The Scott Shaw Zen Blog

Ganesha
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

om mani padme hum

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All bad things that take place in the world begins with one person thinking one bad thought and then expressing that thought to someone else.

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Your life is defined by whom you have hurt.

Self Sacrifice

How much do you focus your life upon Self Sacrifice? Meaning, how much of your Life Time do you spend helping and giving to others?

Very few people spend any amount of their Life Time giving to others. There are some who donate their old clothing or furniture to clarities—some occasionally help out a friend move or paint their house but none of this is Self Sacrifice, none of this is Selfless Service. This is simply taking care of you while you help out someone you care about. Giving to charities equals a tax deduction. Helping a friend is doing something that keeps your relationship solid as they will later help you. But, Self Sacrifice involves an entirely different set of parameters. It involves giving to others and helping others when there is nothing in it for you.

The first thing many, if not most, people will ask is, “Why should I help anybody to the degree that I am doing something that I do not really want to do—why should I help them when I receive no benefit from the giving?” This is selfishness! There is no other way to spell it out. But, this is how the majority of the world operates. They only do when the doing benefits themselves.

The problem with living your life from this level of consciousness is that no one is ever truly helped. The people that need help are not extended that helping hand and you gain nothing, physically, emotionally, or karmically as all you have done is think about yourself.

Think to your life; how many times have you actually done something for someone when there was no benefit it that deed for you? How many times have you cared more about someone else other than yourself—someone that you did have an interpersonal relationship with? How many times have you cared enough to care enough to turn off your desires, your emotions, what you feel you want and/or deserve and actually do for another person? Have you ever done anything like that?

I believe in most people lives they will conclude that they have never put themselves on hold and given all that it took to make another person’s life actually better. Thus, they have never truly helped anybody. And, this is just sad! This is why so many people are suffering in the world. This is why so many people are hurt.

Now, think about this… How many times have you done something that hurt someone else? And, you did it knowing the ultimate consequences, yet you did not care because that doing made you feel better or made your life better? I believe you will be able to remember several times when you have acted in this manner—helped yourself while it hurt someone else.

I realize these words are for the most part falling to deaf ears. Because nobody cares enough to care about the other person. Instead, they find reasons to justify their selfish actions.

I can also point to the times when you have been hurt, when somebody did not care about how you were feeling or did not come to your aid when you needed help. But, instead of using this as a motivating factor to do good, most people simply see this as a reason to travel along the path that they are on only doing for themselves and/or those they care about.

Have you ever wondered why so many people suffer for a long time before they die and ultimately die a very painful death? Karma. As they did not pay for their bad or selfish deeds in life, that toll is taken upon them as they pass towards death.

Life is your choice. Everything that you do is done because you have made a choice to do the something that you set up in that moment where you currently find yourself. What you did yesterday sets your today in motion.

What did you do yesterday? Did you help anybody? Did you care about anybody?

Now, here is an important thing to keep in mind as you pounder these thoughts… Many people think and say that they have scarified for their family or their children. That doesn’t count. That is expected—especially in the case of children. You chose to have a child. As you did choose to have that child you then took on the responsibility of giving that child the best life possible. This is also the same with husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, and lovers. You chose them, they chose you. Thus, whatever you do for them is expected.

What Self Sacrifice and Selfless Service is all about is doing for that person out there who needs your help. It is about turning yourself off and caring more about that other person than you getting what you want. It is about helping. It is about giving.

You can go through your life any way you want. Your life is your choice. But, though what you are doing for yourself may feel good today, it may destroy you tomorrow. Words have reactions. Actions have reactions.

What are you doing? Are you only caring about you and yours or are you caring about that person out there, whom you do not even know?

Care enough to care. Act selflessly.

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If you are not basing what you say on saying something positive your words destroy everything.

From your words your life is born.

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Everyday you could do something about it but everyday you don't.

Positive Words of Negativity

When you pick up a book to read have you already decided how you are going to feel about the writing? Though this is a very unenlightened perspective to possess at the outset of any read, some people are like this. This predetermined mindset goes to both sides of the spectrum. There are those who love an author so they believe they will love any book that author composes. Then, on the other side of the coin, there are those who look for a reason to hate a book they have decided to read. They begin their reading experience seeking out a reason to dislike what is written.

But, why is this? Why do people choose to do something with a predetermined perspective? To answer, this really goes to the mindset of the individual. This goes to their psychological makeup. And, it goes to the person they choose to present to the world—even if that person is only presented to family members, close friends, and/or themselves. They want to be seen as a something; a knower.

To ask the question of most people, “How often have you decided to do something like read a book knowing that you have already made up your mind as to whether or not you will love or hate it?” For most, the answer would be never. You may end up loving or hating the book but you do not go into the experience of reading it with a mind already made up. It is important to know in life, however, that there are other people out there that want to make something someone else created, “A something.” “A something,” that they want it to be.

I believe we all remember when we had to write a, “Book report,” for a book we were assigned to read in school. In many cases, we were assigned a book that we probably would never have picked up on our own accord. None-the-less, we were given an assignment and we were forced to complete it to the best of our ability. From this, we can all discuss some of the classic works of literature as we were all forced to read and report on a very common list of writings.

Some people, enter into reading a book in this manner. They go at it like they are doing a book report. They read it, but instead of allowing it to stand on its own merits to the mind of each individual, they hope to pick it apart and thereby present their personal take on that work as its ultimate authority. Again, why do people do this? The answer to this question is twofold. First of all, this mindset is based in a misplaced sense of being all-knowing. Somehow, someway this person as emerged in their life believing that they possess a deeper sense of understanding than does the average individual and, as such, they tell themselves they have the right to evaluate all things/anything so others will be forced to base their opinion on what they have detailed. The second part of the answer to this equation goes to the individual’s level of personal understand of Self in association with the reality of, “Out there.” Most of these people have found themselves, to whatever degree, shunned by society in the early stages of their life. From this, they have developed a deep sense of insecurity. Though they most likely will never present this insecurity to the world, in fact just the opposite, they live a life of perpetuated judgment based on early life experiences. As they want to overcome this early shunning they step to the forefront of life and present themselves as, “The knower.” From this, they present what, “They believe,” to the world.

The thing about life is that many people do not have a strong, highly developed sense of Self. They want to be part of the crowd. Thus, the people who put themselves at the apex of knowledge easily find followers.

It is very important in life that each of us studies what we are doing, our motivations for what we are doing, and what effect what we are doing is having upon the world. If you enter into anything with predetermined notions, then you are robbing yourself of a true and natural experience for what you are doing in life. If you attach your judgment to what you have previously chosen to encountering than you are taking, “Choice,” away from the person listening to what you have to say. If you do this, not only do you become karmiclly responsibly for what happens next in the life of that person who listens to you, but you rob the freedom of choice that the greater whole of the world should be allowed to posses.

Allow yourself to enter each new experiences with a sense of undefined wonderment and lack of judgment. When you have passed through that experience don’t attempt to make others feel the same way as you feel about it. Allow each person to experience life from their own personal perspective. Then, we are each allowed to be who we can ultimately become and each person is allowed to feel the way they want to feel.

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Just because it is hidden does not mean that it doesn't exist.

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Do you consciously try to become a better person?

Fight the Good Fight

There is the age old statement, “Fight the good fight.” As all statements can be, this statement can be interpreted in several different ways. But, at its heart, most interpret it as, fighting for what is good and what is right. But, what is good and right? Is good and right a whole thing onto itself or is simply what you believe is good and right?

If you look around at the world, your society, your group of friends, or even at yourself, what do people believe is good? If you study this, you will see that each person, each group, each society, defines good as something different. Yes, there may be large groups of people who come together under one banner to fight for a cause they believe is good and right but look across the street and there will be another group fighting for just the opposite cause. From this, we can understand that, “Fighting the good fight,” is a concept based upon personal interpretation and it is not a universal truth.

Think about the things you are passionate about—the things that you believe are right and the things that you believe are wrong. Is there a commonality of those things? That commonality is most likely that they get your juices flowing. This or that makes you angry so first it causes a mental reaction in you which then possibly leads to a physical reaction.

Now, think about the last time you watched on TV as a large group of people destroyed things on a college campus, rioted in a city, beat someone up on the street because someone believed something different than they did, possessed a differing ethnic makeup, or killed people in war. Did all of these people believe that they were fighting the good fight? Probably. But, what that thought did was to cause them do something very negative which can and should never be defined by the word, “Good,” on any level. They were fighting their fight but the minute they entered the world of causing harm, all goodness of their deed was lost.

Look around yourself and the people you interact with on the personal level: at your school, place of employment, at the gym, or on the internet. Is there a commonality of cause that exists between you? What is that commonality? Is it based on someone or something you love or someone or something you hate? If it is based on that ladder what are you are invoking, due to your cause, is negativity. And negativity is always universally based upon personal judgment being cast out the to the world. From this, nothing positive is ever born.

Moreover, is there one person, one personality who draws you and your group together. If so, what you have entered into is a cult of personality. And, a cult of personality has been the sourcepoint for all of the bad things that have happened in the world due to people falling in with a cult.

To define whether or not you are falling in with a cult of personality, take a look at what you say and what you do within the confines of your group. Are you praising one person? Are you saying things that you hope will find you favor with that one person or with your group because you said that positive thing about that one person? If so, you are in a cult of personality and you may be karmically falling prey to any negative deeds that are being unleashed onto individual people and/or the world emanating from that cult.

Fighting the good fight should never be based solely on an emotion filled reaction unleashed onto people or the world. The good fight should be based upon a universally positive reaction to all things in the sphere of life.

We all know, we have all witnessed what saying or doing negative things does to a person, a formulated group, or to a society. If you become part of that negative experience, though it may get your juices flowing, what does it do to the whole of your life? What will it do to you and your ultimate evolution?

Look at your life. Look at what you say and what you do. Look at why you say what you say and do what you do. Look at how you behave towards other people based upon what you feel.

Why do you feel what you feel? Is it a natural realization on your own part? Or, did someone guide you in the direction of feeling what you feel? And, are you feeling what you are feeling to make someone else happy?

At the heart of the, “Good fight,” is always the word, “Good.” Good is always good. There is never anything negative attached to that definition. Do good.

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If you've judge somebody, you've judge somebody.

If you've said something negative about somebody, you've said something negative about somebody.

What are the consequence both seen and unseen?

If you've accept a person for who and what they are, you've accepted a person for who and what they are.

