voicebox. 6.2001 to 9.2001
Death. It can be a scary thing. Everywhere we turn we are living and breathing it. Life. It is so fragile. We can be pushed onto the other side of the fence in an instant… non-life as we know it. Being conscious of death and preparing for it is actually living. Running in fear of death is the essence of death itself. It is a weird contradiction but true nonetheless. For instance, sense enjoyment is taken up to subdue the pain of facing up to reality. And the reality is that in this world there is death lurking at every moment. Hiding from that reality is the actual cause of the cycle of death and misery, samsara. Facing up to it, rather than fearing it, and accepting it for what it actually is - another stage in the development of realizing the soul - breaks the cycle. When we become self realized, or in other words, when we wipe away our misidentification that we are part of the temporal world, then it doesn't even matter if we live or die, because we are fixed in the eternal. It is impossible to enjoy things of this world without becoming attached and longing for the objects once they dissipate. This is the cause of our condition. We are angels set to fly in an unimaginably large sky filled with potential that even the biggest dreamer couldn't think of… it is unlimited. But we have cut off our wings. Choked ourselves to death and filtered out everything that a pure hearted soul could desire… we are left with death. And it is the innocence of this ignorance that keeps us trapped… it is far from bliss.
One week ago from today I had the unfortunate incident of acquiring poison ivy. At first I took this as somewhat of a curse, as it is a most frustrating situation to be in: A constant agitation of nerve endings that send a signal to the brain, demanding to be relieved by some sort of scratch. Knowing perfectly well that if this itching demand is met, it will only work against my interests. My interests are to get rid of this agitation, while scratching the itch it will only cause the duration of this agitation to last longer and perpetually increase the demand up to the point of causing permanent damage to the skin. Though it seems that my immediate interests would be to meet the demands of the senses… to itch the hell out of my arm, it ultimately would have unwanted effects… who would want to knowingly do permanently bodily harm to themselves when it renders them nothing but extremely temporary benefits?
So I am left torn between the demands of the scratch and refraining from the scratch so that I may ultimately alleviate myself from this agitation all together. I realized this the other day in the most precarious of places: the shower. Up until then all I could do was think, “This poison ivy crap really, really sucks!” However after that shower I had a whole new outlook on it. When hot water runs across skin affected with poison ivy (or just agitated skin in general), the combination of the two creates a strange sensation which perpetuates the desire to itch the skin greatly. It is almost orgasmic in feeling. If you itch it more, then it only increases your desire, yet you remain frustrated that the itch still remains. Leaving me unfulfilled, that is when it hit me smack dab in the face… it all became plain as day… Material life is poison ivy of the soul. Itch like crazy by trying to satisfy the senses, but it does no good… it ends in utter frustration and agitation. Sexual longing is the orgasmic essence of that itch, just like the hot water running across the contaminated parts of the skin… the mahamantra is the calamine lotion which makes the itch go away and ultimately the cure all of the affected areas itself. Sadhana bhakti is the discipline of refraining from the itch… I’d never thought I’d say this, as strange as it sounds, but having poison ivy turns out to be a blessing, even though I never hope to get it again…
The first time that I ever came in contact with someone developing an internet relationship was when my dad started talking to this lady that lived in Maine... they did the craziest shit you could imagine in order to visit eachother. I can't remember her name, but the separation between the one she "loved" was so intense it almost ate her to death at every step of the way. It was appealing in such a certain way, seeing that someone could have such intense feelings for another, yet it only intensifies because of the separation between the lover and the object of the love... however it was sick to see that she and my dad had such shortsightedness that it is virtually impossible to hold onto such relationships... they were, and still are, both left frustrated and restless. Well, people could say that you get that with anything, if we think that our dream world ideas are gonna become manifest, then we are sadly mistaken... that's just reality and we have to deal with it. But nonetheless people pursue without regard, with great hope that what fades away right in front of their face will all of a sudden have a change of metaphysical make up and go on lasting forever, as we drown in our tears and