The Scott Shaw Blog

Scott Shaw
Welcome to the Scott Shaw Zen Blog.

Here you will find some new thoughts and essays and some of the Greatest Hits from previous blogs. If you want to catch up on previous blogs, you can read one or all of the blog-based books by Scott Shaw. Check them out at: Scott Shaw Blog Books.

Be Positive and Smile. Happy
#bepositive

om mani padme hum

Zen Mindfulness and Can You Remain Mindful When the World is in Chaos Around You?

I just came upon this article I wrote for a magazine in 1998 and thought it might be helpful.

There is the old adage that it is easy to be holy in a monastery. It is much more difficult to be holy on the streets of the modern world. In addition to this statement being very true, it is also an important factor to keep in mind on your path to mindfulness.

Born in Los Angeles, California, I have been drawn to the spirit of the driven mother ocean as far back as I can remember. Due to this calling, I have lived near her shoreline for virtually my entire adult life.

Having lived in a particular area of Southern California for many years, I would occasionally stroll past this one particular expansive condominium building on my evening walks and think, “What a perfect place to live. How will I ever be able to afford to live in that building?”

As if a jokingly given gift was presented to me from the great beyond, a few days after my mother left her physical body, I was looking though the newspaper and found a unit for rent in the building. Though not cheap, it was affordable. Ecstatic, I applied, was accepted, and moved in.

Looking out of my windows I see the expansive Pacific Ocean. Listening, I continually hear the sound of the divine mother’s waves.

Though a seemingly idealistic environment, the building is inhabited by a large number of very wealthy people, including an infamous African-American television evangelist who during the 1960’s and 1970’s milked an untold number of elderly people out of their life savings—promising heaven if they contributed, hell if they did not. Hand-in-Hand with this affluence comes a definitive problem; the individual units of the building are continually being remolded: floors retiled, carpets torn up and replaced with hardwood floors, design alterations, rooms expanded, and so on... Whereas most of the inhabitants leave for their plush offices or on shopping sprees early in the A.M., before the constructions gets underway, I am left bombarded by a seemingly nonstop barrage of sawing, pounding, and generalized annoyance.

Perhaps the most telling thing about this situation is that during periods of silence, I fall in love with my surroundings. Then, each time I have a project to complete, it seems new construction begins. Thus, I am kept from the peace and solitude and seemingly forced to the necessity of mental focus to the degree where my creativity can be channeled while noise constantly rattles my concentration.

Initially, I became very upset at the noise. I would blame people’s desire and vanity, (including my own), karma, god, and anything and anybody else around me. “How can I be creative with all this noise,” I would scream.

Somewhere along the pathway I realize, however, that you cannot be reliant upon silence if you wish to remain mindful. Mindfulness cannot be defined by a quiet, passive environment. You must be able to focus your mind to the degree that you can transcend the limitations of the physical world. If you cannot do this, your life, and particularly your mindfulness, will be constantly controlled by your external environment.

Though the noise continues, even as I write these passages, I have been able to create some of my most important work, to date, while living in this building and living through all of the construction turmoil. At some future time, I may move away from this building. For now, I use it as a karmic guru, teaching me to transcend the domination of the material world.

If you choose to walk the path of mindfulness, you must do the same. For if you are only mindful when things are going the way you want them to go, you are not mindful at all. You must be mindful in noise, in chaos, in traffic jams, and in the midst of a heated argument. To do this, you must develop the ability to step back from yourself and remain free of judgment in a world dominated by individualistic desires.

Stepping back, seeing the truth in the chaos, and the perfection in the absurd, this is Zen mindfulness.

Grateful Verse Ungrateful

Most people are ungrateful for the things that people do for them. This is especially the case if what was done is not on a very physical/material level.

If you buy someone a car, they may thank you. But, if you open a door for them in life, if you teach them some knowledge, if you guide them towards achieving their life goal, if what you do inspires them, it is rare that they will ever acknowledge or even understand the gift.

Think about it… What do you do for the people who have helped you in your life? How do you acknowledge the person or persons who has given you something, taught you something, opened a door for you, gone out of their way to help you, or simply passed on a piece of knowledge that facilitated you becoming a better person? How do you thank them? And, do you thank them at all?

Most people tend to believe that they deserve anything that they receive. Most people are more prone to focus on what they do not have as opposed to what they do receive. Many feel that they are the one doing everything, because they are the one holding the desire. But, this is not true. You cannot become complete unless you are guided towards completion. Maybe it was one of your teachers in school who helped or inspired you. Maybe it was a class you decided to take and the teacher helped you excel in the subject matter. Maybe it was someone who invited you to their table as they knew how to do something that you too wanted to do. Whatever the case, without their help, without their guidance, you would not have been able to achieve what you achieved.

Do you appreciate this fact? Do you acknowledge this fact? Or, do you simple believe you deserved everything that you got? Maybe you even think that they did not give you enough? Or, that you had to work too hard to get it? Or, they said or did something that you did not like, so you rebuke them altogether. But, the question must be asked, without them, without them as a teacher or an inspiration, where would you be?

In some case people don’t want to acknowledge the people that have helped them, guided them, and/or given them something. For is they do, that may take all of the spotlight off of themselves. Do you behave like this? If you do, you can never be whole as you are disguising your true influences.

Receiving a gift is easy as the people who give are generally very happy to give. Acknowledging a gift is more complicated. But, if you do not, not only are you lying to the world, you are lying to yourself. Don’t be a liar. Respect the people who care enough to give.

***

Honoring a person after they have died serves no purpose, as they are dead and cannot appreciate it.

***

What would happen if you decided to choose a different reality?

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If you want what you can't have your life will forever be unfulfilled.

***

If you were living in a space where time did not exist, age would not matter.

All the Emotions That Are Lost

Have you ever had the experience of driving along and somebody cuts you off or does something really stupid in front of your car and you get really mad at them for driving so badly? How long do those emotions last? For the majority of us, it only lasts for a few moments. You are mad, you drive a little farther, listen to the radio, think about something else, and the emotion goes away.

Of course, this situation is also the basis of and for road rage. Here, people get mad and that emotion forces them to do something retaliatory. From this, all kinds of long-lasting negative life situations can be given birth to. But, why do people road rage? Why can they not understand that the anger they are feeling is simply a momentary emotion that will, if they allow it, simply pass away in a short amount of time?

Have you ever had your heart broken by somebody? That emotion can be very intense in the moment of experiencing it. But now, remember that time in your life; whether it was a day, a month, a year, or ten years ago, do you still feel that heart break? No, that emotion is gone. You have moved on.

Have you ever witnessed someone get really mad at another person, causing them to unleash their anger in a very negative manner? What was the result of that? They were mad, they released their anger but what was achieved? All that was achieved was damage and destruction all based upon a momentary emotion. Think how many people have spent their life in jail due to falling prey to this style of emotional reaction.

Have you ever really liked someone that has come into your life? But, then time moved along and you began to see deeper into their psyche and you realized you really didn’t like who that person is so you broke ties with them? Were they any different or did they simple emerge as the person they always were? Your emotions of like, attraction, or respect brought you to them but then your emotion of realization, based upon personal interaction, cause you to move away.

Think about a time when you were really happy in your life. Think about where you were, what you were doing and/or who you were doing it with. In that moment of happiness, all was right with the world. But, what happened to that emotion? It was lived, it was felt, but now it is gone.

You are your emotions. How you experience your emotions, how you interact with your emotions, how you control or do not control your emotions comes to be one of the elemental defining factors of your life. But, the key component you must understand is, your emotions are your emotions. They are not the emotions of anyone else. What you feel is not what someone else is feeling. For example, the person who cut you off when you were driving; are they feeling anger at what they just did? No. They probably do not even realize what occurred. Is the person who broke up with you experiencing your emotions? No. They are lost in their own set of emotions which is causing them to leave you.

Emotions are felt and then they are gone. What does that tell you about the experience of emotions? It shows you how impermanent they are. Should you guide your life dominated by something so impermanent as emotions?

Whatever your emotions may be, at any given moment of your life, it is only you who feels them. You feel them, you do what you do based upon them, but then time and your life moves along and they are gone. Thus, you should be careful to never lose yourself in your emotions for something so temporary is a very deceptive master.

***

If you are honest and you know what you know you say, "I know."

If you are honest and you don't know you say, "I don't know."

If you are dishonest and you don't know you say, "I know," when all you are stating is based upon your belief.

Belief is nothing more than you wanting something to be something but it is not.

***

You can sit back and do nothing.

You can stand up and do everything.

But, if what you do has no absolute meaning, what is the difference?

***

Your actions have consequences.

What consequences will you be facing for the actions you will be taking today?

Babble and the Mindless Trouble That People Create

As a pastime, I sometimes write reviews for various travel websites telling the tales about my experiences at places I have traveled to, ate at, or stay at in order to help those people who may travel there after me. From this, sometimes I am asked by the administrators of these sites if I can answer a specific question that someone has asked about some place or location. Most of them are very straight forward questions. But, in some cases, they are simply ridiculous.

Recently, I received a question about this place I had traveled to in Iceland. But, the guy asking was completely off his rocker. It wasn’t so much a question as it was a statement completely making things up about how he had gotten very sick at this place, etc. But, the fact is, what he claimed he ingested was not possible at this place. Me, I just blew off the question as why waste my time? But, I did notice that there were a number of people who got into the whole debate as what could or could not have taken place.

Why waste your life time?

This is the thing that I have long realized about life. There are those people who live life, do what they do, help those they can, when they can, and cause no intentional problems or conflict. Then, there are those who have no self-awareness—maybe they hate themselves or their life, so they go out into a world like the internet, where there will be no repercussion for their antagonistic actions, and cause trouble. But, to what end? How does any of that make anything any better?

You know, if you help somebody, you help them. All is good with the world. If you hurt somebody, you hurt them. You will be remembered by that person, in a very negative way, forever. But, if you mess with people’s life and people’s life time from afar, for no good reason, all you do is create a lot of negative energy emulating around yourself. This is why so many people’s lives remain lost.

What you choose to expound from you, you evoke in your life. If it is good, it is good. If it is bad, it is bad. If it is ridiculous nonsense that serves no better person than to drag people into a nonsensical discussion than by wasting everyone’s time you have created a wave of negativity that will be redirected at you.

Life is your choice. It is your choice what you say and what you do. What do you do? And, do you allow yourself to be dragged into any person’s wave of unconstructive babble just because you hear or see something that they have said? Or, do you focus only on a positive road that helps all those you encounter?

***

Is an accusation the truth?

Is It Good for the Greater Good?

Last night, at about 4:00 AM or so, I looked out over the horizon. To my right I could see the orange glow of the fire that is raging in Venture and Santa Barbara County lighting the sky up above the Santa Monica Mountains. I then looked around and off in the distance I could see a cruise liner, obviously full of passengers, apparently having a good time as they are taking a cruise. What a dichotomy. In one place, there are firefighters risking their lives to keep homes from burning and in another, just a few short miles away, there are people paying a lot of money to take a vacation and thinking about nobody but themselves. This is a very good example of life.

For those of you who may not know, currently, there are a number of fires burning around Southern California. Just like the Santa Maria, California fire of a couple of months ago, they are very devastating. Caused by global warming, the large amount of rain we received last year ending the drought and causing a lot of new vegetation to grow, or simple the stupid action of some individual—whatever the cause, life and property has been lost.

I have always had the utmost respect for firemen. They put their lives on the line every time they go to work. They care. They take action. They do what needs to be done in the most conscious way possible to save lives and property. They are true heroes. Most people aren’t like that, however. They only do for themselves. They only do to do thing to get the things that they want. Even if they are doing something that they believe is good for the greater whole, their own ideology is at the heart of what they are doing. So, is what they are doing actually for the greater good or is it simply what they believe is the greater good?

I watched a documentary about Julian Assange last night. He is an ideal example of this mindset. Now, whatever you think about him and his actions is whatever you think about him and his actions. I have my opinion. But, that’s not the point. He did what he did which landed him hiding out in the Ecuadorian embassy in London for the past several years. He’s a prisoner. But, the question must be asked? Have the things that he has done, which have cost him his freedom, truly changed anything? Yes, he may have revealed some things unknown to the masses but has the world changed because of his actions? I don’t believe it has. There is still fires and there are still people taking cruises. There are still governments doing all the clandestine things that governments do. This, while he is trapped.

Now, there have been people who have operated on a similar platform. Whether is was Nelson Mandela fighting for the rights of the native Africans in South Africa. …He spent decades in jail for his actions. Aung San Suu Kyi who spent years under house arrest in Myanmar. …And now, look at the devastation that this Buddhist regime brought to the life to the Rohingya, Muslim minority. Gandhi who was assassinated for who he was and what he believed. Did these people instigate change? Yes, maybe… At least, like Assange, they are well portrayed in movies. But, was it actually them who instigated change? And, was the price they paid worth being the visual figurehead for a movement?

I mean, the truth be told, in terms of South Africa, Steven Van Zandt had a large hand in aiding in its change as he got together a bunch of rock stars of the era and they did a popular song that really shifted the world’s thinking about the country which helped in causing apartheid to fall. And, he did that without going to jail.

Think about all the people who have tried to help those in Africa over the years. They did this while cameras rolled on them. But, what has truly changed? Virtually the entire continent is a geopolitical, humanitarian mess.

The point being is that people care when they have a reason to care. Very few ever care simply to care and they do not care if it does not affect their life in a positive manner. For example, in the Assange documentary, you can see that he is worshiped by some of his people. Thus, though their actions are perhaps based upon a commonality of cause, there is the interplay of human emotion locked into each of these actions. So, the question must be asked, who is doing what for whom and why?

