life of another person, are you going to fix what you have broken or are you simply going to sit in the realization that you have done someone wrong?

The fact of the matter is, you can stop doing what you are doing that is damaging other people or this life-space but if you do not fix what you have broken what does your realization prove? You must ask yourself, “What have I done to fix or undo my previous actions?”

You see, this is the ultimate flux point in life. Most people don’t care, until they are forced to have a reason to care. They only care, when what they have done has caught up with them and has begun to affect their own life in some negative way. Then, they wake up. But, waking up is not correcting what you have done. Correcting what you have done is correcting what you have done. So, what is it you are going to do to recreate life and fix the karma you have unleashed?

There is, no doubt, that this is a complicated question. But, if you actually care about the other people on this earth and if you actual care about the damage you have created, it is a question you must ask yourself. And, it is question that you must find an answer to. For if you do not fix the negative karma you have created all it does is to perpetuate itself and keep spreading out across this life-space. And, as you are the sourcepoint, who do you think it will ultimately affect the most?

Negative only equals negative, just as positive only equals positive. What are you going to do to fix the bad karma that you have created?

Even if you come to the conclusion that you only care about yourself, it is essentially important that you think about the effect your actions have on others and stop them before you unleash them and/or fix them if they have already been unleashed. Because if you don’t, what do you think will happen to you, your dreams, your life, and your life’s legacy?

You want a good life? It begins with what your do.

Do Angels Do Bad Things?

Throughout history there has been all kinds of stories propagated about angels and demons, witches and warlocks, and forces from the great beyond. In various parts of history people have believed in these forces so much that they have performed sacrifices to appease these deities. On the other side of the spectrum people have, in fact, been put to death over the belief that they were in cahoots with powers beyond the realms of sight and sound.

Certainly, in modern times, though most of these exaggerated practices have subsided, there are still those few people who do diabolical deeds based upon their personal believes that they are acting in the name of some unseen force. Most of these people are simply understood to be mentally ill. But, some simply believe. And, belief can be a bad thing — especially in the mind of the wrong person.

All this being stated, many people, even in this modern day, hold firmly onto the superstition of religion. Look how many fundamentalists there are, by whatever religious name, living across the globe. They turn to the various religions and their offshoots to find guidance and meaning in their lives. Then, once they believe, they believe, and nothing will stop that belief.

A lot of bad things have happened via the hands of these people. Yet, many still hold fast to their fundamentalist beliefs.

I have long written about how many people who walk the spiritual path, by whatever name, are lured into, “Magical thinking.” ...Believing that this equals that and by doing this one will get that. It’s dangerous. Because there are no set rules and standards about magical thinking.

In the West, many of these, “Magical Thinkers,” are practitioners of the various forms of Christianity. Christianity and its, “Holy Bible,” are full of stories and tales that set the stage for magical thinking and the belief in and/or the worship or worry of the powers of the forces beyond the seeing eye. Certainly, the belief in supernatural, other worldly being, such as angles and demons, is spoken of throughout the bible. There are also an untold number of stories that have been told, books that have been written, and movies that have been made based upon the, “What could happen,” based upon exaggerated ideas found in the Bible.

In Christianity angels are a common focal point. There are three archangels that have emerged in the Catholic tradition and seven spreads throughout wider Christianity.

Christianity, just as the Bible, has evolved throughout the centuries. So, this number is not exact in origin. But, from the understanding of supernatural beings such as the Nephilim, originally detailed in the Torah and the Book of Genesis onwards, there have been discussion of angels and other worldly beings and their interaction with man (and woman) throughout the various scriptures.

In terms of demons, from their mention in the Book if Enoch forward, demons are believed to be in existence and are depicted as the disruptor of the body, the mind, and the lives of the faithful. But, for those who have actually read the Bible, and studied its evolutionary history, it is clear to see that most of the deities, attributed as demons, originate in other religions and were labeled as such due to the founding fathers of Christianity desiring to pull people away from their native religion and to gain a reason for those who practiced Christianity to remain true to the faith. As that is what Christianity and other religious are based upon; faith. From this motivation, some of these demons have been provided with extravagant powers. Simply the thought of them can cause the mind to become fearful. Those who have proselytized Christianity have used this to their advantage.

Hand-in-hand with faith comes superstition. Religion is full of the promises and the rewards that will be bestowed upon the obedient and the faithful. It is also full of what happens to the disobedient and the faithless. This is where the belief in angels and demons and how they can affect mankind is based. And, this is where all those who proselytize these other worldly beings find their basis for dialogue.

Just as in Christianity, in Eastern mysticism the sub-gods known as, “Devas,” or “Devis,” (male or female deities), are often the focus of the person seeking help and guidance. As some branches of Christianity pray for protection and guidance from the Christian angels and saints, so too do Hindus prey to the devas and the devis.

As Eastern mysticism is far more focused upon human asceticism than is Western religions, teachers forever warn about employing the help of these ethereal spirits for once they have been allowed into the mind, they do not let go. Thus, those who walk the ascetic path of Hinduism rarely delve into this branch of their religion. This too is also true of ascetic Christians.

The teachers of Christianity, particularly earlier Christianity, also warned against employing ethereal powers. In these cases, the Christians were much more focused upon the worry of calling up demons and allowing them to invade the mind. Throughout history, however, there have been those who claim that they can communicate with angels, demons, and the dead. Though this promise offers hope to those who are unhappy with their current life situation or are missing a person who is deceased, this practice is, in fact, against what the Bible states is acceptable Christian behavior.

In we look to the Book of Deuteronomy 18, (King James Version), we see that it states, “When thou art come into the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, thou shalt not learn to do after the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer. For all that do these things are an abomination unto the LORD: and because of these abominations the LORD thy God doth drive them out from before thee. Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. For these nations, which thou shalt possess, hearkened unto observers of times, and unto diviners: but as for thee, the LORD thy God hath not suffered thee so to do.”

In the English Standard Version of the same book, the words that are used state, “When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you. You shall be blameless before the Lord your God, for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the Lord your God has not allowed you to do this.”

Now, this is just one example. The Bible is full of them. Yet, Christians, and others, commonly turn their minds towards the ethereal and seek out those who can channel forces beyond this world in order to gain a personally desired end.

Here is the place where the question must be asked, “Does a person actually follow the law of their religion or do they simply follow the path of getting what they want, even if that means sidestepping the dogma of their religion?” Getting what they want, whatever that, “Want,” may be?

The fact is, in whatever religion a person finds himself or herself, most do not study their scriptures. They may listen to a priest on Sunday but they do not take the time to investigate the foundations and the basis of their religion on their own. “I’m a Christian.” I’m a Hindu.” "I'm a Buddhist." I’m a whatever,” and that is that.

But, the other side of this is that there is interpretation to be found in the many words that make up the many religious scriptures that are out there. People read a passage and interpret the words in a manner that will suit their own needs. Perhaps this is the biggest fault one can find in religion; anyone can say anything and find a passage somewhere to substantiate their point of view.

Now that we’ve laid the foundation, we come to the primary point of this discourse, “Do angels do bad things?” The answer is simple, “No.” Angels, (or even demons), do not do bad things. People do bad things. People who believe in whatever religion or mystic force they believe in and claim they are doing something based on that belief have performed a lot of bad deeds throughout the centuries. People have invoked negative energy and have embraced its power and then have claimed it to be supernatural. And, people who claim that they can guide a person from the powers of the great beyond, have guided many a lost soul down the road to damnation.