wonder why all this is happening to us. Ripped away from our craving and attachment only for us to choose to crave more. All these desires are real no doubt, but the only time that I have ever experienced a TRUE pleasure from pursuing these ends is when a greater plan is in mind, when I am fixed in pleasing the Supreme pleasure giver. And I know so many people don't have any faith in a supreme, or higher power... or whatever name you wanna call it (I have been taught that He likes to be called Krsna the most) But if that is not in the picture, it is so unfulfilling and frustrating. So many people have so many different desires, and it seems like we should each have only one. It can be that way, that is the beauty of it. We can each have our individual desires and dreams while centering it around that one goal, to fulfill the supreme... fulfilling him is compared to watering the roots of a tree. If you are to dump water on the parts of a tree - such as the flowers, leaves, or branches - then only that part which you are watering gains fulfillment, however if you go back to the original, the root, and water it plentifully, then ALL parts will be fulfilled. We can take this example and compare it to the certain aspects of our lives: we have so many different goals and desires that pull us this way and that, tearing up our mind and dividing our attention... that is like watering each part separately, but centering ourselves around the root, around pleasing the supreme, dissipates the frustration. It is just so difficult to be conscious of that, but from my experiences of when I was it is well beyond any fleeting pleasure derived from some material means.
So what does this have to do with internet relationships? Well, everything. If we just stay focused on the supreme goal, then that greater plan will be revealed... what happens is most always the thing that we need to happen at that particular time, no matter if we label it right or wrong... It's been on my mind lately cos I made mistakes in the past, and I have a new situation that could take me down the same road that I took before... that road was bumpy and lead to a dead end, now I wanna make the better choice... the fulfilling one. I want both parties involved to get the maximum benefit out of the fruits of this situation, and I have come to the conclusion that the only way that is possible is if I water the roots.
In this world, there is nothing so sublime and pure as transcendental knowledge. Such knowledge is the mature fruit of all mysticism. And one who has become accomplished in the practice of devotional service enjoys this knowledge within himself in due course of time.
Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada mentions in his purport that ignorance is the cause of our bondage, and knowledge is the cause of our liberation. When we attain this knowledge, which Krsna explains is the mature fruit of devotional service, then we become an accomplished yogi that needs not search for peace because we have found peace within yourselves. If we are clueless as to what to do, if we are lost with no guide or direction, the fruits of that ignorance is despair and restlessness… this is a state of bondage. Peacefulness will not be found in this type of constant desperation. But once we have been granted knowledge and are able to act on it, then we will have become liberated from the ropes of ignorance. In my personal situation I have observed that the knowledge has come, it is there in front of me clear as day and it is sufficient enough for me to begin to act on it, however this knowledge is like an onion that has so many layers and I know I only see the surface, or maybe just a small bit more. It is deeper than I imagine that I can imagine. To get past this surface understanding I have to act on the knowledge that I have already received.
Cleaning House, Cleaning Hearts
I spent most of the day fixing up an area in the basement in order to make it a livable room. It was so dirty and disgusting. When we first moved in, that is where all the junk that we didn't use would be stored. After two years, things really began to pile up. Due to frustration I kept putting off actually cleaning it, but today i said 'fuck it, lets go wrestle with some random furniture and boxes full of stupid shit that we don't need'. And now that it is finally done it feels great. Something about the actual act of cleaning has a certain effect on me, like i am cleaning much more than the object which needs cleaned, but i am cleaning up my insides as well... getting rid of the mental cobwebs per say. At sporadic times throughout the day I seem to lose my drive, however when I have a goal in mind - like getting this room done - then there is no question of losing drive... I see a greater picture, something to shoot for. And with the mentality that I have, I am the type that will not accept falling short of accomplishment. It leaves me in a peaceful mood knowing that i have accomplished something. I would even go so far as to say it is a mediation for me, i am able to focus so much more on internal dealings.
