Friday, July 22, 2005


So I've been asked to be the unofficial 5th member of "Waltz for Venus" - a hard-rock band consisting of a few of my really good friends. The group is starting to make some serious headway: they just recorded an album, are getting played on college radio, and are booking some really serious shows and so they asked me to join the group as the "Acoustic/Keyboard/Background-Vocals" guy to help fill out the sound during live performances.

We have a very important show at the Midwest Music Summit tomorrow (Saturday). The MMS is chock-full of industry people and networking opportunities.

Go to Waltz for Venus' website to listen to some of their music. The jukebox player is on the home page about halfway down on the right side. Be sure to check out the song "Movie Star" ... methinks you'll like it.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Test: Not a real post

Getting the itch...

From a fantastic book I'm reading called "The Barn at the End of the World" by Mary Rose O'Reilley:

"I love city life, its ruthless push of body on soul, the exacerbation, the grinding down. Sometimes. Often. And I love deep country, lakes lit like white fire. But nothing in my soul responds to suburbs, from which life has been sucked through a stellar straw. As though we were an experiment in the making of black holes."

Amen. Give me downtown and coffeehouses. Give me a quaint, friendly small town. Give me quiet, contemplative country. Just get me out of Blahworld. My wife and I are getting the itch to move. Bad.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

The Mustard Seed

Our church is currently studying the parable of the mustard seed, which goes like this:

"Jesus said, 'What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest seed you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.'"

I've been thinking about this parable quite a bit. The usual interpretations (such as it being about God using our small efforts to grow into grand outcomes) are no doubt correct. But all of the traditional interpretations haven't been able to fully satisfy what I think a deeper understanding of this passage would unveil.

So I emailed Jon, our online community's resident Christian mystic, asking him what his interpretation was. And like any true teacher, he tossed it right back to me with a Yoda-esque email that simply said:

"Mmmmmm, Master Jesus a koan has given you, yes? Work with it you will, mmm?"

So I did.

And here's what I've come up with at this point (not saying I've got it all figured out):

Jesus' disciples and the people of that time expected the Messiah to set up a new social Kingdom... where they would find happiness, fulfillment, and release from suffering under an unjust government. Jesus, in reality, flipped this around by telling them that the happiness, fulfillment, and release they were looking for was not in social structures but rather in a separate reality - which he called the "Kingdom" of God.

This Kingdom is two-fold. (1) In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus says the Kingdom is already "spread out upon the earth, though men don't see it." Since all of creation is a manifestation of God, then the exterior world/universe is currently the Kingdom of God as well. The people were looking for salvation in the future, and Jesus was saying "Look around... the perfection and peace of God is now!" (2) Not only is the Kingdom of God all around, perhaps more importantly the Kingdom of God is within you (Luke 17:21). It is an interior reality, where God dwells not out there somewhere but is the very Eye of your eye, Breath of your breath, Mind of your mind.

In this light, the mustard seed is the tiny, insignificant, personal self. The self is planted into God (through meditation, prayer or any other yoga, or method of Union with God), where the seed dies - then grows and expands into the grandest thing imaginable. As Meister Eckhart said many years ago:
"The seed of God is in us. Given an intelligent and hard-working farmer, it will thrive and grow up to God, whose seed it is; and accordingly its fruits will be God-nature. Pear seeds grow into pear trees, nut seeds into nut trees, and God-seed into God."

Sunday, July 17, 2005

No words can describe it...

Image hosted by Photobucket.comI'm not 100% certain about this, but...

I'm pretty sure that the universe was created - and life has gone through billions of years of evolution - so that we could experience Yoplait 'Harvest Peach' Yogurt.

It is so choice. If you have the means, I highly recommend picking one up.

The Bible talks about Jesus coming back. I think it will most likely be soon because I'm pretty sure the reason for his return is so he can have some of this stuff.

