Saturday, August 2, 2014

"do not attach" meditation

This meditation is very simple. While meditating, quiet your mind, focus on your breath, then detach. do not allow your awareness to attach itself to "you". let it float, free, unattached, egoless. don't allow the thought that "you" are meditating to enter your mind. this may seem strange, but it takes things a bit deeper than just being silent. "you" being silent is still grounded in, rooted in your notion and concept of self. allow your awareness to plunge below that, to the earliest awareness of life and being, before you knew your name. before you knew what life was, before you knew what was going on and began to integrate these ideas into what you now have created for yourself which is known as "you". This is a meditation that you can do at any time. whether walking, or eating, you can "be" without being "you" or retreating to your ideas, your concept, your construction of who or what you are. This allows your "in the present" meditation to deepen on a deeper level.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


had a great dream once where there was this real creature that was incredibly rare and bordered on mythological. it was the bird of humanity. it looked like a peacock, but had about 150 sets of legs, as you moved to the back of the bird, the legs became more decrepit and old, feeble and eventually rotten and dead/useless. also at the end of the bird, the legs moved in opposition to the front of the bird. even trying to resist the movement of the bird, move in the opposite direction, etc. but the bird was magical, incredibly beautiful and had the ability to change into any form. one of these birds long ago, had taken the form of a human, and thus the human race was born. all of the magic, transformative ability, self-opposition, contradiction and beauty and potential of the bird, is inherent into the human. in the dream, i was in a clearing at the edge of humanity. humanity was almost dead. the city in ruins. all animals were laying about, but when the bird of humanity came, they all laid down and became silent, in recognition of the power and grandness and blessing of being visited upon by the bird of humanity. In the dream, i was in the clearing as the bird of humanity presented itself. as a meditation mantra, it's a good metaphor for humanity, and in many ways, easier to think of what it is to be human, to contemplate the bird, vs. contemplating the self.

the idea that the beginning of existence, was a cosmic event of incredible rareness and specialness, that represented pure potential, mixed with magic, innocence and arising from the same silence form which the wisdom of meditation arises.

went to a native american sweat lodge in the santa cruz mountains with family members of leonard peltier. after many rounds of sweat lodge, and many folks left because it was too hot, too much suffering, too difficult to breathe and fears of irreversible burns and damage, there were only a few of us left. in the beginning, everyone talked about whatever barriers, pain, suffering, conflicts, blockages they had in their lives that they wanted to receive knowledge and wisdom about during the course of the sweat lodge. after each round, everytime it got hotter, the suffering more, the burning more intense, it became more and more apparent, that the only blockage, barrier, suffering, conflict that i or anyone else in the lodge had, were self-imposed and the result of our own suffering. our own resistance to change, our bullheadedness, our pride, our inability to be humble, to love, to have compassion, to have empathy, to change... it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life, to have such a profound lesson laid so bare before me and to have the power and knowledge to realize that once again, the individual has the key to their own goals, and to resolve any conflict or blockage and that no one else stands in our way besides ourselves.

we are all gurus, or at best, our guru is around us, in front of us, with us always, but at times, appears hidden, appears hooded because of our lack of vision and/or lack of awareness, or our inability to recognize that the truth stands before us.

no explanation necessary.

during one of the most profound experiences of my life, i saw plainly, that the ultimate reason for existence, was not chance, or a technical ability or possibility, or even a grand creator, but rather, love. pure love. love is the reason we're here. love is the reason for existence. love is the power form which all form derives it's power, meaning, purpose and karma.

when we fret or contemplate or try to contrive or plan how to do something, how to accomplish something. really, it can be condensed to one word, "begin". the rest will follow.

in meditation, often times we are given koans, focus points, (focus on your breath, on your heart, on stillness, on oneness, etc., etc., etc. on the other side of all of this advice, if you're lucky, you'll see with your own eyes, that all you have to do, is "do nothing".