On Art and Expression
It seems that when one invests their heart and sincerity into self expression through creative means, whatever one produces (however simple or complex their creation may be) tends to have much more depth and feeling than those works which lack devotion and are created with only 'perfection' in mind. Works of expression in the former category generally tend to succeed in touching others, while the latter category inevitably fails to produce as profound of an effect. This failure occurs because of their misunderstanding of what it means to perfect art. Attempting to perfect art by creating complex elements and highly structured combinations is like attempting to express emotions by using mathematic equations, therefore it can be understood that the highest perfection of art IS the expression of the self. It is both the reason and the goal. Much artwork which is simplistic in nature can evoke deep meaning to the observer if the creator poured their heart and soul into his/her work, it doesn't have to be complex to be perfect. I guess that is why hardcore and punk culture appeals to me so much. Although the music is generally considered moderately skilled, if that, there are so many bands that pour every ounce of their creative potential into making music that expresses what is locked deep within the confines of their being through the forum of lyrics and hard thrashy sound. What seems like noise to most people, echoes within the heart of so many others… it is a genre of music filled with individuals who are dedicated to letting out their inner voice. However one who understands the essence of self expression has the vision to see that it is not exclusive to a particular style or form of art, but they have the ability to go beyond the limitations created by those who lack this understanding, and are appreciative of sincerity wherever it can be found. This is what I define as the open mind.
Dead End Road
Lack of interest in understanding the function of life has lead those animate cells which, are full of potential, to travel down paths which meet at a dead end. The blind lead the blind into darkness and despair, reassuring one another of their own paradigmical reality. Stand in line striving for perfection in pursuance of things which come to pass, as annihilation sets fire to their investments... bodies burning... charred flesh... this hurtful truth stifles potential, intense hope - now lost. Eternal intentions agitated within a world which does not allow... Leads to mistrust, anxiety. a once open heart turned to stone in the face of cold reality. A vocarious appetite for answers, foolishly accept the blind as authority. We have been trained by cheaters not to open the flood gates of our mind. And I inquire... WHY DO WE BURN??? WHY IS THIS FLESH ON FIRE??? Reply? Deaf as silence and a blank stare. So you choose to follow the blind down proven dead end paths. Choose to cling to a stone heart, a world of emptiness. Let the cycle repeat itself... again, and again, and again... I will tear the blinders off in pursuit of a higher purpose based on the wisdom which comes from knowledge put to action. You choose to compromise for a so called "better life". Sophisticate your animalism to facilitate your appetite for contemptment. I won't. I never will.
Faith and Consciousness
I doubt my faith all day long by probing my mind with questions. evaluation. analyzation. dueling perspectives. But i avoid (as much as possible) personal interpretation. That is to say that I attempt not to drag down what i am taught, by imposing on them my limited conceptions of what is truth and what is untruth. Rather than interpret, i try to gain insight... pull out - or plunge into, if you will - the deeper aspects of art, music, and literature... to get a glimpse of your struggle as animate beings, to understand our timeless nature, or eternal self. Consciousness grants us the ability to perceive, and human consciousness is evolved enough to where we have the ability to reason and actively question even our own existence... to attempt to understand the totality of the cosmos, our nature, and its being. Or "to know thyself", as Socrates put it. I have whole heartedly embraced this process of 'consciousness' as a means to inquire, and test faith. Many would say that this is dangerous, to test faith by means of reason. However, truth reigns over illusion, and if my faith is an illusion, then i abandon it to accept truth. In this way, i have begun to build a solid foundation, and some clear, concise answers concerning life's nagging questions. A number of realizations have emerged since i have been applying this system of thought. Namely they can be categorized into two different groups: (1) The Four Noble truths, as taught by the Buddhist tradition, and (2) service to the Supreme Consciousness, as taught by the Gaudiya Vaishnava tradition. It doesn't stop there, every day I wake up there is something new to discover... so i keep probing on... in search for truth and purpose...
Watch the sun rise...
from a cemetery that is not so unfamiliar to me anymore. And I'm beginning to believe that the place where those rays of beaming light embrace my being and I give all that is of me back, is my home. After all it's not where you reside, but where the heart is... isn't it? And this all provides further evidence that love is far from mechanics... it has a mind of its own. And can take one to far off, and strange places.