Think about the stories you have heard about the wealth and bodily gratifications gained by channelers, clairvoyants, and spiritual teachers who were later decided to be frauds. They took money from people, guided them to do physical things, that they were not naturally inclined to do, and the list goes on. Yet, people who are unhappy with their life seek the guidance of these people hoping to find relief, absolution, and happiness. And, people seek out and pray to gods and goddesses, angels and demons hoping that they will get what they want.

At the core of life, no one has all of the things that they want. This is why Siddhartha Guatama, the Sakyamuni Buddha stated, “The cause of suffering is desire.” If you are living in a space of desire, you will never be fully happy. Thus, you seek things outside of yourself that promise to fulfill what you believe you are missing. The answer to instantly cease this pattern of, “Lack,” and lack of fulfillment in your life is to STOP. STOP the desire. Let go. Release. If you live in this space of freedom then there is no need to pray and conjure up forces that none of us truly understand, no matter what some people claim.

Angels, demons, deva, devis are only empowered when you live in a world of desire. If you let go of desire, than what do they have to offer you? They can be free to be who and what they are (if they are) and you are free to exist in a place of perfection.

This is Zen.

Do Dreams Know the Stories That They Tell?

I believe for all of us dreams are a unique element of our life. It is us in there, yet it is a different life. “You only live twice,” as the lyrics to the James Bond movie theme go.

Dreams have been debated forever. A person’s dreams are investigated when they go into psychotherapy. They are discussed in religious and philosophic texts. And, there have been tons of books written about the interpretation of dreams and what a dream actually means.

When I was around ten or eleven my mother and I purchased a book that, like a dictionary, supposedly broke down what each element of each dream meant. Every morning I would wake up and look to the book to see what the definition of my dream was and what I could expect for the day ahead. I did that until I realized that the book was generally wrong in its interpretations. Happy

Some people, in the morning, write all of their dreams in a journal. That’s chill if you can do it, I guess? But me, I have too much going on. When I wake up I like to jump out of bed and get busy.

Some people base novels, poems, and screenplays upon a dream they had. I tired to do that, but dragging myself out of bed in the middle of the night just to write down the storyline from a cool dream I had became too counterproductive to my life.

But overall, the writing down of your dreams is a good thing, I suppose... Good, if you desire to keep documentation for that part of your life—because, as stated, it is another completely different life that you live in there. And, as we all know, dreams are generally quickly forgotten.

For me, dreams were always a curious reality. From the time I was a very young boy forward, I began to have dreams of the future. I would be living my life and then, all of a sudden, I would be experiencing what I had previous witnessed in a dream. I would know exactly what was about to happen next. It was like watching a rerun of a TV show.

Many times, when I would encounter this experience, the outcome or certain actions of the participants would be slightly different from what I witnessed in my dream. Eventually, I begin to understand that this was do to the karmic life actions and personal choices that had taken place between the time of my dream and the now.

As I got older, I consciously stopped my mind from doing this. Me, I don’t want to know the future. I want to live the now, in the now.

But, all of this begs the question, “Do dreams know the stories they tell?” For if you can see the future in your dreams, if dreams are an integral and orchestrated part of your reality and your psychology, if dreams foretell things to come in your life, then they must serve some higher, more rational purpose, than simply a dance in a different reality.

No one really knows the answer. So, the question I ask is moot. Some people claim to know. But, as we have all witnessed, those who claim knowledge rarely, if ever, truly possess it. But, if nothing else, dreams are fun and I am sure they have some other purpose than just to live a new, different, strange, bizarre, limitless, reality.

Paying For Your Crimes

Whenever somebody is sent to jail for doing something that has been deemed wrong by society, it is stated, “They are paying for their crime.” Or, when they get out, people say, “They paid for their crime.” But, whom did they pay?

When criminals set about on a path to steal something or harm someone they know exactly what they are doing. They are setting about on a course that has a desired end result and they do not care who they hurt in the process. In fact, they generally do not even think about the impact that their actions may have on other people. They are simply thinking about themselves; what they want, want they need, and how they want to feel.

In fact, many people who commit crimes do not even view their actions as criminal and deny their culpability to the bitter end. Or, they deny both publicly and internally that they did anything wrong and try to gather a following of people to support and proclaim their innocence.

If you ever watch the shows that chronicle the time before a criminal is sentenced or the time they are spending in prison, little thought is ever given to the victims of the crime. Even if the victim or the families of the victim are allowed to speak at their trail, this changes nothing. What was stolen is rarely returned and the physical and mental injuries that are incurred by the victim can never truly be repaired. Ask someone who has been victimized by a criminal if their life was ever the same and most certainly they will answer, “No, it was not.”

Criminals do what they do motivated by whatever distorted logic they may possess. What is left after their actions is the damaged life of their victims.

Societies set up laws to deter criminals from committing crimes. Yet, this does not stop them. Courts hand out prison sentences that are felt applicable for specific crimes. Yet, that does not stop them. Religions allow people to find redemption for their crimes by confession their sin. That is just bullshit.

Like I have long said, if I was going to be a Christian I would definitely be a Catholic. In that branch of Christianity you simply go confess your sins to a priest, they give you a few Hail Mary’s and Our Fathers to do and you are good with god. Sounds great but what about the victims? Again, I call, “Bullshit.”

Have you ever been a victim of a crime? If you have then you know what I speak about. How has whatever happened to the perpetrator of the crime given you back the innocence you possessed before it happened to you? Yes, you may be glad they were sent to prison and are suffering while doing time but it does not give you back the you that you were before they did what they did to you.

It is the same scenario for people who damage our lives and cry out, “I didn’t know.” Yet, the damage still remains. So, that is no excuse.

There are some who claim, “Let’s go out and get an eye- for-an-eye.” I have known a few who have walked down that road, but then they too became criminals in the eyes of society. And, in a couple of those cases they ended doing jail time and encountering all of the bad things that are known to go on in those environments.

The answer? I don’t have one. I wish people would stop doing bad things but they probably won’t. I do know that all life begins with you and with me. Meaning, we must think of others before we do things that can knowingly or unknowingly hurt someone else or their life space. We must set an example of how people should behave by doing good things. But other than that, let’s just please stop saying and believing, “They paid for their crime.” Because they haven’t paid for, replaced, or fixed anything; at least not to the person it matters most to, the victim.

***

If you buy something, use it, and then return it, that is stealing. What is the karma for stealing?

Is Scott Shaw a Nihilist?

I was cruising down the coast between Santa Barbara and L.A. a couple of weeks ago with this sweet young lady. She was looking at her twitter feed and she noticed that somebody had quoted me.

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. Happy

A Choice Lasts Forever

Right here, right now there area million choices you could make. Most people don’t realize this. Most people feel that they are stuck—locked into doing what they are doing. Most people follow a pattern. They live the same script over-and-over again. But, every one of us can make a choice.

Choices are everywhere. You can get up right now, go outside, stay inside, go and do something else. This, “Something else,” can be very spontaneous. It can mean going and taking a walk, going for a drive, calling somebody up, anything… But, there is one rule that applies to all choices we make. That rule is; a choice lasts forever.

