White sugar devils

I darted across the street to the liquor store at Normandie and Hollywood. Yes, the one Bukowski talked about robbing in “Tales of Ordinary Madness” (page 7). But I was not here to rob the place or even get a drink. My soul felt empty but I knew the truth. That goddamn sugar addiction. It had been my birthday and I said yes too many times and here I was finally eating Thia food in Thiatown (only because I know how much it upsets everyone when I eat Thia food in Chinatown). But I was unsatisfied. I was offered all the depraved delights of man but I wanted one thing to fill that hole in my soul. SUGAR. Three days of cold turkey would be needed soon, but not tonight. I’ll kick tomorrow as “they” all have said a thousand promise-filled nights.

The liquor store was neon bright but there was darkness in the air. I talked myself into a lower dose and just got an ice-cream bar. The man at the counter did not look me in the eyes when he scanned the item. “Holy Jesus!” i said, as the price $2.89 came up. I am going to quit this shit…tomorrow.

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On the corner of Sunset and La Brea

It’s surprisingly hot today, for an October in Los Angeles.

The earth is acting funny.

One day it’s hot and sunny.

The next it’s cold and rainy.

If I didn’t know better, I’d think the planet was trying to tell us something. I suspect it’s like something from a late seventies horror flick. In a low reverb-frosted voice it’s saying, “Get out!”

The insane are pushing and shoving for territory.

Looking for the best corner to preach.

Like steam coming out of their ears, the voices spray out of their mouths.

Hand gestures are OCD,  fast and repetitive, sure to cause RSS (repetitive stress syndrome)

Their words are quick and hard.

Their rhythm and conviction would put Snoop Dog to shame.

I understand every other word or so.

But they are not looking for clarity or diction.

They’re just setting the valve to open so the rats can abandon ship before it all goes down into the black abyss, where all is empty and perfect.

But it will be difficult to stay empty on a hot Monday afternoon on the corner of  Sunset and La Brea, where every direction you look there are new words and desires  chosen for you.

You close your eyes and the words spill out from pedestrian ear buds.

You open your eyes and the words are on the clothing of passers-by.

Soon the head is full again and you wrestle with an out of work actor or yoga teacher over a new corner to let the words out.

Again and again, Amen

Yoga Philosophy

Yoga is not about being so flexible you can get your head up your ass.

Yoga is about keeping your head out of your ass.


Ask a yoga teacher #2 (Surviving Divorce and Break-ups)

Daniel,

Things have not been going very well I’m sorry to say. I never expected to lose my home, my job and my spouse all at one time. I know you went through something similar. You seemed to do OK. Any advice would be welcome as I know you’ve been down this road.

your friend

M

There is no quick fix. Don’t bother looking for one.

Take the first job that is offered to you. Stay with friends then take the first apartment or room to rent that you feel safe in. None of this is permanent.

Stay busy. Say yes to every offer you get to hang out with friends or strangers. Call people if they don’t call you.

Watch comedies and read uplifting books.

Stay busy!

Do everything on that list in your head of things you couldn’t do before this happened.

Somewhere there is a voice inside of you giving you the best possible advice. It’s just hard to hear over the screaming.

If you can, let go and drift.

Float in the stream with your eyes closed.

You are headed in the right direction.

You are at the beginning of an incredible journey. Some of it’s going to suck terribly. But you are going to be so proud of yourself when you look back at this and see how well you fared the storm.

This is an e-mail I sent to a long-time friend. It is not meant to be a substitute for legal or therapeutic advice on the subject of divorce.


Fear and Loathing at the Public Library

I went to the library at Detroit and Sunset to find a book. I was looking for something on the positive side. But anything that could keep my attention would be fine. I had just hit pay dirt with 50 Cent’s The 50th Law. I have no idea why I picked that book off the shelf, and why I brought it home is a complete mystery. I read that book in 3 days, which is fast for me. I was looking for that experience again but those things are rarely duplicated. I was ready to settle for “keeps my attention”.