Its the precept of existence to remain happy. Lies lead to an existence of suffering while truth ultimately leads to satisfaction and happiness. Therefore our words and actions ought to reflect, and embrace truth, while rejecting that which is not true. Truth is non different than love, therefore the highest form of truthfulness is expressing love, and expressing love is the highest form of a truthful, or virtuous life.
This is a struggle for some reason or another... it's that in the past I was always left with a bad taste in my mouth. Which makes this whole thing going on right now seem a little off... it is something that I'm not used to. Before, there was always some sort of crushed hope...that although there was a collective longing for the best, it always met in ultimate failure. How can there not be a bad taste in my mouth when you know all to well that disaster is waiting for you just around the corner (rhetorical question)? As units of consciousness, each of us has a particular agenda and list of goals which we would like to accomplish in the time allotted to us. When people's paths cross, destinies intermingle. Just like chemistry, the combinations can be quite deadly if you don't know what you are doing, often leading one to be scarred for life. Therefore I consider it odd to come across a combination that doesn't have destructive qualities, and even more rare that there is a possibility that this combination can be complimentary to fulfilling one another's destiny.The bad taste is non existent in this situation, and this makes for a comforting state of being... it's more than just "fresh and new"... it has potential to open many doors to other odd occurrences of the same caliber.This pristine opportunity provides me with the facilities to become successful. Therefore with great care and attention I pursue without fear in seeing all this through.
Rid myself of propensities to act as if I am the center of the world, cease to impose my ideals and limited paradigm on others, thinking it is not just the best way, but the only way. Sobriety reminds me of this foolishness, when I am not intoxicated by self-centeredness. The seed is sown deep within, and the hurt indicates this is foreign to my nature. As the actions I take lead everyone involved deeply into the inferno, only to writhe in flames of misery. It is a threat to happiness... a seed of deceit affecting me like a cancer, dragging our world into a state of muck and mire. My wish is to return this title of god right back from where I took it. Maybe, just mabye, after I stop holding on, then I can discover something worthwhile... something that lasts... end this game where everyone who plays is at a constant loss.
When Heroes Fall
When one stands tall and speaks boldly to the masses just the same as them, when their fist slams the table in defiance of a compromised life,and others find inspiration and guidance from this example the hero is born.However, just as particles of sand drip through the hour glass.The composition of elements of what we think we are,
consumes with time, the shadows of our earthly existence. Even our mighty heroes rise and fall, just as the most powerful empires of history. And time goes on regardless of how hard we try to slow it down. We give in, compromise, sell out, or call it what you will... but these heroes are real people just the same as us, no matter how bulletproof we attempt to make them. Hit them and they bleed... throw poisonous words and it will sicken their soul.
So this question burns right through me... why, if such an inspiration was implanted, do we turn away in disgust, when we find that our hero's fade? Unless of course, it is because our success is/was dependent on their actions... However, what our hero has awakened in our hearts, should never fade, and for this they should be given all respects, regardless of how much they may be molded differently by the churning ocean of material existence.
That's what I have. I had to have a root canal done today, because I have an infection in my gums. An abcess developed from a tooth that was traumatized. I got shot in the mouth with a b b gun when i was 16 years old and one of my molars got seriously chipped. It was fine and dandy all the way up until last week. The dentist said that sometimes it takes years for the nerve to go into shock, and in my case it took over 7 years for that to happen. I noticed a large bump in my mouth on monday night, but didn't think anything of it. But by tuesday morning it was massively huge, and i thought wise to get it checked out. So i made a dentist appointment for the next day, went in at the scheduled time, and the doctor told me what was going on. He said i had two options: try to save the tooth by getting a root canal, or get it extracted. I would like to keep my teeth as long as i can, so i choose the former. Since he said the infection was pretty severe, he referred me to a root canal specialist. Thats where i went this morning at about 10 am. The whole procedure took about an hour, and it wasn't painful. The worst part is what i am going through now... almost a constant throbbing pain... it is a strange sensation. The last time i have felt something similar is when i had to have my appendices surgically removed. I didn't feel very bad after i got home and thought that going to work might not be a problem, but to be sure, it might be best to wait for a few hours and see how i felt. Sure enough i started feeling seriously ill. I took about a 4 hour rest earlier, and now i feel a little bit better. the swelling has went down considerably. Now to figure out how to pay off the 500 dollars that the surgery cost. But at least my tooth is fixed now, and the threat of dying from the abcess infection is considerably lower now.