If you look at yourself, who cares about you? Most probably, the people who know and love you.

Do you care about me? And, I use, “Me,” as a generic me. You don’t know me, but do you care about me? Do you do anything for me? Do you care what happens to me? Some would say if you don’t, that means that you don’t care. What does that say about you?

This life is filled with million upon millions of people. If you live in a city, think how many people you see every day that you do not know. Do you care about them? Do you give them a second thought? And, are any of the things that you do geared towards making any body’s any thing any better? Or, do you simply take a cruise on a cruise ship while the fire’s rage?

Who You Can Never Be

People desire to BE something. They desire to BECOME what they want to become. Whereas most keep these desires well within a life perspective, others step beyond the bounds of their defined reality to achieve their desired end-goal. From this, yes, certain people do rise above the rest and achieve what they see themselves as becoming but many of these people achieve what they achieve without ever deserving the achievement they accomplish.

Let’s look at this condition a little bit deeper…

Since the rising of the New Age, in the 1960s, people became very outspoken as to not only what they were feeling but broadcasting what they, personally, believed. From this, certainly a change in culture was given birth to but also a false narrative was also born in that people believed that by somehow stating who they think they are and then telling people the faults they see within themselves and others that it somehow endears them to people, society, and the greater world as a whole. But, there is a flaw in this ideology. That flaw is, people only care about anybody if they have a reason to care about them. Now, this reason may be desire: physical, emotional, sexual, or psychological. But, whatever the invoking clause, if someone does not care, they do not care and, thereby, by telling anybody, anything about yourself you complete destroy the purpose of self-evaluation and are simply lost into a space of ego believing that someone out-there should care about the person you are in-there.

Certainly, with the dawning of the age of the internet, people have been able to make vast steps towards becoming what they see themselves as via self-motivated and self-developed publicity. No longer does a person have to first be accepted by a person or a group who would then train them and lead them, in a focused manner, up the ladder of achieving their interpersonal desire. They could just do it on their own. But, in this process of self-motivated emancipation, something has been lost. No longer is there checks and balances about what is good, bad, mediocre, and/or even dangerous. People just personally spread the ideology that they are Someone who is Something, saying what should be heard. And, they do this without ever gaining approval of the established hierarchy.

From the anarchist’s point of view and from the point of view of the person who desires fame, fortune, and massive acknowledgement, they believe they have found the keys to the kingdom. But, the problem is, in many cases this person may look the part, speak the part, but they are not qualified to inhabit the level of notoriety they achieve. Maybe they don’t have the education, maybe they don’t hold the credentials, maybe they are just a vain person who feels that they are something and they deserve adoration for what they believe they know. Any of these can give birth to this but at the core of any person’s desire of achievement is their own ego telling them that they have something that someone else needs. By this very definition, however, they do not possess the actual qualifications to hold that position as what they believe is only based upon their interpersonal definition of Self. Thus, no matter what they achieve, it is not based upon truth but simply a misdirected ego.

If we look to history, we can easily see, even in recent times, how people who should never have been in control of the minds of others, have risen to prominence simply by them believing that they, themselves, have something that should be heard or should be seen. Charlie Manson was an ideal example of this. Pol Pot was another. …As are all of the religious zealots, from all of the religions across the globe, who are attacking those of other faiths and other sects. Just watch the news and you will see the heart-breaking devastation the people who are supposedly basing their lives upon the words of god are unleashing. They are people who believe that what
they believe should be heard and should be practiced.

Certainly, most people who desire to find the eyes and the ears of the masses are not that diabolical. But, if any of these people look at themselves they will not be able to deny that the reason that this wish to be in the public eye is that they believe they have something to say worth saying and/or something to see worth seeing. Thus, all they do is based upon their belief in themselves. Thus, their entire life is based upon their own ego.

Do you want to give credence to and follow someone like that?

***

If you are hungry, have no money, and someone buys you a meal, they are a saint.

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You should always take a look at your own life and define what is right and what is wrong with yourself before you ever judge anyone else.

Wanting Something More

As we enter into this Christmas season, we come to a point where a lot of people are thinking about what they want and expressing it to others. It is also a time when people come upon things that they may desire, not even knowing that they wanted it until they see it, and then set about on a course of getting it. Mostly, it is a time where it seems okay to express your desires—to tell people what you want and to go after getting whatever it is you may have a yearning for.

Is there anything bad about this? Well, not really… Certainly, we all should understand that we should know better than to spend more than we can afford. I mean, don’t charge anything on your credit card that you can’t pay off at the end of the month and stuff like that… But, none-the-less, this seemingly is the time when you can crystalize your desires.

For each of us, throughout our life, we desire what we desire. As the great author and visionary Ken Kesey defined it, “Current fantasy.” Meaning, we want what we want when we want it. But then, we either get it and desire it no more or that fantasy fades away. Yet, in the moment of wanting (Something-Anything) we are trapped and held by that desire.

Yet, think about it, getting that thing that you want feels great! Whether it is a hug from someone you love, the first touch of a new lover, or receiving that thing you dreamed about and/or really needed, it is a glorious feeling to get what you want. But, that getting may come to be the definition of some people’s lives and from that they are cast into a space of never-ending wanting more.

Keep in mind, however, there may arise a problem in this process of wanting. That problem is, what if you don’t get what you want? Ask yourself, “If you don’t get what you want how do you deal with it?” For how you deal with this emotion, sets the stage for your entire life.

As each of us passes through life, we are allowed to come to a clearer understanding of the, “Wanting what we want,” syndrome. For most of us, there are times when we want something and do not get it. This provides us with a great learning experience as we can come to terms with the realities of life. The reality that none of us are going to get everything that we want. But, just like a child, some adults never take the time to step into a world of realization and they get angry, yell, scream, and throw tantrums when they do not get what they want. Do you?

On the other side of the coin, for those with a mindset geared towards self realization, it is also a time to come to terms with the reality that getting what you want is not the end-all to your life.

How many times have you gotten something you desired and it really messed you up? Maybe it was being in a relationship with a person that turned bad, maybe it was that motorcycle that you got into accident on and really damaged your body, maybe it was getting a book that you read, believed, and it guided you down the wrong road in life. The list is endless. But again, for those with a mind for self contemplation, you can easily realize that getting what you want is never the absolute solution to living the life that you desire.

So, I guess the point of all of this is, you really need to be whole and adult enough to chart your desires in life and allow them to be defined by what is truly and actually available to you at whatever stage of life you find yourself in. Never allow yourself to be controlled by your desires. Because
your desires are only your desires. They may be what you want but may very well be what no one else wants.

***

Why does anyone want anything bad to happen to anybody?

Want to See Yourself on TV AKA Fame and the Cost Thereof

Being a film producer, (admittedly on the very low-budget side of the equation), I have met so many actors and actresses that all hold the same dream, to be seen on the silver screen; i.e. to be famous, respected, and adorned by the masses. They all speak the same words, that it is they who is going to, “Make it.”

By my nature, I believe in people. But, by my nature, (due to my long-list of life experiences), I am also very skeptical about the motivations for people doing what they do and what they will do to get what they want. I have seen a lot. I have experienced a lot of people doing very bad things to gain the level of life that they desire—they don’t care who they hurt in the process.

People, by their nature, are a vain breed. They do what they do, to gain what it is that they want. They do this at all levels of life. And, here lies the problem with humanity.

This being said, of all these people who make all of these proclamations—of the ones I have encountered, virtually none of them have ever risen to the level they desired. Yet, in their wake they have left a lot of damage. The one’s that did gain a foothold, did so by not burning their bridges and not disrespecting the people who helped them on their path. Thus, it is really those who accept help, appreciate the help, and then repay the help with each step they take that have moved up the ladder.

As the dawning of the digital/internet age came upon us, it was much easier for people to grab the foothold they hoped for—getting their face known by the masses. They could buy a video camera, get a computer, and do it themselves. But, this takes intense focus and personal motivation. Few people possess that quality. But, more than that, it takes the ability to be calculating enough to plug what you do into a specific mindset where it will be appreciate. Just as so many people come to Hollywood to find fame, so too the person on the internet must find an audience that wants to watch them or their game plan will fail.

As Reality TV took hold across the globe, many people began to emulate this style of antics in the home productions they produced. One of the key factors for gaining any success was doing something that people wanted to watch. Certainly, the early interpersonal, “See me naked,” stuff was a big hit on the internet. But, as time when on there were some people who were very calculating in the portrayal of themselves which gained them an audience without being so blatant in their production. One of the things that used to amuse me no end, and I guess still does, is when young women would do their video presentations from their bedroom. BAM! They instantly had audience. Why? Because every young guy out there, dreaming of having a girlfriend, now has a point of focus. They can see the girl, see where she sleeps, and this sets all kinds of fantasies into motion.

I have long warned women, who do this type of production to be very careful, as they are opening up their inner sanctum to the eyes of the masses. They are giving everyone a map of their existence. Though most who would watch these productions are just young boys lost in a fantasy, some people are far more diabolical than this. Thus, problems can be born.

This is no different from the actresses I have known who pass their address out to anyone in the industry that they meet and they live in a ground floor apartment in the junky part of town. Don’t do it! Get a P.O. Box!

As the whole, “Casting Couch Empire,” here in Hollywood has begun to crash down, via the #metoo campaign and other factors, it was revealed to the masses all the goings on. But, this style of behavior goes on everywhere. Will it change? We can hope… But, probably not. Again, people are a vain breed willing to do whatever it takes to get what they want.

So, the point being… People desire fame. People blindly pursue fame. If this is your case… First of all, you truly should look insides of yourself and decide why you want that fame? What is motivating you to gain that fame? What will it mean to you, to your life, and to the rest of the world, if you do achieve that fame? Because there is always a price to pay.

Moreover, if you do gain any notoriety, what are you going to do with it? Because the fact is, if you do gain some notoriety you can help people with it or you can hurt people with it. For example, people with notoriety (large and small) have done both to me: helped me and hurt me. I mean, people I’ve never met have done things to me that have damaged my life, but to what end? Did it make the world any better? And, I’m just using
me as an example as this stuff goes on all around us, to everyone. If hurting or judging someone only made them feel better than something has been lost from this entire equation as then the sourcepoint for their desire for fame has been revealed; personal power. But, from personal power always come war. And, war has the potential to destroy everything.

There is a good documentary about the actor/comedian/activist Russell Brand. Watch it if you get a chance because it really documents how a person with an insane level of ego attempts to walk the spiritual path and make the world a better place. You can judge it and him as you will. But, that documentary is an ideal example of a person who came from little but rose to the top of public view and you can see what it did to him and what he did with that power.

This is the thing, and back to the point, with any notoriety comes responsibility. If you have notoriety and you say or do bad things—if you hurt anyone there will always be a karmic price to pay somewhere down the line. The bigger hurt you inflict, the bigger the payback. Just as if you help. The bigger the help, the better the world becomes—including your world.

So, in conclusion, why do you want what you want? And, what are going to do with what you get?

Buddha on the Net

In some/many ways it surprises me how many people have been reading what I have been writing on the world wide web since its inception—way back in the way back when. Recently, I’ve been receiving several questions about what happened to and why did it happen to a site I used to have titled, Buddha on the Net.

Basically, Buddha on the Net was a page devoted to spiritual links around the internet.

To answer the question(s), the main reason I took it down was that it became so hard to maintain control over how the various sites I linked to changed, some overnight, into sites that were not at all spiritual.

Just a side note here… I also used to have a page (way back in the way back when) that provided links to the various martial arts sites around the internet. But, that was before there were millions-and-millions of them. And again, I eventually took it down for the same reason stated above.

In any case, I remember receiving a deluge of this same question being asked several years ago. I wrote a piece about it in the first Scott Shaw Zen Blog that was eventually published in the book, Scribbles on the Restroom Wall. Anyway, that’s the answer and just for the memories here’s the original piece…

Buddha on the Net

Before the Internet was even called the Internet, and before scottshaw.com, I had two pages up in the early stages of what later became known as the World Wide Web. One was, The History of the Korean Martial Arts and the second was a page providing links to spiritual pages, eventually titled, Buddha on the Net.

The History of the Korean Martial Arts I put up because I was one of the first to truly study and document the modern evolution of the Korean martial arts. And, as I have long said, “The original masters have continued to change their stories.” So, I hoped to place a frame of reference of the history and evolution of these modern schools of self-defense.

Buddha on the Net I created to provide people who were interested in studying or following the spiritual path a means to investigate the various sources of information and the schools.

Approximately one year ago, I did a complete redesign of my website. What I had come to realize, regarding Buddha on the Net and links to other sites, is that I had no control over their content. Some sites would change and some began to propagate very negative ideologies. Some began to spew malware. Following in my own philosophy, “You can only play in your own playground,” I decided it was best to take down Buddha on the Net, as well as other pages on my site that provided links to other sites, as I had no control over what they had to say.

Recently, due to all the requests and questions of, “What happened to Buddha on the Net,” I have decided to put it back up on scottshaw.com.

So, Buddha on the Net is back up, providing links to spiritual sites. I trust you will find it helpful.

Post Script: That was then but I quickly came to realize that I ran into the same problems so Buddha on the Net was just re-up for a short amount of time and then, like Zen, it became an undefined illusion.

That's the story… Be positive and smile. #bepositive Happy

Why Do You Say What You Say?

Why do you say what you say? Why do you behave in the manner that you behave? Most people never take the time to question this in themselves. From this, they do not live in a space of truth. They simply live a life based upon undefined emotional reactions.

Right now, take a look at yourself. Why do you say the things that you say in the manner that you speak them?