Why does a choice last forever? Because whatever we choose to do sets our next set of available life circumstances into motion. Whatever we do, whatever choice we make, affects our lives. If we choose to do something with someone else, or to someone else, then karma is set in motion.

There is no choice that is free onto itself. There is no choice that does not come with a price to pay.

Some people set out to make positive choices in their life. Some people make choices that mess with other people’s lives. Both of these are choices. But, the ultimate outcome is very obvious. If you make good choices, try to do good things; the chances that good things are going to come to you are substantially better. If, on the other hand, you do bad things and mess with other people’s lives, than bad things are probably going to come to you from the choices you have made.

All of life is based upon choice.

What are you doing with your life right now? Do you have a job? If you do, how did you get that job? Probably, you needed to make some money to survive and pay your bills and pay your rent. Whatever the cause, you made a decision to go out there, apply for the job, and then you decided to make the choice to accept it, if and when it was offered. What course of events did that choice set in motion in your life? For each person it is different. Some love and some hate their jobs. Some see a job as a life-experience; others see it as a life-waste of time. But, it is what it is. You made a choice and now you are living it. Most people, never even try to reevaluate their choices. They lock themselves into them and they stay stuck.

Are you in a committed relationship? If you are that means that you chose to go out there and seek a companion. That also means that you chose to enter into that relationship. As most of us have found out, some relationships go very bad. But, it was our choice to enter into them in the first place. So, who is to blame? No one but ourselves. Other relationships, however, define our lives in a very positive manner. Again, all based upon choice.

From whatever you have previously chosen to do, bases upon whatever choices you have made in the past; here you are, this is your life. Your previous choices have defined where you find yourself now.

This is your life. You can choose to do anything based upon your life circumstance and the choices you have previously made that set your life-course in motion.

Choice is everywhere. Choice is everything. What do you choose to do now that you understand, a choice lasts forever?

Have You Hurt Somebody?

Have you hurt someone? Is what you are doing today going to hurt someone tomorrow? Did you hurt someone yesterday and is it still hurting them today?

Life begins with you. The world begins with you. Karma begins with you.

I forever find it very curious when somebody does something bad to another person and they don’t care. They continue down their path without even thinking or caring about what they have done. Some never question, “How did I damage that person’s life by what I did?” By not caring enough to ponder this, it illustrates that they do not possess the mindset to attempt to try fix what they have damaged. This is where all of the problems of the world begin.

Did hurting someone make you feel good? Did it make you feel powerful? Whatever your answer, think about this, "How has it felt when someone hurt you?"

My belief is that most people are good. They try to say and do good things and they try to help people when they see someone in need. There is another breed of person, however. They are the ones who do what they do and never even stop to think if they are hurting someone’s life by what they have done. Then, if presented with the facts that they have hurt someone, they simply justify their actions.

This is the paradox of life. Most people who hurt people and then ignore or justify their actions are either too blank or too self-involved to even care what they have done. This is a very sad state of life.

You have to decide who you are in life because what you do today sets your next set of available circumstances in motion. If you hurt someone today and you do not care, what do you think your tomorrow will look like?

One of the most important things to realize in life is that the things you have broken can be fixed if you take the time to try. Repairing what you have broken makes everything better.

The beauty or the ugliness of the world begins with you. My belief is that you should make the world more beautiful.

The Earth Still Spins

Whenever something traumatic or all-encompassing happens to you or something you care about, all of your attention is focused upon THAT. You are sad, you are upset, you are angry; you may even want to get revenge. What has happened has caused you to become very One-Pointed. But, no matter how much something that has happened to you or someone or something you care about may emotionally affect and control you, the earth still spins — the rest of the world goes on and no one else knows or even cares about how you feel.

This is one of the main things that you have to realize in life if you hope to pass through it with any level of refined consciousness. You have to understand that no matter how big the tragedy; other things are happening all across the globe that probably dwarf whatever happened to you.

Even in the case when some large catastrophe has occurred, most of the world still does not have a T.V or the Internet so even if they do hear about it, they cannot take the time to care, because they are surround by famine, by poverty, by violence, by war, or simply they need to go to work everyday to make ends meet. Thus, they cannot take the time to care.

People really get locked into their own head when they do not like what has happened to them or to someone whom they may care about. But, people can only behave in that manner, when they have the time, the money, and the emotional support to do so. They can only care when they do not have to worry about their own survival. They can only care when they have nothing better to do.

Think about this, if you have to focus on your own everyday survival would you care about the small things that you care about? Could you care about those things if you have no place to live, no food to eat, and no one to care that you care?

It really is a simply equation. And, you need to think about this before you spend the time and the emotional energy to be dominated by anything that is not Life-Essential.

Life is life. We pass though it. Things happen that we do not like to all of us.

Are you and your actions defined by those things? Or, are you more than that? Do they control you or do you control them?

Life and consciously living life on this planet is more than simply defined by how you feel about some event in the life of one person.

Seek something bigger than being focused upon you. That is the Greater Pathway.

Do You Think Before You Do?

I was driving in Hermosa Beach this morning. I was on this one street where you veer off to the left and it feeds into another street. There is a slight hill and a stop sign just before you make your final turn onto the new street. In front of me was a Volvo SUV. It stopped at the stop sign but then did not move forward. I was in a patient mood so I sat there for a few moments. A car pulled up behind me and honked its horn. The Volvo sat for a few more moments and then proceeded forward. Immediately, it turned to the left and went into a garage.

Though I did not realize it initially, because I could not see around the SUV, what the driver was doing was that he had pushed his garage door opener and was waiting for the garage to open. The driver sat there at the stop sign not caring about what affect he had on the flow of traffic. He was content to wait until he could drive straight into his garage.

Do you think about others before you do what you do? Most people do not. This is the primary cause of all the problems in the world. People only think about themselves.

When things are going well in life most people proceed down their merry path and couldn't care less what negative effect they are having on others. They’re happy, and who cares about anyone else. But, when things start to go wrong in their life, they become very upset — they become the victim and seek solace wherever they can find it. “Look at me, my life is so bad…” But, they never look to themselves to see what their previous actions have set in motion.

It does not matter if what you are doing in a specific moment does not negatively affect you. If it negatively affects others, there is a problem. And further problems will be set in motion by the initial problem you created.

I cannot emphasize enough that you must always be very aware of how what you are doing is affecting others. If you care about people, if you care about humanity, if you care about this world, you must consider others before you do anything that may negatively impact people or this planet. If you want to stop the negatively, it must begin with you.

Make this Life-Place a better Place.

How You Measure Time

Each of us has a moment that we call our Life-Time. In that timeframe we do what we do and then WE are gone. Much of life is spent taking care of the necessities: putting a roof over our heads, feeding our loved ones and ourselves, and taking care of business. Some of us are lucky, we like what we are doing while we are taking care of the necessities. For others, this is not the case. But, at the end of the day, how we spend our Life-Time is how we spent our Life-Time. Love it, hate it, when it is over it is over and that is that. Though we may be remembered, WE are gone. So, all that takes place after our physical existence doesn’t really matter—at least not to US.