I grabbed a book by Deepak Chopra, 10 or 20 Ways to Get or Do Something. I can’t remember the exact title now. Deepak is always a last resort for me. I’ve found some of his books to be OK. Never mind-blowing. His books always have an infomercial vibe to them and it’s always a bit of a letdown when you pick up one of his books, 7 Steps to Get or Change This, and in the first chapter he says the thing to know is that you already have the thing you are searching for, you just don’t realize you have it, or maybe you don’t really need it. Anyway, here are 10 more chapters convincing you you already have what you need or don’t really want that thing you wanted before you picked up this book telling you–supposedly–10 steps to achieve said goal.

Sometimes these books are good, sometimes just something to pass the time. I don’t know if just passing time is good. How about 10 Ways to Live Life to it’s Fullest, Not Just Passing Time. I think I’ll write that book, and in the first chapter, I’ll tell you why just passing time can be a way to live your life to it’s fullest.

So with my Deepak book in hand, I was walking to the library check-out area. A lady was arguing with one of the librarians about the size of the suitcase she had with her. The librarian was telling her the suitcase was too big to bring in the library. It’s a shame that the Los Angeles Public Libraries have turned into shelters for the homeless and insane. But where are they supposed to go? We have very few programs left in this town to help these people. If they want to be indoors, the library is the only place left. You can see it on the librarians’ tired and toughened faces. It’s really sad. Who knew they were going to have to become bouncers to the downtrodden masses? That’s a seriously fucked up job.

Anyway, the homeless lady is insisting she must keep her bag with her or someone will steal it. I don’t know who is stealing the dirty laundry of the homeless, but that is just plain horrible. The librarian–who is about 65 years old and 110 lbs.– is getting tough with the homeless woman as I walk by with my 10 Ways to Do Something book. I pull the book close to me as I cross their path and I notice a sick perfume smell. I figure its the homeless woman’s perfume. I check out the book and go home.

Sitting on my bed, I open the book and that smell is back, that terrible perfume smell. I pull the book close to my face to make sure it’s the book and not some horrible memory of that scent. As I pull the book closer to my face, I notice there is hair in the pages. I move the book quickly away from my face. Under the plastic cover and in the pages of the perfume-covered book is cat hair. I can’t read this book. I’m not even comfortable touching it. All I can think of is some dirty cat lady wearing to much perfume holding this book. It was as if she had marked her territory. The vibe was to much. I got up and put the book in a plastic bag and immediately washed my hands. I became a little obsessed with the stink, vibe and karma of this book. I truly believe objects carry the vibrations and energy of their previous owners. That is why I have never bought a brand new guitar. If I get it used, I’m getting something extra. The energy–preferably good–the emotions, and the songs of the previous owner, all in the molecules of that guitar. This is also why I rarely sell a guitar. But anyway. The energy of this book and its stink were more than I wanted in my small apartment. So I took it back to the library, carrying it in that plastic bag so I didn’t have to touch it with my bare hand.

With that book returned, I got on one of the library computers to surf the internet. Yeah, I’m sure the keyboard was filthy, but that book was something else. I’m not insane. Even though I know claiming to be sane is a sure sign you’re not, I’M NOT INSANE.

So I’m checking e-mail and a homeless guy 3 computers down is singing. He has purple socks on his hands with finger holes cut out and his clothes are mostly black (dirty), with a tiger print vest fashioned from a woman’s nightgown and furry (matted) purple leg warmers. Most of his teeth are missing and he is wearing gold rings and chains that look more like painted gold than actual gold. I am momentarily impressed by his sense of style. Especially being a guy who clearly has no home. He is singing loud. I can’t understand the words. He has old headphones on that look like they’re from someone’s trash in 1985. His articulation and pitch are bad. People begin to yell at him to “shut the fuck up.” A librarian is walking towards him and it dawns on me: he’s singing Like a Virgin.

