Saturday, August 17, 2013

How To Meditate

Its almost becoming a fad- meditation. Yoga has already surpassed that status, its quite popular. Partly for the image that comes with it - someone who 'has their shit together' does Yoga and meditates, right? So we all want to have our shit together, and many of us look for that in Yoga and Meditation.

Let me say something that is, to some, confusing and stupid, but to others, a bit more Taoist; You cannot try to meditate. You cannot concentrate on meditation, for concentration implies doing something that is inherently boring or hard to do.

After many ups and downs with meditation, let me give you my hints, since I find I'm with the majority of people in that meditation seems a bit confusing to me at first.

The Happy Meditation;
Ever feel bland, sad, or just not right and want to feel good? This is the meditation practice to get there. Sit down in your meditation position of choice, close your eyes, and slow your breath. Now, imagine black, nothing, space. Once you've done that imagine your brain resetting. The past is the past, the now is now, forget all the feelings attributed to the past - restart.

Now, breath in and out, focus on this for a minute or two, and then bring in a happy memory from the past. Something that really absolutely makes you happy - a picnic with friends, a great time with the family, a wonderful moment - a life changing one, a sirene kiss. It doesn't matter what it is, it matters that it made you happy then, and you can focus on it now. 

Bring it to the forefront of your thoughts. Immerse yourself in that memory. Remember every detail of the setting - the sky, the looks on peoples faces, the feeling of not caring, the feeling of freedom, of happiness, of love and joy. With each breath take in more happiness. Feel the happiness hit the bottom of your lungs like a tingling release of energy. Each breath getting happier and happier.

If done correctly and with a sincere intent, you will find yourself embracing a pillow, or rolling on the floor with utter amazement of how blissful you have become. Practice makes perfect.

The 'I Need To Change' Meditation;
This meditation is when you've realized that you're doing something you don't want to be doing, either to yourself or to others. Be it gossiping, being arrogant, lying, stealing, or being down-right mean. Here is how to get out of that.

Meditation pose. Sit. Breath. Think of nothing. Reset the mind. Ok.

Now, with each breath in, imagine something good in the world. Remember a point where someone made you happy for something they did. Remember how that made you feel, in all seriousness. For instance, I was walking home one night, and a man I never really talked to, but had seen before, was approaching. I looked at him and made eye contact and nodded my head, and he looked at me, and said 'Have a good night'. But there was something far more grand than just those words that was spoken to me - inside me. He truly meant that, and he meant it in the nicest way possible. 

When I feel as if I'm becoming a jerk, or acting foolish, I will meditate on those words. Each breath in I imagine a person doing something similar in the world, and with each breath out, I make the realization (and mantra) 'Everyone deserves my love.' This sets me straight as an arrow every time. You will come out of it speaking truths, removing the veil of our culture, and acting how you truly want to be. - Remember, everyone deserves your love.

The 'Real' Meditation
This is to clear your mind, to reset everything, and to make the future a breeze, no matter the forces at play.

Sit. Relax. Reset. 

Now nothing. Don't TRY to remove thoughts, don't try to do anything. The only thing you will try to do is realize your thoughts. When a thought train comes along, just sit and remember you are not here to partake in the internal conversation. Just realize the thoughts, acknowledge them, but give them no weight or meaning. Like an angry driver coming by, acknowledge it, accept it is there, and forget about it. Continue this.

For me, as soon as I acknowledge a thought and realize I don't have to partake in it's conversation it immediately dies, and I find myself empty. Doing this for longer periods of time, and doing it habitually releases your internal anxiety. You become fearless of the future, and loving of the present.

Hope this helps someone out there. 
You all deserve my love.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Lost in the confusion.

You're you, and you're always gonna be you.
You were born and you're always gonna have that fact.
So now you have this 4 Billion people running around frantically trying to find out who they are, and here you & I are, sitting watching, and occasionally getting up and flailing around with them. Yelling, screaming, in the metaphorical street.
All these buildings and houses, and homes and stays - all built for us to feel more comfortable. Move from one to the next trying to get this and remove that, say this and forget that. Climbing this imaginary ladders built on 'shoulds' and 'goods', getting to the top to find nothing really special at all.
There are a few on lookers, a bit of booze in the belly, laughing at the brigade of confused and frantics - driving their cars and trucks and big ole jeeps to here and far.
There are a few who cast a blind eye to it all, finding the frantic flailing stressful and stupid, almost loathsome in a way, and they retire to a comfort of less confused animals and plant life.
But again, here you and I are. Sitting, occasionally staring in confusion, and partaking in confusion ourselves. Thinking of bliss and love, pain and meaning. What should I do with it all, and why?
Well, I don't know, honestly. I will never know if I'm right or wrong, or if there is right or wrong to begin with! But, what I consider my own opinion is that this world is so vastly confusing, so incredibly complex and dynamic, that I cannot help but to become mystified on a daily basis. So, what I ask of all people on Earth, is that you never stop realizing. Never stop having moments of inspiration, ambition, motivation, and awe.
Our universe is vast, and our Earth reflects that. All ideas, subjects, and objects in our world are incredibly interesting. There is no subject matter to be discussed that cannot be transformed in a most incredible descriptive manner. From a tree to a string - from a whale to a word, all things have depth and structure. All things could be discussed at length.
Find your motivation, in all this confusion. In fact, one of my motivational ideas is the incredible amount of confusion and panic that exists in our world.
Find it, encapsulate it, train it, and release it - Find it, learn all about it, practice expressing it and explaining it, and then do it.