I have discussed TIME is several places, most notability my book, Zen O’clock: Time to Be. Time and how we live it is a very interesting subject. Take, for example, a café’ that you go into all the time. The staff knows you. Then, you are gone for a month or more, you come back and they greet you as if you were never away. Why is this? Because they are locked into the time and space of the reality of the cafe, all they do is based upon that denominator. They know you from there. They see you there. Time passes and they take no notice of the time passing or your away-ness. When you return, they are simply seeing you THERE again. Thus, you were never gone.

We each want to life our Life-Time in a certain manner. We each want to make our Life-Time count. We want to live it well—be fulfilled, be happy, and exist in our own suchness. Most people are not afforded this luxury, however. They are dominated by culture, they give into the daily grind, and they go through their days in a daze; thinking of the promises of the Some-Times and the Some-Days. Thus, they are lost to True Reality and their TIME simply goes by. Others get what they want—at least so they think. But what they WANT ultimately robs their time and at the end of their days their time was gone just as everyone else’s but because they believed their needs were being answered, it took them too long to realize the lie of their own Life-Time — that getting what you want never answers the true desire of forever fulfilled time.

So, what is left? How can you live your Life-Time. How can you live your short moment of life to the fullest? How can you be HERE in the NOW? The ultimate answer is you can’t. Your human form defines you. Your are defined by the length of your Life-Time and the opportunities and availabilities presented to you in that space of reality. You are defined by where you find yourself in time, space, and culture. Thus, you are never wholly you. You are, at best, what you convince yourself to be or, more than likely, what you pretend to be.

Happy or sad… Those are temporal emotions. Fulfillment is simply having your momentary desires met. Fulfillment is not True Understanding.

Life is an illusion defined by time. When your time is up, your illusion will end.

I’m Glad You Received Your Karma For What You Bid But How Does That Help Me?

As I’ve been involved with Eastern Mysticism for virtually my whole life, the subject and the study of karma has often been brought up as a source-point of conversation. I’ve written several pieces on this subject and spoken on it often. And, I can tell you, if there is one thing that everybody across the globe thinks about, no matter what religion they come from, it is the subject of karma.

Now, I am not going to go into the fact that I believe most people really do not understand the subtle levels of karma. But, I will say, think about it before you really try to apply it as a Life-Science, because it I complicated.

That being said, I believe that each of us who has been wronged by somebody thinks, (either out loud or to our self), “Just wait. You’ll get yours…” And, generally people who are selfishly motivated or do bad things have their karma catch up with them. That’s just the way life works.

Now, once I again, I could go into all kinds of discourse about who or what is actually wrong — because, (in many, if not most cases), good or bad is only a point of view. But, I think we can all agree that BAD is beyond just what one person thinks it is. BAD is done by someone who is only thinking about themselves and not caring about the affect or effect they are having on others. For example, stealing something is BAD. Hurting someone is BAD. Breaking someone’s something is BAD. And, no matter what your motivation or excuse for doing what you do, we can all agree that certain things are agreed upon as BAD.

So, we get to the central subject of this discourse. That person did something BAD. They got what was coming to them. But, then what? Yeah, they may be hurting from receiving their karma. But, did them getting hurt give you back what was stolen from you? Did it replace what you lost? Did it fix what was broken in your life? Probably not. Maybe it strokes your ego or your intellect to think, “They got theirs.” But, does that make your life any better? At best, that is simply Mind-Stuff. It does not take you back in time and fix what that person took from your life.

This is the whole thing about karma, (and the misinterpretation thereof), people may get what’s coming to them but that doesn’t fix what they broke.

What If You Didn't Know

Whenever you are upset about something, (no matter what that something is), there is one common denominator to the equation; you know.

Think about this, what if you didn’t know?

If you didn’t know then you would not be upset about whatever it is you are upset about. And, the only reason you are upset is because you know about something that makes you angry, unhappy, sad, depressed, or whatever. Something OUT THERE is causing you to lose your peace.

How many times in your life has something been going on for a day, a week, a month, a year and you didn’t know about it? Through all that time, your life was fine. Then, you found out about it and you became enraged. Though it was already going on, you didn’t know, so you didn’t care.

It is an obvious expression of life for us to be unhappy about something that we are unhappy about. But, the main point is, all life is based on you. Just because you don’t like something doesn’t mean that the person next to you will not like it. Just as because something makes you angry does not mean that the same thing would make anyone else angry.

That being said, there are things that anger us all. But, it is essential to note that your life and your emotions are defined by you. How you decide to feel about any particular issues is also defined by you. There are obvious things that would make any of us mad if that THING was directed in our direction. But, how we chose 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 in motion in our lives and the lives of others involved with us or involved with the issue.

Anger only equals so much. Understanding this, how you deal with your anger is what defines you as a person.

Do you internalize and simply sit around mad? That is understood to not be psychologically good for a person.

Do you react and take over-exaggerated reactions? Meaning, do you do something destructive when you get mad? That’s not good either because that type of reactive action can have devastating effects upon your life.

Do you take concise positive action to undo the negative or destructive actions of others? That’s probably the best action to take, if you decided to take action at all. But, that’s not easy. Most people who do something that will make you angry do not care how you feel or they would not have done it in the first place.

If they cared, they would care about you. If someone doesn’t care about the effect of what they are doing may be having on another person, or the greater scheme of things, that means they only care about themselves. And sadly, this is one of the biggest faults of the human condition; selfishness and not caring.

So here, we get back to the main point—what if you didn’t know?

Is there a way to erase your knowing? I think if this were possible, most of us would erase a lot of the things that have happened to us or the horrible things we have seen, heard about, or have lived. But, I do not think that it is doable, at least not in this day or age. So, we are stuck. We can pretend that we don’t know, but that is only pretending—we still know.

Ultimately, all we can do is do what we can do, as consciously as possible, and then let it go. Though letting go is, “Not knowing.” But, if we can let it go long enough maybe the bad things or the bad people that have made us angry will fade away, captured by their own negative actions.

People Don't Want to Know the Truth

People don’t want to know the truth. They want to believe what they want to believe.

People don’t investigate the truth. They make up their mind and then follow a course that allows them to hold on to and not diminish their beliefs.

How many times have you heard a person say, “I was wrong in my beliefs and I am sorry that I spread the falsehood.” How many times have you heard a person exclaim, “Sorry, I believed the wrong thing and I did something to hurt you. How can I fix that?” Probably not very many.

People don’t do it. They enter a subject based on their programing, what they have been told to believe, their hope to impress someone with their beliefs, and the desired outcome based upon their beliefs. That’s how it is. But, that does not make anyone’s beliefs valid.

The joke comedian George Carlin used to tell, “How many Catholics have gone to hell because they ate meat on Friday,” provides a good view into belief. For those of you who may not know, it was a Catholic tradition to not eat red meat on Fridays. In fact, it was considered a sin. Then, that tradition was overturned.

If traditions can be overturned by something as established as the Catholic Church, what does that say about your personal beliefs about a subject, a person, a religion, a politician, a war, a sporting event, a whatever?

Do you want to know the truth or do you want to believe based in your perceived reality? If you truly want to know the truth you must let go of your beliefs.

Momentary Reality

I always find it interesting in life how WE get so locked into the momentary reality of our lives. And, not in a good way. Not in the spiritual way of being in a natural state in the NOW. No, it is much more emotion and ego based.