Feel like helping out the homeless in Los Angeles? You can start here: http://www.gwhfc.org/

Feel like helping a Librarian? http://www.facebook.com/savethelibrary?v=wall

Ask a yoga teacher #1: My third eye hurts

Hey Daniel

I just (legitimately) meditated for the first time today. For a while–months, maybe longer–I don’t remember exactly when that I began to notice a slight pressure in the area of the location of the third eye chakra! so I wound up looking into the 7 chakras. Now I’ve been noticing an increase or I should say becoming more intuitively aware and having empath episodes more often. I just was curious to see what you thought of these things.

thanks for reading
cheers

Keith


Congratulations on making meditation a part of your life. When we meditate, we’re doing ourselves and the world a big favor.

I think it is very much human nature to want the unexplainable  explained. I think it is also very much a thing of the west to ask, “can you give me a list of the top ten side effects and experiences that will be coming my way now that I am here?” Which is very helpful in getting us to miss the point of being here. Now.

If you haven’t guessed by now I’m going to take a lot of time telling you I don’t know what it means for you.

Existence is a very personal experience. Our attempts at mediation and moving beyond the physical world will be difficult to explain. I have had other people mention the pressure on the third eye during meditation. When I was meditating under the supervision of Nagaraja S. Pande in Mysore, India, I experienced that same sensation. It was like a finger trying to push it’s way out of my skull. I mentioned this to N.S. Pande and he gave me no explanation. I should make it clear after this experience I still consider my self “Still not Enlightened” and didn’t feel much change in my day to day life besides the general calming from the meditation itself. My friend experienced the same thing and told the head of her Yoga teacher training group and her fellow students, who all told her with great joy that she had activated her third eye. (I think developing the third eye is a better way to describe it than opening or activating the third eye.) I remember Harjiwan http://harijiwan.com/ telling me that through meditation and Kundalini yoga, the opening of the third eye will become physical. The skull will actually open in that spot.

 

trepanation, trephination

 

Native Americans had skull opening rituals. People have used power tools to create these openings in modern times. I don’t advise this. Meditation and yoga sound more appealing. But an extra hole in the head seems to give people a sense of euphoria. Is it the extra oxygen now reaching the brain that is now producing these effects? That might explain the power of Pranayama.

Some people have said you may be experiencing the opening of some old, blocked-up energy and not the opening of the third eye itself… just a clearing out of the third eye energy path.  It’s so subjective.

The chakra in the third eye is an interesting place for us to be suddenly having some action. It is said that most of us are living in our first and second chakras and that by moving our kundalini energy up the spine, we activate each chakra until we reach the top (enlightenment?). But if we are reaching our third eye in meditation, how did our kundalini energy jump over the other chakra areas to reach the 6th chakra (called Ajna)? Can we just jump around from chakra to chakra? AND if we already reached the other 5 chakras wouldn’t we know?

Cymry Mongan of Color my Chakras http://www.colormychakras.com/ had this to say:

The Third Eye can only be properly activated when the lower five chakras are balanced and aligned.  If the Third Eye is not linked with the other chakras, we may become obsessed with the search for altered states of consciousness and psychic powers to satisfy our ego. This extinguishes our inner light, moving us further away from Enlightenment.

As far as becoming more intuitive through activation of the third eye/6th chakra, I don’t think it exactly relates to the third eye pressure but is  more an artifact of sitting in meditation daily.  In my opinion our intuition is 100% on, 24/7, but most of us are not listening or have not learned to listen. Which is the point of meditation. Learning to listen. Heightened intuition would be a good sign that your meditation practice is on the right path.

With meditation, we are trying to unlearn and clear the way so we can receive the information that is already available… information we can’t hear because we are already full of so much information. Meditation is not about trying to learn or acquire more. Meditation is a vehicle on a trip to the no mind, or the know mind.