If you've said something positive about about somebody, you've said something positive about somebody.

What are the consequence both seen and unseen?

How would you be judged if you reveled the true you?

What would people say about you if they knew the true you?

The Things That Make You Upset

For each of us there are situations that occur in our lives that make us upset. For most people, these situations are motivated by something some person has done. …They did something, we didn’t like what they did, thus we are upset. But, this is not always the case, some people look outside of themselves and their own life situation to find a reason to be upset. This is not based upon interpersonal relationships, however, it is, in fact, a psychological abnormality. But, no matter what the cause, when an individual is upset this is the time when they are most likely to do something that not only negatively affects the life of the person that has made them upset but their own life, as well.

Look at yourself. Who or what upsets you? Think about a time when you were upset at a person. What was the reason? Most likely, it was due to the fact that they did something that you did not like. But, now look deeper into the situation. Why did they do it? What element of you, your desires, your life, what you previously had done to them, caused them to do what they did to you that ultimately upset you?

If we actually take the time to study our life we will find that, in many cases, the reason we have become upset at a person is actually based in something we instigated. Certainly, most people are not self-aware enough to acknowledge this fact. They forever want to shift the blame onto anyone but themselves. But, the truth be told, in many cases the reason you are upset at a person is because of a situation that was brought into existence by you.

If you can own this fact, not only will you pass through life being far less upset but you will also come to understand human consciousness from a much more refined perspective.

It is not only people that upset us. Sometimes we are mad at the world around us. Maybe you don’t like the current political condition of the country where you live, maybe you are mad at the powers-that-be who dominate your life, or maybe you are just frustrated with where you find yourself in life. No matter what the cause, when you are upset at something outside of yourself, that is anger based in a choice. You have decided that you don’t like that something. Thus, it causes you to be upset.

The problem with focusing your anger on something, “Out There,” is, “Out There,” is not, “In Here.” It is not something that you are. It is something that is pulling you away from yourself and your own personal inner-development.

As I often discuss, anger is an addictive emotion. It is also an extremely negative emotion as it has the potential to make people do some very-very bad things. If you are allowing yourself to have your anger motived by the, “Out There,” it takes away from what you are doing towards your own personal development. In fact, that is why so many people focus their mind on the, “Out There.” They do that so they do not have to look inside themselves, perhaps resolve their own inner issues, and, thereby, come to a new and deeper understanding of their own human consciousness.

We each get dragged into the mindset of being upset from time-to-time. This is simply part of the human condition. This, “Being upset,” is generally brought about by the actions of another. Again, this is part of the human condition as most people do not take the time to think about what effect they are having on another person or another person’s person life by the words they are speaking or the actions they are unleashing. …People are a selfish breed… This being said, each time you find yourself being upset you can choose to control this emotion as opposed to letting it control you. The fact is, the more times you allow yourself to become upset, at people and situations, as you pass thorough life, the deeper you will allow that emotion to carve its way into your psyche. This is where the addition to being upset is born.

Think about it, do you like to be upset? If you do, you are following a path of aberrant reality. If you don’t, teach yourself to not let it control your life.

In closing, I can tell you a funny/interesting story about being upset. Many people believe that spiritual communities, especially those following an Eastern path to realization, are never burdened by people who are angry or upset. This, however, is not universally the case.

When I first found my way to Swami Satchidanand’s Integral Yoga Institute, when I was a teenager, I knocked on the door and they invited me in. The female Swami who opened the door had been sitting on the floor putting together a newsletter. With my young mind focused on Karma Yoga (Selfless Service) I happily sat down and began to help her. A few minutes later another female Swami came in and said something to her. The Swami I was initially sitting with got up and walked into the other room where the pair began a big argument. Me, I awkwardly sat there finishing up the newsletter as the two argued in the other room upset at one another about something. There I was, a person they did not yet even know, and there they were, two Swamis, arguing in the other room. I finished up the newsletter and waited for my new friend to return. Happy

You see, people get upset everywhere. But, it is always what you choose to do with that emotion that defines you as a human being.

Killed By Death

If I can reference the great Motorhead song, “Killed By Death,” I think it is very sad that recently it seems there have been a number of seminal artists taking their own life. It was just revealed that Chester Bennington took his own life today. Just a few weeks ago, Chris Cornell also hanged himself. I mean both of these guys had phenomenal voices. And, Chris Cornell truly helped to usher in a new genre of music, Grunge. Sad…

I just heard on TMZ Live that the two were close friends and today would have been Chris Cornell's birthday. So, Bennington was sending some sort of message. He hanged himself at his home very close to where I live. Sad!

Certainly, suicide is nothing new. It has been going on since the dawn of humanity. And, from a philosophic perspective, people should have the right to end their own life if they no longer wish to live. I mean, we do not have a choice about being born but, if we wish, we should have a choice in our death. Though this is usually not the case… Most people when they come up against the door of death, they do not want to enter. Yet, they are pushed through. But, that is getting off the subject.

I think it was probably brought clearly home when Robin Williams took his own life in 2014. In all of these three cases, it appeared as if these people had the world by the tail. …Chris Cornell had just gotten off stage… But, they each chose to get off of the ride.

There is always the discussion after a person takes their own life as to why. Many reference depression, the wrong medications, bullying, a bad breakup, financial crisis, no hope on the horizon, and the list goes on… But, what occurred, for whatever reason, is a person decided they no longer wished to live.

Now, the three aforementioned people were each very famous in their own right. They seemed to be living a very good life. …A life that many of us can only dream of. But, think about all of the people whom you never heard of, who were never famous, and they took their own life, as well. As you didn’t know them, never heard of them, do you even care? And, do the fans of these famous people, who take their lives, truly care? Does anyone care about anybody that they do not personally know? And, maybe this goes to the source of the problem… Most people don’t care unless they have a reason to care. Maybe that reason is bloodline, maybe it is love, maybe it is money, but if you only posses the ability to care about someone who does something for you, that is doing business that is not a true, deep, interpersonal relationship. Maybe that was what was lacking from their lives of these people—all the people who take their own life. In most cases, we will never know.

But, the one thing to think about as you pass through your life is that you really need to take the full-on focus of your mind off of yourself: what you want, what you think you need, what you think you deserve. You really need think about other people—not just the people you love or those who pay your rent, you need to think about the everybody—the person out there who needs your help—the person who's life that would become so much better if you simply said a kind word to them or did a good deed for them. Think about them. Stop thinking only about yourself. You never know, maybe by behaving in this manner, you will save a person from suicide.

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There is no way to live in the dirt and not get dirty.

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I understand that everyone wants everything for free these day. But, if you were the creator of those things you would have a different perspective.

Do you get paid for what you do? Would you do what you do for free?

If You Want Me to Be in the Conversation Let Me Be in the Conversation

Whenever I create a narrative-driven film I allow my actors to speak the way they would naturally speak—say what they would naturally say. From this, I believe it provides their character with a sense of realism.

In times gone past, Donald G. Jackson and I would feed our characters their lines in our Zen Films. But, I left that ideology behind long ago, as it is not as real as real.

In my Zen Films what I do is allow the actors to say whatever they want. I give them a bit of framework for their character at the outset and then I let them run with it. The only time I interrupt is if they are going totally off storyline. Then, I leave it to the editing room to find the best of the best. That’s the great thing about cinema, you have time. It’s not like TV that has to be cut down to a very precise period of time. The filmmaker has freedom, if they allow themselves to embrace it. Thus, I want my actors to be a part of this process of cinematic freedom.

When it comes to life, I also think this is the best practice—let people say what they will say. From this, you are allowed to see into their psychic; as what they say and the way they say it can provide you with deep insight into how they truly feel about you, life, and themselves. What a person chooses to say and how they choose to say it is very revealing about who they truly are on the inside.

As an actor, on the sets of other director’s films, in many cases, I have been given a script with lines to memorizes. That’s fine but is that person me? No, it is a person I am pretending to be. In some cases, in small parts in A-Films, I have been given an on-set line or two to speak. But, I always find those words are forced and predictable. How often do you only say one line? I always felt if they wanted me to speak, they should let me speak. Then, like in the case of Zen Filmmaking, a natural conversation would evolve. From this, the audience would be treated to a condition of naturalness.

The one exception to this was the film I did directed by Robert Altman, The Player. I arrived on the set to play the role of, “White Guy.” Yes, in all truth that is what my character’s name was given in the actual script. I still have the original script so I can prove it! In that case, as we begin to shoot second part for my character on the stairwell of the Rialto Theater in Pasadena, I didn’t like the line that had been written for me. I told this to Bob. He said, say whatever you want. “You got the wrong guy, man.” From this, it caused a moment of reflection in the film. I remember being at the premier of, The Player. With great cinema creation and story development, the filmmaking team had built my charterer up to the degree that after my character’s set up in the movie theater, watching the movie the Bicycle Thief, the audience all gasp when I said that simple line. And, as the person who created it, that was a really good feeling!

Most of the time on the set, the actors don’t have that freedom, however. They are forced to speak words that have been memorized from a script. This is just like in life; you are trapped in an environment where you must be defined by what you are defined by. Thus, you are not allowed to say what you actually feel. This is why the internet has taken off to the degree that it has—anyone can say anything thing. And, hidden by a screen name, no one knows who you truly are, so they can’t confront you face-to-face about what you have said—thus there is a veil of protection.

Yeah, yeah… This is the coward’s way out. I agree! But, for all those with no voice, here they have a voice.

But, more to the point, think about when you speak to people… Do the people you know, (the people you actually associate with in real life), allow you to speak in the manner you truly desire? Moreover, do they hear you? Do they listen to what you have to say, consider your point of view, and perhaps change their mind to give your point of view room to grow in life?

Truthfully, most people’s lives are not like that. Most people do not want you to speak. If you do speak, most people do not want to listen to what you have to say. At best, they pay you lip service and then continue on their path of self-induced righteous.

Life is a complicated pathway. As I bought up the internet, I can say, there is no true dialogue out here. No one says they’re sorry, because no one care about the consequences. At least they don’t care about the consequences to others—only themselves. But, this is a shallow place to live your life from for at the end of the day what will it equal? Only you saying what you said, somebody else saying what they said, but no interaction and growing of the minds of multiple people. Thus, evolution is halted. There is only you and no one else.

So, back to the original point, if you want me to be in the conversation, let me be in the conversation. Just like an actor in a film, let me speak in a natural way. Then, you will know me, I will know you, and we can create a new evolution of life and understanding.