Friday, June 28, 2013

We're All Story Tellers

We're all story tellers, now.

Its been exactly 1 month since my last post. Its not so much I haven't been thinking, or been too busy, I've just wondered if its worth it to put my thoughts here. I suppose it is, though. At least they are somewhere.

I was camping the past 3 days when I began to think. I began to think about my thinking and I realized all my thoughts and nearly everything interesting that I was experiencing on the trip, quickly was being transformed into little 3 sentence segments that I could easily tell other people.

Suddenly I had realized that all my thoughts were being transcribed in the equivalent of a News Broadcast's sound bites - I was preparing my thoughts for the digital and social world.

For instance, I had just seen the most miraculous cloud formations I have ever seen before with an oncoming rain storm. I was so awe struck I stood, mouth agape, fascinated at what was unraveling before me. Yet more than half of my thoughts were "How will I tell someone about this?" and sadly enough, "How can I make a facebook status update about this?"

It felt disgusting, really. It felt like my mind was more occupied with how to create a simple 3-sentence story rather than actually involving myself in the experience itself! Oh the irony!

Immediately I attempted to stop myself, but realized this was heavily engrained inside of me. That all of my experiences for the past 10 or so years had been mostly contemplations of transcribing my experience to words and sounds. I wasn't actually in the moment, I was in the future, reaping the 'likes' and 'cool story bro'-like dialogue that would ensue my story being told.

I have no idea, of course, but I must assume that we all have begun to do this. Our thoughts are quickly becoming consumed with quantity of people we can get to enjoy our story. How many likes can I get from taking a photo of this weird guy, this car accident, this funny cat.

No longer is much of anything for personal mementos - a majority of it is for transmutation to the digital world.

So I thought deeper - what would it be like to be the opposite? How long have we been story tellers?

Of course since the advent of social & digital media, its boomed - now everyone needs to be able to tell good stories, but a century ago, I wonder. Was it the same? At the ball room party, was it the story teller that got the laughs, or was it the suave philosopher?

A thousand years ago, were people tilling the dirt of their fields, sweeping the steps of their castles, and sailing the trade winds - all the while thinking about how to tell others of their adventures? I'm sure there were many, many great storytellers of those times, but I highly doubt everyone was doing it.

It was just an interesting thought. A thought I hope to get a lot of likes and comments from. A thought that I hope keeps me from being absorbed in the future. The story can be pieced together after the experience. The experience itself is priceless, however.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Life is Strange

Life is strange. It's weird. It's up and down and all around.

Try to escape and you run in circles.
Try to understand it and it evades your grasp.
Try to ignore it and it consumes.

Paths we weave, paths we blaze, future and past - we live our lives. We intermingle with other paths, sometimes crossing, sometimes parallel, sometimes we join up.

But its so dynamic, it is always changing, and what we once think we understood changes on its head, our paths zig zag and loop-de-loop and pull!

When we think we've finally settled, and things are 'normal' at last, a stare into the night sky and a tear down the cheek brings it all back. The sheer meaning, purpose, and existence of anything at all - anything at all. It boggles and contorts our minds.

Some of us brush it under. Some of us hold it high. Some of us battle and fight it, confused as to where to put it.

It just is, and all that is, just is. And we make it and weave it, and are force-fed it and stung by it. It's strange, it's weird, it's odd and even. We can never really get it and we'll never totally be in the dark. It's a place of mystery and wonder.

But if and when you forget, remember, that Life is Strange.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

"Too smart to be happy?"

When we are born we are dumb.
We grow, and get shown the world by other people, their perspective.
We take strength in what we're told and what we're shown.
But when we start to read and question and think about whats been handed to us - we find most of it is wrong. Its construed, its backwards, its meaningless.
This makes us sad, for our whole lives seem based on false ideologies and paradigms. 
We begin to question everything. Everyone. Is anyone right? Is there even a 'right' at all?

Once we’ve been tricked and are forced to learn on our own, life seems a bit less happy than what we were told. We have to start over, erase all the falsehoods and fairy tales.

We grow, thinking this place is foolish, filled with fools and stupid people. We alienate and think ourselves different.

We start wondering why other people are happy at all – "ignorance is bliss", we suppose.

But then we come across these genius minds, and they are also happy.

We struggle to understand - maybe they're only smart in one thing, but they are stupid in others?
Maybe they 'just don't get it.' even with all that smart, and all that intelligence, they still just don't get it.
Maybe they have some cognitive dissonance?
We try to talk to them, follow them, or understand and make sure we’re missing something.
But we’re not. 
These are genuinely intelligent people, who know all we know and more.

But they're happy.
How do they do that? How can they get it but still be happy?
And so we grow again, into the next stage. 
Finding that happiness isn't this "ignorant-only" thing.
It may take a smart man to realize flaws in happiness.
But it takes an even greater mind to create it.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Series of Responses to the "Depressed" - What should I do about depression (The real 'cure')

Today someone posted on a website that they were depressed. The phrase "End it all" appeared, and, although I wasn't worried (the one's who write this are the lucky ones), I responded. I'm deciding to put my response here because I think its worthy of some space in "the cloud". 