Thanks for your question, Keith. Sorry I don’t have an answer. 😉

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Also from Cymry Mongan of Color my Chakras http://www.colormychakras.com/

The 3rd Eye Chakra is the sixth in the 7-Chakra system.  It is located between and just above the eyes. The Sanskrit word for this sixth chakra is “Anja,” meaning ‘command.’  Working with this chakra gives us a greater spiritual command of our lives.  The color is INDIGO, and the element is Light.  Physically, it is connected with the pituitary and pineal glands, eyes, ears, and nose.  It relates to vision, intuition, intellect, inner wisdom, perception, and mental clarity.


Nothing

I went to the store. The cheap store. As I walked in, I saw the friend of a friend and said hello as he passed by. Then I heard someone call my name. I looked around but didn’t see anyone. Then I heard my name again and I saw my friend who was the friend of the friend’s friend in the refrigerator section.

I said, “Hey I just saw your friend.” He said, “Yeah, we came together.” I said, “You shop with your friend?” He said, “Dude I am not gay.” I said, “OK, I believe you, but I wouldn’t care either way.”

I bought some non-organic blueberries, strawberries and yogurt.

I was standing in line behind a man standing back from an older woman who was in front of him. The older woman must have been a smoker and got lip cancer because a lot of her mouth was cut away and she was drooling some. The man in front of me was visibly upset by this. I wanted to say to him, “Don’t you feel lucky at this very moment?” Like the story of the guy with no shoes being upset until he saw the guy with no feet. The woman with no mouth was with a very happy middle-aged man who I guessed was her son. He was putting package after package of napkins on the conveyor belt at the cash register.

When I got home I put my fruit and yogurt away and went to the laundry room. My clothes had been in the dryer while I was gone. I love to multi-task… it gives me time to do what I love best, which is nothing.

When I brought my clothes back to my apartment, I noticed my cell phone blinking indicating that I had a message. But I didn’t listen to the message right away because I wanted to fold my laundry and put it away before it got wrinkly. Just as I finished the phone rang and I answered it. It was another friend. He said, “Dude, I’ve been calling you and calling you… where were you?” I told him I was at the store. He said, “Why didn’t you answer your phone?” I told him I did not take my phone with me to the store. He said, “Why not?”  I said, “My phone already has everything it needs. “

Why sing along with Dharma Gypsys?

Why should you sing along with Asato Ma (track #1 from the Dharma Gypsys Volume One: Music for Yoga Meditation and General House cleaning)? And What do the these words mean?

The fact that the words to this song are not in English is to your advantage. Knowing a word in your native language comes with a lot of baggage. Take the word God. It has a mountain of baggage attached to it, especially here in the west. So singing or saying something in a foreign language removes that mental baggage. It’s hard to pollute something consciously if we don’t know exactly what it means. But subconsciously, it is reaching us.

We want to get back in touch with the place we have forgotten but have never left. The universal mind. The collective consciousness. Where everything that has ever been or is ever going to be is available to us. Einstein talked about it. And you can have the same information Einstein had, hear the same things Beethoven—a deaf man—heard. How do you think Jimi Hendrix—an American man in his twenties—redefined the guitar forever? Sure he practiced a lot. But there is something else. The undefinable, the thing Jimi himself may not have been aware of. Like a medium, like a conduit of light and things better left unnamed.

You are part of the whole. The whole world. In fact you are the world. But our brains and ego—and the mental chatter produced by that pair—are deafening. It’s going to be easier to get into our subconscious if we can’t mentally define and label something.

So as we hear without listening, as we create without defining, as we sing along with words we do not understand because they are not in our native tongue, we can  receive the meaning in it’s purest form. No labeling. No defining. Only direct contact with the source.

So do you still want to know what the words to Asato Ma mean?

Asato Ma Sad Gamaya
Tamaso Ma Jyotir Gamaya
Mrityor Ma Amritam Gamaya

tough lint

The carpeting in my apartment is more like velcro than carpet. When I vacuum, I go over the same spot repeatedly and little pieces of lint don’t move. They are laughing at me. I get mad, bend over and pick them up. Why do I bother with this vacuum? It sucks.