If you take a moment and truly study this quality of yourself, you will quickly come to understand that you say the same words, using the same verbal patterns, over and over again. Why do you do this?

Right now, take a look at yourself. Why do you behave in the manner that you behave?

If you take a moment and truly study the way you behave, you will quickly come to understand that you behave in the same way to all of the people that you meet. You begin your interaction based upon a certain set of behavioral patterns and you continued forward through the relationship behaving in a specific pattern. You do this until the relationship ends in the same way your other relationships have ended. But, why do you do this?

Now, many people will pass this off as simply, “That’s just who I am,” or, “That’s just my personality.” But, if this is your answer, that again brings us back to the fact that you are not living an existence based upon truth, you are simply living a life based upon emotional reactions created by and from whatever source. But, by dismissing the fact that you can and do have a responsibly in what you say and what you do, you are not living an existence defined by interpersonal understanding and control. Instead, you are simply living a reactionary life based upon your undefined human emotions.

Okay, so what are you going to do about this? That is a personal choice. First of all, most people never even question the way they are behaving—why they are thinking what they are thinking and why they are saying what they are saying. But, this is life operating from a very unenlightened point of view. Again, what are you going to do about this? The answer is, if you choose to truly be whole, complete, and raise your consciousness to a higher level of understanding and human/interpersonal interaction you have to begin to chart out and define why you say what you say, the way you say it, and why you behave the way you behave. These conclusions are not hard to reach. But, if you don’t look, you won’t find. Then, once you have found the answer, it is only you who can choose to take control over your life and guide it in an enlightened direction where misguided or judgmental emotions are not your common motivation for the way you speak and act.

You can be more than the words your unrefined mind makes you speak. You can be more than the way your undefined behavior makes you behave.

Looking for Your Fifteen Minutes

What god do you worship?

Now, this may seem like a strange question in this day and age but if you look around yourself, if you look inside of yourself, if you truly analyze the lives and the motivations of those who speak the loudest—those you turn to for advice, you may be able to see that those you look to for guidance are the ones you should never look to for guidance.

Who writes the doctrines? Who writes the reviews? Is it somebody who has lived the path or is it someone who sits back and simply has the enhanced ability to discuss what they like and/or do not like—what they think about what they think about?

You know… If you have ever painted a painting, you know what it is like to paint a painting. Is it easy? No. You have to buy the paint, you have to buy the canvas, and more than all of that, you have to possess the inspiration and the drive to take what is in your mind and place it upon that canvas. How many people possess that ability? Very few. But, how many people are out there who can tell you what they do or do not like about a specific painting? There are many. But, are they an artist—are they a true creator? No, they are not.

At the root/at the heart of art is the artist. At the root/at the heart of everything else is criticism—instigated by those who cannot create art. Yet, they are the ones who verbalize what they think and feel. And moreover, there are those who are out there who possess no personal understanding of what they should or should not think and feel. Thus, they are the ones who listen to the words of these supposed pundits and they base their entire life upon what these people say. From this mindset, they do not base their existence upon true, personal realization. Instead, they based their life upon the contrived knowledge dished out by someone who does not possess a enlightened, self-realized understanding about what they speak.

If someone calls themselves a pundit, they are anything but a pundit.

If someone lives their existence by critique and criticism, that is all they are. If that is all they are, why should you listen to them for all they are doing is basing their existence upon the creations of others?

Why do they do this? So they can gain their fifteen minutes of fame based upon the artistic inspiration of someone else.

Why do people critique and criticize? Why? Because they have no inner inspiration. They are not the artist. All they are is the person who wants to make a name for themselves based upon the inspiration of the true artist.

***

Say good things. Do good things.

***

Just because you wear a cross around your neck that does not mean that you are a true Christian.

***

Do cats have a name for the color green?

***

When you die, how will your life be remembered?

…Is your answer a realistic appraisal or is it only a pipe dream?

***

If all you do is think about and discuss what other people have done then all your life will be defined by is what other people have accomplished.

***

All of the experiences in your life makes you who you are but is who you are who you want to be?

The Art of Denial

Have you ever had somebody do something to you that was really messed up but then they totally denied doing it? I imagine most of us have had that experience in one way or another.

Some of these things are small and just a minor irritant. Others, are big and really mess with our life. But then, the person who is responsible for the action totally lies, justifies, and denies their responsibility in its doing. Thus, they practice, “The Art of Denial.”

You know, everybody has a reason for doing what they are doing. At least in their own mind, what they are doing is being done for the, “Right,” reason. But, is it? Is what they are thinking a conscious thought or simply a thought based in a preconceived notion about how they personally calculate their own reality?

On one hand, there are people who really try to make a positive difference in the world and truly attempt to actually help people. What they do is generally done from a perspective of good-ness. But then, there are those people on a mission. They do what they do believing that what they say and the way they think and act is right. Maybe they feel that what someone else is doing is wrong. Maybe they feel they have the right to, “Call out,” somebody. Maybe they just think that their opinion matters more than anyone else’s, so they do some-thing to some-person. But, by believing that what they, themselves, are thinking and what they are feeling is right, (more right than what any other person is thinking and believing), that means that they are not operating from a clear and whole mindset based in a universal understanding of true reality. And thus, when people act based upon this mentality, they hurt the life of other people. Whether they believe they have the right to do it or not is irrelevant. Hurting on any level only causes hurt. Thus, nothing whole and/or good is ever born from that action.

This type and style of belief permeates our existence. Think of all of the religious zealots out there who base all that they do upon judgement. Think about the Average Joe who critiques and criticizes all that they do not understand.

Certainly, this denial mind-style goes to the concrete realms of reality, as well. Think about the mechanic who fixes something in your car but it doesn’t correct the problem. You still must pay for their mistake of mechanical understanding. Yet, they most assuredly will lie, deny, and justify what they did and why they did. But, the problem is not fixed. At best, you will have to pay more to get the actual problem corrected. This recently occurred to me to the tune of over a thousand dollars.

People also go into the mindset of denial about concrete reality to buffer themselves from taking responsibility from their accidents or misdeeds. A little while back, a guy ran into the back of my lady’s car because he was messing with his phone. He ran into the back of her car, shoving it into the car in front of her. Though he admitted his fault to us, he lied to his insurance saying it wasn’t his fault. I mean come on… So now, the insurances companies get to play the game of doing what they do and taking the matter to arbitration. Like I always tell people, keep your deductible very low that way you will not encounter the need to lie. But, lie and deny he did. What is the karma for that?

And, this is what it all boils down to: truth verses lies.

Why do people do bad things to other people? They do them because they are only thinking about themselves. They do them because they do not care about anyone else or they would not be trying to hurt them and then they would not be denying their responsibility in what they have said or done.

If you encounter people in life, on any level, there will be interpersonal interaction. But, it is you who decides to be truthfully in the moment with all those you encounter or not. We all make mistakes in life. We all do things that perhaps another person does not like. But, first of all, we must chart our life to consciously avoid that style of behavior as best as possible. Then, if we do interact with someone and the situation does not turnout mutually amicable, we must be whole and understanding enough to take the other person’s point of perception into consideration and never deny our responsibility it what has been done.

Any doing, makes the doing, your responsibility. Own the reaction.

***

When you tear a piece of paper it can't be untorn.

Late in the Late Night

I was staying up way too late in the late night as I tend to do. It is rare that I go to bed before… Well, before way too late in the late night… It has always been this way with me. Though I love sleep, I sleep very little.

Anyway, I was pounding down another bottle of wine and trying to find something worth watching on the thousands of TV station and On Demand programs I have at my access when I came upon a TV show on a PBS station where they were playing music video from the 1980s. It came complete with the one-time MTV VJ Martha Quinn. I watched a few and then thought about this other MTV station that plays flashback videos. There I sat, flipping between the two stations; both lost in the 1980s. A time when the music video was king.

Now, for those of you who were not alive at that period of time, it may be hard for you to imagine or understand but music videos were really changing the way we viewed the world. In fact, it was so important that you saw what was new—what was being portrayed in those visual images…

I remember a time when I was living in Hermosa Beach—a time when video recorders and MTV were new—a time when I would sit there in the afternoon, drinking coffee, drinking wine, painting these very large paintings, and hurrying to record any new video that came upon the screen. It seemed so important back then…

But, as I sat there watching them tonight, it was such a reminder of a time… A time when there was actually a, “Fashion,” a, “Style,” in the world. There was an essence that was being portrayed in existence. And, that fashion was an essential element of the music.

Now, I am not sitting here being nostalgic, as that is really not who I am. What I am sitting here stating is that there are points in history when fashion defines culture and from that art is born. Certainly, we are not in a period like that here in 2017. It is just a mishmash of the nothing. …Of the accept and the acceptable. But, it was not always like that.

I feel very honored to have been a young boy in the 1960s when culture changed. …A young man in the 1970s when you could be anything that you wanted to be. And, a young adult in the 1980s when style swept the planet. I remember my days in West Hollywood, Hong Kong, and Tokyo when it really meant something to be something—an envisioned portrait of what you wanted to represent.

Now, the earth is empty. People struggle to survive. And, all they/the people seem to do is to criticize what they disagree with and what they, themselves, do not like. It is a lost culture/a vacant mindset defined by no art and no inner understanding.

So, to the anyway of the anyway… I suggest that you take a moment and look at your life—take a moment and look at your style or the lack thereof, and then look to the points in history when style was everything and question (to yourself) who and what are you? What are you emulating by what you are saying, what you are doing, what you are wearing, and what you are projecting to the rest of the world? Do you have any style? Do you have a style worth remembering? Is there any art in what you are doing?

Kickboxing Christ

On a lighter note…

Like most filmmakers, I have come up with a number of ideas for films that have never made it from the page to the stage. Back in the early to mid 90s I had this idea to do a film, Kickboxing Christ or maybe spelled, Kickboxing Khrist. The basic premise was that Jesus came back and instead of initially being a carpenter he was a kickboxer. Though the idea had a high concept, it was one of those films that was going to need a bit of money to pull off as it would need some stages, some sets, and a fairly big cast to sell the whole storyline.

Back when I was working with DGJ, him being a strong Christian, (especially in his latter days), he really like the idea and wanted to pursue it. This was good as Don had access to a lot of production money from a company that would finance his films. The only problem was, Don’s mind was a complete cluster fuck. Him getting anything actually done was near impossible. So, I fully developed the story but it never happened.

A few years later, in the early 2000s, I was teaching a class at U.C.L.A. and I got to be friends with one of my older students. He was a mobbed-up guy on the Armenian tip. Like most Armenians, he was very religious and he wanted to do a film about Jesus. I guess he, knowing I was an actor and due to the way I looked: my hair, etc., he asked me about doing a Jesus based film with him. I told him about my idea for Kickboxing Christ. He liked the idea but wanted to make sure that it would be a, “Serious,” film.

As he was mobbed-up, he had a lot of money behind him and he could have easily financed such a film to the degree where it would have had some great production value. But, though the offer was tempting, most people who invest in films expect there to be a large return for their investment. This, due to all the BS and hype that is out. The fact is, most indie films, especially if they cost a lot of money to make, do not make a profit. And, I just didn’t want to piss off the Armenian mob. So, I turned the offer down.

But, the thought of the film came to mind today as I was taking a moment and having a Venti Flat White at Starbucks this afternoon. So, I thought I would throw it out there to you. If nothing else, you can envision it and play the imaginary movie in your mind. Enjoy it. Happy

***

Before you believe anything, look at who is saying what and question why they are saying it in the first place.

***

The people that have been judged the harshest are the ones who become the most judgmental.

You Can’t Help Everybody

I forever find it interesting how people are constantly seeking out people that they believe can and will help them. Whether it is people that will help them get the things that they want, (whatever those things may be), help them with their career, on up to asking god to help them with whatever. People want help. They seek out people that they believe will help them.

This process, by its very nature, is not a bad process as we each need guidance in getting from here to there. But, there becomes a very different mental landscape in this process as people quickly begin to expect things from those they seek help from.

How many times have you witnessed one person being attracted to another person due to what they know or what they have? How many times have you watched as one person attaches themselves to another person due to what they know or what they have? But then, that person begins to expect to be given certain things and to be treated in a specific manner. If they are not then they begin to criticize the person who they once approached. “Thank you,” rarely, if ever, enters into the equation. And, that is/this all is a mistake.

This practice is very common with family members when one has more money than another. One has, the other expects. But, why should anybody give anyone anything that they have not earned? And, this is where the whole process falls into eternal complication… People who want, know what they want—they expect to receive what they want. But, when they do not, they become disappointed. When they are treated as less than an equal, (which is the way they should be treated), they become frustrated, angered, and derogatory. Thus, all kinds of interpersonal chaos becomes invoked.

Yet, people constantly seek out others to help them. Why is this? Because they want to be more. They want to be what another person is. They want to possess what another person possesses. The problem with this entire process is, however, no matter how hard you try, you will never be what another person is. You may become less, you may become more, but you will never have what they have—you will never possess their unique understanding because they are they and you are you.

So, as you pass through life, in your process of becoming, you really need to be consciously careful in who you seek out to help you and why you seek them out in the first place. If all you want is to have what they have, do what they do, then you will never achieve that end goal. As you are not them and you can never be them.

Moreover, and from the other side of the subject, some people place themselves in a position where they pretend that they are someone worth asking for help—they are someone that people should seek out. First of all, if someone is behaving in this manner, run the other way. Because all they are is an ego driven entity and there will be a price to pay for your association with them—they may even ask for a specific price to be paid.

Remember, all of this… All of this wanting to be… All of this wanting to have is based upon you wanting to be more than you already are.

