Wednesday, November 26, 2014

instagram invasion of Level ONE weekday evenings

too lazy to crop.. sorry ;)

this class is super cool.. see you in level 2!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

you should sit in meditation for 20 minutes a day, unless you're too busy, then you should sit for an hour

in the last few months the practice of buddhism has returned to me like an old friend who i haven't visited in far too long.  it began with a conversation with a person very dear to me, a monk, via skype.  i told him how i felt the romanticism of buddhism had passed and whereas i am still very dedicated to my spiritual practices i have a longing for that consciousness i once had.  he reminded me that when we met i was only 22 years old and still very idealistic in the world.  the teachings of the buddha are now things i must apply to my life rather than listen to in exotic mystery.  some eleven years have passed and this monk is still a very close friend of mine.  he has watched me travel and observed my thoughts in ways that i myself had failed to realize.  as it came to be, this conversation was very special to me and again i feel that child-like thirst for simplicity and have begun again the practice of metta (the daily effort to wish wellness, happiness and peace upon all living things).

meditation is intimidating to us for some reason.  i think we fear the boredom of the practice or perhaps we don't see a purpose to it, maybe we think we will fall asleep.  as i've been taught, the practice of meditation is a return to a still point, the focus on one's breath and the watching of transient thoughts as they pass.  we who practice meditation do not cling to thoughts however we let them pass as leaves on a gentle stream.  the purpose, as least to me, of meditation is to learn the ability to return to this place at any given time in our conscious lives.  there are times of stress or anger and anxiety when we become flustered however those who practice meditation are able to return to this stillness and maintain healthy thoughts even amid the troubles of life.  

buddhism is a path which i began many years ago and i entered this world without question.  i listened to the words of the buddha and realized that i have nothing to contest with his teachings.  being a religious-philosophy of many quotes i would like to include a great piece of wisdom by the Dalai Lama who once said, “If scientific analysis were conclusively to demonstrate certain claims in Buddhism to be false, then we must accept the findings of science and abandon those claims.”  

this quote has always carried a lot of water for me when i examine other religions.  i could never imagine any other religion accepting change in the eyes of science and in my opinion buddhism is directly related to science.  in meditation we are tapping into our bodies' inner core and we use life in its simplest form to grow as humans and prepare ourselves (adapt ourselves) to the changes which come with time.  we all get sick, we all potentially grow old and we all die.  these are the three observations which began the path to the buddha's enlightenment and through deep meditation he learned that it is our desire to hang on to things which are not ours to hang onto which cause us such suffering.  

life has taken me to strange and faraway places.  i've seen living proof that we live on a round planet with such varieties of nature that my emotional side finds it difficult to contain itself.  i've also traveled deep within myself and found a place which gives me happiness.  i also believe that happiness is a practice and i believe that we can cultivate our own happiness in the way that a farmer grows his or her own crops.  these all begin with seeds that we plant in our consciousness and as a good farmer we must tend to our crops often and see that they prosper.  such is the was of the meditation practitioner.

Monday, November 17, 2014

an empty bottle a full bottle

there is a sentiment in buddhism that i have learned in the past.  buddhism teaches that we are much like a container or a vessel of sorts and what we choose to fill that container reflects our lives in a great way.  some people are empty.  if you were to tap on the side of an empty container it will make a loud hollow sound and such is the way that empty people speak.  as it turns out, the fool is the one who speaks too often in an empty way yet a wise person is one who is full of the correct teachings and thus makes no empty sound.

i have taken this thought a few steps further and considered to myself what people may be full of.  it seems that some people are full of frustration and their sound resonates in their voice.  some are full of happiness and they have a delightful sound which is appeasing to the ear.  perhaps some people are full of thick darkness and their sound is muffled by their anger.

i wondered what i am made of.

only a fool or an arrogant person would boast of themselves and display to the world what they think they are made of so i have chosen to let that sound be interpreted by those who know me best.  i could only hope that my sound is resonated with a happy tune yet i know that at times i too am frustrated or full of things that i have become afflicted with in my life.  having said this, i want to learn to fill myself with wisdom.  my ears are tuned to filter what i believe to be thoughts of contamination and of course it is up to me to choose not to be lead into the temptation of emptiness.  may the sound which my vessel resonates bring wisdom upon itself and reflect the lessons i have learned in this life.  may they not be forgotten.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

12,090 AD

sometimes i think it is the year 12,090 AD.  ever since i was very young this number has always been specific for me and the reason is actually kind of funny.  i was (and still am) a huge anime fan and among my favorites is the film Vampire Hunter D which takes place in the year 12,090 AD.  i remember hearing that number for the first time and thinking how strange it was that little has changed in some ten thousand years from the time of my own existence.  still it rocks my mind that i have come so far in thirty two short years on earth and sometimes i can't help but wonder what will come next for me.