Periodically in life, most people enter into a space that is overwhelmingly based in emotion. This is commonly due to the fact that either something great has happened so they are filled with an overwhelming sense of self-worth or something they don’t like has occurred and they are all encompassed with being upset.

This is a condition of life. Most people do.

In fact, when these sources of emotional life occur one of two events commonly rise out from it.

1. The person who is feeling it attempts to drag as many people into their life-situation as possible. From this, they experience a sense of power and command over others, as they are directing their action.

2. In other cases, people who aren’t even the person that is actually experiencing what is happening choose to become engulfed with the feelings and the sensations of the other person simple so that they get that adrenal rush. From this, the two or more of them can keep escalating their feelings be they positive or negative by bouncing their perspectives back and forth.


Though this is a common condition of life, this is where the path of consciousness comes into play. Because those who choose to walk the path of consciousness, the spiritual path if you will, at least try to not be guided and defined by emotion. The reason for this is that emotions, particularly strong ones, are very temporary. Though they are temporary, they are very addictive. This is why you see people out there who are continually falling in and out of love, attempting to argue and cause controversy wherever they go, and so on. They do this, because they have come to find that when something extremely positive or negative is going on, they feel ALIVE — they feel they have power, they feel they have a purpose.

Another factor related to this is that power, like emotion, is temporary. Power, like emotion, is based in ego. Therefore any situation based in the power of emotion is ruled and defined by one specific mindset, one person. Therefore they are the one in control. And, if they are in control, they are the one to set the tone of the moment. So, other’s are simply following their lead. They are not being in control of their own life and life-time. This is where mod mentality is born — being a part of something to get a boost of that adrenalized energy. And, we have all see the bad things that rise from mob mentality.

Ultimately, emotion is based in a specific person’s appraisal of a specific situation in a given moment in time. For example, what may make one person feel great will make another person feel very bad. So, there is no commonality to emotion. Why? Because emotion is based in personal definition. Emotion is based in ego. Emotion is based in like and dislike. I am, you are not. You are, I am not. I like this, you do not. You like that, I do not.

The problem with emotion is that people do a lot of bad things based in it. All anyone has to do is look, not only at themselves, but at the whole evolution of human and view the things that were done, based in emotion, that later people were very sorry about.

Though action(s) taken in a moment of emotion may seem very right and empowering in that moment — actions enacted due to emotion are the ones that most commonly will later be seen to have actually damaged the evolution of your life.

The ultimate understanding is, Reality is Momentary. What you feel now, you will not feel in a few moments. The things you think are all so important now, will not matter in a few days or weeks. Who you see yourself as now, will change. The things that empowered you now and you take action on, may very well come back to haunt you later in life. With this as a basis of understanding, it can be concluded, it is far better to let the emotions of the moment be noticed, even experienced, but never allowed to control who and what you truly are.

Ultimately tomorrow is based upon what you do today. If you seek a life defined by emotional upheaval, then you will always be chasing the high of emotion. If you seek a life based in peace, and a future not defined by things down yesterday, you choose to not be dominated and control by your emotions and the emotions of others. From this, you become free, because emotions will not dominate you. You will see any emotion for what it is, Momentary Reality.

The Road You're On

The road you’re on is obvious. What you’re doing while you’re on that road is obvious. What you have to do to stay on that road is obvious. Where that road will lead you is also obvious. Though this is fact, many people pretend that is not the case.

In life, it is very obvious that what you are doing now will lead you to your next set of available circumstances. Many people avoid this fact, which is why so many people end up in a place where they never wanted to exist. Because of this fact, you must ask yourself, “Is the road you’re on leading you to where you want to be?”

When you ask yourself where you want to ultimately end-up, this is where things get a little bit complicated. Why? Because we all want something from our life. We all want to end-up somewhere. We all want to do what we ultimately what to do. And to get there, we have to take certain actions. But, there is a very big difference between being guided down our life road by ego, desire, and thirst for power, over that of choosing to consciously enter a path and then follow through with what it take to obtain our end-goal.

This is why so many lives become corrupted or end unfulfilled. This is also why so many people are injured by people who do not care what about the affect they are having on others as they are only focused upon their own end-goal.

The fact of life is, if all you are thinking about is yourself and/or how you feel, you road will forever be troubled as you will injure others on your path to self-attainment.

Ask yourself. “Does what you are doing help me, help others, or both?” Now, turn off your ego and re-ask yourself the same question. With the ego turned off, the true answer is always self-evident.

Remember, just because you want something does not mean you can or should have it. Wanting is the way of the world. Knowing what you should have is the path of consciousness.

Know Who You Are

People quote me. I always find it interesting when I go to places on the web and I find that someone has taken a passage from one of my books and pasted it up there. The words are usually taken from books I have written like, About Peace, Nirvana in a Nutshell, Zen O’clock, or Zen in the Blink of an Eye.

That’s great! If you like the words, if the words help you, quote away…

People also write negative things about me. When I see these comments, the main thing I realize is that they people who are attacking me do not know me, do not understand what I’m about, and they’re completely getting everything about me wrong.

But, this is life. People say and do all kinds of things based on their own perception of reality. Some people base their existence on positivity—and on spreading that positivity to others. Some people base their existence upon negativity. Thus, they spread their reality just the same.

This is yin and yang. This is life. We each encounter positive and we each encounter negative people in our lives. That’s just the way it is.

What we must learn from all of this is that we must know who we are. Because at the root of our existence this is the only place where we can truly embrace ultimate understanding, divine consciousness—enlightenment, if you will.

And, that place of knowing who you are is only in your own being.

We are who we are. We can be negative, but what is the result of that? Or, we can base our reality on positivity. What does that bring about? The answers are clear. If what you are doing does not make the ALL better, you can change.

Listen To How You Walk

If you ever want to gain immediate insight into an individual's personality, listen to how they walk. Are their steps quiet and precise or do they stomp across the floor? This tells you a lot about a person.

How do you walk?

Have you ever even taken the time to ponder that question?

If you walk quietly, you are confident and secure within yourself. If, on the other hand, you stomp up stairs and stomp across the floor, you are attempting to bring attention to yourself. Here, look at me! I need your attention.

In the martial arts practitioners are trained in the ability of exact footing placement. As each move you make, each technique you perform, must be very exact—all step are made consciously.

Walking softly is refinement. Walking hard and deliberate, is not.

Who are you? What do you want to portray?

You're Either Doing Something Positive or You're Doing Something Negative. But, Which is Which?

The fact of life is, we each set our destinies on a course and we are either going to do something positive or we are going to do something negative with our lives. Certainly, there are a million variants within both of those extremes. And, we each do both positive and negative things in our Life-Time. But, there is the course, either positive or negative, that we set ourselves upon and then we continually return to that path. That path, which is decided upon totally by you, is what defines who you are and how you will be remembered in this place we call, "Life."

There is a lot of negativity in the world. Sometimes it is very obvious. Other times it is much more subtle. There are those people who hate and criticize everything. Yet, they do nothing positive or creative with their own life.

There is also the arm-chair quarterback. It is very easy to sit and watch T.V. and believe that you could play the football game better than the players and judge it better than the referee. But, you do nothing to get on the field and actually prove that you can play the game.

It is kind of like the German term, "Schadenfreude," where people take pleasure in other people's misery. Do you do that? A lot of people do.