there may indeed be an existence. there may indeed be a "you", there may indeed be others, but ultimately, if there was not "you", you would not be able to perceive, know, feel, or understand anything. This is a truth. So it must also be true, that if we calm ourselves, then we also calm the universe (or all that we could ever know/feel/experience/express about it). I believe this isn't just a perspective. it isn't just a focal point. it isn't just a good idea. it's absolutely true. as true as any truth that could be experienced. when we completely calm ourselves and achieve a point of rest. the entire universe is calmed and thus, it's truth, it's power, it's force in total becomes known, apparent/one with us.

in meditation, if we have goal or insight we need. wait until you've achieved immersion in silence and peace, then you can contemplate what you desire to contemplate, an even if no answers come forth, waht you are doing, is planting seeds silently. "metta" meditation (sending love to others) works the same. our intentions, our awareness and intent, is planting seeds silently.

While focusing on my breath in meditation, i was able ot disappear, at that point, what i realized that "i" don't have to even breathe myself. that breath happens on it's own. so who is breathing me? whatever existence is, whatever it is that does everything else, which I am a part of, also breathes me. god breathes me, and what he breathes into me and out of me, is love which sustains my being.

this is a good idea when you're beginning a session of meditation. take your seat of awareness from your head, from your eyes and just fall back into yourself. and don't just fall a bit, fall deeply and continue to fall into yourself endlessly, until you disappear... or as close as you can.

upset about something? fuck-up? upset with yourself? do something/anything in your past that you are upset about? ashamed about? makes you cringe to think about? got a job? responsibilities? money problems? relationship issues? whatever it is, when you meditate, drop it. drop all of it. drop everything. until it disappears, until it's gone, until it has fallen, adn you've let it go and you are at peace.

I believe that many of us have attained truth, realization, even satori. but our inability to recognize it and accept it robs us of our ability to derive the full benefit of this experience. as a sentient being, we have ultimately been given two gifts (being in a realm of "duality" of course there is always two, the ying and yang of everything), the first gift is existence itself, the second is our awareness of it. when existence and our awareness meld, then we have achieved an ultimately truth, there truly is one. the duality, that is, the contradiction, the truth, the irony of duality is that at a certain point, at a point of truth, there is only one. there is no longer room for two, all is one. we all are one. when existence and the self become one, then all is possible. we are existence, existence is us, all of it's wisdom and truth becomes ours. all of our ability to think, contemplate, unravel, unspool and express it, becomes ours.

existence is perfect. life is play. that is all we are doing. love is the answer, the reoson and all we are doing is playing. so, let us play nice. let us play meaningfully, let us play with the whole of our beings, let us play in the deepest, most complete, most compassionate, ultimate play and dance with one another. this is the truth. existence is perfection and play. whatever we do. whether in confusion, wisdom and bliss, let us do it with the whole of our beings, in the deepest realm of play. (this reminds me that i heard huey p. newton said that he takes things to the "deep floor of play" meaning that he will leave nothing alone, no option unexplored, no action sacred... when he played, he played fully, he used everything. he was on the deep floor of play that but a handful of individuals understand or have ever been).

what a beautiful thought. and it's true. in the western world, we have been conned into believing that our minds work one way and our hearts work another. how beautiful, or much more beautiful would we, our existence, our work, our relationships be, if we didn't artificially believe in and act as if this distinction were true. but what if we acted in truth? what if we dissolved this untrue distinction and in every action, we moved in a united heart/mind way? no minds, technically, heartlessly making decisions. I believe the world would be a different place.

ever been humbled? put in your place? humiliated by being humbled? made a fool of by your own hubris being turned upside-down? be thankful. don't wallow in your own self-pity. praise God for exposing your folly. praise God for showing you the path to fortifying your weakness. in humbleness, there is an opportunity to be meek, to be thankful, to praise God and thank him for his deep, meaningful, perhaps even dis-comfortable lesson.