The thing that immediately clicks in my mind when someone makes a post like this is they are not suicidal, they only think they are. They have come to the conclusion that happiness is something they will never have and fear and depression will be in their future forever. What is the one thing that causes you to get scared/depressed the most?
The future, right? You think
“Oh my god, what if this keeps happening forever?”
“What if when I’m 50 it comes back and its even worse?”
“What if I’m like my mom when she’s 50?”
You know what this is? This is just existentialism, through one lens. You are going through your life contemplating one possibility and one possibility only. When you feel down, you cast that veil upon your future, diminishing ALL your possibilities, all your greatness, all your motivation, inspiration and beauty come to a halt and you FOCUS on this bullshit depression filled paradigm that you are consumed with in that moment.
LIFE is not about the future. Life is about NOW and when you cast yourself in the abyssal slums of depression in the NOW you should keep it there, and dwell within it, and learn from it, so the next time it comes you say “Oh fuck. Here goes another day of shit. I’ll try and make tomorrow better.”
Our minds are cycles, and our lives are not our own. We weave these stories of who we are and what we are from past and present. It is foolish of us to place this into the future. YOU, HEEDTHEM, need to realize this. You need to realize that you will have bad days and you will have good days, but the only way to remove the bad days from the future are to keep them in the now. Your post is plastered with references to the future, and its obvious that this is where your depression is coming from.
Take the negative, depressive, empty feelings and sit in them. Say to yourself ‘I understand this is going to last some time, but I will recover and I can move on.’
If, however, you refrain from this and continue along the lines of “What if I never get better? What if I’m like this when I’m my mom’s age? What if I’m depressed when I have kids” You will continue writing these posts, you will continue looking for escapes, and you will continue to push others away.
Which brings up another point. In order to bring good into your life – you have to GIVE. You need to give the love that you have. You need to hug to be hugged and you need to kiss to be kissed.
Be done with this b.s. fear-shit. Be done with the grim future. Be done with the “what ifs” and the doubts. Start giving, and receiving. Start loving. Start remembering the now, and keeping the future for another day.

There was a year in my life where I contemplated buying a gun. Every day seemed to be exactly the same. I would wake up and my FIRST thought would be “Fuck this. I feel like shit again. Why am I even here.” Every day for 3 months. Every day.
I lost all emotional ties to my parents. My friends became manikins that I rode around with, life was useless. The future was meaningless. I was just existing out of pure apathy of not wanting to go through the hassle of buying a weapon to end my life quickly. I just rode the waves of depression.
But I realized, as I stated above, that all that shit, all the negativity was from condemning my own future. OF casting that pitch-black veil on my later years. I was destroying any chance I had before I even had it. I was killing myself in the days to come. I was the culprit, nothing else, and there can be no other reason for depression except yourself.
Its bullshit to call ‘imbalances’ or ‘genetics’ as well, and I don’t even want to / or have the time to go into this, but its total BS. Those millions of people with depression? Self-fulfilling prophecy. We don’t have genes to make us depressed, thats just silly. We are ACTIVELY turning on those genes, and the more they tell us its ‘just how we are’ the more we accept it, the more those genes get comfortable with being on.
So fuck ALL that shit. Fuck all the crap they tell you, and realize that you, and I, and all of us, are really beautiful people. We can give so much to everyone, and our futures can be brighter than we can possibly imagine. Take THIS kind of talk and plaster it on your kid’s future. Take this motivational, inspirational wonderful stuff and paint your future with it. Rip down the bleak meaninglessness and begin filling the future with bright clarity and understanding.
In response to feeling dissociated, and that the above "doesn't work for me."
First – the dissociation feeling is a by-product of being ‘depressed’. Dissociation is what happens to you after you’ve been in depression repeatedly or for any serious duration. Its your brain’s way of saying “holy fuck I need to cut some ties” so it starts diluting everything its taking in. Dissociation goes away when depression goes away. At one point I was so dissociated, I remember on multiple occasions (possibly a dozen) where I couldn’t remember if what had happened during the day was reality or a dream. I had conversations with my parents where I couldn’t remember if we had actually talked or if I was imagining things into existence. I would wake up some days and completely forget the previous day. It was an odd experience in my life.
Second, the reason that you aren’t getting from “What if?” to “Fuck yeah” is because you don’t believe its possible. This is the biggest misconception about human consciousness I know of. Happiness is a choice, and we actually don’t want to accept this. It seems fake if it were such an easy thing, right? I mean real happiness has substance – I have to be a happy person to feel happiness.
But its quite the inverse. In order to be a happy person, you need to create happiness. And sometimes the best way to do that is to literally make it out of thin air. Make happiness from nothing. You may want to repeat my happiness trials from my dead blog some time ago.
I was long since passed my depression when I wrote it, but I wanted to experiment. I was having a very ‘bleak’, that is, very neutral gray attitude towards everything. Stuff was just happening. Not really happy not really sad, just chilling. So I decided fuck me, why not try to be happy? Why not ‘fake it till I make it’?
I woke up everyday, and I smiled. I faked it but really tried to make it real (you can feel these waves of forcing it and then actual happiness happen – its rather interesting). I would drive to work, very tired, but smiling. I would smile at shitty drivers, I would smile at the cloudy sky. I would smile at the thought of sitting at my desk all day. Most of the time it was like “No, Jon… not gonna happen.” But about 10% of the time when I started I would actually feel happy. I would feel like it was a summer day, bright and sunny, cool breeze. I would imagine myself in my favorite spot.
Now I do the same exercise and within a minute I become ecstatic. Its ridiculous. At times I feel like a mad man, as I sit in my back yard laughing hysterically at NOTHING. I’ve conjured happiness from thin air.
You don’t have to try this, and actually – it may be healthier with your neighbor-relations if you don’t (they probably think I’m nuts now). But what I’m saying is there is this misconception that happiness happens to us. And although this can be true, we also have the ability to create happiness.
Anyway, you’re future is bright. I know this and I think deep down you might as well. If you keep on this track, and quit with the pre-determining of your future as some bleak blob, you’ll catch wind in your sail and be who you want to be. I hope I’ve demonstrated that “I’ve been there” and that I got the fuck out.