No New Converts

How many people have you known in your life that have changed? How many people have you actually known that have perhaps heard some inspirational words, read an inspiring book, or maybe had a realization, and then have changed? …Have stopped living their life from a selfish perspective, thinking only about themselves, and set about on a course of doing and saying only good things, actually helping people, and consciously attempting to make the world a better more spiritual place? My guess would be none.

The people who consciously walk the path of consciousness are few. Most who do acquire this inclination when they are very young. But, there have been others who have had their life shaken up, generally by some tragedy, and then have changed—they are forced into a new understanding of life awareness and from that realization they move forward with a conscious inclination to do good things, to help people, and to attempt to make all things better. But, these people are few.

Look around yourself—look at the people you know, how many of them care? Some may be nice, some may be funny, some may even be religious; but how many of them actually make the conscious choice to get out there and make the world a better place?

Certainly, it can be argued that the people who are on the forefront of helping others do so to gain a sense of accomplishment. From a psychological perspective, this may well be the case. But, think about the effect they are having on the world compared to that of the person who thinks about nothing but themselves: what they like, what they dislike, what they want, and whom they wish to become. Which person do you believe makes the greater contribution to the world and to human society?

When you wake up in the morning what do you think about? Here, is the ideal place to chart where your consciousness lies. For parents, many wake up thinking about their children. This is a good and natural first-thought. For young lovers, they may wake up thinking about the person lying next to them. Again, that is natural. But, to the greater whole, when you wake up in the morning what is your first thought? Is your first thought about you or is it about what you can do for the betterment of all? Is it you thinking, “I need a cup of coffee?” Or, is it you thinking, “Today I am going to do this particular something to try to make that person’s life a little better?”

The truth be told, no matter what you say to the person who only thinks about themselves, they are not going to change their mind. This is why there are no new converts. This is why so much of the world’s populous goes around hurting each other. People only think about themselves.

This is being said, it can be you who actually chooses to make the change—chooses to be more and do more. You
personally; you can make the world a better place. How do you do this? By caring about others instead of only caring about yourself.

The Last Laugh

I just had a chance to check out the first preview for James Franco’s upcoming movie, The Disaster Artist. The movie is based on the making of Tommy Wiseau’s film, The Room. I have never met Tommy nor have I seen his film, The Room. But I have, of course, heard about him and the film. I have to say it must feel pretty good for Tommy to have the last laugh. I mean all of those people who have talked shit about him, particularly on the internet, and now Big-Dollar Hollywood is making a Bio Pic about him with a cast made up of A-List talent. That must feel pretty good!

I had a very small example of that happen to me about ten years ago when a group of students at Grand Valley State University in Michigan made a ten-part mockumentary goofing on me, Don, and Zen Filmmaking. I just found it one day on YouTube. I have mentioned this here in this blog before but you can get to it by going to my YouTube channel or by searching Zen Filmmaking on YouTube. It was a great piece of true Zen Filmmaking. I never met any of those people. If you are out there you should get in touch with me and we can make a Zen Film together. I’ll bring the camera. Happy

But, that was a small budget project. Nothing like, Wiseau. He gets the big bank behind him. That’s great! It’s a true testament to indie filmmakers who make less than mainstream presentations.

It must have been an interesting experience for him to work with those people on that level. I know whenever I’m called up to The Bigs it is a trip. I mean the amount of people and the amount of money they spend on those big productions. It is scary. I think I’ve mentioned this before, in some previous blog (somewhere), but on the last A-Market film I did they had this stand-in for my character. It was funny. He was the much younger, better looking, version of me. I told him, he should be the one in front the camera. Though most of my part ended up on the cutting room floor—but that’s okay, it’s not all that unusual as the big films shoot so much footage that is never used it is scary. Like I tell my actor friends when they complain about that kind of thing happening to them, “You should be really thankful! They treat you like a king (or queen), you get paid stupid amounts of money, and you don’t have to do anything to earn it.”

I checked Tommy’s IMDB.com page and it doesn’t look like he has made a full fledged movie like, The Room, since 2003. But, I guess that’s all he needed to do. It was enough to get the attention of Hollywood and have James Franco play him in a film. Congratulations to all concerned!

Right Thought and What You Do Today Equals Your Tomorrow

As I often discuss in this blog, the world is created by you. What you do today sets your tomorrow into motion. What you say or do spreads from you and has the potential to affect the entire world. Thus, you must be very focused on what you say and what you do if you hope for not only your own life to be lived as a good life but for all you encounter to have a positive experience. This is why one of the key concepts to Buddhist philosophy is the understanding of, “Right Thought.”

Take a moment and look at your life. Think about a time when you were angry, jealous, mad, envious, greedy, or lust driven. How did that make you feel? Now, look deeper into that time in your life—more than simply how you felt what did that emotion cause you to say or do? And, what was the result of what you said or did?

If we look outside of ourselves, we can easily see how anger has caused many people to do very-very bad things. Even if they did not actually intend to do something bad, they were emotion driven and bad results occurred.

In many ways, it is easy to critique the life of someone else, it is much harder for you to look at yourself and to truly view what a negative emotion has caused you to do and what were its wide spanning consequences. The reason for this is simple, most people believe that what they are feeling is right and they have a reason for feeling the way they are feeling. Thus, any outburst or action they unleash they feel is justified. But, is it? Is what you think and feel more important than what another person thinks and feels? Some will immediately answer, “Yes, it is.” But, that is a selfish mindset speaking. A True Person always considers another person before they speak and/or act.

Let’s look at the source of emotional action a little bit further. Remember a time when you were feeling a certain way and that emotion caused you act. You acted, you did what you did, you affected the life of another person the way you affected the life of another person but what was the ultimate benefit to you? Did it all of a sudden make your entire life better? Maybe you felt good for a moment for getting over on another person that you were angry at or did not like, but did that action truly make your overall life any better? Moreover, what were the long term ramifications of your action? If you hurt somebody, now they are probably angry at you. Now what? Do you need to look over your shoulder?

The problem with Self-Though and only thinking about yourself—only being driven by what you are feeling in a particular moment is that it does not lead to a better ALL in your life. Plus, basing your life on the temporality of emotion is that you create a lot of karma for yourself. And, though in one moment you may be flush with friends cheering you on, in the long term any negative action based upon any negative thought or emotions comes back to take its toll on your life. Thus, this is why the Buddhist practices, “Right Thought.”

What is Right Thought? Just as the combination of words imply, it is thinking righteous thoughts. It is controlling your thoughts so your thoughts do not control you. It is causing yourself to not be controlled by your emotions so that you do not do bad things that hurt other people which will ultimately hurt you.

Right Thought is not necessarily easy if you have lived a life defined by uncontrolled emotions. Though it is not necessarily easy, it is the easiest thing to do. Just get control of yourself! Just get control over your mind! Don’t let your emotions dominate your every thought causing you to unleash selfish, uncaring actions.

By taking control, you are in control. By being in control, that will give you a thousands times more internal pleasure than you would gain from constantly being in a state of disharmony brought about by your own lack of self-projected fulfillment.

And, this is the main point… Why are you ever angry, jealous, or greedy? Because you are unfulfilled. Why are you unfulfilled? Because you want more and/or you want control. You want all that you want when you want it. But think about this… What if you just let go of that anger? What if you just let go of that jealousy? What if you just let go of that desire? Think how free you would be. Think how happy you would become. And, from this, no negative action would be born based upon you doing negative things based upon a negative emotion.

Be free. Think Right Thoughts.

Never the Same

In everyone’s life things happen that change everything forever. Some of these events are very small while others are very large, most fall somewhere in between. The one thing they all have in common is that they are memorable and life altering enough that your life is never the same once they occur.

Yesterday, a guy ran into my lady’s car as we were driving home from celebrating National Ice Cream Day at a local ice cream shop. All was well with the world but the guy, looking at his phone, didn’t see that we were stopped at a light and smashed into her car and the impact then shoved it into the SUV in front of us. Her car is totaled. Though it was fairly old but it ran well and she liked it, so what more can you ask. But, it’s gone… Now, we have to deal with all of the nonsense of getting her another car. The paramedics showed up and wanted to take me to the hospitable but I, of course, turned that down. My neck’s a little tweaked but hopefully it will get better. So, there it is, an example of a relatively small event that changes everything forever.

Certainly, I’ve had far worse accidents, like when a girl, driving her Mercedes, ran into my motorcycle when I was twenty-one almost killing me. Nothing about my life was ever the same… But, does she even remember or care about what she did?

This goes to the point of what you do, why you do it, and how you do it. There are enough accidents in life that can change your everything forever, why should you set about on a course and consciously do anything that will alter anybody’s life? What makes you think you have the right?

Some people are very conscious of other people. They truly care about adding to the greater good. They are good people and try to only do good things. On the other hand, some people are flat-out bad. They live a life course that hurts others. But, look at their lives over time. Where do they end up? You will see that behaving in that manner will catch up to them.

Most people, however, do not try to be good. They do not try to make the world a better place. Just as most people are not bad, they do not try to hurt or take from others. It is the people in the middle who either live their life from a space of uncaring unconsciousness or possess a misplaced sense of entitlement that causes many of the Never-the-Same crisis to occur in the lives of other people.

I talk about this kind of stuff all the time. I really hope people will think about what they are doing before they do it, chart what effect it may have: whom it will help and whom it will hurt. I believe most of the people who reads this blog are like that. They do not want to be the cause of creating Never-the-Same moments in people’s lives unless it is based on the case of making someone’s life better. But, there are all those others out there who do not care enough to care. They only think about themselves: they justify their actions and surround themselves with people who are telling them they are okay. But, hurting anyone is never okay. Don't support people who live their life from that frame of mind. This is why you really must become WHOLE enough in yourself to study what you are doing before you do it. Care enough to care! If it is going to hurt someone/anyone don’t do it. If you do hurt someone, at least be like they guy who ran into my lady’s car yesterday and be adult enough to apologize like he did, be calm, and try to make things better. As better is always better!

There are enough uncharitable accidents in this world that will cause people to be Never-the-Same. Don’t consciously do anything that causes that catastrophe in anyone’s life.

The Harsh Realms of Reality

I always find it curious the way people focus on so much outside of themselves. They think and talk about all the things in life that do not truly affect them. Yet, they form opinions and discuss what they think about this person or that, that organization or this, what they would do if and when they could, they discuss how someone else should live and what others should do. But, none of this adds up to anything but the sheer rambling meaninglessness of life. It does not equal anything! Yet, how many people focus their entire life upon this style of banter.