is life not a trail of tears? is suffering not the truth of our life? i remember a story, where neem karoli baba was listening to someone talk about their lives, and they talked about all of their suffering, all of their pain, disappointment, etc., etc., and he listened deeply, fully, compassionately, and when the person ended their story by saying, "my life has been nothing but suffering." he said, "me too." that was so beautiful to me. no matter how much bliss or pain we feel it is nothing compared to not being in existence, to true bliss.

obviously, when we think of intimacy, we think of intimacy wiht othe rbeings. this sin't to say that this isn't the case, this is to say that the feeling, the state, the feeling and experience of intimacy, is more in relation to how we experience and relate to the moment, than how we relate to the "other". the other certainly helps, but just as the truth tha tyou learn through a profound spiritual experience isn't simply because of the place, the person, the food, the words, but rather, the "truth" of waht was conveyed... the "truth" of intimacy is that it's an experience with the now AND whatever else is going on. (does anything happen outside of the moment? no. time is ever-present. the moment is ever-present).

ashamed of something? don't be ashamed. substitute a deep love of self in place of that feeling of shame. just replace it, completely, totally with love for yourself. Go ahed and think of something you've done that you are ashamed of and love yourself instead.. isn't that better? doesn't that feel better? even if you don't think you deserve love, it will heal you, it will make you feel better. it will allow you to move forward more fully, more full, more confident. one truth about this particular form of reality, is that it's a reality where forgiveness is a vital, indispensable component.. why? because we can not go back in time and change time. so, the ONLY way we can address this fault, is through forgiveness. and forgiveness of self is something we can give ourselves without having to ask anyone else. it's a great thing to do, to spend some time meditating about your errors, to forgive and love yourself and to allow yourself to grow an move beyond the actions of the "you" of the past, who has obviously grown so much and recognized the error of their ways.

don't doubt god. just don't do it. existence is perfect. love is the reason. there are at all times a trillion beautiful things. god breathes you. it is true. never doubt it. never doubt god.

be. here. now. any one of these alone is amazingly potent as a point of contemplation. all three are perhaps the most potent, compact three truths that could possibly be contemplated.

when meditating, i don't try to achieve silence for 30 minutes, or 45 minutes, rather for a single moment... and hold it. much simpler, much less of a burden.

goes with perfection and play. life is just a victory dance.

after a meditation retreat, this guy who made tons of noise during every meditation session every day for the whole session was talking to me. he pointed at his ear and said something about the harm of words pouring into our sacred vessel (ear). i was glad to have gotten something of value from a guy that almost single-handedly made my retreat exponentially more difficult. our ears, mouth, eyes, etc. they are all sacred vessels.

let it go. deal with it. move on. cause if you resist it, it will only persist.

why carry around your burdens? especially in meditation. just let it go, just drop it. your journey will be so much easier.

often times this is true. especially when doing something you are unfamiliar with. fear is discomfort. settle yourself, accept that you don't have (never had) control, and move on to the lesson.

same as intimacy being oneness with the now. at the bottom of everything, since love is the reason for existence, if we rest our awareness, love will be found.

1,000,000,000,000 BEAUTIFUL THINGS:
how many beautiful things do you see RIGHT NOW? 2? 3? 5? when you are at peace, when you have arrived, when you're at a blissful state of being, or have "arrived" in meditation or at any point of truth, you will look around and see that EVERYTHING is beautiful... there are literally more than 1 trillion beautiful things every moment... i just use a trillion cause it drives the point home, and the wonderful thing about realizing this is true, is if you can ever remember this saying, even if you're not particularly feeling this way, you can still look around and see that all of existence, not just 1 or 2 or 5 things, are stunningly beautiful.

this is something my grandmother used to say when she thought i was fuckin' up. it's funny. me and marla say it all the time, but sometimes, when i get too crazy, i think it about myself, or hear my grandmother saying this in my mind.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Love & Story

stories, that's all there is, all there could be. we live them, see them, perceive them. fact. fiction. documentary. All stories. Every profession, every action, is either the construction, deconstruction, formation, interpretation, creation, imagination, anticipation of story, of narrative.