if you live for thirty two years chances are that you will see the coming and unfortunately the passing of people you are close to.  this seems to be the age when life kicks into full gear.  the friends who have had babies now have young people in their houses who can speak and retain information as good as you or i.  somethings worked out for the better and some did not.  some people went on to prosper and sadly a small few have ended their lives before they had a chance to blossom.

so sometimes i think, 'why me?'.  why did i become the one who ran away?  i think the answer for that lies in my imagination that never went away with adulthood.  in my head it is the year 12,090 AD and i'm a vampire hunter.  i'm the well-drawn picture of a single anime frame with the pause button pressed while a seven year old version of myself draws everything on the screen.  i'm the cover of a 1980's video game whose graphics are better in the cover art than in the actual game.  i spent years telling everybody that i was going to run away and eventually that is exactly what i did.

now i want to think about the future.  i want to think about death, aging and the crippling illnesses which flip like a coin of fate to all of us.  the buddha was exposed to the same three things and the shock of life's inevitable outcome drove him to some six years of soul searching until one day he realized that it is our own desire which causes such suffering.  we can learn a lot from the buddha and as a side note i have made it one of my life goals to not let his teachings be forgotten.

so what happens as our bodies fall apart?  we look in the mirror and see a grey hair or a wrinkle on our face and the first signs of our bodies' decay become clear to us.  there is no need to worry about this, at least as far as i've learned.  the secret to happiness is transience and the recognition that life is only temporary.  somehow i have survived thus far even at times in the wake of misfortunate events which could have taken their turns for the worst.  i'm not afraid of death, in fact sometimes i imagine my last words to pass through my mind to be something like, 'oh, so that's how my story ends.' and i think the peace i've made with life is part of my content with fate.  many people cling to their beliefs in god or an afterlife perhaps out of fear that their temporariness in life would go without reason yet i don't really believe we are anything more than star dust floating in the cosmos.  for now i want to see some of this interesting world and learn more about the upright bipedal apes who are among my species.  i want to find out why some foods are palatable to one culture yet are found repulsive to others.  i want to see again and again what the stars look like in the southern hemisphere, i'm still tickled by that perspective every time.  sometimes i even want to shake the person next to me and say, 'do you not realize!?  you are made of stars!' yet i know that i stole that quote from a mind much brighter than my own.

somehow in this vast oblivion we have made it to the year 12,090 AD or 2014 AD or whatever number you choose to identify with.  we are the survivors of a cruel world and i don't see anything wrong with indulging in our lusts to explore this planet to its fullest while it is still green and blue and while there are still wild animals and indigenous people wandering about.  the world as we know it is changing and i've seen with my own eyes the devastation we are inflicting upon our planet.  believe it or not we are part of the problem and i want to take the world in for some of its beauty before its too late.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


turns out that i would be sick for a small yet noticeable percent of 2014.  this summer i fought a nasty conflict with dengue fever and in the dawn of november i'm watching the last hints of pneumonia leave my body.  this recent bout of illness came to me unfortunately during a moment of great inspiration when i was making music every moment of the day that i was not at work or asleep, and i rarely do either of those things.  i've worked out a very unique niche for myself in this city and i've managed to save money while harboring time to work on my creative impulses and at the same time i'm always wondering what will be my next big adventure.

pneumonia sucks.  i'm not stricken for vocabulary however sometimes i think the word 'sucks' really describes being sick.  if you read back far enough in this blog i'm sure i said the same thing about dengue fever.  i didn't write this article today to scare people back home (and i swear i'm about 90 percent better) but i'm writing this as a note to myself to remember this time that i came out of something ugly again as something new and beautiful.  i'm watching creativity return to me and i'm also witnessing the first tangible ideas of my next travel come into the light.  it's too soon to give hints away but i'm again island bound, this time for the other end of an ocean i've recently fallen in love with.

i'll actually be done with my contract on march 7th, the day before my 33rd birthday, the Jesus year i like to think of it as.  in these years i've become really good at things which i once only dreamed of.  today, travel has become to me something i'm perfecting in the way that an amateur painter becomes a great artist.  i found what i'm good at in this world and i've put in the hours to support it.

my coughing has stopped and the pains in my right lung have receded.  i have a zest for creativity and soon i'll be sitting in front of numbers and colors with my band again trying to turn our ideas into sound.  inshallah.

screw it.  i'll say it.  i'm going island hopping in indonesia.  i spilled the beans.  :)