Monday, April 29, 2013

When asked "Where to experience?"

I was asked where is the best place to 'experience' - that is, partake in any type of spiritual or religious journey. My response is as follows;

My favorite spot is about 100 miles from any decently sized city.
I don't hear cars, I don't hear people, rarely do I even hear the prop of a plane.
I canoe around, and wander in the trees. I reflect my thoughts on the blue sky and white clouds while streaming in the sun's blessings. The world speaks to me here, it condemns and condones all parts of my life. The trees become my father, mother, brother and sister. The birds become aware of me, and I of them.
I cannot ignore my surrounding's most meaningful advice here. All things come at face value and with the weight of the Earth. I often leaved riddle, confused, yet relieved and relaxed. As if my journey has both ended and began.
Trying to experience such epiphanies or attempting introspection in a city, or a park leaves me distant and dilute. I feel as if nature is no longer there, but rather covered up and muffled. I can't communicate and I learn little, and fear much.
I do not enjoy 'experience' with concrete in sight.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Transmuter


v. trans·mut·edtrans·mut·ingtrans·mutes
To change from one form, nature, substance, or state into another; transform: Alchemists tried to transmute lead into gold. See Synonyms at convert.

Transmutation is synonymous with alchemy; it is the changing of one form to another. It is often used in biology as well, for often we see transmutations in energy. For instance, the sun's energy is transmuted in plants into sugars and starches, which later we can ingest and gain that energy from.

But today I want to talk about emotional transmutation. This is the key to becoming a successful, level headed, likeable person. The ability to take any emotion and turn it into something productive. For instance, there has been a great deal of internet hype around transmuting sexual energy into being productive. In other words, when you're horny as a goat, if you master a certain technique, you can use that 'energy' to write, paint, or get something done for your work or school.

In my post "I Think I've Hit Rock Bottom" I talked about transmuting the lowest of the low in our emotions - where we're depressed, feel useless, and have lack of energy - into a point where we start to change.

I'd like to go over how to do that. How to transmute, and how to be an 'alchemist' of emotions. My example will be you just got fired from your job.

1. Focus on what is bothering you or engulfing you. Take a deep breath and just dive into it. Consume yourself with how you just got fired - that feeling of betrayal, denial, discomfort, and loss.

2. Imagine the worst possible scenario. You lose your house, your car, you become homeless and have to beg for money. You lose all your friends.

3. Realize that this situation is incredibly slim, and that even this worst scenario has possibilities. You will undoubtedly meet new people and explore new places. You may have the chance to finally sleep on the beach. Hell, you might even enjoy not paying bills or having deadlines, there are a lot of people that choose to be homeless.

4. Remove blame - The universe unfolds as it does. All things happen - there are no evil people or evil intentions, there are only ideas of evil that harbor themselves in people's minds.

5. Transmute that negative energy into movement and action. Take what you wish would have happened and make it a reality. This is the leverage point from which you can explode into new possibilities. Einstein was told he was stupid. Lance Armstrong never won a race before diagnosed with cancer. Steve Jobs (although I don't like the example) had a bleak outlook of Apple at one point, before becoming the giant it is today.

Success from failure is not a coincidence, it's a recipe. Heroin addicts recover the best when they can't get any lower. In the world of business, it is often the most successful people have the longest history of failure.

Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.
      - Albert Einstein -

And I will end on that note.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

The Most Important Book

It is a subjective phrase, of course other books may be more important in other contexts, but this book is able to grip a being at their core, and shake them straight as a nail, if understood.

The book - Sacred Speech: The Way of Truth Speak by Tamarack Song

Of its premise is that we are fundamentally set up to lie, fib, and smudge the truth. We do it to avoid hurting others, and we do it to keep ourselves out of danger. Ironically, these two reasons of doing it are actually the end product of our interactions when we do not speak truth.

In short - truth speaking is that way of speaking, that voice and language, that vocabulary, that feel in words that provokes seriousness, and makes us focus on what is being said. We become one with the speaker and take what is said and understand it on a level far beyond that of just diction. We have communicated to each other in the fullest way possible.

I urge all that see this post to read this book. It can be downloaded for free, or purchased:

Free version:


Friday, April 12, 2013

Happiness Trials - A Review

About a year and month ago today I started the Happiness Trials on a now dead blog, and I followed it for 1 week.

What I did was - woke up, smiled as soon as I got out of bed. Brushed my teeth and smiled while looking in the mirror. Drove to work and smiled at the sky and at the road.

About 75% of the time it felt forced, and just felt like the muscles in my face were mimicking a smile. But about 25% of the time, the feel of happiness and actually smiling would cover my body. After the first few days I started getting explosions of bliss. I remember at one point I was 10 minutes from work and I couldn't stop smiling. It was taking over. I started laughing, almost hysterically in my car. No radio, no music, no friends, totally alone - laughing completely full of glee.