dna, music, dance, procreation. all stories. stories all.

geology, anthropology, quantum mechanics, therapy, psychology, biology, the creation of the universe, culture, race, love, religion, truth, reality, issues, therapy, trauma, conflict, plans...

contemplate, meditate upon it. the foundation of all that is human is narrative. past, present, future, possibility. What is the "true" story. what is that which we are, can become. are created to be, to be a part of, to hear, to tell to experience?

all narratives, real, imagined, and possible is human existence.

The unspoken narrative is the narrative. being able to speak or to tell/transmit the narrative, interpret, influence, control, impose, transmit.the narrative is the basis of all technology.

the 'now' is the only narrative escape. 'duality' in this regard is represented by the narrative/non-narrative continuum.

there is no narrative. there only is. this is the narrative entry point. the plunge point. the focal 'it'-truism.

what has no story? the now. even before, even when nameless. now is the constant. now is the endless, indivisible, in-escapable, irreducible. the medium, the potentiality. the now, within the human, gives rise to narrative. since humans are narrative, truth and existence begs narrative, is narrative. time begs narrative. the unavoidable construct of time is narrative.

therapy, pschotherapy, is healing the narrative, understanding the narrative, un-distoring the narrative, re-constructing the narrative, seeing it, hearing it, understanding it, un-distorting the guilt, shame, anger, fear, trauma, neglect, longing, hurt... coming to terms with the corrective experience, of the narrative. evz-yoyo, love and story.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The History of Black Music in 28 Songs

A Short History of the Evolution of African Music in America. Slavery and migration transported African rhythms and structures to new lands that provided opportunities for hybrid innovations with instruments and new musical styles that were previously unimagined.
click to play the excerpt

1. Scott Joplin - Gladiolus Rag
Scott Joplin was a Black man born during reconstruction. Despite this enormous handicap, his talent outshone the specter of racism as he popularized ragtime and became one of the best selling songwriters of the late 19th Century.

2. Original Dixieland with Al Bernard - St. Louis Blues
Dixieland was a code word for Black Music. This clip is a fine example of it's structure and appeal as yet another innovation created by Black artists.

3. Robert Johnson - From 4 Until Late
King of the Delta Blues, Robert Johnson lived the same kind of vagabond life he sang about. A hardscrabble life lived in the heart of the south 50 years after the end of slavery.

4. Paul Robeson - Ol' Man River
One of the greatest athletes, scholars and actors in American history. At one time, he was the highest paid entertainer in the United States. In this song, he sings a well known work song for blacks who toiled loading cotton on the Mississippi while under duress, threat of violence and mostly for free. Robeson's voice is addictive and beautiful.

5. Billie Holiday - He's Funny That Way
Billie Holiday sings the blues like only she can. Due to the effect of racism and 2nd class status, the vast majority of blacks in her era had an upbringing not dissimilar to her. The artistry she brought in voicing the pain and longings of millions was exquisite.

6. The Mississippi Sheiks - Ram Rod Blues
Mississippi Sheiks is an excellent example of a Black country blues group that gained renown in the 30's

7. Mississippi John Hurt - Shortnin' Bread
John Hurt was discovered, lost and re-discovered decades later. His unique 3 finger style brought a homespun charm to compliment his simple vocal style. Hurt was an authentic sharecropper who made money playing his guitar for small dances and clubs. Once his recordings became known he became one of the most admired and covered blues artist in modern times. 'Shortnin' Bread' may seem like a simple children's song on the surface, yet, due to the complexity of American race relations it elicits painful memories among many.