In life, we all must find a way to survive; just as our entire existence is based upon desire. This being said, if you seek out others to make you who they are, to make you become who you want to be, there will forever be a loss in who you actually are and a price you must pay to that person for them taking you under their wing.

You being you—you becoming you, you are free. You seeking help from someone/anyone else, there will always be a price to pay and if you do not pay it, if you respond with anger for you not getting what
you thought you wanted, all you have done is to create a never ending pattern of retaliatory karma, as one thing always leads to another.

You asked for help. You received help, (to whatever degree), then you didn’t like the help you asked for. What is the commonality of this equation? You wanting something.

If you want: if you want to become something; if you want to do what someone else is accomplishing, all you are actually doing is projecting your beliefs about how it will feel to be in the position of that other person who is doing what you think you want to do. Meaning, it is not real. It is only what you think it is. As such, it will never be all that you thought it would be. Thus, in your process of being, if you ask for help, appreciate any help you receive and the person who gave it to you; never blame them for what you become as what you become is only defined by what you envisioned and fantasied in your mind.

You asked for help. Appreciate any help you receive. As you ask, so shall you receive.

***

If you are not saying something positive you are saying something negative.

If you are saying something negative you are hindering the existence of that which you speak.

If you are hampering anything, what do you believe will be the result? The answer; negative karma being focused your direction.

People who embrace the negative, no matter what their justification, always wonder why unwanted events seek them out. The answer is obvious.

Think about what you say. Think about what you do.

Control what you say. Control what you do. Because the consequences are all around.

Meditation on Time

Sit down in front of a digital clock. As you sit down, take notice of what time it is. Once you are seated, close your eyes and take a few moments to calm your mind and find your center. Once you feel that you are ready, open your eyes. What time is it now? How much time has passed since you closed your eyes? How do you feel about those moment that are gone?

Now, with your eyes remaining open, watch the clock. Don’t stare. Don’t allow your eyes to become transfixed so your vision will become blurry. Simply casually watch the clock. Witness the minutes as they change on the face of the clock. As each minute passes, how does that make you feel?

Each minute of your life that passes will be the last time you can experience that minute. How you live each minute of your life comes to define your entire life. Each minute is a whole unit and entity onto itself. By observing a minute, you come to understand how you are feeling and the way in which you are encountering life in that minute. By consciously taking yourself into each minute—by consciously causing your mind to focus on a specific minute, (one minute at a time), you will come to understand the refined nature of the passing of time and how it affects your life specifically. Therefore, by consciously studying the passing of each minute, you will learn to gain control over how your mind processes time and it will teach you how to make the most of each minute of your life.

Sit down. Watch the minutes pass by on a digital clock.

***

What you believe and what is actually the truth may be two very different things.

***

If you don't sell anything you won't have any dissatisfied customers.

When You’ve Had Enough

In life, we each reach a point when we’ve had enough. We don’t like something someone or something has done to us and we simply become feed up. When this is a person-to-person relationship, (someone you are close to and you personally know), you can tell them how you feel and hopefully they will listen to your words, understand your feelings, and change the way they are behaving. When it is someone or something OUT THERE this becomes a much more complicated subject.

The thing is, and the thing to really study about yourself when you come to embrace this feeling is, why are you feeling what? In some cases, you are simply mad at yourself or at your life. You may be unhappy with your life, your life’s direction, the cards life has dealt you, and so on. Then, no matter what you say to any body or any thing—no matter how they respond, it will not quench your thirst for a difference as what is taking place is taken place solely within you.

In association with this style of behavior, a lot of times you will see people lashing out at TV, radio, political, or sports personalities. They rage and rage but to what end? It equals nothing but making themselves more enraged and unhappy. If you don’t like what someone is saying, change the channel. If you don’t like how someone is playing, follow another team. If you don’t like a book you are reading, close the pages and donate it to your local library.

On the other side of the issues, there are the times when people (and I use the term, “People,” in the larger sense), are doing something
directly to you that is having a negative impact. Maybe it is an auto shop that supposed fixed your car only to break something else. Maybe you are receiving really bad service from a business. Maybe you bought something online and the description turned out to be fraudulent, and so on… Sometimes people are nice, honest, and sorry they made a mistake and work with you to make it better. Other times people fall back into their arrogance, denial, or the protection of being part of a larger organizational whole and disregard your complaints altogether. Then, you become mad—you’ve had enough!

The thing is, there are always things you can do in these modern times. Whether it is to write a review on Yelp or even take them to court. The problem with each of these actions is, however, these actions create conflict. And, whenever conflict is created there will be a winner and a loser. Plus, during the process of this process, there will be a lot of emotional damage created. Possibly to their life but assuredly to yours, as you are the one instigating the retaliatory action. Now, I am not saying let people get away with it. I am just saying that there will be a price to pay. …A price to pay for the process of you unleashing your unhappiness with a specific person or place out onto the masses.

This is why so many people love the internet. They can say or do anything anonymously and not be held to task over the truth or the lies of their words. But, is there any honor in this? Is there any redemption? No. It is simply the unleashing of directed or misplaced dissatisfaction.

If we can step back for a moment here, let’s look at the bigger picture… Why are you unhappy with something that you bought? Why are you unhappy with someplace that you went? The end-all answer is, and the fact that you must understand, is that you made a choice to buy it, you made a choice to go there. So yes, you may hate what you received for the money you paid but it was you, (due to whatever logic and reason), that made the choice to take that ride. So, who is ultimately to blame?

Do you ever think about this before you become angry at the items you purchased or the services your received? Think about it, you are part of the equation, which makes you at least partially to blame.

Now, you may not like that statement. But, you cannot deny that it is true.

So, here’s the thing… You really need to check your desires, check your reasons for doing anything that you do, and really analyze the possible consequences: the good, the bad, and the ugly of any possibility that may occur before you do anything that you do. Why? Because it may equal you having had enough. But, then what? Then, a whole new world of disruption may be invoked.

Are you really willing and able to pay the price for creating a place where you will encounter dissatisfaction?

***

Success breeds arrogance.

Arrogance breeds failure.

***

There is no absolute truth in belief. There is only the belief of what you believe in.

***

Does your opinion matter when your opinion has no basis in fact?

***

Everybody want to blame everyone else but no one wants to blame themselves.

If you are a part of the equation you are at least partially to blame.

Poetry Never Read

How many of you out there write poetry? How many of you out there draw or paint? How many of you out there play the guitar or the piano? How many of you out there want to write a novel? How many of you out there want to make a movie?

In each of us there is an artist. There is the person who desires to create. For some, this is a very strong desire which causes us to write poetry and short stories, paint paintings, and make music or movies. But, how much of that poetry is ever read by anyone but the author. How many people ever see and appreciate the drawings? How many people ever hear the music?

In life, many people have the dream to have their poetry read by the masses, their music heard, their movies seen. They have the desire to be able to make a living based upon their art. But, very-very few ever find this hidden pathway. Most, can never find the way to live their dream of acceptance of their art. Thus, their writings, their drawings, their music is lost to the veiled realm of the never-never only known of and read by the composer and/or maybe a few close confidants. Is their art any less? No. But, it is not a pathway to a greater expression.

Most, write poetry or create art only when they are young and leave it behind for the reality of making a living as their youth fades away. The man who became understood to be a great and respected poet, Rimbaud, only wrote in his teenage years. The most common reason for this is not that their art and their creativity left them but that their art was not nurtured and developed as it found no audience.

So, who out there writes poetry? Who out there paints and draws? Who out there plays music? Who out there makes movies?

Who out there used to write poetry but does no more? Who out there used to paint or draw but does no more? Who out there used to play music but does no more? Who out there dreamed of being a filmmaker but gave up that aspiration?

There is no pathway for the unheard to be heard. There is no drug to take that will make a person hold onto their art and continue to create when their art has found no audience. There is no magic wand that will provide a person with the money they need to survive if they cannot make a living via their dream of acceptance of their creations. This is life and those are the facts. But, is a poem unread any less a poem? No. It is every bit the art as created by Rimbaud. It is simply silent in the mind of the masses making it an expression of true Zen.

Never stop being creative.

***

Have you ever noticed that the people who want to discredit and destroy others by their words and by the actions ultimately destroy themselves?

***

Have you ever had the experience where someone told you something about somebody and you believed them only to find out years later that what they told you was a lie?

Dissatisfaction

Satisfaction is defined by a sense of embraced contentment. Dissatisfaction is signaled by a state unharmonious angst. Satisfaction leads to a state of heightened awareness not only by the person who is engulfed by this state of mind but by all those they encounter. Dissatisfaction leads the person defined by this responsive emotional life definition and all those people they encounter into a mindset of antagonism, resentment, and unleashing this negative emotion onto the world.

Dissatisfaction is a state of mind. It is not unnatural in that all emotions are simply the way an individual expresses what they are feeling based upon what they have experienced in life. Though dissatisfaction is not unnatural, it is a negative emotion and all undesirable emotions embraced by an individual will cause them to encounter life and act in a less than acceptable manner leading to a life further unfulfilled and defined by ongoing disappointment, frustration, and dissatisfaction.

What is the root of dissatisfaction? It begins in one of two ways. The first is that an individual was treated badly by those around them and they have come to see the world as a hostile place. The second source for developing a mind dissatisfied come from desire—some one wants some thing that they have not achieved or received. Thus, they choose to enter into a mental space of angered displeasure abased upon their own lack of accomplishment. Though the source for their lack of achievement may, in fact, be external, it is they themselves who chooses how they behavior once this understanding has been conceptualized.

This takes us to the source of dissatisfaction. It is a personal choice. It is what one person chooses to do with their personal life experiences and the personal life emotions they have encountered based upon the aspirations they hold for their life. Whereas one person will choose to use negative life experiences as a learning tool and a growing experience, others will use them as a reason to develop undefined anger, leading to the out reaching, ongoing hurting of themselves and others based upon their own internal dissatisfaction.

Dissatisfaction is a personal choice. As all emotions are, it is a feeling felt only by one person. Though emotions can only be felt and experienced by one person, this is not to say that those who hold a commonality of emotional definitions will not find one another and form into a coalition. From this, large amounts of art may be created, just as large amounts of devastation may be instigated. Like attracts like.

Dissatisfaction is an unhealthy emotion. Though some may claim that it is an emotion that may be used as a catalysis to instigate change—as it is a negative emotion all that will be born from it can only emulate as negativity. Moreover, most people do not use this emotion as a motivation for change. Instead, they simply dwell in it and by doing so this does not allow them to accomplish anything with their life but instead simply spread their internalized negativity outwards from their internal being.

As dissatisfaction is an emotion, and as all emotion are a choice, you can choose to consciously and perhaps even forcefully re-alter your thought process and think and feel in a new, better, and more productive manner.

Dissatisfaction does not lead you towards the betterment of anything. It does not cause you to become a better person. If you are engulfed with this emotion, it is only you who can choose to change it. Rethink how you think. Make you and the world a better place.

Same Rhyme Different Song

The one thing that is sure, if you live in L.A. like I do, you are going to do a lot of driving. It’s a big city and unless you possess agoraphobia you are going to need to get from place to place. During that time one of the main things to do is to listen to music on the radio, CDs (remember those?), and/or downloads on your phone. Me too, I do that. As I have very eclectic musical tastes, I listen to a wide range of music styles. One of the things I always notice, throughout all of the music genera’s, is that there are so many songwriters using the same combination of words, equaling the same rhyme, in songs all across musical styles, that it is uncanny. The same words, telling the same story, but calling it by a different title.

If we look across the world, it is very much the same. For some reason, many a songwriter has come to believe that the words in a song must rhyme. Now, what rhymes in English doesn’t rhyme in Japanese but the concept is the same. Same words, different language, telling a story that has already been told.

World culture is like this, as well. Yes, each culture across the globe has its own unique way of encountering and interacting with life and people. Some cultures are nicer and more respectful, others are more rude and dismissive. But, there is more commonality among world peoples than there are differences. Everyone basically wants the same thing. To be happy, to live a good life, to not encounter too much strife, and so on. Think about it, how different are you than that person you know and like? How different are you than that person you know and hate? You may have a slightly different mental framework. You may like certain things more than one another. You may react to life and people a bit differently. But, how truly different are you?

It is very easy in life to fall into the mix and say the same words the same way as someone/everyone else. You may even do this while labeling what you are saying with a new title. But, how different are you? How different are you than your parents, your grandparents, the person who lives across the street from you? Are you not saying the same things, doing the same things, but simply putting a different label on it?

Uniqueness is only defined in the mind of the individual. Another person, who cannot witness what you view as unique about yourself, will only see you as an, “Everybody else.” Good or bad, this is life. People are defined by how they fit into the Whole of the All. How do you fit in? And, just how different is what you say, what you do, and how you act?

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Are you looking for a reason to find fault or are you looking for a reason to discover wisdom?

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Why is it that when you dream a dream too long it all becomes weird, it all goes wrong?

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If you have hurt someone's life, you are forever defined by that one action.

Do You Have a Conscience?

Okay… You’ve done something wrong. You did something that hurt someone else. Maybe you took something from them, maybe you lied to them, maybe you abused them, maybe you harshly judged them, maybe you did something that affected their life progression or the next step that they were going to take in life, or maybe you just said something that hurt their feelings. Now what? And, do you care?

Most people have a caring heart. They care about the people they love, the people they like, and the people they respect. Some even care about the greater whole of humanity. They live their life trying to never hurt anyone and helping as many people as possible. These are the people that we should emulate.

There is, however, another group of people. There are those who consciously hurt others—take things from them, cause damage to their life and once they perform these actions, they do not care. They do not try to right any damage they have created. Maybe, they even attempt to find a justification for what they did. But, the key to this equation is who instigated the action? Who was the first person to do some-thing? That is the person responsible. That is the person to blame. Reaction is only an action based upon response. If you stole, if you hurt, if you lied, if you judged, you are the responsible party. Again, now what? And, do you care?