You know what is or isn't negative. The simple equitation is, "Is what you are doing or saying taking something away from another person or is what you are doing or saying going to affect another person or person(s) in a negative manner?"

The other side of the issue is those who thrive on positivity. They see the best in everyone and everything. Though people who embrace this mindset sometimes come off as naive. Who would you rather be around?

Negativity, criticism, hating the world, or whatever you want to call it, is a developed trait. Yes, we are each born with a personality, then we are shaped by our socioeconomic and cultural environment, but then it is us who chooses to do what we do with those formative factors.

The problem is, so many people are so dissatisfied with their own lives that they are attracted to the dark side. They prefer to embrace the negativity rather than working towards making their own life and the world a better place. This attitude is the sourcepoint for those who follow cult leaders who preach death and destruction, (and/or anything else negative).

It is very simple to make the choice to be positive. If you catch yourself being critical or negative; stop it! Don't make excuses for why you are doing what you are doing. Negative is negative.

Though being positive may take a little more work — especially in this crazy modern world we live in where we are bombarded by the power hungry people attempting to overpower us at every turn. You can be positive.

If you make positivity a part of you. If you catch yourself and shift your mindset whenever you are feeling critical or negative. If you stop making excuses for doing what you do — positivity will emerge.

A previous asked, "Who would you rather be around?" A person who is passionate about positivity or a negative being? The answer is pretty obvious. BE the person you would like to BE around.

What Do You Mean By That?

Have you ever been in the middle of a conversation and the person you are speaking with abruptly questions, "What do you mean by that?"

Interesting question, because most people simply assume that they know...

Life's conversations are kind of interesting in that they are all dominated by personal interpretations and definitions. Though the words may be the same, each person interprets them differently.

Certainly, we have all said things that we did not mean. Our mind knew what we wanted to say, but the words just came out wrong.

The funny thing about this is, those mistakes in conversations are oftentimes the things people remember the most. You didn't mean it, but you said it... So, it is believed that is actually how you feel or how you define a person or a situation.

The other side of the issue is that people read into what you have to say and define your words by their own distorted perspective. They put their own spin on what you said, even though, in your mind, that is not what you mean at all.

I had one friend who used to truly contemplate what I said. He would sometimes ask me to clarify what I had said days before. On one side of the issue that was nice; at least he cared what I had to say. But, most of the time we ALL just talk. We say what we say and move on. It means nothing...

In terms of spiritual teachers, people always try to understand the, "True meaning," of what they have to say. This is based in the feeling that there must be some deep spiritual truth hidden between the lines of what they have said. Is there? Or, are they like everyone else? They are just thinking about what they are thinking about, so that is what they are speaking of.

Which ever way you want to look at it, words are open to interpretation. People talk, people lie, people say things they don't mean, people try to control other through the use of what they say.

Words... Don't get lost in 'em.

What Are You Thinking

What are you thinking? Few people spend any time considering this. They simply pass through their life, allowing their mind to roam wherever it will, being control by whatever emotion or desire comes into play. It is for this reason that those on the spiritual path decide to meditate to find out the source of their thoughts. From this, they come to a unique understanding of SELF and why they do what they do—why they think what they think.

The spiritual path is not easy. Letting your mind run ramped, that is easy. It takes no control. But, what happens from this lack of control is a wasted life, with no focus or accomplishment.

Every person who has ever achieved anything has done so through a precise sense of focus. And, this has nothing to do with spirituality. It has to do with mental focus. So, if you do not choose to consider yourself spiritual, if you do not choose to walk the spiritual path, this does not mean that a focused mind will not help you.

In Zen and Yoga the practitioner is trained to silence the mind through meditation. With a silenced mind, very clear perception of life is gained. This is because of the fact that, as your thoughts are turned off, when you emerge from meditation, you see life from a very NEW and clear perspective.

Though meditation is great tool for silencing the mind and perhaps coming into contact with the divine self, unless it is taken to the next step, it does not reveal the source of your thoughts and why you think what you think. Psychotherapy is a great tool for this, but that requires another person, (a therapist’s), interaction.


To get to the source of what you think and why you are thinking it on your own, all you must do is dive deep into your own mind. Start by observing what you are thinking right now. Ask yourself, “Why am I thinking that?” Once you have an answer, go deeper and question, “What made me think that way?” Continue back further and further until you find the source of your thoughts.

This technique is not easy, nor is it for everyone. It takes a desire for mental focus and understanding YOUR SELF. It is for those who want to focus their lives to the degree that they can succeed at what every undertaking they are desirous of, while truly coming to an exacting sense of SELF. From this, life is not wasted pursuing meaningless activities that may eventually come back to haunt and hinder your life.

Get to know yourself.

The Process

In Zen there is always a lot of focus placed on the process. Whether this is meditation, meditative walking, making tea, or painting calligraphy, no act is ever just done. Instead, it is systematically prepared for and then precisely actualized. Practitioners of Zen feel that this is the best way to add to the overall experience, which ultimately leads them towards nirvana.

Most people simply jump through their life. They do what they do and that is that. Any planning is more based upon financial parameters than any level of consciousness.

Lord knows, I’ve written a lot about this subject—the subject of Consciously Doing as opposite to Simply Doing. Though both can be a process of enlightenment, if you know how to live them, for many it is more beneficial to begin isolating a few areas of your life and start adding consciousness to their doing. From this, life becomes more refined, understood, and conscious.

These, “Doing,” things can be very simple and very ordinary. For example, if you drink coffee in the morning, instead of simply getting up and pouring it from the pot, take a little time to grind the beans, take a moment to pour the water into the coffee maker, then, if you have the time, watch the coffee brew. When there is enough for a cup, pour it into your chosen cup, sit down, and consciously enjoy this moment of enlightenment.

Though purists may say, “Coffee? No way! Only the teas ceremony and the brewing of tea is the pure Zen path.” But, as anyone walking the path of consciousness understands, consciousness is consciousness. If something/anything, even brewing coffee helps to focus and refine your consciousness, it is all good.

You see, Consciously Doing can be done anywhere, doing anything.

It is your life. How do you want to live it?

This is Reality

Reality is very simple. What you see is what you get. Though it is very simple, religions and superstitions attempt to feed all kinds of nonsense into it.

Religious and superstitions tell you all kinds of things about all kinds of altered states. They speak about this equals that. And, if you do this you get that. They detail that if this happens, it means that will occur.

Then, there are book written about religions and superstitions to make everything that is stated it them some kind of holy proclamation. From the writing of these books, those of later generations can quote them and claim that what they are speaking is the truth, based upon what holy knowledge has been written in the past.

Some people want to/need to believe all this nonsense. They are, in fact, programmed into believing it from the time of their birth. But, what is the difference between superstation and religion?

One person’s superstition is another person’s religion.


Think about how easy and free life would be if you just let all of this nonsense go and experience reality the way reality actually is; what you see is what you get…

Make Things Better

I am commonly asked the question, “Hey Scott, what do you think I should do?” My answer is always the same. And, it is always quite simple. “Make things better.”

What does this mean? Well, just like the answer, it is very simple. Wherever you go, what ever you do — do what you can to make things better.

Now, I am not talking about some selfish act that makes your own life better. Nor am I saying do something based on some stupid religious ideology that your preacher told you was the way of god. What I am saying is that if you see something that needs fixing, fix it. If you see someone that needs help, help them.