Friday, July 15, 2005

An Amusing Exchange

Disciple: How is one to realize the Self?
Ramana Maharshi: Whose Self? Find out.
D. I don't know how.
M. Just think over the question. Who is it that says "I don't know?" Who is the 'I' in your statement? What is not known?
D: Somebody or something in me.
M: Who is that somebody? In whom?
D: Perhaps some power.
M: Find out.
D: Why was I born?
M: Who was born? The answer is the same to all your questions.
D: Who am I, then?
M: (smiling) You have come to examine me? You must say who you are.
D: However much I may try, I do not seem to catch the 'I'. It is not even clearly discernible.
M: Who is it that say that the 'I' is not discernible? Are there two 'I's in you that one is not discernible by the other?
D: Instead of enquiring 'Who am I?', can I put the question to myself 'Who are You?" . . .
M: Whatever form your enquiry may take, you must finally come to the one I, the Self.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

YOGA: Frankie Says Relax (Part 2 of 2)

...with the great, grand secret being: to Relax.

It seems so simple, but of course it is. It should be so simple.

If an urge or desire arises, if I'm suffering through a bout of restlessness, if thoughts come in meditation - the answer is NOT to fight it off. Pushing away is another form of negativity and is not being the "watcher." Observe the restlessness, the suffering, the desire and then just ... well, relax. Don't allow the thought(s) to seed. Don't act on every whim that crosses your consciousness.

Ken Wilber calls it CONTRACTION anytime we live from the level of Ego. It's like a muscle tightening up when we desire something or get caught up in ourselves. It's relaxing that contraction that allows us to spread out, surrender, release, and return to our Original State: a single Pure Awareness that is the core of everything that is.

"Relax - don't do it. When you want to go to it."
(from the 80's classic "Relax" by Frankie Goes to Hollywood)

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

YOGA: Frankie Says Relax (Part 1 of 2)

Image hosted by Photobucket.comYoga philosophy says that when the mind-stuff (thoughts, judgements and the like) become still, then one lives from the place of pure awareness and is free from suffering.

For example, if you are suffering because you have lost a prized-possession, one normally has massive inner dialogue: "Oh I miss that thing so much," "I wish I could find another one like it," etc. And you sit there and stew and wish and whine - if not externally, at least mentally. We all do it. It is a very common way to live and be in the world.

But it's suffering (is it not?). And yoga philosophy says that suffering and pain are not the same. Suffering is mental and doesn't have to be there. We simply witness life as it unfolds - being aware and awake - watching the drama unfold like a glorious and fascinating play - but not putting judgements and labels on things (such as that situation is bad, this one is good). It just is what it is.

But the damn "problem" is stopping that mind-stuff (chitta). Not sure if you've ever tried it, but the mind is quite the squirrely monkey. I've certainly had trouble with it. But most recently, there has been some hope. It seems to me a great, glorious secret has been unfolded...

(more tomorrow)

Thursday, July 07, 2005

POEM: "the rain"

the rain could
easily remain, high above
the clay womb-
sure of its power-
fishing for praise.

but the rain
seeks no end for itself,
and rather - literally -
pours itself out;
Nature's bodhisattva,
yours and my aim.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

The Many Faces of the One

Once a man asked Ramakrishna why there are so many quarrels over God's nature. Why are there so many different opinions and images of God? Why do the people argue over all of this?

He replied:

Image hosted by"Once a man went into a wood and saw a beautiful creature on a tree. Later he told a friend about it and said, 'Brother on a certain tree in the wood I saw a red-coloured creature!' The friend answered: 'I have seen it too. Why do you call it red? It is green.' A third man said: 'Oh, no, no! Why do you call it green? It is yellow.' Then other persons began to describe the animal variously as violet, blue, or black.

"Soon they were quarrelling about the colour. At last they went to the tree and found a man sitting under it. In answer to their questions he said: 'I live under this tree and know the creature very well. What each of you has said about it is true. Sometimes it is red, sometimes green, sometimes yellow, sometimes blue and so forth and so on. It is a chameleon. Again sometimes I see that it has no colour whatsoever.

"In the like manner, one who constantly thinks of God can know His forms and aspects. God has attributes; then again He has none. Only the man who lives under the tree knows that the chameleon can appear in various colours, and he knows, further, that the animal at times has no colour at all. Others not knowing the whole truth quarrel among themselves and suffer."