I should say, that people behave in this manner only when they are allowed to do so. …Only when they are living a life of safety and wholeness; where they have enough to eat, a safe place to live, and do not have to fight a war every time that they walk out the front door.

Think about it, there are a lot of people who must live their life at that level. I imagine if you are reading this blog you do not… And, that is a good thing… But, on the other side of the issue, do you live your life based on the concept of privilege? And, do you ever consider what you are doing, how you are living your life, and why? Do you ever consider the big picture before you say what you say and/or do what you do? Do you ever view the reality of your life, what you are creating with your life, based upon where you find yourself in life? If you don’t you should.

***

When you do not know the facts your opinion has no validity.

Loving the Melodrama

Some people love melodrama in their life. They are constantly looking for something to make them excited, angry, dissatisfied—all in order to get that rush that comes from that burst of adrenaline based upon an intense emotion. For these people, if they cannot automatically find something to stir their juices they create it. I have known several people who live their life based upon this mindset.

Personally, I don’t like that feeling. I don’t like to feel angry, nervous, paranoid, or enraged. So me, I don’t look for things to stir those emotions. When they have come to my life it is usually by the hands of one of those people who likes that kind of stuff and as they use whatever method necessary to get their emotional fix they oftentimes drag others into their melodrama.

Has that as that ever happened to you? Has anyone ever created a situation where you were dragged into a melodramatic situation by the words or the action of another person? How did you feel about that? And, have you ever done that to another person? Have you ever done something that brought disruption and chaos to the life of another person? Why did you do it?

Certainly, in the real realms of life is where these emotions take hold but online I always find it an interesting place to observe human behavior. It is quite easy to view how people behave in life by the websites they visit, by the screen names they choose, by the words they choose to write on those sites, and especially by the way they describe and interact with others. I mean look around the various sites online where they allow people to express their opinions and you will easily be able to see how some people are positive, passive, nice, and understanding, while others are like attack dogs—what they say and do is based upon a defined sense of personal judgment and anger being expressed from the mindset of I am right, you are wrong; I hate you.

Each person’s life is made up by the experiences they experience as they pass through life. Each person’s life is also defined by the experiences they create in their own life and the ones they instigate in the lives of other people. This is where karma is born.

How many people do you know who live their life on the level of existence where they draw others into their realm of emotion-driven consciousness and do so from a place of caring or understanding? Almost universally you will find that people who create melodrama, (and draw others into it), do so from a very personally undefined since of reality where they are not in touch with themselves, they do not truly care about anyone but themselves, and they do not care what effect they are having on the lives of others—they only care about seeking their emotional rush.

We each have a choice how we encounter life. We also have a choice of what we bring to the lives of others by what we say and what we do. How is what you are saying and doing affecting your life and, in may ways more importantly, how is what you are saying and doing affecting the lives of other people? And, do you care about any of this? If you don’t, that is the perfect description of you as a human being. Do you like that person?

In life, unless we hide from the world, we each are going to encounter undesired melodrama in life—even if we are one of the people who does not seek it out. Almost universally this will be brought to our life by another person who is either questing this type of mental stimulation, (via either a conscious or unconscious method), or by someone who simply is unconscious of their actions or does not even care enough to care. But, it is what you do with that energy when it attacks you that defines you as a human being. We can allow ourselves to be dragged into the negativity of it or we we can sidestep the attack, remain conscious, and hold tight to our Best Self while the turbulent energy surges around us.

We are all here in life together. Some hope to make each person’s life better while others only think about themselves. This has been the definition of life since the beginning of time. All you can do is make the best, most positive decisions available to you when you are confronted by the random mind games of another.

Be strong. Be positive. Care about others. Think about the effect of what you are doing will have on others. Live a good life. Create a good life for other people.

***

Do you ever watch the news or the online news feeds and see all of the bad things that are taking place in the world?

What is the common denominator of these bad deeds?

It is people doing things that hurt other people.

Do you participate in any of those bad deeds?

Do you make excuses or provide justifications for your words or your actions?

Small things grow to equal big things.

If anyone is hurt by what you say or what you do you are performing a negative action that leads to a bad deed being performed.

As you are the sourcepoint, you are responsible for all that happens in the world.

Study what you say and what you do. See where your words and your actions lead and what they lead to.

Make the world a safer, better place.


Old Enough to Be Your Grandfather

I had kind of a funny/interesting experience the other day. I got talking to one of my barista buddies at Starbucks. I was surprised to find out that, for some reason, he though I was around the same age as him, mid thirties. He didn’t believe me when I told him how old I am. “You want to see my ID,” I joking exclaimed. “I’m old enough to be your father!”

I guess I am lucky in that I haven’t gone very grey as of yet. But, I am sure it will catch up with me sooner rather than later. And yes, the functionality of my body has been destroyed by my five plus decades of doing the martial arts. But, overall I feel pretty good.

That being said, I would imagine that most of the people who read this blog are of the age that they could be my children or even grandchildren. Inside, that makes me laugh. I’m old! Even though I feel very young.

Aging as never bothered me. Some people run away from it, lie about their age, get plastic surgery, dye their hair, and do all that kind of stuff. Not me. I embrace it.

And, this brings us to the point of all this rambling…

From age, it gives you the time to watch things change and to observe the trends and the patterns of people. For lack of a better phrase, yes, it does give you wisdom if you are aware enough to observe life.

When you were growing up maybe you were told to, “Respect your elders.” I know I was. Certainly, as I have been highly interactive with Asian culture throughout most of my life I have observed how, even if a person does not like one of their older family or group members they pay them respect. But here, in the Western world, everyone is so self-empowered they pay no tribute to anything, they show no respect to anyone for any reason. They don’t care about the fact that maybe they are wrong, just if they can scream the loudest to make themselves seem right. They do this to anyone, everyone, no matter what their age or what their status in life. But, I believe that something is lost for those who embrace this mindset.

I watched in the 1960s how it became taboo to be old. “Don’t trust anyone over thirty,” was one of the mottos. The 60s, of course, was a time of rapid cultural change. This change was seemingly orchestrated by the thoughts and actions of the young. Thus, age became a detriment.

The thing about youth verse age, however, is think about those youth from the 1960s, how old are the now? Or, are they even still alive?

Time is the master of us all. We all pass through life. If we live long enough we all become old. But, it is what you with your time here in life, as you pass from youth to old, that is what defines you as a person and, in fact, defines your lasting effect on this Life-Place.

The thing about our current time is that so many people, (especially the young), live their life on the internet, staring at a screen. Though this is certainly the name of the game of the current era, there is something very false and disingenuous about this. No one is anybody. They are a screen name which is something that is non-existent. They rarely, if ever, bridge that gap between cyber space and reality with the people they communicate with or talk about. Thus, their reality is not real—meaning they are not real. In the Hindu and Buddhist concept of Maya, (that life is illusion), this is the ultimate example.

The thing is, via personal interaction and personal communication, a person comes to truly understand another individual. I believe we have all had the experience where we have emailed somebody something, that we have written, and the other person took it totally the wrong way. The written words didn’t truly convey our intended meaning. This is the perfect example because if the personal communication had been face-to-face then the intent of the words would have been correctly understood. …As you can read the facial and body language of a person and hear the way their words are spoken.

But, more to the point… From personal interaction you have the opportunity to come to understand a person on a much more subtle level. If you are of the same age group, you may have common life experiences. If someone is younger, you can witness that you may have encountered certain life experiences that this person is yet to meet. And, if you personally speak with someone who is older, you may realize that they have gone through life events that you have not. From this, you may be able to learn something from them and avoid some of the life obstacles they have encountered.

Youth to age is the established pattern of life. There is no way around it. What I believe people need to do is to come to a deeper understanding of this process, instead of demeaning or running away from it, and take the time to listen to those who have walked the path before you as they probably have a lot to teach. I know I have done this throughout my life and even if I did not ultimately agree with the person, I was always able to learn something about life from them.

Tick Tock. You’re getting old!

Not A Chinaman’s Chance

I spend a lot of my free time watching and studying old movies. My perference lies to late 1930s and 1940s cinema but in reality I love cinema from all eras. In fact, I’ve been asked to write a book on midcentury cinema a couple of times. But, I have, at least so-far, turned all those offers down. Having read far too many poorly researched and/or written books, I just have not wanted to add to that literary concoction.

The one thing I find in older cinema is how it truly depicts the mindset of the era. The way people speak, especially when they speak in slang, truly allows one to reference and understand how people understood and transmitted the culture of that time period. Certainly, what is allowed to be said verse what is not allowed to be said, lets one peer into the culture of the period. Whereas cussing in all shapes and sizes is simply thought to be the norm in current cinema, that was not the case it times gone past where there was virtually no, “Bad language,” used in films.

On the other side of the coin, what has become the modern culture of, “Political correctness,” in today’s film marketplace, was not at all the case in times gone past. I was watching a movie from the 1930s today and they used the expression, “Not a Chinaman’s Chance,” meaning that there was little or no chance of it happening. Can you imagine the uproar if someone made that statement in a modern film? It would be called racist. Again, this goes to the mindset of the era.

In today’s society, what one says and how they say it must be highly calculated so no one, of any specific ethnic group, will be offended. But, looking back, this was not even a thought. Look to the war era films where it was commonplace to refer to Germans as, “Krauts,” or the Japanese as, “Nips.”

We, as a universal people on this planet have evolved, and that evolution is revealed in the way we speak in films. In fact, this can be seen represented throughout human history. If you look back, just a couple of centuries, virtually no one travelled anywhere. Travel was very-very limited. From this came a homogenous culture where everyone saw anyone, even if from just a few miles away, as a stranger to be feared. As we as humans have moved from the industrial to the technological age, travel has become more and more common. From this, people have witnessed and embraced the traits of other cultures. Though obviously sometimes this intercultural mixation is and has not been an easy one. None-the-less, it is happening. So much so that soon there will be one race.

With cinema as a representation of cultural, we can witness this in the ways racially sensitive terms that were once used in abundances have diminished drastically. This observable quality in itself, is another clue to how cinema portrays the culture of when it was created.

Cinema has certainly overtaken novels as a means of fictionally portraying culture and spreading it from generation to generation. With the widespread dissemination of cinema, from all eras, now on the internet, this will continue to be the case. All this being said, if you take the time to study the words used and the way the actors spoke them, in each era of cinema, you can truly peer back into your culture and define the point in time where actual cultural transformation took place.