8. Billie Holiday - Strange Fruit
A song about the horror of lynching, based on the poem by Lewis Allan, this one song, a grassroots anthem, did more to give voice to the anti-lynching movement than previous decades of organized protests

9. The Impressions - This Is My Country
One of the freedom songs of the Civil Rights Era written by Curtis Mayfield.

10. James Baldwin - Baldwin's Nigger
During a visit to England James Baldwin Explains that his genealogical search ends with a bill of sale as "Baldwin's Nigger". Baldwin's form was literature, but in The Civil Rights Era, it was his public speaking and essays that influenced the critical analysis of a new black consciousness. Baldwin and a cadre of Black grassroots educators, including Kwame Toure (Stokeley Carmichael), Martin Luther King, Jr., El Hajj Malik El Shabazz (Malcolm X), Robert F. Williams, and many others took the word of a new Black identity on the road and completed the world’s largest and most successful re-education campaign in history, resulting in the transformation of 22 million American Negros into a proud, ambitious and politically active Black people.

11. Dick Gregory - Black Ain't A Color
In this talk Dick Gregory, uses small doses of humor in his un-repentant analysis of the Black/White dichotomy. Gregory embodied a Black power attitude of fearless Black love and truth that demanded recognition and exemplified an intelligent boldness and cockiness that is at the root of hip hop culture.

12. The Last Poets - Medley
The Black Poets were literally "Rap" before Rap was Rap. They had the music, the rhymes and the socially conscious message. The only thing missing was a DJ with a melody, drum machine, hook and bridge.

13. Verrett Lee - Oh Freedom
The great Verrett Lee sings 'Oh Freedom', A post-Civil War era freedom song brought back into fashion by the Civil Rights era.

14. Bob Marley - Concrete Jungle
Bob Marley sings about the concrete jungle in Trenchtown, Jamaica, -a former livestock farm that thousands of destitute Jamaicans called home. Even though Marley sang about Jamaica, those who lived in ghettos and yearned for something better resonated with the message that slavery, oppression and "ghetto-ization" are closely linked.

15. Peter Tosh - Go Tell It On The Mountain
This song is another traditional African-American spiritual song from the Civil War era brought to prominence by the Civil Rights movement.

16. Marvin Gaye - Anger
Marvin Gaye followed up his amazing album, 'What's Going On', with an album composed for and about his marriage and divorce from Berry Gordy's sister, Anna. Part blues, part funk, soul and doo-wop, Marvin expanded the African-American songbook.

17. Jimi Hendrix - Long Hot Summer Night
Hendrix melded blues with rock and pioneered psychedelic rock. As a black man in a game where almost all guitar gods were white, he turned the scene upside-down with constant innovation, a deluge of tracks and a charisma matched only by his voracious need for cutting edge experiences.

18. Richard Pryor - Eulogy
Richard Pryor, the son of a prostitute and pimp was raised in a whorehouse. His comedic routine broke from mimicking Bill Cosby into a whole new political/racial/cultural assault of vulgarity, preposterous scenarios and bitter, cutting truth. Richard Pryor liberated millions of African-American's by saying exactly what was on his mind.

19. Gil Scott-Heron - The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
This song is a classic. A black liberationist opus that injected life, consciousness and political awareness into ghettos, college campuses and middle class living rooms across the nation.

20. Curtis Mayfield - Doo Doo Wop
A song about jail, injustice and the effect of incarceration upon the psyche of the oppressed, this song, written for a Miguel Pinero play, gave voice to the trials and tribulations of Blacks and Puerto Ricans caught in New York's criminal justice system.

21. Miles Davis - Honky Tonk (Take 5)
Miles Davis, like Hendrix, did nothing but innovate and push the boundaries of music.

22. The Edwin Hawkins Singers - The House Of The Lord
This song is a gospel classic from an inspired album that brought the roots of gospel into the homes of millions with it's hit, 'Oh Happy Day'.