As we pass through life we will encounter many different types of people. Some will be happy, joyous, good, and thankful. Others will be hurtful, spiteful, jealous, and judgmental. Who we become is dominated not only by who and what we choose to be but by whom we associate with—the type of person we allow in our presence. Thus, we must learn to look for the telltale signs of who and what a person truly is. Do they have a conscience? Because if they don’t, they have the potential to hurt our life and the life of others and do so without caring. And if, we associate with this type of person, if we are their friend, we are as much responsible for any of their actions as they are, as we have allowed them to perform these actions, with no reprisals.

Do you have a conscience? Do the people you know; the people you like and love have a conscience?

What will your actions equal in the lives of others? What will the actions of the people you know equal in the lives of others? It is essential to look at this question. It is essential that not only do you chart a conscious course for your own life but that you only associate with people that also consciously set about on a path of living a good life, doing good things, and hurting no one for any reason.

Been There Done That

Have you ever had the experience where someone comes up to you and they are so excited about something that they are doing? Due to the fact that they are so excited, they want to bring you into their project. Maybe they think that because you used to do something similar, that you will be as excited as they are. But, you are not. Why? Because you’ve been there and you’ve done that and you’ve moved on.

I forever find it interesting when this happens to me, especially in the film industry. Due to the fact that, once-upon-a-time, I was the king of doing things on a no-budget budget, people believe that is still who I am. They invite me—they want me to go to their sets and watch them steal a location or setup a great backdrop for a shot without getting any filming permits, production insurance, or anything like that. Sure… That’s great! I did that more times than I can even remember. But, it is essential to note, when I was doing my Zen Films on that level, I was never really excited about it. I was never enthralled with the getting over on someone or something or society in general. For me, it was always about getting the best project out there that could be had. It was about the endgame not about the doing. In fact, I really did not like that part of the no-budget filmmaking process, as it equaled too much paranoia.

Now, for anyone who has ever made a low or no budget film, you can immediately attest to the fact that your film will find many a critic. But, how many of those people have gone out there and actually made a film? Few, I would wager. Yet, they voice their tone of hatred to the world. But, people do that all the time. As I so often discuss in this blog, there is a certain type of person who looks for something or someone not to like. They do not seek the positive, they do not attempt to find the good in the lacking, all they want to do is expel their inner demons onto the vastness of society. Bad! That is just the wrong way to live.

But, for all of those people out there who want to create, who are trying to create, who are doing whatever it takes to create, I salute you. Maybe you will be the one to make something truly great and long-lasting that will change the all and the everything. If not, at least you tried.

For me, as a filmmaker, as I have shifted my focus to the more surreal realms of cinema over the past decade, the Non-Narrative Zen Films as I have titled them, I have held onto to the essence expressed in the doctrines of Zen Filmmaking that I formulated—of just getting out there and doing it. But, in this doing, my focus has shifted to the visually abstract. And, from this and within this, I have created some Zen Film Mind Rides that I really like, while others I have created, I just do not like that much. Just as at the root of my character driven films, some turn out better than others. Currently, I am simply enjoying creating visual images without the need for personality—not mine, not others.

So, when that person who loves what I have done in the past wants to take me into their excitement, it makes me happy that they are happy. It makes me happy that they are creating. But me, I’m walking a different path these days. I prefer the silent and the abstract, lost to the realms of its own visual suchness, compare to the driven that is attempting to piece the veil of commonality. A place I never truly understood.

The Honesty of Your Words

What you say defines who you are. What you say about others defines who they are—at least in the minds of those who listen to your words.

What you say defines how you think. The way you say what you say defines your psychological mindset.

What you say and the way you say it provides a view into how you think. What you say about people defines what you believe about people. What you say about the world defines what you believe about the world.

Do you ever think about what you say before you say it? Do you ever consider the overriding implications of your speech?

Is what you say always true? Or, is what you say simply based upon what you believe in any given moment of time defined by your own current set of standards and desires?

Do you want people to believe what you say? If so, why?

How does what you say affect the way the world views you?

How does what you say affect the people and the things you talk about?

When you make a mistake in what you say do you correct yourself or does your ego and your desire to be seen as a knower keep your from undoing your wrong?

Do you ever consider the karmic implications of how what you say will affect your own life and the lives of those you discuss?

Life is a complicated interaction of personal judgments claimed to be understandings and/or truths. But, what are your understandings and your truths based upon? Are they based upon fact or are they based upon your personal judgment? If it is the ladder, what you are saying has no basis in truth, it only has a basis in judgement.

How often, when you realize that you were wrong in what you said, do you correct the statement that you made? If you don’t, that means you define your life from a perspective of no personal assessments—you said it and that is that. If you are not whole enough onto yourself to correct false words spoken, the true words you speak will eventually be seen to be lies.

Verbal conversation defines much of our human interaction. If what you say is not based upon the truth then anything that you say is a lie and, thus, the lie spreads from you.

How many times have you told a lie? How many times has what you believed to be true turned out not to be true. Do you ever correct what you say? If you don’t that says a lot about who and what you truly are.

Enlightenment Through the Arts

The other night I was watching a production called, Unseen Cinema, on TCM. What this program presented was short films that were created in the early years of filmmaking that truly pushed the boundaries of what was then considered mainstream filmmaking. Obviously, this was right up my alley. Happy

One of the films they presented was a 1924 piece titled, Ballet Mecanique. I had not seen this film in many-many years. But, as I again watched it, I was reminded what a groundbreaking piece of cinema it truly was—especially for 1924. Had it been done in the 1960s, it would have been expected. If it was done in that era it may have been called an, “Acid Flick,” as by then LSD was a common thread that avant-garde filmmakers embraced. But, it was made long before LSD was even invented. It is an amazing piece of cinema. What motivated the filmmaker(s) to make this piece, I can only imagine. Watch it if you can. It is inspiring.

Way back then, like now, there was a mainstream that permeated society. There was the accepted norm. Even though cinema was a fairly new art form infiltrating society, there was already a small group of filmmakers who were pushing its boundaries to new and unexplored levels. Most of these people did not find a large audience. Yet, they had an artistic and a spiritual purpose in all that they did. Thus, it rose to the level of true art.

Most people, especially in an art form like filmmaking, do what they do inspired by a desire for fame, recognition, and/or monetary reward. Think about the majority of people that enter the field of filmmaking as actors and filmmakers. Why do they do it? It is not for the art. It is for the ego, the fame, the perks, and the money. The stories I could tell you…

How many people do what they do solely as a means to create art? How many people live their life by that code? Very few.

After that program was over, I flipped the channels and, amazingly, I happened upon a documentary on the great jazz musician John Coltrane broadcast on a PBS station. Immediately, the deep inspiration of this man’s music struck me. If you have not listened to John Coltrane you are really missing out. He was a master of unparalleled talent. Even though in my early years I was never a fan of the sax, he is the whole reason I bought a sax and took it up in my early twenties. When I did the soundtrack for the original (not the wide release) version of Samurai Johnny Frankenstein I based my sax playing on his style—though it was a poor imitation. But, what Coltrane did was artfully amazing. You should really listen to him. It is magic.

The documentary took the viewer through his life up to his death. In his later years, he married the musician Alice (McLoud) Coltrane. I knew her. It was fun to be reminded. How I met her is after the passing of Coltrane, in grief, she became a disciple of my teacher, Swami Satchidananda. But, at some point in the 1970s she had an interpersonal revelation and she anointed herself, Swami Turiyasangitananda. From this she began wearing the traditional orange robes of the sanyass order and the like.

There is no disrespect meant in this next statement, on any level, but I clearly remember this one time when we had gone with Gurudev to LAX to see him off and Turiyasangitananda was flying with him. She was there with her orange robes, big smile, and big personality. He looked to a few of us disciples and said, “She’s gone a little crazy, hasn’t she?” This was just after her transformation. But, the fact is, she found her wisdom and her art in her own way. And, this is something that she never left behind. I remember on late night TV, back in the days of UHF, she had a late-night TV show, on one of those poorly broadcast networks, where she would chant with a harmonium. She spent the rest of her life teaching and chanting at a spiritual center she created. Art, equaling spiritually, by her own definition.

And, this is the crux of the point, the people that push the boundaries of human understanding and acceptance are the ones who take the chances—do the unexpected and the unseen. Most people pass through their life based upon a precept of preconceived judgment. But, what comes from that? Nothing. Nothing new is enacted, created, and no one is inspired. But, the few who stretch the limits of the accepted norm, they are the ones who inspire change and spiritual enlightenment throughout time, space, and society.

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Before you can be a savior you have to save yourself.

The Things They Will Never Know

How much of your Life Time do you spend consciously doing things for other people?

How many of the things that you actually do for other people would you do if they did not know you were doing them?

Do you only do things for other people when they either acknowledge that they know what you are doing, show thanks for what you are doing, or you remind them of the fact that you are doing something for them?

Most people, in the space of their life, do things for themselves. When they do things for other people, they generally have an endgame result in mind that will positively affect their own life; which is their sole motivation for doing anything that they are doing in the first place.

How do you operate your life? How much of your Life Time do you spend attempting to make things better for someone else? How much of what you do would you do if you received no acknowledgement, thanks, or payment for the actions you have enacted?

Have you ever actually gone out of your way, made a plan, did something positive for someone, and you never alerted that person to the fact that you actually instigated a plan, saw it through to its completion, and never asked for any acknowledgement or compensation?

Most people operate their life from a very selfish space. Do you? How much of your Life Time do you spend stepping outside of what you want, what you desire, and set about on a course that will make a positive difference in another person’s life even if it is a very small thing that they never even knew that you did? You should try it.

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Desperation breeds desperate acts.

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It's true, you can't control other people. But, you can control yourself.

Thus, don't do anything that creates a situation where another person is motivated or instigated into doing something negative based upon your words or your actions.

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Just as all culture is defined by the greater whole of its people, so to is a specific religion.

If your religion is doing bad things to people or places you are a part of that negative act as you are supportive of that religion. Thus, you too will be held responsible.

Roller Blade Seven: The Unseen Scenes

As I have discussed a million times, it forever amazes me the amount of discourse and discussion that continues to take place around the first Zen Film, The Roller Blade Seven. What I am also always amazed about is the fact that people continue to come to all kinds of conclusions about the film. And sure, I’m right there with you, it is a weird and bizarre movie. But, as I have said a million times, whatever Donald G. Jackson and I did by creating that film over twenty-five years ago, we did something right, as it is still at the forefront of discussion.

All this being said, the amount of unfounded discussion that takes place around this film continually reminds me about how people like to come to all kinds of conclusions about everything and then spout their supposed wisdom out to the world but they do this without ever basing anything they are saying upon actual fact. They don’t know, yet the speculate and talk and talk and talk.

Understanding all the things that are told to me by and about what people think and say about the film, I clearly understand they have never researched the facts about the film. Just one example it the Zen Documentary I made about the movie, Roller Blade Seven: The Unseen Scenes. I mean there is so much dialogue about what went into the creation of the movie, behind the scenes interviews, and yes, unseen scenes, that I find it very interesting that all of these people discuss Roller Blade Seven, but they do so without ever having watched that film. …Or, they discuss the movie without having viewed the books, Zen Filmmaking, where there is a chapter devoted to the film or Roller Blade Seven: A Photographic Exploration which also provides deep insight into the film’s creation and metaphysical mindset via photographs.


I guess what I am saying here, and these goes to all levels of life, if you don’t know, you don’t know. And, if what you are saying is based upon not-knowing, all you are doing is spreading lies out to the world while presenting them as facts. And, this certainly goes to all levels of life. I’m just using The Roller Blade Seven as an example.

In life, in many cases, the essence of knowledge, where it all came from and how it started, is not available. But, in other cases, you can go to the source, you can learn the actual goings-on, leading to you comprehending the factual truth. Then, at least, what you think and what you say, based upon what you believe, will have some level of authenticity.

Go to the source—study the source. This is the only way to speak the truth.

You Messed Up. Now What?

Have you ever had the experience of choosing to do something and after you did it you realize that you really messed up—you shouldn’t have done it. But, you did do it. Now what? What do you do?

What you choose to do defines your life. What you choose to do after the fact of experiencing the results of what you chose to do defines you as a person.

I believe that each of us has made a choice to do something, as we have passed through life, that we later realized was a mistake. Some of these comprehensions are immediate while others are realized over time. But, we chose to do it. Later, we realized that by doing it we messed up. Now what can we do?

Each person reacts to their life mistakes differently. By studying how a person reacts is a true window into their soul. Some people immediately own their mistake. They take responsibility for them. They try to fix them. Others adamantly deny their responsibility in the situation to the very end. They attempt to blame someone else for doing what they, personally, chose to do. Most people fall somewhere in between. But, the ultimate truth of life is that you chose to do something, whether it turned out great or horrible is all on you. What are you going to do now?

The age-old adage that it is impossible to fix something once it is broken is very true. But, knowing this, does that allow you to have a justification to not even try to fix it? Many follow this path. What is done is done and all be damned. This is especially the case of the choice that was made affected some other person in a much more negative manner than the person who actually instigated the deed. “Their problem, not mine.” Think about it, is that how you react?

In other cases, a mistake that was made may truly affect the doer in all kinds of negative ways. Then what? Then what do you do? Do you only try to fix it when you are forced to try to fix it? Or, do you simply live in denial about its ongoing consequences? Because that is the case, a poorly made choice has the potential to affect you forever if you do not stop its emancipation.