For example, if you are in a store and one of the pieces of clothing has fallen on the floor, pick it up, put it back on its hanger, and put it back on the rack. If something has fallen off of a shelf, put it back in its place. If you are walking down the street and someone has dropped something, pick it up off of the ground for them. And, these are just a couple of examples.

Situations occur in each of our lives where we see things that we can do to make things better. Do them. It is as simple as that.

“Hey Scott, what do you think I should do?”

“I think you should make things better.”

Human Beings Are Very Self-Centered Creatures

The reality of life is, human beings are a very self-centered creature. They only think about themselves. When they do think about others, they do it to equal their own desired ends.

Now, I do not mean to sound cynical here. Because, in fact, I am not. But, the truth be told, the only concern most people have is about themselves and those they have direct feelings for.

Why do they care about people they have feelings for? Because the see them as their possessions. And, they do not want their possession to become damaged.

Let’s think about this for a moment… Remember the last time that the injury somebody incurred really moved you. Maybe you saw it on the news or read about it. You felt really sorry for the person. But, then a week, a month, a year passes — do you ever think about that person’s injuries anymore? Probably not. If the memory does arise in your mind, it is only for a moment and it does not touch you the way it once did.


With the earthquake and tsunami that recently occurred in Japan fresh in our minds, attention has gone to the Japanese people. It is discussed how there is no looting taking place, as is commonly the case in western and middle eastern societies the moment something goes awry. There is no looting because they are a group-orientated people. This may be true. We are all indoctrinated by our cultures. But, the reality is, it has already been proven that the company responsible for the nuclear reactors has lied and has sent its workers into the plants, to attempt to control the leakage, without the proper equipment to even monitor the levels of radiation they are encountering. How, “Group orientated,” is that? And, who knows what other falsehood they have spued? Only time will tell.

Why have they done this? Because they only care about themselves. They only care about the image of their company and the image of Japan on the world stage. And, I will not even go into the amount of lies that comes out of the mouths of government officials.

Religious leaders are no better. They do all kinds of things to stir up the pot and create disharmony directed against other religious or other sects within their own religion. They do this, in the name of God. I mean, God is on our side; right? Our side and nobody else’s… I could go on-and-on about this, but the news does it for me. So, I will not.


On an interpersonal level, think about the people you have met in your life. How many of them were out for themselves? Out for themselves to get ahead, get what they wanted; and they do not care about the cost their actions have on others? I think a good percentage of the people, we have each met in our lives, have been like that.

Some people seem very good. They teach for small money, simply to help the children. They donate their time to animal shelters. The give blood to help the injured. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera… But, why are they doing it?


Do you think that the teacher who earns far less wage than they deserve is not receiving some sort of reward for teaching? Does teaching not put them in a position of power over students? Are they not told by all their friends, what a good job they are doing — truly helping society. And, so on.

People who help the less fortunate in developing countries, ghettos, the reservation, get to feel that they are doing something for the greater good. That they are helping humanity.

And, this list can go on and on.

Even people who appear to be doing something good for no reason, have a reason. You may not know the reason. But, if you look below the surface, it can be seen.

For better or for worse, this is simply the reality of life, human beings are a very self-centered creature.

Why do you do what you do?

You Only Get One Shot

Have you ever noticed that when you fall asleep you start to dream about something. If you are awoken, in those first few moments of sleep, your dream obviously ends. Then, as you doze back off to sleep, you start to dream again. But, this time, your dream is based on a completely different subject. And, no matter how hard you may wish to reenter the previous dream, it is not going to happen. Life is like that, you only get one shot.

This is simply the reality of this place we call life. You have one moment to make a choice, live what you live, and set the next stage of your life into motion. If it is missed, (if you are awoken from your dream), then your entire life will evolve completely different. For better or for worse, this is the way it is.

Sometimes people and/or life situations cross our path. Destines intersect. With this, we either choose to take advantage of those occurrences and moved forward with them. Or, for whatever reason, we choose to move away in a different direction. In some of those instances, we regard that we did not make the choice to stay. But, that is simply the choice that we made. We had our one shot and we blew it. There is no going back, no matter how hard we try.

The truth is, if you had lived that moment — made the choice to stay; maybe it would have turned out great or maybe it would have turned out very bad. Maybe, it would have turned into something you never expected. How many times have we each encountered those situations in our lives?

But, the reality is, you didn’t make that choice. So, you can never live, what could have been lived.


Many people try to go back. They try to recapture what was/what could have been. But, that was then. This is now. And, a million life experiences took place in the interim.

In other situations, we actively pursue our dreams to reach a desired outcome. But, here again, once we begin to walk on a specific path, we encounter situations based in the randomness of life.

Plus, if we desire something; that, “Something,” is most probably involving other people. The moment you introduce, “Others,” into your equitation, all kinds of things occur. There are personalities, egos, individual desires, and interpersonal psychology. The moment other people come into a pursuit, the whole situation gets messy.

So, this is the complex pattern of life. Some would say that it is our karma or our destiny that hands us the set of choices that we are allowed to choose from. Maybe… Some believe that it is the mystical perfection of life. That we live, what we live, according to some divine plan. Maybe…


But, here is the reality... You only get one shot—one chance to make a choice from your set of choices. Do with it what you will.

We All Make a Deal with the Devil

First of all, I must preface this post by stating, “I am not a Christian.” Though I was born into a Christian family and indoctrinated into the Christian tradition: Sunday School, etc.; like most religions, I find the history, evolution, and interpretation of Christianity to be completely lacking in purity or substance. This being stated, the mythical ideology of, “Making a deal with the devil,” or “Selling your soul,” seems very well suited to the way people live out their lives.

I think if we look back in our lives, we can all see a moment when we made a choice to live a certain way. And, that choice set a course of events in motion that has dominated the rest of our lives.

It is kind of like in the movies and in the novels, when the protagonist goes to the crossroads, where he or she meets the devil and they tell him what they want. They are promised they will get what they desire, so they sign on the dotted line in blood. The problem always is, though they may get what they thought they wanted, the outcomes is never what they expected and their life is not lived in the manner they had hoped for. Why is this? Because people can never anticipate the variables of life that eventually come into play with each life decision and/or choice.

When we are young, there is always tomorrow — there is always the chance to live our dreams. If it isn’t happening today, it will occur tomorrow. So, we make our deals with the devil, to get what we want.


As we get older, however, we begin to understand that reality takes hold and we come to know that we may never get to be all that we desired, to live all that we had hoped to live, or to own all we had hoped to acquire. So, we are left living a life dominated by the choices that we made within our unique set of circumstances.

The point is, we make our life choices due to our individual life circumstances and what we desire. What we desire can be as small as falling in love with a certain person. It can be getting a specific job. Going to the moon, or whatever… Once we focus on that desire, what we then do is set about on a course to achieve that end goal. What happens in that pursuit is what defines our life. It defines our deal with the devil. We may say to ourselves, “I really want that.” “I really want to do that.” Or whatever… But, the choices we make, based in desire, is what sets a set of circumstances into to motion that defines the rest of our life.


Many say, “You can choose to change.” Or, “I have changed.” Not true. People are who they are. They may pretend to be something different that they may become for a moment or two of life, but they always revert to their own psychological makeup, defined by their unique set of desires.