Who Do the Gods Pray To?

I go to this Hindu temple sometimes. It is really a very elaborate, beautiful place. It is highly ornamented.

In India, it is not unusual to find temples of this caliber. But, here in the States, there are only a very-very few. This one being one of the nicest.

When I go there, I am generally the only non-South Asian person inside its walls. I guess not too many Caucasian find their spiritual sustenance in this religion. Though all of those in attendance are of South Asian decent, I never feel anything but welcomed.

The last time I was there, I was taking my shoes off at the base of the stairs to the entrance. For those of you who may not know, you never wear your shoes inside a Hindu temple. Generally, first you take your shoes off, then you wash your feet before you go inside. I won’t go into all of the hygienic and symbolic reasons for that practice, but it is what is done. As I was taking my shoes off, I got into a small conversation with another devotee. He was a medical doctor still wearing his scrubs. Nice, friend guy.

Eventually, I made my way inside and spent a few moments, as I like to do, just absorbing the spiritual energy before I do anything else. As I stood there, I notice that the aforementioned doctor was in full prostration, (laying completely down on the ground, face first). To Westerners, this practice may seem strange. But, to the truly devoted Hindu, it is not uncommon at all.

What I was seeing caused me to think… As I am in close association with several people in the medical profession and a few medical doctors, I have come to know how their brains works. In some cases, these people feel all-empowered. I have heard them described, (especially the surgeons), as possessing the god complex. Yet, here he was, a man that held the key to life and death in his hands in full prostration to the gods.

I think few people possess that devotion. And, I believe that is sad, for so much of the world’s problems are caused by people who think they have the right to do anything they want to do, yet, they possess none of the skillset of this doctor who was completely devoted to his god. More people should be like him.

***

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.

Caring About People

Have you ever been sitting in a restaurant or some public place like that and you look around and take a conscious notice of the people around you? Do you ever study them? Do you ever wonder how they got to where they are in life and why? And, do you care? Do you/can you care about them? Can you care about that person as a human being?

Think about this, there you are in a restaurant… Maybe you’re sitting there by yourself. What are you thinking about? Are you thinking about how you can help that person at the next table—how you can make their life better? Probably not.

Most people spend all of their lifetime thinking only of themselves and perhaps those they love. This is the human condition. But, it is also a choice. At each moment of your life, you have the opportunity to care enough to care about someone else, their well-being, and perhaps making their life a little bit better, even if it takes effort on your part to do it. Or, you can think only about yourself, what you want, and what will make your life better.

People pursue what they desire in life. Some people are very driven and go after what they want until they get it. In this pursuit, the driven do not care who they hurt or who’s life they damage in the process as a long as they get what they want. From this mindset, that person sitting at the table next to you may have been held back from becoming all they could have become in life due to the desire-filled actions of another.

Some people think of others. Perhaps they donate to charities maybe they even do some volunteer work. From this, they may be having a positive effect on the greater whole of what they have given to. And, that is a good thing. But, the question is, do they care about the person sitting at the table next to them?

When you are face-to-face with somebody, that is reality. If you like the way they look, the way they speak, or the way they behave, caring about them is easy. But, what if it is just the opposite? What if you don’t like the way they look or the way they act, can you care about them?

This goes to the concept of judgment. …How each person views another person and places a categorical definition upon them. The problem is, there are so many things that goes into what a person has become in their life and what image they project to the world, that any definition you may place on them is a completely biased appraisal of their life which may or may not be correct.

This brings us back to the question… Like them, dislike them, love them, hate them, can you care about them?

It is a truly holy quality when a person can put their own desires and self-thoughts aside, if even for a moment, and care enough to care about the person sitting next to them. Care, no matter what definition they put on their life.

Caring is a choice. It is a choice you can or cannot make at any moment of your life. You can decide to care about a person: what they are feeling and what they are needing or you can decide to only think about yourself.

Most people will say, caring about others is the greater choice. But, most people do not make that choice. They are driven by what they are feeling and what they are wanting and they do not care about anyone else. But, you can. You can care enough to care. You can make the choice to care. You can make the choice to turn off your desires and do what you can to make the life of the person sitting next to you better.

Caring is a choice. Is it a choice you choose to make?

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 the 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. 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.

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 judgements 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 judgement.

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.

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.

***

When is it too late to turn around?

***

A saint in one faith is a sinner in another.

***

You are responsible for all things that you incite.

***

The only reason you think about the past is because you are not content in your present.

***

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

***

If you expect nothing you will never be disappointed.

Doesn’t It Make You Feel Stupid When You Are Wrong?

Recently, it was brought to my attention that Google is currently using a photograph of one the other Scott Shaw’s in association with their main link to my information on their website. They are using a photo of the cartoonist, Scott Shaw! A good guy, but he and I are two very different people. Yet, there it is, out there on the number one search engine in the world. But, they are wrong. That’s not me. But, Goggle being Google there is no way you can readily get in touch with them and tell them they are wrong. And, would they even care? In fact, on Scott Shaw!'s main page they have him listed as winning the Pulitzer Prize for News Photography. But, he didn't win the Pulitzer Prize. That's the photographer Scott Shaw. There's a lot of us Scott Shaw's out there. Happy

The thing is, many people believe everything that they see and/or read on the internet. First of all, I always question this mindset. Why do people do that? Why do they take everything at face value? Moreover, I wonder why people post stuff when they have no factual basis for their opinions posing as facts? But, the big question is, “Doesn’t it make you feel stupid when you are wrong?” I mean, how much of what you say is wrong? Where did you get your facts? Why are you speaking what you think you know? What karma does that create in your life when you say something that isn’t true? And, what are you going to do about it?

I think back to a girl I was speaking with one time and somehow/somewhere/someway she came to believe that Adolph Hitler was from Australia. When she exclaimed her fact, I smiled and explained to her that she simple didn’t hear correctly as he was from Austria. But, she wouldn’t believe me. She knew her facts and that was that. But, her facts were wrong. Yet, she fought like crazy to make me believe her.

I wonder how many people she spoke that bogus fact to listened to her and, at least for a moment, believed her? Moreover, I wonder how did she feel when and if she ever discovered that she was wrong?

…Speaking of Scott Shaw! Just a funny side note here… When we created the movie
Lingerie Kickboxer Kevin Eastman had a great poster drawn by the famed artist Simon Bizley. He then had a thousand copies of the poster run. At that point we still planned to release the movie and the poster was a predecessor to its release. Anyway, one day I walked into Golden Apple back when it was in its original location in the main section of Melrose Ave. in West Hollywood. I noticed the Lingerie Kickboxer poster hanging on the wall over the cash register. It was signed by Kevin and Julie Strain. I asked the guy at the cash register if he wanted me to sign it, as well, as I’m Scott Shaw one of the directors. Hey, my name was on the poster. He said, “You’re not Scott Shaw.” As Golden Apple is a comic book based store the guy assumed it was the other Scott Shaw! who was the co-director. But hey, the title and the original concept for the movie was my idea! Anyway, I laughed it off and told him to check his facts. So, this isn’t the first time something like this Scott Shaw thing has happened. Happy

Ask yourself, “How much of what you think and believe is based upon proven fact verse how much of what you think and believe is based upon something you heard somewhere from someone speaking something that they simply believed, based based upon personal bias or being told a lie by someone who didn’t know what they were talking about in the first place?”

As yourself, “What do you do—how do you behave once you learn that what you believed was false?” Do you move to rectify your incorrect knowledge and what you have broadcast to the world or do you fight like the aforementioned person to make your false knowledge fact?

As we pass through life, each of us evolves in knowledge and understanding. Some of us seek the truth. Others, simply want to believe what they want to believe and speak all of their words as if they were fact when, at best, they are misplaced speculations.

As we each evolve we each learn at every moment of our life. If you lock yourself into the mindset of believing that you already know, then you can never become the MORE that you could have become. If you do not have the mental aptitude and the caring nature to cancel out any false, opinionated, deceptive knowledge that you have broadcast to others how does that create the projection of you to the world? If you cannot turn off your ego long enough to simply say, “I was wrong,” and not attach all kinds of reasonings and justifications to that statement then your new truth will forever be burdened with your pervious lie.

“Doesn’t it make you feel stupid when you are wrong?"

Just Another Reason to Make People Look at You

There is a certain feeling that comes over each of us when we look in the mirror and we like what we are wearing, maybe we like the way our hair is looking, and so we feel pretty good about ourselves. There is the opposite feeling when we have gone outside and we discover that we hate what we are wearing—maybe we have spilled something on our shirt or we catch a glance of our self in a window and we realize we look terrible. These are normal emotions based on the perception of ourselves in association with how we perceive reality.

This is why monks only wear very basic, one colored clothing and either shave their head or do not shave or cut their hair at all. But, the fact is, this too is a perceived projection of reality and a source of ego gratification for once they have donned their monk garb, they have become a, “Something.” Thus, they are projecting that, “Something,” to the world. And, they like what that projection brings to them.

Most people want to be seen as something. They want to project an image of themselves to the world. There are those who love the way they look. There are also those who hate the way they look. In each case, each person works with what they have and either falls prey to their love or their hatred for themselves. We are all defined by what we are given but it is us who decided to do what we do with what we were given.

More than simply a physical issue, people want to project an image of who and what they are to the world via their thoughts and their words. Some people are very loud. They scream to the world, “Here I am! Look at me! This is what I do! This is what I think!” Others, are silent.

At the heart of all of this
doing is the individual’s perception of themselves. No matter what they truly are deep down inside, each person has an idea of who they want to be and how they want to be viewed by others. From this is born a cornucopia of lies, false tales, altered truths, individualized perceptions, projected realities, hopes, and dreams. The words people speak are more often based in how they hope to be perceived by others than any other element in life. Thus, for most, all inner truth is lost and it is replaced by how a person hopes another person will view them.

Think about yourself. How do you dress? You do you wear your hair? Do you care about what you wear? Do you care about how your hair is styled?

What do you do in life? Do you tell people the truth about what you do?

How do you live? Do you tell people the truth about how you live and what you do to give yourself the ability to live?

Do you hide or alter any facts about yourself when you discuss yourself with others?

Taking the focus away from yourself, think about your interactions with other people. Throughout your life have you watched what other people wear, how they style their hair, what they say, how they say it, what they do and how they do it? How has that affected you becoming you?