It is plain to see that all life is a choice—all that you live is defined by the choices that you have previously made. Thus, you really need to look to the causation factor for what makes you make the choices that you make. Do you do that? Or, do you simply pass through life blindly experiencing the emotional ecstasy or the despair? Moreover, when you do make a choice that has had a negative effect on you or on someone else, who do you blame?

All life is created at its sourcepoint and that sourcepoint is you. No matter what is going on outside of you, you are the one who makes the choice to make the choices that you make defined by what choices are available to you. Once you make that choice, you experience the consequences of that choice.

So, what do you do when your choice goes wrong? If you cannot immediately define this, you do not know yourself. If you blame anyone else for the choice(s) that you make you are living in a space of unenlightened selfishness. Own your decision. Love your choices when they were the right decision but never stop until you fix any wrong choice that you have made. This is the way to live a good, whole life.

Know yourself. Understanding your reasons why. Be whole onto yourself. Choose to make the right choice.

My Mother Practiced Voodoo

Though my mother considered herself a devout Christian, she practiced Voodoo. Or perhaps, more ideally stated, she practiced Hoodoo. She did this without ever calling it by a name.

She would do incantations, use various created objects to be symbolic of people she felt needed to have a specific energy sent their direction, and so on. She was very methodical about what she did. As a young child, who was indoctrinated into the Christian faith as many American children are, I always found this strange as it didn’t seem very Christian to my young mind.

Yes, yes, if we study American history and the evolution of Hoodoo, it shows that the practitioners of Hoodoo, which came to the Americas as African slaves, did place a great emphasis on the bible. But, how is that Christianity?

My mother was also a very superstitious person. If this thing happened she believed it would equal that thing.

Now, I’ve told this story elsewhere, but one of the occurrences that really drove this point home in my life was when my grandmother died. My mother came home with all of the appropriate tears in her eyes and she told me that as it had rained on her mother’s open grave someone else in the family would die within a year. And, she decided it was going to be her. This was one of her families accepted superstations. Throughout that next year she constantly drove that point home, “I’m going to die. It rained on my mother’s grave.” “Less than a year now and I will be gone.” As a young kid, this obviously really freaked me out. “Don’t die,” I would exclaim. “Can’t help it, my destiny has been written,” she would say.

My mother, father, and I were having dinner at a Chinese restaurant on Crenshaw one evening in December of 1968. As is the tradition, we got our fortune cookies at the end of the meal. My mother’s cookie had no fortune in it. “You see, I told you I’m going to die.” My father immediately replied, “Here, have mine.” He gave her his fortune. He died a week later.

So, was this invocation? I don’t know. Was this focused energy being summoned and released? Don’t know… Or, was this simply one of the random coincidences of a chaotic life? Will I ever know? Will any of us? I do know that my mother lived for another thirty years and my father did not.

This is an important point to consider as you pass through life. Energy is focusable. Whether you believe in religion or not, superstition or not, mystical powers or not, Voodoo or not, this does not change the fact that energy is focusable. For this reason, what you think about, what you say, what you do, all creates an energy field around you that invokes a specific pattern of energy that will come to be your life’s definition. What you think about, you create. What you speak, you create. What are you creating?

What are you thinking about? What actions are you taking based upon those thoughts? What outcomes occur based upon what you are thinking and the actions you are undertaken due to what you are thinking? And, what energy are you creating and how will it affect you and those around you?

Remember, you may love or hate someone or something. You may do what you do to make something happen to you or to them: be that positive or negative. But, whatever emanates from you, you are responsible for. Thus, there is always a karmic price to pay. Be careful what you believe and what your beliefs cause you to invoke.

Helping Helps. Hurting Hurts.

Recently, it seems that I’ve spent a lot of time discussing helping in this blog. This has once again been brought into focus with the terrorist attack that recently took place in NYC with the guy renting a truck from Home Depot and running down a bunch of people. BAD! Now, terrorist attacks have gone on throughout history but with the Arab Spring and all of the focus being placed on Radial Islam it has seemingly become a common thread through this period of history.

It is important for all of us to understand that a terrorist attack is not necessary something large like what that man did this week in New York or a massive bomb or cyber-attack, it is also implemented by small things. …Small things that are designed to hurt someone or something. So, depending on how you behave; what you say and what you do, you too may be responsible for terrorist attacks.

As I have said in the past, “All negative behavior comes from a place of unanswered pain.” What is your unanswered pain? And, do you allow it to control you; guiding you in what you say and what you do?

People who are dominated by internal pain and a lack of internally understood self-fulfillment seek out others of this same mindset. And, they are easy to find. Who among us did not have some bit of harshness hurt us somewhere in our life? But, do you allow that person who did that or that moment in your life where your felt it to define who you have become? Or, have you chosen to consciously rise above it and be more?

If it is the previous, then you seek out, are drawn to, and associate with those who will amplify a negative mindset within you. If this is the case, the path you walk in life is set up to hurt people. If you do follow this path, there is nothing that I, or anyone else, can say that will change your ideology because your sense of purposed is based in the negativity of the adrenaline you feel from focusing your mind on this energy. It is very addictive. It is only if you choose to change that you can actually change.

Most people are not focused on the hurting of others, however. They are focused on living their life. They don’t have time for it. But, the hurting of other people begins in small ways. It is initially orchestrated by what you are guided to think by those around you—the way you are guided to think. This is where this mindset takes shape. But, it is from that mental place that people then personally begin to adopt and practice this essence of the negative. They do this by how they speak, write, and act. This is where the terrorism is born. These small things are the beginning of the larger terrorist act.

Okay, all this being said, think about this, “How does it feel when you have been hurt?” It hurts; right? It doesn’t feel good. Why would you want to do that to anyone else? Why would you want them to feel pain? If you are so lost in your own unanswered pain, this should be the motivation for you to look outside of yourself and seek solace from a source of positivity. Just like those who invoke the negative; those people and those organizations that embrace the positive are out there, as well.

Now, think about how does it feel when somebody says something nice about you or does something nice for you—maybe they help you out when you need so help? It feels pretty good; right?

So, who do you want to be, a conduit for help and goodness or someone who invokes harm and negativity? Think about it and then act upon it. Helping, helps. Hurting, hurts. The one is obviously better than the other.

Grinding Your Own Coffee

What you do as you pass through life will come to define your life.

You have a choice as to what you do as you pass through life.

Your life is defined by what you have chosen to do as you have passed through your life.

Life is an interesting conglomeration of definitions orchestrated by where you find yourself in time and in space. Once you come to understand where you are, you are then allowed to make choices as to what you will do, defined by your definition(s). Some of these are large decisions that will come to define the larger, overall you. Other of these choices are small decisions that will illustrated the inner you. In either case, your choice(s) define you. Thus, you need to be careful in deciding what you will do as what you choose to do sets the ALL of your life into motion.

In the 1980s things began to change in the United States. Items like coffee grinders began to be offered to the masses. This was a noticeable change in that throughout the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s the focus was on taking as much of the do-ing away from people as possible. Born were TV dinners, frozen pizzas, instant coffee, and microwaves ovens. Then, people didn’t want to do, they wanted it to be done.

As times changed, people wanted to return to a more organic and controlled lifestyle. They wanted to buy whole coffee beans and grind their own coffee. Me too. I bought a coffee grinder when they were first made available to the general public. And wow, compared to today’s prices, they were expensive. But, it was fun. It was like in the Zen Tea Ceremony, it was a meditation. Making the conscious choice to control and to take power over what you (I) were about to drink.

This trend has continued into the twenty-first century. Hand-in-hand with this, all of the easy-do stuff has also improved. The frozen pizza, which once were terrible, evolved into being pretty good.

But, doing is a choice. What you do is a choice. And again, what you do defines your life.

What you do, you do, because you have come to understand that is what you are supposed to do. But, how much time, how much mental energy, do you spend actually analyzing what you choose to do—thus and thereby coming to consciously find the true definition of your life? Most people spend very little time thinking about any of this, they just do. And, this is what sets the life lived consciously apart from the life just lived without true living.

Your childhood, how you grow up and where you grow up, will come to define much of whom you can and will evolve into becoming. As a child, I used to witness the comparison between my mother and my father. My father, who grew up in Los Angeles, was always on the cutting edge of understanding. My mother, who came from a smaller city in the Midwest, was far more prone to never looking to anything new or different. In fact, she would rebuke all change as long as she could.

I remember when I would occasionally visit her childhood home as a youngster. I was amazed at the fact that they had one of those hand crank washing machines. I mean, it was ancient. Yes, once upon a time it was probably a vast improvement over older methods but that was decades ago. But, my mother, and her siblings, owned that house until the 1990s when they all passed away. Then, the house was bequeathed to me. I sold it—the ancient washing machine included. The washer never changed. They used that ancient method forever. Was it better? I don’t know? Was it a process of meditation for them? Doubtful. Or, was it simply what they had come to accept as an understanding and a condition of and for life. Thus, they were so locked into a mindset of, “That’s the way it’s supposed to be.” A mindset that they never attempted a change.

How much do you choose to change of the choices you've made?

This takes us to the point of all this. What you do is, at least partially, defined by where and when you came up in history. What you do, defines the you, you choose to become. What you choose to do defines, your life.

What do you choose to do and how do you choose to do it?

Do you make your choices by choice or do you simply allow the known and the expected to define your reality which will then define the definition of your life?

Your life is your choice. What you choose to do not only affect your every living moment but it will also be all that is left when your life is over. What do you choose to do? How do you choose to do it? And, what will be the effect of what you have chosen to do on your life and on the life of others?

May You Live in Interesting Times

There is the ancient Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.” I guess all of us, living in this day and in this age, have been cursed; as things are very interesting.

I think we can all agree that these, “Interesting times,” are predominately defined by and are due to the advent of the internet and social media. The internet is vast. It offers us so many possibilities that were not available just a few years ago. But, it is also damning as people are free to spout off anything that they will—be it true or be it false. What this has led to is a lot of two of the key terms of the day being highly invoked; namely: “Bullying” and “Fake News.” I mean, think about it, people say whatever they want to say on the internet and social media and they pay no price for saying it. There is no justice, there is no law, so anything and everything goes.

There are those of us who attempt to hold fast to a moral high ground, controlling what we say as we understand that our words have wide-spanning implications. One word can create forever karma. But, think about the internet; all of the unsubstantiated accusations—all of the things you read and all the things you believe; all based upon no-one’s critical logic, just someone’s desired belief. And, forget about the news on the internet; it’s just someone’s interpretation of what will be disproven tomorrow.

Certainly, there is the good side to all of this, and the internet in general, as we have recently been witness to; i.e., people may be called to task for their bad deeds. But, one of the key elements to this equation is, who among us has not done something bad in their lifetime? Let’s remember the elemental Biblical quote from John 8:7, “So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.” We all have sinned! Certainly, some of us more than others. But, most of us, as we pass through life, attempt to become better versions of ourselves and sin no more. We attempt to fix what we have broken and help those we have hurt. Do you?

Yet, in this internet world with no justice, how many of you actually practice making yourself better; not judging, not allowing the words you write today to negatively affect someone else’s life tomorrow and the next day and the next?

The fact is, so many people say so many things without ever considering the ramifications of what their words will do to the life of another person. Yet, as so many people are lost to the truth of a Higher Self, they find people to believe what they say. And some, in fact, find their sense of self-worth by doing so. From this, universal damage is created across the broad spectrum of reality. And, the truth is, most people don’t care. They are unhappy with their life, they are dissatisfied, they are not self-aware or self-actualized so they want everyone to embrace the pain that they feel.

Living life, in this day and age, is interesting; yes. But, it is also complicated. Though life has always been complicated, this fact has been magnified by the amount of people out there who believe that what they say should be heard whether it is true or false.

But remember, one of the key facts to life is that opinion is instigated by one person. Yes, it may spread to others. But, it is sourced at one point.

If your opinion affects the life of someone else, in a negative manner, then your opinion becomes a sin; as it hurts someone else’s existence. From this, unless you undo it, never-ending negative karma is born. This is why you really need to think about what you do as you do it, what you say as you say it, and what you believe as you believe it.

So, here we are, living in interesting times; what do we, as conscious, caring individuals do? All we can do is to try to not be dominated by the lack of justice, truth, honesty, and control that exits out there in cyberspace. All we can do is to call out judgment or negative words as negativity when we see it or read it. Counteract it by saying something positively positive. And, be a good person who says and does only good things.

We can all be more. We can all attempt to undo what we have done and hurt no one else along the pathway of our life.

Choose to be more than being controlled by those who are lost to unrefined, unnecessary judgement, and those who wish to inflict pain by their words and their deeds. Write good things. Say good things. Do good things. Be more than being subjugated by the words of others. Be more than being dominated by who you used to be. Be good. Do good. Free yourself from the curse of living in interesting times. 

***

What I was thinking then, I am not thinking now.

What happens when your thinking changes?

***

Many times you don't know until you are pushed into knowing.

Buddha in the Looking Glass

For all of you readers of the Scott Shaw Zen Blog, most of the writings from the past few months have been pulled down from this current blog and published in the book, Buddha in the Looking Glass.

Support the cause. Buy that book and the other books based on the Scott Shaw Zen Blog. Happy

***

If you want it for free, that means you are giving the person who created it nothing.

But, if they didn't create it, you couldn't want it.

If you want it, you owe the person who created it something.

Why are you unwilling to pay your debt?

***

Somebody is saying something negative. Whether it is right or wrong, truth or fiction is irrelevant. If you are about the betterment of everyone, it is your job to intercede and say something positive. End the trend.

The Helping Hand

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

How many of your facts do you confirm?