I would arrive at work every day in a completely different mood than others. I would feel approachable and I would feel as if I could approach anyone.

Now, over a year later, every day to work, I laugh a little to myself as I look into the sky. The clouds laugh with me, and the trees are bright with smiles. Its transformed my daily mood.. Just thought I would share.

"Mounds abound in peaceful glare,
The soggy ground with new green flare,
Life once silent now full of glee,
All this happens inside of me."
From my pen & ink drawing "Tree of Life":

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Gift Economy

The world has changed since I was a kid. I know things that are happening with my friends and acquaintances around the globe, all the time. I can check up on anyone, and I can browse a countless number of fashion, art, news, shops at the click of a button.
Nearly all of these websites and organizations are built off of money, and need money to survive, however. We are all deeply rooted in capitalism, whether you choose to be or not. It is a rare person to live without money, anywhere on the globe now.
But, with all the negativity of money, can there spring positivity. Capitalism is simple at it’s theory, at its very core – the companies or organizations that get money, survive, and those that don’t die. It is the sum of all the people’s decisions dealing with money that influences these outcomes, and it is ultimately money that controls the existence of some organizations, businesses, and even ideas.
In a gift economy, people give to give. They give to support, and they give to say something. They give objects or the give money, sometimes the prior being too cumbersome or too complicated to do, while money is simple, effective, and easily transmutable.
It is with money that you can support art, ideas, technology, and people. It is with money that you can voice your opinions across the globe.
It is the feeble mind that finds itself wondering if it can actually support another. It is the weakened and fearful that believe a small donation may wreak havoc on their lively hood. I made a realization at one point after finding 20$ in my pocket that I had forgotten about, that 20$ is really nothing. I forgot I had it, for god’s sake. I could have burned it in the fire and nobody would have known. Yet far too often do I see people bickering in their heads on whether to support someone for half that amount. As if it puts their life in jeopardy.
I ask you all to support what you love. Don’t save and horde your money. This is a time to transition from the belief that you need to save money in order to thrive. It is absolutely the other way around. Give gifts, spend money (conscientiously, of course) and be supporting.
Support! Gift! Be generous!
For those of you who buy coffee at starbucks [or insert any other shit like that here] a couple times a week – make it at home and spend it on something you actually care about.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Gun Regulations... Shut the fuck up already!

[Deep, long, almost pass-out breath]

This subject is getting so muddied and so disgusting I really would rather not write about it, but I've read enough and I need to put my opinion down on paper/webz before I explode.

After countless incidents with guns harming people, it became a huge deal that maybe the government was going to ban guns. Nobody in the white house has really made that claim, but it became a prevalent fear that seemed to spread country wide in a matter of days. The conversation changed from "I am so sorry for those lost" to "Don't take my guns!"

So many posts on facebook and around the web have been pulling up so many different perspectives and facts. And in the end, none of them matter.

The fact is, is that since guns exist at all, the problem will persist. Making them illegal or legal will prevent someone like me from getting them, but if you truly want a weapon, you can find one. That being said, a high-functioning psychotic isn't going to be going into the ghetto to find an uzi and smoke grenades, like the Batman murder guy. He probably would have been  prevented from obtaining them, since he had to get them legally, and I doubt he had many connections in the black market of guns. He was a college student from a relatively good family, and I highly doubt he had ever come into contact with weapons before owning them himself (legally).

THAT BEING SAID the man rigged his apartment to explode with gasoline, which means if he hadn't done it with guns, he would have done it with something else. Making an explosion is not a hard task, and thanks to the freedom of the internet, it's pretty damn easy to get a recipe book for bombs.

I think this whole debate about the freedom of owning guns is irrelevant for a number of reasons, some of which I've already stated;
1) Making them illegal is like putting the cookie jar on top of the fridge. It might hinder the well behaved adolescent-minded people, but those determined to get it will find a way.
2) "Freedom" is not so simply defined, and having the freedom to own a deadly weapon, often implies that you need it to end another's freedom - a tricky subject, with no logical end.
3) We should be focusing on being better people and admiring each other's good sides, rather than prepping in weapon-mongering and 'fuck you' mind-set.

If we start having impatience  coupled with a want for guns, I don't think this is a good combination. We need to be better people to each other to remove the hate, the anger, and the sadness. These emotions are the only real reason anyone dies, right? So if we work on removing the source of the problem, rather than the symptoms, we're bound to get farther.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Capitalism without Regulation [W/O Government]

Due to all the Ron Paul Supporters that I seem to come in contact with it came to my attention how complicated this issue is. I want to use Ron Paul as an example, but this is not about Ron Paul, this is about all regulation, but Ron Paul is a good lead in.

A purely capitalist society would have no regulation - trade would be unregulated and no restrictions would apply, and thus the economy would decide basically everything. In Ron Paul's perspective, in his ideal he would remove the FDA and the EPA. I have debated this heavily and sometimes I get some people who understand, but many do not want to see it from another way. I urge you to read this with an open mind, and realize the importance of regulation in a capitalistic system!

No where in this post am I going to claim the FDA is a god send, nor is it without its problems. To say the FDA is bad is an understatement, but its negative issues do not outweigh what it does.