We are who we are. It is as simply as that.

So, where are you in your life? What deals with the devil did you make to get there? And, was the deal you made, worth the cost?

This is your life. Think about it.

Trapped By Circumstance

In 1983, when I was in graduate school, they had re-released the movie, Last Tango in Paris. As I had never seen the movie upon its original release, (I was too young as it was rated X), I decided to go and see it as it had become a modern classic. It was playing at only a few theaters around L.A. One of them was on Wilshire Blvd. in Beverly Hills.

I had a few hours to kill this one early afternoon before my classes were to begin in the evening. I remember I invited my girlfriend but she was mad at me about something. I had probably done something she didn’t like. In any case, I went by myself.


I saw the movie and was on my way out when the man who took my ticket at the door, asked, “Are you Scott?”

As it turns out, he was a guy I went to high school with. In fact, in high school, we were friends. We often walked to school together.

In high school, he was one of those really smart people. I mean, you could just sense his intelligence. I really felt the guy was going to go far.

Me, on the other hand, I was anything but a good student. My mind was far more fixated upon my work with the Sufi Order, the Integral Yoga Institute, playing music, traveling up and down the coast, and following a few other abstract roads to spirituality that most people did not understand.

When we were in high school, he lived in a bungalow apartment with his parents a few blocks from where I lived. His father was a longhaired projectionist at a movie theater in Hollywood. That seemed like a pretty cool job back then. Plus, he had long hair, which was more than unusual among parents of that era. It meant that he, “Understood,” and that he was cool.


But, more than that, his father owned one of the first synthesizers in the home that I had ever seen. He was pursing a career as an electronic musician.

I had long been enthralled with electronic music since its birth. His father was a true inspiration to me. Wow, I thought, you could actually have your own synthesizer in the 1970s. As soon as I could afford it, I bought one. My first synthesizer was a Roland SH 3.

In the lobby of the theater that day, after we got reacquainted for a moment or two, he asked me what I was doing in life. I told him I had spent some time in India, was in graduate school, was teaching the martial arts, was writing, pursing music, and so on. I had no intention of creating this affect but I could see his face drop. He, in fact, made the common, “You’re doing all that and I just work here at a theater.” I guess it didn’t help, but I explained to him I thought that he would go on to college after high school and do something big. “There’s still time, man!” I exclaimed. I mean, we were only twenty-four years old.


For those of you who may not know, here in California, in the 1970s, up to the early 1980, the community colleges were virtually free to attend if you were a California resident and had a high school diploma. All you had to do was buy your books. Anybody could and should go. I did.

I mean look at me, the bad student, who was far more focused on other aspects of living life. I went through the community college system, transferred to a university, and had ended up in graduate school. But, my one time friend never choose that path. He had followed in his father’s footsteps.


Now, this may be a bit hard to understand for you who grew up in other places. But, in Hollywood, there were the haves and the have not’s. There were those who lived in the Hollywood Hills, some of them in virtual palatial mansions. And then, there were those of us who lived south of Hollywood Blvd. Like my friend and I. We were the ones born of the working class. Not the children of producers, directors, industry moguls, rock stars, deejays, and movie stars.

“The Haves,” whether they were smart, talented, or not, seemed to be presented with a path paved in gold. The others of us… Well, we were not.


Except in one case… A situation that truly motived me in life.

Back when I was in school, junior high was three years: seventh through ninth grade and high school was three years: tenth through twelfth grade. So, our first year at Hollywood High was tenth grade. I know it has changed since then...

The first year, there was this guy, who lived up in the hills, who scored with a couple of the prettiest freak girls on campus. We referred to ourselves as, “Freaks,” back then because we had long hair and were more or less ostracized from society. You know, we were the drugies and the etc…


This guy dropped out in the beginning of eleventh grade. One day, early in the twelfth grade, I see the guy. His long locks are gone and he is wearing a green jumpsuit. He had become a janitor at our school.

Now, certainly there is nothing wrong with being a janitor. It is a needed profession. But, not only did this guy come from money, his future could have been joyous, if he had only played the game. He didn’t. Thus, the guy who had it all in tenth grade, by the twelfth grade, his road to the stars was over.


Now, believe me, being who I was and involved in the numerous off campus activities that I was, I had many times pondered dropping out of high school. Seeing this guy, however, sealed the deal. I would finish high school and do something with my life.

But back to the main subject... After we spoke for a few minutes, I left the theatre. I never saw my one time friend again. At least not yet...

I really felt for the guy, however, because he was a good dude that could have truly succeeded in life. But, he was trapped by circumstance. I’m sure he needed to get a job after high school to help pay the bills. There was probably no time for college or pursing whatever dreams he had.


In my life, I taught yoga and the martial arts. So, I could make money while remaining more or less free to pursue my life goals. Sadly, it is not this way for everybody. They are trapped by circumstance.

I believe that we need to think about this whenever we question why someone has ended up where they have ended up.

Locked Into Your Own Mind

Let's face facts. People live in their own heads—their own minds. You think the way you think. I think the way I think. And, we each think things that only we can understand.

Moreover, each person thinks and experiences you differently than any other person. I mean, how many times have people described you to other people and they were completely wrong? They didn't get YOU at all. Yet, that is how they perceive you. But, another person will hold a completely different impression about you.

Why is this? It is because people base their opinions upon their own perception of reality.

Furthermore, think about how many times you have projected a reality onto something that you expected to happen. You planned to say this, do that, you thought a particular situation would unfold, but the situation never materialized. It was all in your head.

These mind-things are not right or wrong. They are simply the way it is.

But, what this style of mind-stuff behavior does cause in life, is problems. Why? Because each person thinks and they experience life differently—even if they are living in the same place, at the same point in time. From these individualized perceptions, conflict is born.

This may be the reality of life. But, it is a reality that you do not have to take part in or be defined by if you do not choose to be. Why? Because that's the point, your life and your mind is defined by you.

For example, how many times have people asked you, “What did you mean by that?” When you thought you were very clear in your statement. Or, how many times have they wondered if you have had an ulterior motive for what you said, and they have thought-and-thought about your words in order to try and figure out their meaning? They did this when you meant exactly what you said or you meant nothing at all. You just said something.

This goes to the perception of reality, as well. Due to our undying mind-stuff, we each perceive the events that shape our reality in unique manner. Though we may be living at the same point in history, we each are who we are, we each have our own mind. Thus, what happens in our time and space reality is perceived, contemplated, and understood in a manner that is only wholly defined by ourselves.

The fact is, some people are highly delineated by the perceptions that they hold in their mind and they are
very locked into their own thought process. They define life by how they see things, what they feel about them, and the definitions that they place upon these perceptions. These people are very locked into their own mind and their own thought process. These are usually individuals who either live a very solitaire life or those who have developed the mindset that they are somehow superior to other people.

There are others, however, who are more open and decide not to be dominated by how they see or perceive life-things, because they understand the transient-ness of life, emotions, desires, and ideologies. In either of these cases, an individual’s personality and how they consciously choose to live their life defines their reality.


So, what is the point of this? How locked into your own mind are you? And, how does this effect and affect your reality? It's your mind. Only you can answer this question. How do you want to experience your life?