23. The Sugarhill Gang - Rappers Delight
This is the song that started it all. Soon after Rappers Delight came out, everyone was talking about the song that didn't have singing, rather guys "talking fast" to the music. No one knew the word "Rap" yet. In the days where most people relied on the radio to hear music, everyone wanted to catch this song so they could hear the words and break down the message. For those that could memorize the lyrics quickly, they had to give multiple performances a day of "Rappers Delight". Sylvia Robinson of Sugarhill Records started a cottage industry of purloined beats, borrowed bass lines and stolen bridges to fuel the nations insatiable desire for the next 12" rap song.

24. Kurtis Blow - The Breaks
'The Breaks' was the next real hit song in Rap History following upon 'Rappers Delight'. During the early years of Rap, it was about waiting for 12" tracks to drop.

25. Boogie Down Productions - The South Bronx
In this song, The Blastmaster KRS-One gives a Hip Hop history lesson that marks The Bronx as the birthplace of Hip Hop.

26. Bob Marley - Redemption Song
Perhaps the greatest folk song of all-time, 'Redemption Song' is infused with a deeply heartfelt message that is firmly rooted in the personal, but points the direction towards a political liberationist perspective. This song reveals in an essential way why Rap was necessitated. A new musical form was needed to tell the story of a uniquely Black American human desire for freedom and recognition despite 450 years of oppression and the modern nightmare of techno-marginalization within concrete slums and vertical ghettos.

27. Schoolly D - Black Man
Schoolly D uses a Black Liberationist speech as the core foundation of his song, 'Black Man' illustrating the deep links between Black consciousness and Hip Hop.

28. RUN-DMC with Aerosmith - Walk This Way
'Walk This Way' by Run-DMC and Aerosmith was the song that finally broke Rap into the mainstream for good. When this song came out, MTV had a policy of only playing Michael Jackson while largely ignoring all other Black artist. 'Walk This Way' stormed the nation by merging rap with rock and uniting black and white youth through by way of a love of two musical styles that had previously been seen as incongruous. It was an artistic collaboration that achieved what reason, logic, and love could not, catapulting rap to a plateau from which it would never have to look back.

Frederick Douglass Aint No N*****

Imagine someone calling frederick douglass a nigger... that's so mind-blowing on so many levels. and to imagine what it was like to be frederick douglass and to be called a nigger.. not even really, bein' called a nigger as "the problem". more the fact that he was niggerized. nigger, as in the verb. all day long, every day, all night. when he slept, when he ate, when he worked, when he had little snatches of joy, he was niggerized.

yeah. that's interesting that today, the noun "nigger" is highly problematic. the noun. personally. i don't trip on it so much. it's a word. an artifact. we live in america. folks get to say what they want n all. it's not really against the law.

in part, to deny the power of the word and also to honor the fact that what it used to mean is so different from what it used to mean... but then, there's the problem of the scars and those who are from previous generations, many of which, don't want to hear it.

life is too short. time may be relative, but we all know that life is short, owning largely to the fact that when it's over, that's it, and the fact that the day that our lives are over, every comes.. at all, gives a realness to the fact that life is short.

to continue with the point, if the universe is 15, 18, 20 billion years old... and our share of that, is a sliver. so, i don't try to spend too much of my sliver of time trippin' on "nigger" the noun.

but that was frederick douglass' reality. it wasn't his choice to trip on it, or ignore it, he just had to deal with it. douglass embraced the reality of his situation and fought to make truth out of that reality. to represent the reality, which was, there never was no nigger's in america. it was a fucked up nightmare imposed upon us.

and god bless the african spirit that never accepted it. never laid down with it.

but we've had to, so many of us had to live that reality. to never move outside of that reality, to come from homes, neighborhoods, communities, from families that are still living with the detritus of the whole nigger legacy. it goes on and on and on. it will probably take at least another 200 years for america to get real with it's obsession with enforcing that history.

so, it just kind of blows me away that one of the greatest men in the history of america had to live a legacy that was imposed. not that he was alone in that to any degree whatsoever.

but this isn't some angry thing, it's just to appropriately express a little amazement at the irony of frederick douglass' situation.