First lets make sure we all know what the FDA does. The FDA makes food 'safe' for consumption by investigating factories and production plants, making sure contamination in organic food is minimal. It also regulates anything that has proven effects on people (i.e. drugs). There was a controversy some time ago that the FDA would have to regulate cheerios because cheerios were proven to reduce cholesterol. I didn't follow it, but Cheerios can still be bought at the store. The purpose of this is so that medicines that PROVE to be useful to health, MUST fit the bill, and must be watched by an entity. That is, the FDA wants to make sure the drug you're getting is actually the drug you're getting and not a watered down placebo.

However, the bads that come with the FDA (and EPA) is that often the 'most qualified' people to run the FDA (and EPA) come from big business. After all, if you were the government, wouldn't you want someone running a huge foundation such as these, to have a great deal of experience at a similar level? Where would you get that... Big business. Its a bad thing, and it should be mended. I am opposed to how this works.

However without regulation, and in Ron Paul's ideal (RPI for short lol) there would be no regulation, and more catastrophically, there would be no ingredients labels, no nutritional value labels, no information would be absolutely mandatory by law. However, in theory, the economy could choose for the products that have labels.

But who is going to verify the labels? Do you have a Mass Spectrometer in your lab? Or a Nuclear Magnetic Resonance machine? Didn't think so. Are you going to dish out the 100$+ per sample of food you want tested? Probably not. The FDA does this, and makes sure what is SAID is in your food is actually in your food. 

In RPI, this would be enforced by the individual suing the company for lying or so forth. Of course this could work, but would it always? Take for example, if a company starts dishing out a protein shake that is actually contaminated with heavy metals from the water it uses to grow its Yeast or Algae? You aren't going to know until it is too late, and suing someone from your death bed just doesn't ring 'freedom' to me. Again, you could easily run the samples yourself by sending it to a company, but do you want to dish out >$100 dollars for every new protein shake you try?

How about going to the Doctors and getting some medicine. How do you really know what is in there. The label no longer is regulated.

The EPA is what is saving the U.S's air from looking similar to Mexico City or Beijing. Introducing pollutant control is saving a couple years on your life, arguably. You have to pay taxes for it, but the alternative is pretty nasty.

In RPI it would be now in your hands to go and find which factories are producing the most smog, and then making the economic choice to buy from them. If you live in Southern California, and live next to a nasty smog producing plant, that sucks, even though you may not support them economically, people in Minnesota aren't going to give a shit about you. In RPI, you would supposedly be able to sue said company for dirtying your air, but without regulation, who's going to say what limit of smog is too much? How are you even going to prove that they produce the most smog. You'll have to run thousand dollar tests to compare different companies.

Water polluted? In RPI you better do some intense research, because it is in your hands and your hands alone to take on this problem. How are you going to find where the pollutants came from, and what if you can't prove it?

Do you like National Parks?
Well, too bad in RPI.

That is all.

Monday, February 4, 2013

The Thought Tree

The Thought Tree vrs Thought Web

When we're asked to visualize the brain's neurons and their connections, we often visualize an intricate 3-dimensional web of axons branching out all over the place. We kind of extrapolate that further in our own imaginings of our mind, as a giant web of ideas. Each idea connected to another, such as piano keys are tied to pianos which are tied to music, and music sheets, and so forth.

However, I want to change that view. I want to give this a bit more structure, and perhaps a small paradigm shift, if you will, on how we imagine our minds.

I want to make the claim that our minds are better perceived as trees. They have a very strong base, in which all other thoughts are structured from and therefore those "trunk" thoughts, or roots, even, are what branch out into all other thoughts.

Why would I think this, you may ask, or even what is the difference?

After having thought about my thoughts (A highly difficult, tedious, and basically impossible thing to do with any real clarity) I have found that although my thoughts seem sporadic when I am perhaps walking to a destination, or going about my "auto-pilot" tasks - I have always found that my thoughts are stemming from the same subject.

For example: On a given day in the past, I may have been thinking about gas prices. A few hours later I would be empathizing with racing a car, perhaps a few hours later, I would be thinking about the perhaps buying a car. At first glance, I realized these were all very easily related. It takes no genius to see that I am thinking about cars. But interesting - none of them were connected. I had noticed that they had all come up on independent thoughts, independent scenarios, yet they were weighed as important in my brain (enough, at least, for me to remember them later while pondering this).

At first this seemed not very important at all to me. So I started thinking about cars three times, independently within a day - who cares? We live in a car culture, it should be obvious that this may happen. However, I found it this type of correlated thinking continually popping up. It didn't get interesting until one day I was in the car (coincidence? I think not!) driving by myself, with an hour to just think on an open road.

As my thoughts wandered, I tried to trace them, without influencing them - a kind of meditation. Seeing what I was thinking about, without diverging it too far off what I would normally think about, but being completely aware. At some point I became extremely anxious. I had no idea why, and I tried to understand:

1. Was I anxious because of my driving alone for an hour, somewhat. But why?
2. Was I anxious because I was alone in general or in the car? In general (not a car accident) - but why?
3. Was I anxious because of the feeling of being alone, or something else? It was the feeling, but deeper.
4. Was the deeper feeling of anxiety coming from the future or the past? The future.
5. I was fearing that my alone time now, was going to last forever.

The whole thought process was extremely sporadic and irrational, however I realized something important. Although at first glance I thought I was anxious that I was going to get in a car accident, I realized that wasn't it - it was further, deeper inside me. I was fearing being alone forever, from a measly car ride!

So this would advocate for a thought web, not necessarily a thought tree.