Moreover, as you have passed through your life, have you ever encountered a person who has deceived you about who and what they truly are? Has anyone lied to you? What effect did that have on your life?

If you do not chart what you are doing and how what you are doing is affecting your life, your life is a life lost to uncalculated occurrences. If you do not analyze what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what affect what you are doing will have on others, your life is lost to a never ending array of karmic reactions motivated by your own lack of self-awareness.

If you only care about yourself and do not consider how what you are doing and why you are doing it will effect one person or the whole world you are living in a space of defined selfishness.

Look at you your life. Look at the people who have lied to you, deceived you, stolen from you, hurt you. Why have they done this? The answer is, selfishness. Is that how you want to behave?

If you want to live a whole life, you need to study and come to a deep understanding of the whole you. You are the source of all you will encounter in your life. Understand this and your life becomes a calculated pathway as opposed to undefined rambling interaction of life shaking events.

Surrounding Yourself with What You Hate

Most people wish to live a simple, happy life. They hope to be surrounded by people they love and people who love them. They hope to pass through life doing things they like to do. Some even hope to make the world a better place. There is the other side of this mindset, however. There are those of the mind who wish to find things in life that makes them angry. Though they are most likely not aware enough to realize it, they do this seeking to gain the adrenalin rush associated with this emotion based upon the negative emotion of anger.

The problem with pursuing this mindset is, whatever you focus your life upon comes to define your life. It comes to define you. From this, all that you do, based upon this life definition, emanates from you, surrounds you, and ultimately causes you to attract those of like mind. From this, if you live a life focused upon things that you hate, all of your life and lifetime becomes a negative experience defined by negative emotions.

It is easy to see the people who live their life based upon what they hate. They are the ones who are the most judgmental—though they may hate a particular life genre they place themselves in that field of vision and sit there in a state of disgust as they engulf themselves in a mindset of hate. They look for reason to be mad and people to be mad at. They are the ones who drive down the road yelling at anyone who drives their car in a manner that they do not feel is appropriate. They are the ones who look for fights. And, the list goes on.

Though there are certainly all kinds of developmental and psychologically based reasons why each of us does anything that we do, the ultimate truth of life is, we are the
one who has the potential to create who and what we ultimately are and who and what we ultimately become based upon what we choose to do. Thus, how you behave in life, what you say and what you do, is ultimately your choice. But, do you have the mental control to choose to remove yourself from the mentally addicting mindset of adrenalin filled hatred and accept a world of peace? Do you have the mental control to turn off your judgments and your interpersonal beliefs and allow each person to exist in their own state of perfection?

Emotions are what drives most of our lives. But, if we allow negative emotions to cause us to do what we do, then what does our life become? It becomes a selfish landscape driven by desire and the desire for other things and other people to be something that they are not.

Free yourself of hate. Free yourself of judgment. Let yourself embrace the peace and everything becomes better—maybe not as emotionally adrenalized, but better.

Do You Own the Copyright?

It’s kind of funny… I was driving past this building today that used to house this business that I went to all of the time back in the mid 1990s. It was a place called Kinko’s and they were one of the first business chains to offer easy self-access to color copy and printing options plus, for those people who did not own one, (and many people didn’t back then), you could rent a computer in their computer room by the hour. As they were open twenty-fours hours a day, I used to go there in the late night to make Production Packages and PR Kits for my movies and/or me.

Anyway, at some point in time the company became very aware of copyright law. So, anything that was being copied by them you had to show proof that you were the legal copyright holder.

Today, nobody gives two shits about the legality of copyright law and they, in fact, attempt to find all kinds of reasons and justifications to skirt this law. I say this all the time, but if you didn’t envision it, if you didn’t create it, if you didn’t pay for it’s creation, you should have the self-respect not to use it for any other purpose than it was intended unless you receive permission from the owner. But, I am sure that point of law (and moral decency) falls to deaf ears so back to the point…

Anyway, I would go in there and hand them a poster for one of my films or a magazine cover I was on or something like that… In some cases, they would ask, “Are you the copyright holder?” My answer was, “That’s me!”

Now, by this point of my life I was in my mid thirties and to have a very young graveyard shifter giving me grief when I was giving them business really sent me in the wrong direction. In some cases, the people who worked there came to know me as the, “B-movie guy,” and I would have no problem. In other cases, some over zealous staff member would give me serious shit. “Do you own the copyright?” “That’s me!” “Well, what about company name on the bottom with the copyright tag?” “I own that company!” “Can you prove it?” “Where’s your manager?” “We have no manager at night.” Sometimes they would just not copy my stuff and I would walk out of there substantially pissed. But, that’s life. That’s copyright law. Now, I can laugh about it. But, back then…

About a week ago I had an interesting copyright orientated situation occur. Someone from a printing house contacted one of the people that works with me and let them know someone had come into their shop with the intention of pressing a bunch of posters based on one of my films. They asked if we had designed the poster and/or had approved it. We did not. They did send us a copy of the poster and it was very well designed but it was not from us. This print shop did the right thing and turned the job down. But, I am sure the next print shop down the block was not be so vigilant, will take the job, and there will be a poster out there based on one of my films, created for what reason I don’t know???

I think back further to a vaguely similar incident that took place a bit deeper in time. There was this one guy that I had given a part in one of my early Zen Films, Samurai Vampire Bikers from Hell. Though the guy was a supporting character he decided he wanted to have a poster made in association with the film with him as the central focus. Now, keep in mind, this was at a point in time when you didn’t just make your poster(s) on your Mac at home or in your office. You had to take it to a big production house where it cost big bank to get them produced. But, the guy contacted me so he could go to my photographer, pay him, get the shot of himself that he needed, and then get the poster designed by a professional and created. The funny thing was, he never asked me if this was okay. He just did it. Anyway, he paid a lot of money to get a poster of himself, based on my film, created. Why? I have no idea. But, as it didn’t damage anything, (no harm no foul), I just looked the other way.

You know, life is a funny thing… We all create. Some build houses, some stock shelves, some run numbers, some paint paintings, some make babies… Some people will love what you create while others will find a reason to hate you for what you create. Some of us create things that other people want to profit from; either financially or in other more non-descript ways. Though there are a lot of ways to come at it, I can only feel that there needs to be that space of respect given to the creations of others; somewhere between where Kinko’s would not let me make copies of my own movie posters and the place where people just steal the creations of others, for whatever reason and motivation that they find it necessary to do that.

Somewhere, if you find it within yourself to create, that is the place where you have actually given back, given to the great whole and the greater good and actually done something. I think that is the best space to focus upon. Make your own creations don’t find a reason to focus your life upon the creations of others.

The Problem with Being Fourteen

There is a problem when you are fourteen years ago. You have begun to feel like an adult but you have no true sense of what it takes to actually be an adult. Most likely, you are still living under the roof that your parents are paying for, you are getting money from your parents to buy your clothes and your objects of desire, yet you feel you have a voice and an opinion worth hearing. You make all kinds of statements about all of things that you will do. But, they are all off somewhere in the distance. Something you will do someday.

Some people never mentally grow past the age of fourteen. They are locked in the mindset of they
are something, yet they do nothing. They scream their ideas and opinions to the world via the internet but they do nothing to make the world a better place or bring their dreams into reality. They just talk...

The fact is, opinions hurt an individual’s life more than they help it. Why? Because they are not necessarily based in fact. They are based in personal speculation. Thus, though they may make a person act and/or feel a certain way, they do not contribute to the greater truth of reality. In fact, opinions, (whether based in truth or fiction), make people say and do all kinds of crazy things. In the long run of one’s life, many of these things may come to define a person and do so in a very negative manner. Thus, the fourteen-year-old is never allowed to mature.

How many people do you know that are actually paying the bills and raising a family that have the time to become lost in youthful verbal masturbation? …Talking of what they think, what they will do someday, whom they love and whom they hate? What you will find is that they are too busy making a living so that their fourteen-year-old child can relax in that luxury, at least for a little while.

Even when you are young, you need to chart your life. Instead of talking, (and becoming lost in what your think and why you think it), you need to begin doing. For doing, is the essence of living a productive life.

If you are old and still locked in the mindset of the fourteen-year-old you once were, you need to wake up. What is what you are saying, based upon what you are thinking, motivated by who knows what, actually equaling in your life and the lives of all those you know? You need to stop being a fourteen-year-old, take responsibility, stop being lost in what you think, and go out there and contribute to life.

Calculating Consciousness and the Illusion of Personality

It has happened to me more than a few times that I meet someone after they have seen my movies and they say, “You are totally different from what I expected.” As some of them have continued, this is because they expected a very serious, intense person like I portray in my characters. But, I’m not like that at all. I’m all about the happiness and the laughter.

I explain this, and I use myself as an example, because people commonly perceive people via a method of expected judgment. They see something, they read something, they hear something, and they believe they know a person. But, they do not. You can only know a person when you know them one-on-one. And then, you can only truly know them after personally interacting with them for an extended period of time because each of us have many hidden layers of personality that are only revealed through time.

People commonly fall into the wrongful ideology that they have the ability, and some even believe that they have the right, to judge other people. But, if your judgment is faulty and incorrect, what does that say about your ability to read and, in fact, understand a person? As long as you put your personal judgment at the beginning of the equation you can never truly understand anyone.

There is the perceived perception of a person. Then there is who they truly are. For some, in certain circumstances, they project an element of their personality to fit the environment they find themselves within. From this, others decide if they will or will not like that person. The problem with this type of calculation is, as only a certain aspect of that person’s personality is being revealed in that particular situation, the relationship may be begun or ended before a full presentation is available.

In other cases, some people are deceivers. They pretend to be something they are not. They may even be manipulators. What they do is nothing more than an elaborate ruse. Thus, it is very important to step beyond the realms of initial, first glance, judgment if you ever hope to truly understand anyone.

In other words, don’t judge a person, come to understand a person.

***

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?

***

When you say something negative about a person, what does that equal?

Does it make you a better person or does it simply make you look like the lessor person?

The Basketball Syndrome

When you were a kid playing basketball did you ever dream of becoming a professional basketball player? And, I use basketball as an example. It could be baseball, football, soccer, hockey, you name it… But, when you were a kid playing a sport did you ever envision yourself becoming one of the sport’s elite? What did you do about it? Did you only dream or did you actually try?

In life, most people dream about becoming something but few people ever pursue the pathway to its achievement. For example in sports, perhaps you really loved one specific game and you played it all the time. When you got to school did you pursue your dream of playing the game within the confines of the more defined realms of sports; i.e.; training the way a coach wanted you to train, following the rules of the game, and become a true part of a team?