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

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

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

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

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

The Bigger Question is, Why Do You Care?

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

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

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

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

***

Are you strong enough to stand up against the masses when they are saying or doing something negative to someone or something?

***

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

We Will All Be Forgotten

Periodically, I mention the fact that in my lifetime I have watched as some of the most influential martial artists have passed away and all but been forgotten. These were people who truly made a contribution to the evolution of the martial arts.

It is important to note that it was not until the twentieth century, with the advent of mass media, that it became possible for a person, in their own time, to readily contribute to the wide-spanning understanding and evolution of the martial arts or anything else for that matter. A few people took up this banner, spread their understanding, but then they were gone and quickly all they had contributed was lost to the hands of time.

This is also the case with spiritual teachers. Perhaps a person came on the scene with a unique message that came to be embraced. They taught what they but they, as we all will do someday, passed away. Then, that person and their message was quickly forgotten.

If you want to look at the more celebrity driven realms, think to that TV show that you really liked as a kid. What happened to the star of that show? In many/most cases, those actors were never seen again.

Many people, as they pass through life, seek a means to get their ideas, their name, or their face out to the public eye. They may do this due to vanity, ego, or the belief that they have something unique and special to offer. Whatever the motivations may be, it is one person stepping to the pulpit, presenting a platform, and in some cases, that person becomes noted for what they do or what they have to say. Though, in that moment, they may find students or followers; perhaps their ego or their bank account gets stroked, but the reality is, a person is only viable when they are alive. With very few exceptions as soon as they die, their teachings die.

Most people do not step to the pulpit. Most people simply live a simple life, going to work, while supporting a family. Thus, they may listen (for a time) to the talkers or the teachers of the world but their focus is on their survival and their family. This is why so few teachers/talkers remain viable after their passing. People have their own life and they only care about you as long as they have a reason to care about you.

For anyone who has ever owned a school of the martial arts, hatha yoga, or any other business for that matter, it is easily witnessed how the clientele come and go. People have an interest and then due to change of time, change of mind, change of heart, change of life focus, or change of financial circumstances they move away. Thus, nothing, in the life of the person at the forefront of the conversation is permeant—nothing last forever.

It is important to keep this in mind as you pass through life: as a student, a follower, or as the teacher. In your life, you may find nourishment from what someone else is giving. In your life, you may find sustenance by what you have to give. But, nothing last longer than your life. When you are dead, you are dead. Don’t fool yourself. We will all be forgotten.

***

You have done something that has hurt someone.

Do you care?

Do you try to repair the damage?

In these answers; here lies the definition of your life.

***

We all have to live with the decisions we make.

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

***

Prayer is asking for something.

Meditation is asking for nothing.

***

When you instigate the actions taken by others you are responsible for those actions.

How Choice Equals Your Everything

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

If you are defined by defining others what is the definition of your life?

Speaking Your Mind Verse Mindful Speaking

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

If you think you've paid your karma for some action that you performed, that generally means that you haven't.

***

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

***

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

***

ถ้าคุณไม่คาดหวังเกินไปคุณก็จะไม่รู้สึดผิดหวัง

***

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

***

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

***

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

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

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

Is it okay to lie to a liar?

***

All negative behavior comes from a place of unanswered pain.

***

Think how many people are praying to god, asking for something, right at this moment.

***

Mañana será siempre un nuevo día. Conviértelo en un nuevo dia; no lleves contigo Experiencias negativas del pasado.

Every Creator Says the Same Thing

It always strikes me that whenever I see or hear a musician, a filmmaker, or an author being interviewed they each discuss the same issue. That issue is how they are frustrated with the way people believe they have the right to take their creations, utilize them as they see fit, and even, in some cases, redistribute them and make money off of that item without ever paying for that service. They each believe the same thing, (as do I), that if the people who are taking the creations of others, for free, actually were they ones who created them they would have a very different perspective as to what was taking place.

This phenomenon of, “Digital Stealing,” began very recently when one looks to the overall view of human history. I mean, just a couple of decades ago it was far too expensive to do any of that. People could not make a copy of a film, even duping large scale copies of video tapes was far to expensive. To rerecord and then repress a music album cost far too much money to make it a viable commodity. Books… Forget about it. To actually copy, type set, and then print a book was very expensive so it wasn’t done. But, in the digital age this has all changed.

When I taught classes on filmmaking in the late 1990s and even into the early 2000s I used to warn my students about placing their screen credits in white on black cards at the beginning and at the end of their production. As what used to happen, particularly in the Asian market place, was that unscrupulous distributors would take the film, remove the screen credits and add their own. It happened to me. This is why I told them, if they could afford it, to put the credits over picture as this was a way of assuring that even if the movie was stolen the true credits would remain intact.

But now, here you and I sit at our computers. The world is our oyster. And many, if not most, people do not even care about what they are doing to the creative works of others as long as they can do it for free. Some have even found a way of making money off of the creations of others. Do you ever think about this as you walk through your pathway of life and you take advantage of what others have created? Do you ever stand up for the rights of the creator?

I believe that each of us who walks the path of creativity wants to get our creations out to the masses. If we didn’t, we would be creating them in the first place. Nobody writes a book with the hopes that no one will read it. But, throughout history there has always been an exchange for goods and services rendered. This hasn’t always been via money. But, this system has always been in place. It has always been in place until now—in this current time frame we are living within.

It has always been the youth of society that has pushed the levels and understanding of human consciousness forward. This is because when you are young you have the time and the freedom to explore new realms of possibilities as you are not yet burdened by many of the responsibilities of latter life. But, this is also the time period when many people make the biggest mistakes in their life. They set themselves into a course of action that will come to define the rest of their life. Good or bad, this is just the way it is. But, also good or bad, in youth few people have the ability to look at the big picture and see or care how what they are doing is setting the stage for not only their own life but the lives of others.

If all of the people who are actually the, “Creators,” of things have the same problem with what is taking place, doesn’t that tell you something? Doesn’t that make you think?

The fact is, not everyone takes what is out there in cyber space for free. Some people are very honest. How about you? Do you take for free and feel that you have the right to do it? Do you take for free and feel that just because this other person you know is doing it, that it’s okay? Or, do you actually make money off of the creations of other people? If you do, don’t you feel you own that person something? Wouldn’t it be the right thing to do to pay them, in some shape or form, for what you have taken?

I always go back to the point that all of life begins with you. What you do has the potential to affect the entire world. The small things you do can progress and equal the big things. So, what do you do? Do you take for free and not even care about the consequences? Think about this, if you care enough about the person who created that thing you are stealing to make them the focus of your actions, don’t you think that you should care enough about that person to not steal from them in the first place?

Think about what you do. Care about the creators.

***

When you've created nothing no one can criticize you.

***

Do you want to know the definition of your life?

Question: Do you think about you first or do you think about the other person first?

***

Your life is defined by whom you have hurt.

***

If you want to say something negative you can always find someone to listen to you.

If you are saying something positive, that is a different story.

The Scott Shaw and Zen Filmmaking Documentary: The Truth Be Told

Like I always say, You know you're famous when people you've never met say things about you that aren't true…

It’s funny, I am sitting here at my studio this afternoon, waiting to run a class with a few of my advanced students/friends and a couple of people have contacted me about the fact that Allison Pregler AKA Obscurus Lupa has put her so called reedited documentary about me up on YouTube. This makes me smile, kinda. I remember when she first released that documentary and all of a sudden I was getting tons and tons of hate email. Hate email for a guy like me… That was a first… Believe me when I tell you, I’m a nice guy. Just ask anyone who knows me. Happy

As I have a little bit of time before my class, I just took a moment to glance at YouTube and to read some of the comments regarding this supposed Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking documentary and, as the internet promises, her documentary is once again provoking a lot of negativity sent my direction. In fact, my web guy, who handles all my emails, told me I have already received a couple of very negative comments and one death threat over the past week since the piece has been up. Not cool… But, I am trying to stay positive. I am smiling…

Regarding the negative YouTube comments… Most everything, everyone is saying is not true! Just like in Allison's piece, the interpretation of me, who I am, how I feel, and what I think is totally wrong. And, this is the problem when somebody creates a documentary like this. It invokes negativity. And, negativity is never, under any circumstance, a good thing.

Let’s get a couple of things out of the way for those of you who may not know… In a very short period of time, about five or six years ago, Allison did a couple of things, regarding me, without ever even contacting me or speaking with me. In fact, to this day, she has never met or spoken with me. So, how can she know anything about me? But, to the point…

1. She stole ASCAP Registered, Copyrighted music I had created and used it to soundtrack a film her boyfriend, (I think his name is Phelous), and she created. Had she just asked if she could use it, I probably would have said, “Yes,” But, she did not. I didn’t even know who she was. I had worked long and hard to create that music. Have you ever created something and had someone steal it from you? If you have, you will know what I’m speaking about and why it was a problem for me.

2. She made the aforementioned FU documentary about me and used footage from my films, that were under U.S. Copyright Protection, to illustrate it. If you are going to create an FU documentary at least have the decency to film your own footage like Joe DeMott and Jeff Kreines did when they created the documentary about Donald G. Jackson, Demon Lover Diary. Here’s the thing, and the truth about her so-called Scott Shaw documentary, she takes a word here or a passage there from what I have written and makes it all sound very negative, like I’m a total asshole. I am not. If you read the books she took those words from, Zen Filmmaking and Independent Filmmaking: Secrets of the Craft or anything else I have written about filmmaking, they are all designed to help the indie filmmaker. But, by using limited passages and putting her own spin on it, all she does is invoke a big misunderstanding about my philosophy; how I think and what I do. That is just not cool! How many independent filmmakers has she hurt by turning them off to what I have to teach?

3. I never had a problem with her review of Max Hell Frog Warrior, (which she has also uploaded the reedited version of to YouTube). Though as my lawyer documented, her review did damage the sales of the movie and its ability to be further marketed. But personally, I thought it was marginally amusing, even though, like in her documentary, she does get several facts wrong. In fact, as I am not a big fan of that movie, when she added her created images to her presentation I thought it was actually more interesting than when she was using the film's footage that was protected under U.S. Copyright Law. The fact is, it was the combination of the two previously detailed elements; namely: her stealing my music and the FU Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking documentary, that I had a problem with. Plus, keep in mind, believing that she was simply a young woman who did not understand the ramifications of her actions, I personally stopped my attorney, who was also the CEO of my Production Company, from suing her in Federal and Civil Court (he had the papers all drawn up). This action caused us to have a major falling out which ultimately ended our business partnership. But, did Allison thank me for that? Nope… In fact, one of her minions posted a highly distorted discourse on what took place between her and I, with Max Hell Frog Warrior, on a website that does not allow rebuttals. Did she do anything about that? Not a thing. It is still up there to this day. Yet, here she is again, re-releasing the documentary and creating all this negative energy being sent my direction.

What is the point? So she can make a little bit of money off of her YouTube Channel and develop a few more fans? This, while she hurts the career and reputation of another person. Again, not cool!

Loving or hating my films is fine, that's personal opinion. Not understating what I'm doing or why I'm doing it is not a problem, that's just the human condition. But, making money and a name for yourself off of misrepresenting who and what I am and what Zen Filmmaking is all about is just wrong.

From a personal perspective, I find her misplaced interpretation of my life and my philosophy and her altered dissemination of my writings almost amusing but being on the receiving end of what she is saying I also understand the negative ramifications of what she has invoked. Ask yourself, how would you feel if you began receiving hate mail and even death threats because of a highly bias so-called documentary somebody made about you? I thought with the demise of Blip.tv a few years ago, where her presentations were originally posted, all this melodrama was over, but now it has begun again.

Here’s a fact that you may find interesting in regard to this matter. As stated, in the documentary Allison quoted from two of my books on filmmaking. I guess at some point she got pissed off at me and took those books and some of my films and sold them to a local used bookshop. A university student who was into what I do noticed the transaction, altered me to it, and I own the aforementioned books. Looking at them it was very enlightening in that I could see what passages Allison had highlighted in yellow. Again, those books were designed to help the independent filmmaker but what she had done was to remove passages from the greater text, which not only made me look bad but completely distorted Zen Filmmaking and what I was hoping to present in those writings. Looking at her highlights, I could totally see what she was doing. She was not reading the book(s) as a method to learn new knowledge or to be helped in the practice of filmmaking but as a means to find a method to use my own words to make her preconceived notions about me a reality and to make me look bad. Not cool! But, it was/is truly interesting to witness how her mind works.

I imagine Allison may post a slanted rebuttal to this piece somewhere as that is what she has done in the past, justifying her actions. But, I didn't ask to be dragged into any of this. Allison, you should really choose to be more than someone who creates and inflames negative situations.

As I always discuss in this blog and elsewhere, if you are doing anything that creates negativity in the life of anybody, what do you think the ultimate result of that chosen action will be on your life and the lives of others? As I always say, put your personal judgments in check and only say and do positive things! That is the key to living a good life!

And, to all you naysayers out there, at least find out who I truly am and what I am actually about before you cast your judgment.

That’s the story… It is so stupid to be put through this again. But, what can I do? I just hope those of you who read this will add a little truth and positivity to a negative situation that I had nothing to do with creating.

Anyway, I have to go teach a class.

Be Positive and Smile! Happy

PS: Somebody asked me an interesting question this morning. They asked, why did I mention Allison's name and her Scott Shaw Zen Filmmaking documentary in this blog, as didn't that just give her and it more publicity?

The answer: Because one of the things that I do in this blog is detail my life experiences, how they affect me, how I feel about them, and how I react to them. From this, I hope it provides the reader with a deeper insight into life and human behavior—perhaps even giving them some new insight into how they should interact with other people as they pass through their life. Certainly, I would have preferred to never be made part and parcel to any of this. And though I rarely mention names in this blog, but if she or anyone else gets some publicity from what I write; great—good for them!