However, I found something interesting later on. I was hiking alone in the woods and it started to get dark and the same feeling came over me. The negativity and anxiety at first seemed stunning and odd - I asked myself why. At first (and previous, similar scenarios) I thought perhaps I was fearing the cold, my father or mother being mad I was late, or me missing something at home (friends calling or something).

It wasn't that, as I walked home I realized it stemmed from the same fear - of being alone forever.

So at this point, I realized all my anxiety was stemming from being alone (or later, I found, a painful death) which wasn't necessarily a relief, but made it much easier to handle.

But this isn't what this post is about (stay with me!). What developed after this insight was very profound. Over the course of a year, it became apparent that all my thoughts were structured this way. All my happiness, all my sadness, all my worries, all my stress, all of my random thoughts were all grown from a handful of ideas.

Stress, sadness, and worries all stemmed from dying painfully or alone (a normal fear, I suppose).

But all my daily thoughts were bound by major anchor ideas - the base of the tree.

During the end of my 4th year of college, I was thinking often about my hobbies - I started drawing more, I started painting more, planting more, all of my hobbies were accelerating and amplifying. It was because, way way in the back of my mind I was thinking of moving and what I wanted to do (what I loved, of course). I was trying to get a feel for all my hobbies, I was basically being driven by a force I didn't even know was there. 

But even these thoughts were anchored deeper, into growing old and having no regrets over my life. In another perspective;
Starting idea: School is stressful - is this what I want to do?
To: Do I like drawing, painting, or planting more?
To: I want to be happy with what I'm doing during my next years
To:When I get old I don't want regrets of these years.

So a simple thing as drawing a picture was intimately related (albeit very deeply) to how I wanted to view my achievements when I got to an age of reminiscing.

My happiest days are also tied the same way:
Starting idea: Wow this sky is beautiful
To: I really enjoy the colors, the feeling of the sun
To: This is how life should be
To: This is the natural state of the planet
To: This is "right" for who and what I am

No thoughts seem to be simple anymore, not even the buying of a cup of coffee, or the watching of a TV show, or the words in a sentence. All things seem to be tied to deeply who I am, much deeper than we are trained to believe.

Not only is this stunning to me, how we seem to be the products of only a few strong ideas and perspectives, but it also explains how such similar people can grow to be so dissimilar. If you change the direction of a tree's trunk, you essentially change the tree. 

It also explains why we don't change our core-beliefs so readily, we are not just a web of thoughts, each being equal in strength and importance, but rather, we have these "base" or "trunk" ideas which hold our entire paradigm of reality up, aloft. They are what mediate our live's decisions. Our political beliefs are tied to our fears of death, and loves of life, far deeper than a fiscal or financial number can ever explain. Thus, changing a person's political identity, would most likely restructure the entire tree of their thoughts - not a simple task at all. (I only use political beliefs as an example).

Thanks for bearing with me.

Saturday, January 26, 2013


How the $#!% did we get here?

This is going to be a history detour -  past all the presidents, past all the wars, behind the scenes of what was happening abroad and in the media. Its a story of the subtle changes that got us to our current paradigm that some of us are desperately trying to get out of, while others are desperately trying to fall into. That of the oil-driven, consumerist society of capitalism.

In the early 1900's we're familiar that the automobile started to develop. It wasn't until the '20's that their popularity became wide spread, with the price reduction that followed Ford's invention of the Model T. But that isn't the whole story, certainly not. While Ford was pushing for lowering prices enough for most working families to afford his Model T, public transportation, which brought most people to work, were slowly losing business.

It quickly dawned on both the government and the automotive industry that this market of private transportation was untapped. Given the expense of a private vehicle, the constant upkeep, and fuel consumption it was apparent that a huge sum of money was about to be made, if only public infrastructure would support it.

During the '20s and ;30s something happened between private business and public government. The paper industry destroyed hemp, the chemical industry took hold of all publicly endorsed medicine, and most relevantly the "GM Streetcar Conspiracy" came to fruition. For reasons unknown to me, these all took place nearly simulataneously in a large change of power from government enforcing laws and regulation to taking an enormous part in private business, and ultimately, the structuring of American life.

By the 50's the street car was dead, and public transportation was for the down-trotted and poorer labor workers of America. Personal transportation was nearly synonymous with nationalism and endorsement of pride in the growing economy (and recovering from the depression). The personal automobile became a requirement for the american dream, and thus changed the identity of the population.

But this wasn't enough. There was still untapped potential for capitalism. The perfect picture of capitalism is for every single person to own all of their own stuff - their own house, their own car, and everything that fills those spaces and places. However, much of the working class lived where they worked. This necessarily meant they lived in cities, and in turn, compact buildings such as apartments and compact housing.

Drawing upon the idea of the antiquated royal elite living far out of the city, the real estate industry started an ingenious (in the context of capitalism) idea. They started using the tension of race to destroy neighborhoods and use class structure to drive forward a paradigm that would change America that still prevails to this day. The idea was ideal, it was suburbia - the idea of living far away from where you work. In newly deforested land, cheaply to build on, but until recently, untouched.

The freeway and interstate systems allowed this to be possible. Surprisingly (not!) it was the exact same time that the streetcar conspiracy had reached its end, in the mid 50's. It was because of this interstate system, the end of WWII, the increase of the middle class, and the racial tensions being played out in the media that allowed the next step to be possible.