Most people let go of the formal realms of their dream very quickly when the achievement of that dream requires discipline and focus. And, one of the primary elements of discipline is being told what you are suppose to be doing—especially in the early days of training. Many, refuse to listening, believing that they know more than the trainer—the person who has already proven their worth.

Some people do follow the formalized pathway, however. Did you? Did you play high school ball? Did you still dream of advanced achievement in the sport? Were you good enough to play college ball?

In all aspects of life there are those who are naturally good enough and there are those who may not possess the innate ability of some but, none-the-less, they practice to the degree that they rise up above their own limitations. It’s hard work but it is doable. Did you do this?

At each level of life there are those who hold the dream and there are those who pursue the dream. If you look around yourself, you will quickly see the ones who did what it took to do what they truly dreamed of doing in life. And, this goes to all levels of life, not just sports. It extends to the world of business, the arts, the humanities, and the service of others.

Dreaming is easy. It takes no effort. Taking about your dreams is easy as all you have to do is talk. But, doing is very difficult. It takes focused energy, training, and defined achievement.

Who are you? Do you follow the path of working-hard to achieve your dreams or do you just dream?

What you do, how you do it, becomes the definition of your life. What will be the definition of your life?

Seeking Forgiveness

In this blog and in my talks and other writings I often discuss the interplay of human interaction. I do this because most people never even think about this subject. They go through life doing whatever it is they want to do and they care not about the consequences. They care not unless something negative happens to them. Then, at that point, it is all that they think about.

I believe that the people who read this blog are not like that, however. But, people who actually consciously consider the impact they are having on this Life Space and on the lives of other people are few and far between. They are on the peripheries of human society. Most people are driven by very self-serving motivations. And, that is sad. A lot of lives and Life Times are damaged by this style of behavior.

As we pass through life, each of us is going to do something that hurts someone else. But, it is what we do after that point that defines us as human beings.

Think about this, have you hurt someone? Did you inflict that injury with conscious intent? If you did, that makes you a very bad person. If you justified your actions in your own mind and/or to other people that makes you a worse person.

On the other hand, have you, like most of us have, hurt someone but did not set out to do so? Once you realized that you have hurt someone, what were your actions? Did you care enough to set about on a course of action to correct what you had done or did you simply say, “Sorry.”

Here lies the definition of who you truly are as a human being and what will be your overall impact on the life of others. Most of us, as we pass through life, do something that injures another person either physically or psychologically. Some people actually acknowledge what they have done and ask for forgiveness. But saying, “Sorry,” means nothing if you do not set out to right your wrong.

As stated, the majority of people in this world are very self-serving. They care not about others. They do not care about the damage they cause, nor do they seek forgiveness. Plus, many feel that they have the right to say or do anything they want as long as that action does not negatively affect their own life. It’s sad, but that is how most people operate. But, it doesn’t have to be like that. You can care, if you care enough to care. For what does injuring the life of another person truly equal? And, how does that injury make you or your life any better?

Many people, as they damage the life of another person, do so believing that they are right in doing so. Maybe they are judging a person which causes harm to that person’s life or livelihood. Maybe they are treating a person unfairly; not taking who they truly are into consideration. Perhaps they are even physically injuring them. All of things, if they are consciously set about in their doing, have no great benefit to this overall Life Space. Judgment is never fact; it is only opinion. How you treat a person sets a whole, never-ending, course of events into motion and if you are the sourcepoint of those events it will be you who ultimate encounters the consequences. If you actually physically hurt someone, you may have won the battle but it will be you, due to your negative actions, who will ultimately lose the war in life.

At best, all a person who lives a life of judgment and unthinking behavior is doing is claiming I am right and you are wrong. But, who is ultimately to say? If you live your life from this space of external judgment, all you do is create damage; you help no one. As no one is helped, all that is happening is that people are injured. From this, no good is born in your life or the life of the world around you. Thus, as you are the sourcepoint of the negativity you will ultimately be the one who pays the price for unleashing it.

This brings us back to the point of, do you actually care about the actions that you are unleashing. Can you step outside of yourself long enough to realize that you have done something wrong, ask for forgiveness from the person or persons you have injured, and then set about on a course of repairing what you have broken? As most people are ego driven, this rarely happens. This is why the world is in the condition it is in. People only care about themselves but they don’t care about you and they don’t about me.

Ask yourself, how do you interact with life? Do you cause damage with your thoughts, words, or actions? If and when you do, are you Man-Enough (or Woman-Enough) to own your actions, actually understand that what you have done is wrong and has hurt somebody and then set about on a course to erase what you have done? If you are, that is great! You make the world a better place! If you are not, that is bad! You make the world a worse place! And, as you have hurt someone, you too will be hurt. That is just the law of the universe…

Any damage that you have created and not repaired not only damages the life of the person your inflicted the damage upon but it defines you as a person as you were not conscious and/or caring enough to set about on a course of repairing that damage.

What do you believe becomes of a person who hurts other people? Don’t justify your reasons. Don’t make excuses. Don’t try to turn the blame around on someone else. Just answer the question.

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.

Zen Filmmaking: The Good, The Bad, and The People That Don’t Know What the Fuck They’re Talking About

Ever since the inception of Zen Filmmaking, that was heralded with the release of The Roller Blade Seven, people have contacted me about my method of filmmaking. In the early days, it was largely via letters but soon after that everybody climbed onto the internet and then everybody had a lot to say.

There have been a lot of people, over the years, who have actually contacted me and questioned, how do I do what I do. Those are the people I respect. Love my films or hate my films, they are the ones who cared enough to ask me what was actually going on. They came to the source and inquired. And, going to the source is the only way to gain true knowledge.

Some of these people contacted me because they wanted to follow the path of Zen Filmmaking. That’s great! Make it your own…

Early in my filmmaking career, (which you have to keep in mind did not begin until I was thirty-two years old so I had a lot of life-experience prior to that), I also began to see people coming to conclusions about what I did, how I did it, and why I did it. These discourses where then mostly entered into magazines that discussed the low budget, no budget, and cult level of filmmaking. In some cases, they got it right. But, in many, (in fact most), cases they were simply wrong. Yet, these people had a pulpit and from that pulpit they broadcasted their thoughts about Zen Filmmaking, Zen Films, and me out to the world.

As a professional researcher, I always found this method to be suspect, as these people were simply discussing their feelings that were
not based in fact. Yet, they were presenting their opinions, observations, and speculations as if they were fact. This is truly the wrong way to put forward information to the world and this mindset is what has given birth to the whole culture of, “Fake News,” we are currently living within—as from these inaccurate depictions further counterfactual statements and misunderstandings are given birth to. People heard, “This,” and, thus, they believed, “That.” But, it is all based on bullshit. It is all based on somebody putting what they think they know out there but they do not have the true facts as they have not done any actual research. I know… I get it… Research is hard to do. It is time-consuming and it often costs money. It is so much easier to just read or hear something and then believe what you want to believe. But, the fact is, if you want to know the truth about a subject, (any subject), research is the only way to arrive at a factual and valid conclusion. And, you must enter into any research gathering with an open mind and not use it as simply a way to justify what you think you already know.

Personally, in virtually all of the aforementioned cases, I found the discourses to be amusing. But, that’s just who I am. I easily poke fun at myself. If they weren’t flat out defamatory lies or someone making money off of one of my creations when they had no responsibility for its actualization, I was good.

On the larger scale, I have always wondered why do people do this? Why do people want to spread their feelings about something or someone and, moreover, why do they want to transmit something out to the world when what they are saying is not based in fact but is solely based upon personal opinion, second-hand knowledge, and/or speculation? Sure, I understand, most people like something or someone for some nondescript reason but that reason is generally based upon them not possessing a true understanding about anything. Thus, what does that reason for like or dislike truly mean? Do you ever think about that when you form your opinions and from your opinions make your judgments which leads to your statements?

As Zen Filmmaking is a defined form of filmmaking, many people have also taken aim at the craft. They have taken aim at it but all they know about it is that in Zen Filmmaking we do not use a script. But, there is a lot more to it than that. And no, Zen Filmmaking is not just about showing up somewhere and seeing what happens next. So, if you’ve heard that, if you’ve believed that, if you’ve rebroadcast that, YOU ARE WRONG!

Also, there have been a lot of people who have seen Roller Blade Seven or some clips from it and decided that was the epitome of Zen Filmmaking and all of my films are just like RB7. The fact is, a lot of people don’t get what Donald G. Jackson and I were trying to do with The Roller Blade Seven and they hate it. I get it! That movie is weird! If you don’t like weird movies you probably will hate it. But, think about this, we made that movie over twenty-five years ago—whatever you think about it: love it or hate; we did something right because people are still discussing it.

On a more personal note, occasionally I have seen some people say, “Scott Shaw makes shitty movies,” and stuff like that. Okay… That’s what you think… But, how many of my movies have you actually seen? Many people make this comment after only seeing maybe Roller Blade Seven or Max Hell Frog Warrior. I have made a lot of movies! Honestly, how many of them have you seen? Have you seen any of my documentaries? Have you seen any of my music videos? Have you followed my filmmaking evolution and watched any of my Non-Narrative Zen Films, my Zen Film Art Captures, my Zen Film Movies in the Moment, or my Zen Film Mind Rides? If you haven’t, then you have no idea what I’m doing. Moreover, if you have not read my written words on the subject of filmmaking, if you have not seen my interviews, if you have not met me, again, you are basing your opinion on a preconceived notion that you have no factual bases to possess. Love my movies, hate my movies, I get it… But, if you haven’t seen my films, if you don’t know my philosophy about filmmaking, if you have not actually spoken to me, then how can you judge anything?

And, this goes to the whole point of this piece… Sure, you’re just a screen name out there in the nowhere of cyberspace. You will never have to pay for your cyber crimes. But, no matter what moniker you use, you should be whole enough to know the facts about what you’re talking about before you ever spew your misunderstandings out to the world. In other words, BE MORE. For me, that is the key to life. That is how the people who have truly excelled and made a contribution to the world have done it. Care enough to care. Learn the true facts. Go to the source and ask before you speak. Be more than someone who talks about someone else, go out there and create your own something.