Ultimately, do I care what Allison or anybody else thinks about me? Absolutely not. My life accomplishments speak for themselves. If they didn't, people like Allison would not be making documentaries about me in the first place.

At the end of the day I am just a very simple person. I hope to keep my family and friends safe and happy and hopefully make this world just a little bit better place with everything that I do. Hope that answers the question and gives everyone else a bit more insight into Scott Shaw, Zen Filmmaking, and the Scott Shaw Zen Blog.

#bepositive

PSS: Over the past few months, since I first wrote this piece, I have been contacted by several people bringing up the fact that Zen Filmmaking is a Registered Trademark and, as such, Allison can’t use that as her title. In fact, I was recently contacted by an attorney who practices Trademark law and he asked me if I wanted him to have the piece taken down using the Trademark infringement statute. As I explained to him, I have always known that I could have her piece taken down using Trademark infringement, but I forever believe in the goodness of people. I forever believe that they will do the right thing. This, even though I am so often proven wrong. So yes, I could report Trademark infringement to YouTube and the piece would be taken down. I could even sue her and we would win as Trademark infringement is pretty cut and dry, but what would that prove? I have long believed that one of the key elements to living a good life is to not hurt someone even though they hurt you. So, thanks for all of your continued words of support. But hopefully, the positivity and the path of least resistance will win out. Be positive (don't do anything that hurts anybody) and smile. Happy

Life Philosophy in a Nutshell

Life Philosophy in a Nutshell:

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

Never judge anyone—their accomplishments or their creations.

Don't tell lies.

Never intentionally hurt anyone for any reason.

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

***

A saint in one faith is a sinner in another.

***

You are responsible for all things that you incite.

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

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If you expect nothing you will never be disappointed.

***

If it happens one time it is an accident.

If it happens two times it is a coincidence.

If it happens three times it is a warning.

If it happens four times it is a choice.

Start calculating the behavior of those you encounter.

Stand Up for the Rights of the Creator

I was teaching one of my classes on filmmaking earlier today. As the class only meets once a week I try to keep the student very active in actual film creation so I generally give them an assignment to make a short film for each class session. This week’s assignment was to do a visual biographical piece. One of my students did, what so many people have done before, was to intermingle footage of his life with footage from very famous films. The short had him talking to various characters from various films. This is always a fun presentation as you get to peer into the mind of the person and view how they see themselves in association with life. It was a good piece.

After his presentation he asked if I thought he should upload it to his YouTube page. I said he could but he may run into copyright problems.

Now, for anyone who knows me understands, I am an avid proponent of Intellectual Property Rights. If somebody made something they are the only one who owns it and other people can only use it if they are given permission.

But, more than that… Each person should have the moral dignity to ask the creator of a, “Something,” if they can use all or part of it. Maybe the creator will say, “Yes.” Maybe the creator will say, “No.” But, every person who wants to tap into the creation of another person’s creativity should have the
honor to ask if they can use it. That is just the right moral code of life. And, that is what I explained to my students.

Now, not everyone who infringes on another person's copyright gets sued. It's expensive and it's time consuming. Not every copyright infraction is reported to the FBI. So, some people get away with it. But, should they?

Have you ever asked the creator of a project, that you have stolen all are part of or have downloaded it for free from an illegal offshore website, how they feel about what you have done? If you haven’t, what does that say about you? And, as I always state, if you were the one creating the something that is being stolen I am certain you would have a very different opinion about what is taking place than you being the thief.

Many people do not personally create books, movies, music, or art. But, they like it. So, they want to view it. But, have you ever had somebody steal your bike, your car, your wallet, or break into your house. If you have experienced that feeling then you will know what the artist goes through when their creation has been stolen.

Okay… Okay… I won’t go off here… Happy But, as you can plainly see, I am really against people stealing other people’s creations.

What I always suggest (like I did to my class) is be more than the thieves. Stand up for the rights of the creator. Understand that it took their creative vision, their time, their money, their mental focus, and their undaunted dedication to make that piece of art. Don’t steal it!

***

Believing that you know what another person is thinking is the sourcepoint for many of the world's biggest problems.

***

What contribution are you making to society?

The Arts Should Have No Judgment

Most people do not create art. And, I use the term, “Art,” to define all aspects of creativity whether it is drawing, painting, sculpting, taking photographs, making music, dancing, doing the martial arts, making films, you name it…

Think back to when you were a child. I’m sure most of us can remember a time when we were busy drawing with crayons or maybe painting with watercolors. What we were doing was whole and perfect onto itself. We loved what we were doing. We didn’t judge it. It just made us happy to create. Our parents loved it. It was done by their child and they loved it simply because of that fact—they didn’t judge it. Maybe that art work was put away somewhere and you saw it many years later. “This is what I did!” Maybe you were a little embarrassed as it was so childlike. But, what happened between the time you drew that crayon drawing and now? What happened is that you decided that you know how art should or should not be. In other words, you became judgmental.

As stated, most people do not create art. Yes, as a child we all did what we did but as adulthood came on, any art development and expression was left behind. Sure, maybe you like a particular brand of music, style of painting, or a certain type of film, but that is what you like—you judged your way to get there. I am sure you have discussed what you like and why you like it with other people. You have probably also put the label of, “Bad,” on what you don’t like.

All this is fine. It is your right to like what you like and not like what you don’t like. But, if you base your life upon a mindset of judgment you are really missing the point. What you are missing is the whole and entire source of and for creativity.

Art is founded in the mind of freedom—of pure expression. It comes from that same place that you embraced as a child when you were drawing with crayons. Free expression; that is the place where all new forms of art are created. That is where contribution and evolution is given birth to in the arts.

So, if all you do is sit around and judge (love or hate) the art created by others, all you are doing is placing a blockade on the road to a better, more whole, freer, and more creative world.

Negative is only negative; it never leads to anything positive. Judgment is only judgment. It is only you actualizing negativity from your mind and sending it into the real world. It never equals anything positive.

So, the next time you find yourself casting judgment, they next time you find yourself being engulfed in the judgment cast by someone else, take control over your mind and remember back to your childhood when art was just art for the sake of art—when you drew or painted or created shapes with Play Doh—remember the purity and the innocence of artistic freedom. Embrace that artistic freedom, put away the judgment, and let art thrive.

The Victim of a Crime

Have you ever been the victim of a crime? Have you ever had something stolen from your life? Have you ever been hurt by somebody wanting what what you had and then forcefully taking it from you? Have you ever had somebody do something really bad to your life simply because they were only thinking about themselves and not even considering anyone or anything else but themselves?

Have you ever been the perpetrator of a crime? Have you ever stolen something from someone—have you ever hurt somebody? If you have done this, what was your reasoning and what was your justification? Did you think about the person you committed the crime against and what would happen to them in the aftermath of your crime? Did your conscience ever come into play? Did you ever realize you did something wrong and then try to repair the damage you unleashed or did you only continue thinking about yourself? Did you get caught and then make excuses and give justifications for why you did what you did?

Being a victim is painful. Being the perpetrator of a crime may be empowering but if you are walking down that road, if you have committed a crime against someone, what does that say about your moral character?

There are a lot of ways people become the victim of a crime. Certainly, there is personal violence and there is having something stolen from you. These are two of the most obvious forms of crimes.

From a personal level, in my early years I experienced bring on the wrong side of crime. One of the big ones of my early years occurred when a gang descended upon me in a park, stabbed me and took my bike. I still have the scar though it has faded with time. Sure, I had been training in the martial arts for a several years by that point in time but they cut me before I could get off of my bike. Smart street strategy. All that for a bike. That is very sad. But, things like this happen all the time. Then, I got a shot a year or so later. Luckily, it was a small caliber gun, aimed at me from a distance, and it didn’t do much damage but I still hold that scar, as well.

During my teenage years I had several radios, 8-Track players, cassette decks, and CBs (remember those?) stolen from my car. It was so upsetting having saved up the money to buy them and then to go down to my car in the morning on my way to school and see I had been robbed. Again, very sad. Small money stolen by a small person.

I’ve had friends killed. Shot in the head. And, the list goes on… Probably a lot of you out there have similar stories and some may, in fact, have far worse examples. Crime is just sad!

As a creator of things: movies, music, and the like, I have also experienced the crime of the internet. I guess the subtitles of internet crime all came into focus with the whole Napster thing a decade or so back when that, then, start-up company started taking the music created by bands and, “Sharing it,” without playing for it. Lars Ulrich of Metallica became the voice of that fight and became highly criticized for his position. But, think about it, if you made your living making music and someone was stealing your livelihood, how would you feel? A crime is a crime!

On the other side of the issue, at this same time period, I remember somebody asked Dave Grohl what he thought. His answer was great, “I’m already rich, why should I care.” Unfortunately, most of us are not in that financial position so stealing from us on the internet or otherwise does affect our lives.

Perhaps the primary source for crime, whatever that crime may be, is that people do not think about their victims. Especially, if the crime is as easy as freely downloading something from the internet. But, stealing is still stealing. And, someway, someday, somebody will pay.

I get it… I know… Everybody wants everything for free. But, that is just not how the world works!

Moreover, you have to ask yourself, why would you want to steal anybodies creative anything anyway? Why can't you create your own some-thing.

Currently, there is this whole false belief about, “Fair Use,” out there in the realms of cyberspace right now. I’ve even seen a few things written about the subject on-line. But, who ever wrote those pieces is writing for a captive audience—they are telling people what they want to hear. For someone who has personally walked down that road in court, I can tell you, without a doubt, there is no such things as Fair Use. The moment a person makes one penny based upon something someone else created they are in violation of the law. If they hurt a person’s existence, even in the smallest of ways, by stealing something someone else created they are in violation of the law.

That’s what a copyright is, somebody created something, they own that something, and you can’t use that something unless they allow you to use it. If you take it from them without asking that is stealing. Don’t believe me, ask an attorney who practices copyright law.

But, what is the law? Did the law ever catch the people who stabbed me in order to steal my bike way back when? No. Did the guy who shot me ever get caught for that? No. Did I ever get any of my radios back? No. So, I was the one left without do to somebody taking something from me.

If you have ever had a crime happen to you, did the person get caught and go to jail? I hope so. But… In many cases, that is not what happens.

Now, I am certain that the people who live the lifestyle of committing crimes do eventually end up in jail because sooner or later they will get caught. But, what they did to me and to all the other people they victimized was not healed in that process as we were simply the ones left without.

And, I think this all goes to the basis and the motivation for crime—people do things because they do not think about anyone else but themselves. They do things because they do not care about anyone else but themselves. If they are caught, they try to turn the blame onto the person they were victimizing and/or onto someone or anyone but themselves.

But, they committed a crime! They took something from someone that damaged that someone’s life! And, that is just wrong!

So, do you ever commit crimes? Do you ever steal things in the real world or in cyberspace? If you do, you are a criminal and you are doing something wrong that is hurting someone. Maybe you will get away with it, at least for the moment. But, what you are doing is not right. Can you open your eyes? Can you care enough about the greater good of the world to stop it? Can you care enough to stop justifying your actions? Can you care enough about the person you are stealing from or hurting to stop what you are doing? And, if you have committed a crime against someone can you care enough to go back and fix what you have broken?

If you have even been the victim of a crime, and I hope you have not, but then you know how it feels. Let that be your motivating factor for you not being a criminal.

Most of us are good people. We think about what will be the impact of what we are doing on the lives of other people before we do anything? Do you? Or, do you not care?

There is nothing anyone can do to anyone to make a person care. But, you can choose to care. From the small things to the big things, you do not have to be a criminal.

***

The truth is never a lie.

***

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

All actions have consequences.

***

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

***

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

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

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

***

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

One Minute Later

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do Something Special Every Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do something special every day.

***

Who has to die so your secrets will be hidden?

Demons Among Us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Believe: Compounding Factual Inaccuracies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Belief is never fact.

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

What happens if no one believed in God?

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

Are you stating your opinion as a fact?

***

You will never truly understand another person's reality.

Who Makes This Stuff Up?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trolling for Dollars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BE and YOU are.

The Moral High Ground

I forever find it curiously amusing when I see some religious or political leader speaking about a subject and denouncing the people who are of some specific subset of culture and condemning them for their practices and/or beliefs. I mean how many times have we heard about the minister who was caught having an affair with someone other than their wife and then begged for forgiveness from their congregation once they were caught? How many times has a minister or a politician condemned those who are gay and then been found to be having an affair with someone of the same sex?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A better world begins with you.

Inspiration from the Obscene

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

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

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

So, what can you do?

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

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

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

The Process of Realization

Most people never take the time to study why 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!

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.

***

I didn't know…

That is never a viable excuse.

Was Your Life Better a Year Ago?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Can It Harm You If You Don’t Believe?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Magical Thinking in the Modern Age

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life if a complex maze.

Truth is free.

The truth is based in simplicity and not desiring.

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

No Truth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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 choose to deal with that anger makes us who we are. This choice of dealing is also how we each set the next set of events into motion in our lives and the lives of others involved with us or involved with the issue.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

People Don't Want to Know the Truth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Momentary Reality

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

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

This is a condition of life. Most people do.

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Road You're On

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen To How You Walk

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

How do you walk?

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

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

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

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

Who are you? What do you want to portray?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Process

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is Reality

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

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

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

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

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


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

Make Things Better

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I think you should make things better.”

Human Beings Are Very Self-Centered Creatures

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

And, this list can go on and on.

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

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

Why do you do what you do?

Trapped By Circumstance

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

Locked Into Your Own Mind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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