What happened was neighborhoods that generally held white people were broken apart intentionally by the real estate industry via lowering the buy-in rate and overall the value of the houses in these neighborhoods and offering loans to African Americans at reduced rates. The process was called "Block Busting"; The intentional movement of minorities into these same neighborhoods, thus "breaking them apart". The social and racial tensions at the time caused enough discomfort which would only be remedied (in the eyes of the white, american public) by moving out. In fact, this is the very event that coined the term "there goes the neighborhood" - in reference to a black family moving in, thus "forcing" the neighborhood to a future of white emigration...

Suburbia was born. Deforestation of previously untouched land, or the conversion of inadequate farmland to newly built houses sometimes nearly an hour away from down-town became the normal interest of family housing. After all, who would want to live next to black people in the 50's... (sarcasm, please). As interest grew in the creation of suburban neighborhoods, it became almost a religious calling to move to a suburb. They were portrayed as heavenly, always green, and no crime. The children were happy, and the idea of our current "American Dream" was born.

There was one last cavity that the Capitalist movement had to occupy - exactly what would occupy all these newly built houses? Here enters the story of blatant consumerism, let me explain it in slightly a poetic way:

The man of the house takes his car to work.
A car built and devised on monopoly.
The roads built via a government shaking hands
With the conspiracy of suburbia
As the wife sits at home and tends the empty house,
The door-to-door salesmen rears his head
"Would you like a vacuum?"
"A sponge? A teapot? A turkey baster?"
And so the house gets filled with nicks and knacks
And the "growth" in the economy is born

The consequences of this branch out far beyond what any one person can imagine. The absolute necessity in suburbia is oil and gas. Gas was the downfall of the electric street car inevitably, and inevitably the realization of the interstate system. Soon the houses are filled with the useful byproducts - plastics, paints, and so forth. So begins the legacy of America, fast forward 60 years and here we are.

Yeah... Thats America.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Mind and Body are One

Its a bit of a hippy statement, maybe beyond hippy, even. Maybe more like medicine man.

[If I had a dollar for every time I wanted to say Shaman or Medicine man in my posts...]

I hope you will begin to see a trend in my posts after reading this. I present a very simple title, followed by a concept that is fairly simple, but not usually the "accepted" perspective on a topic. The way we change societies is we come about paradigms shifts - we start thinking about what was once "common sense" as something a bit more complicated, or at least, different than we had treated it before.

Lets take a look at the mind & body.

We often think of the brain as the "us". Well, its doing the thinking, so if we think about who we are, its usually what is doing the thinking. This is so deeply rooted I can't even comprehend not thinking this way, but not everyone does. There are many cultures out there that are much different than mine, ours. They see "us" as the whole body. That may seem obvious, and you may agree, but lets go on to why I find this important!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Placebo - Regurgitated

Placebo is one of the most unrealized, most backwarded, under-rated phenomenon in modern medicine.

I can sum it up in a very short blunt phrase that you won't be able to deny:

Non-medicine can cure you of almost anything.

Wow! Tah-Dah. Its been under our nose for so long, and its been the thing to avoid in all clinical trials, rather than maximized. Placebo is possibly a gold-mine of untapped knowledge.

Why is it so demonized in modern medicine? Why is it that clinical health "Placebo" is treated like a fuck-up, something to get rid of? Why the hell aren't we USING placebo?

Well of course you can't sell placebo. Imagine the next company that comes out with pills named "placebo pills - take it for anything!". Oh wait thats homeopathy (ooooh! low blow).

The History of Placebo
Lets take a ride into the origins of placebo, and what placebo REALLY is, and how we need to get rid of (and relabel, or UNlabel placebo).

For as long as oral and written history can document, we have had medicine men (and recently women) who have treated every ailment of a tribe with their knowledge. Often a certain medicinal plant is employed, accompanied by a very long (depending on how sick the person is) ritual or custom. This was the very beginning of our modern "placebo" phenomenon. It is creating an energy and mind-set in the individual that something is happening, and the body is going to be healed.

Often, in fact, some medicines were only verbal, or the blowing of smoke on the face. A purely psychological expression - nothing internally taken, almost nothing physically to help the wounded. All that was being done was a change in the mindset to bring about healing.

How Can We Use Placebo?

Well - the first thing we must realize is that modern medicine has shown us the true extent of our own will-power, our own ability to heal our bodies. We are so good at it, we don't even need a ritual, we don't even need a shaman or even a doctor in some cases, all we need is a little white pill. You could argue that modern civilization has created a kind of life-long ritual of modern-medicine, in which we believe things are going to happen "Cause we saws it on the TV!".

Shamans were our brothers, fathers, and uncles. We don't have them anymore.
Doctors were our neighbors - often we knew them and trusted them on a personal level.
Doctors used to come do house-calls. We don't have that anymore.
Now we have the Television, beaming us streams of heroic stories and miracle cures and healings all the time, we believe in modern medicine. Just look at the popularity of the new-age dramas like House.

The first thing we need to do is not label the phenomenon as placebo. Placebo has too much baggage and nobody wants to be the "victim" of placebo. When someone tries out a new herbal supplement and modern medicine labels it as a placebo, we feel ashamed - we feel tricked! This is NOT how we need to look at placebo.

In such a situation, you should take pride in the fact you are seeing results from your own self-awareness and will power. You need to realize you are the creator of this good energy and the healing is coming from within.

You can use herbs as your devices for healing, substrates on which you are acting on. Receivers of your own healing thoughts and energy. USE this phenomenon to your best advantage and health.

You aren't tricking yourself, you are mastering your body and mind, the connection between the two.