Empathy: Self Awareness Through Caring

I was just going to begin writing a piece about empathy for a journal, detailing how it is a refined level of human consciousness and how some people never actually mentally mature to the degree where they actually care about another person and embrace this ideology. Then, last night, I was flipping channels and I came upon a documentary, Burn Motherfucker Burn, defining the riots that took place in Los Angeles in 1965 and 1992; what lead up to them, and their aftermath. It was a very good documentary that truly provided insight into the mindset of the people and what was their motivations for doing what they did.

To give a little bit of a backstory here, for those of you who do not know about my personal history, I was part and parcel to both of the riots. In 1965 I was a young boy living in Southcentral L.A. In the documentary they discuss how it was a locked community, virtually wholly African-American, as the people either could not or did not feel comfortable moving outwards from their neighborhood. Within this community there was a lot of inequality and frustration. I totally witnessed that. I was literally the only Caucasian any-body at my grammar school. In the documentary you also see how much of the black populous of the area hated whites and were out to get them at any opportunity. I too experienced that. I mean there was one time when nine or ten teenagers descended upon me when I was eight years old. And, that was not the only time I encountered this style of behavior. I think most of us would ask, “What kind of person would do something like that?” But, in the documentary you can listen and see the rage of the people of the area.

Now, this is not a, “Oh Boo Hoo,” moment on my part. But, what it does is provide an initial glimpse into peering into the mind of a person who does not possess empathy. They are locked into a mindset of, “Me against them,” “Kill or be killed.” From this, no level of higher consciousness can ever be found. And, in fact, if you were to mention this to a person who embraces this mindset they would not even care. From this, we can instantly see how some people have the capacity to develop empathy where others, for whatever reason, do not.

When the riots broke out in 1965 it was a scary time. People in the documentary describe it as such. Tanks and troop carriers drove up and down the streets, along with a lot of highly armed National Guard and police. Think about being a white person living in that environment. As was documented, many people of the community went out stealing and destroying the buildings using Molotov cocktails. That was the first time I heard the expression, “Burn Baby Burn.” But, what did these people achieve? Ultimately, all they did was to destroyed their own community.

Again, we see a mindset guided by adrenalin and motivated anger. But, what is the ultimate outcome of living a life based upon those emotions. Perhaps a half a century later the people who took part in this event can look back with pride at the actions that took but how does any of that help the greater good? How does it make anything better? How does any of that help anyone?

The documentary then went into discussing the aftermath of the 1965 L.A. riots and how what came to be known as, “Bussing,” later came into practice in Los Angeles as a method to integrate the communities. What, “Bussing,” meant was that they randomly chose school-aged children from areas like Southcentral L.A., Watts, and Compton, put them on busses, and drove them to schools in other areas of the city. At the time, I was living in what is now known as Koreatown. There came to be a number of students bussed to the junior high school, (now middle school), I was attending. In some cases, I made fast friends with those who arrived on the bus. As I had spent my early years growing up in a neighborhood not different from their own, we had a basis for interaction. In other case, I witnessed how some of the people were simply in the early stages of becoming a hardened thug and they brought violence along with them. Some of these people hurt a lot of the local residence. Eventually, this program was scrapped.

Viewing the two levels of interactive consciousness, possessed by these people who were brought into a new community, we can see the different pathways of personal evolution. Some people are nice, they want a better world for themselves and others, while others harbor hatred and embrace the negative. From this, all that is given birth to is external and personal destruction.

A person shapes their mind and who they are to become at two critical stages of their life. The first is early childhood. At this stage, one is guided towards who they are to become primarily by family and cultural interactions. The second stage occurs during adolescence. At this stage a person begins to shape who they are to become by social interactions and choices made about how they want to be seen by the world and what they hope to achieve, defined by what opportunities are available to them. If a person is wholly embraced with a mindset of only thinking about self and about their own perceived personal tragedy, they can never move beyond that mindset. From this, no empathy will ever be found within that individual.

The second riot that was discussed in the documentary was the 1992 L.A. riot and what lead up to it. As discussed in the documentary, the images of Rodney Kind being beaten by the police will forever be remembered. Then, these officers initially being found innocent of their crime set the community ablaze.

I personally had a curious interaction with this riot. I was filming Samurai Vampire Bikers from Hell. We were scheduled to do a night shoot in West Hollywood and Chinatown the evening the riot began. I live in the South Bay area of L.A. and as I left for the shoot during traffic time I decided to take the streets to L.A. Having grown up in Southcentral I often drive through the area as kind of a remembrance. I actually drove right through the intersection where the riot began. In the news reports I later watched there was a short time between the initial inception and when everything actually broke off when the participants had dispersed. For some cosmic reason that is when I passed through the area. I though there had just been an accident or something. But, I was lucky, if you see the documentary there were a lot of people screaming that they were going to kill white people and we all saw what happened to the unsuspecting white truck driver Reginald Denny. That was very sad.

Me, I drove on, completely unaware of how the city was erupting, to the location. If you’ve seen the movie, that’s the night we filmed the escalator scene at the Beverly Center, the point when the character McGavin stakes Lord Toronomo outside in DTLA, and when we filmed some of the stuff in Chinatown.

We were on our way to another location but I kept getting paged by my lady. 911! Pagers, remember those? Anyway, I stopped at a pay phone (remember those?) and called her. “There’s a riot going on,” she exclaimed. With that we ended the shoot for the evening.

I listened to the news on the radio as I began to drive home and as there were snipers shooting at cars along the 110, (the freeway I would normally take home from Hollywood), I went out and around taking the 101 North out to the valley and then the 405 South home. As I came down over the hill, I could see the city was burning.

In the documentary, they interview people like singer Perry Farrell (Jane’s Addiction). He spoke about how he had just bought a house in Venice but had no furniture. With the riot going on and everybody looting, he went out, and his house became fully furnished. He said he had a great time. How pathetic is that! A white guy who can afford to
buy a house in Venice stealing. That is just wrong.

Again, all this goes to the mindset of empathy and higher consciousness.

You can destroy. You can steal. You can blame it on whatever you want to blame it on—whatever you’ve gone through but whatever
you do is whatever you do. You are doing it! You are making a choice to do it! And, this is where the definition of a person of conscience and/or consciousness comes into play.

Do you do what you do knowing it is wrong? Do you do what you do not even caring if it is right or wrong? Do you do what you do not caring who it may negativity affect? If you do injure someone or something, do you care or do you only present yourself as the victim? Here lies the question of empathy. Are you more than what you personally are feeling?

Empathy means understanding and caring about another/other people. Empathy means becoming consciously interactive with another person. Empathy means that you are self-aware enough to actually embrace, understand, and consciously feel what someone else is experiencing. But, to do this you have to be whole enough onto yourself to care enough to care—you have understand that you are not the only person who feels. You have to be completely enough, in yourself, to not base your entire existence upon what you want, how you want to feel, how you sense that you are perceived by the other, and how you can get back at those you feel have wronged you.

Empathy is a refined level of human consciousness. Some people naturally embrace it. Some people do not. Whatever the case is with you, you can choose to care. You can choose to allow yourself to be less and allow someone else to be more. You can seek to understand instead of casting judgment. You can rise from the lower levels of your inner self and embrace humanity and give back instead of simply unleashing destruction and either taking pride in your actions or denying them.

Empathy is you turning you off and you becoming interactive with the larger, greater, better all.

Don’t hurt. Don’t destroy. Care enough to care. It begins with you.

***

The truth is never a lie.

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

All actions have consequences.

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

***

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

***

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

***

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.

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Who has to die so your secrets will be hidden?

Demons Among Us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Believe: Compounding Factual Inaccuracies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Belief is never fact.

Not of Our Culture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

There’s Millions of People Who Are Suffering

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

People Never Think About the Effect

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

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

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

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

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

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

How you think about others defines who you truly are.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What are doing and who are you doing it to?

Always think about other people first.

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

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

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

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

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

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What happens if no one believed in God?

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

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

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

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

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There is no going back in time.

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Are you stating your opinion as a fact?

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You will never truly understand another person's reality.

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

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?

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!

***

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.

Do You Step On Snails?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

All the Swagger

As someone who teaches the martial arts virtually every day of my life, I forever find it amusing when I encounter someone who walks with, “All the Swagger.” They walk in like they should be feared, should be respected, should be something...

Whenever I witness someone behaving in this manner, I think back to one of my friends... This guy looks tough. I mean, this guy looks scary. He’s the kind of guy you don’t want to mess with. But, this guy can’t fight.

A funny story came to me about him a year or two after an incident took place. He and a few of his friends were at some car rally. He got drunk and was walking, full of swagger. Some guy bumped into him and my friend got all up in this guy’s business — attempting to intimidate him and drive him away with his fierce looks. The guy who bumped into him, in turn, began to kick his ass. He took the fight to the ground and was pounding the crap out of my friend. It was only when the thirteen-year-old son of one of my friend’s friends smashed the attacker in the head with a watermelon that the fight concluded.

That’s the thing about swagger, it means nothing.

Way back in the way back when, back when I had my first martial arts schools, the aforementioned friend would come by on his vacations and his days off. I tried to train him on a one-on-one basis. But, he just didn’t care. He had the looks, right? That was all he needed. Or was it?

Personally, when I first began training in the martial arts, they were quite revered. I mean, there were very few schools and the idealized image of a martial artist was perpetuated in the media. But then, an influx of so-called, “Masters,”
began arriving from Asia.

It was at this point that some boxer would step up to the, “Martial Artists,” and knock them flat.

That’s the thing... If you can’t take a punch, you can’t fight. And, trained boxers are some of the fiercest opponents that exist.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s Brazilian Jujitsu
hit our shores. Then, it wasn’t all about being able to take a punch, it became about being able to defend against the takedown and the chokehold. But, in either of these cases, trained fighters knew how to fight. It wasn’t swagger. It was technique.

Now, if you want to take this to a more refined and spiritual level — fighting is barbaric. So, don’t do it. Moreover, don’t pretend that you have game, when you have none — for the first trained person you step up to is going to knock you out.

All this being said, swagger is for the unenlightened. It is for the criminals. It is for the person who can’t truly fight. For, if they could, they would not need to perpetuate a lie, based in a projected reality, housed in their own mind, in order to try to make themselves feel and look tougher than they actually are.

People who known how to fight, don’t fight. Because they do not need to fight for they have already won the contest. Thus, they need no swagger.

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?

What Do You Mean By That?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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?

We All Make a Deal with the Devil

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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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

This is your life. Think about it.

Trapped By Circumstance

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

Locked Into Your Own Mind

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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