My brakes went completely out the other day when i was driving home from cleveland. I drove about 15 miles with no means of stopping my car other than downshifting and popping the car in neutral until the car coasted to a halt. On the course of this trip home i had to run 3 red lights and cut through a gas station in order to avoid smashing into this lady that cut me off. When i pulled in the drive way i ran into the fence to stop my car. A friend of mine helped me fix the pole. Tonight my dad and i are going to take the car over to the auto repair garage that was supposed to have originally fixed the problem. Hopefully this won't cost me any money at all. Good thing that it was late when i drove home that night, otherwise an accident would have been a sure bet....
These two occurances have caused me to have to change what I had originally planned for this weekend, and they seem like extremely negative events that have taken place. Who would want this to happen to them... right? Well, it was coming no matter what... it was only a matter of time that my tooth would have caused me some trouble, and the brakes were bound to go bad some time. It just so happened that one followed immediately after the other. I am convinced that had i let these things bother me, then they WOULD be 'bad' events. However, when one takes to the idea of karma (cause and effect/for every action there is an equal or opposite reaction), it becomes all too clear that there is no basis for getting uptight and bothered by things of this nature. Giving up the 'expectation' mentality is a tuff thing at first, because it is an innate trait of a being existing in this world to act as if their sphere of interest is of ultimate importance, compared to the interests of others. When some object or event causes conflict to that sphere of interest, a different variety of reactions can occur according to how our interests are disturbed, causing our expectations and interests to take different twists and turns, etching out the events that make up the lives we lead. What is the difference between good and bad? Well the answer is rather simple... if a sphere of interest fulfills its desire, that would entail success or what ends up being good in the eyes of that particular individual. If there is a failure in fulfilling that desire, it is attributed to bad. Now, from this stand point, one could come to the conclusion that it would be best to completely remove expectation from our lives, and strive to become impartial... however, it very well may be impossible to do this, as by nature we are active and desireful individuals. Rather it is a question of attachment. When one gradually gives up attachment to expectation and accepts what happens to them, that 'good' can be seen in every thing that happens. This is what i have been working on developing, and these two events have helped me to see this.
a sixth sense (no... not the freaking movie)
most people dont think that we have it. they think "it is all in your head". however, i have had countless experiences throughout my life where that "something is not right, but i cant quite put my finger on it" feeling has come true. this provides me with enough evidence to believe that it is factual. Just two weeks ago, sitting here in anguish, right in front of this very same computer screen, i KNEW that there was something wrong, and sure enough... it was revealed to me on this day. This has absolutely nothing to do with the worldwide catastrophe going on right now, this has to do with something very personal... when one is not necessarilly completely lying to you, but they don't tell you everything that is going on with them... they deliberately hold back information... yet you know deep down inside, somehow or other, that there is so much more to the story or current situation. I am no master at properly reading the info that this sixth sense provides me. If i was, then I would be on some television show as a guest psychic or something of that nature. But it does let me know that i should be alarmed... and that's all i need to know in order to come to the conclusion that it exists, and i am happy to know that i have the ability and open-mindedness to recognize that.
There is a river of service flowing towards the east coast of america right now. nearly everyone on the planet is rallying around and coming together creating an outpour of compassion in response to the tragedy occurred on tuedsay. This is human nature... this is the essence of brotherhood and love. this is how we ought to respond in trying times such as this. it is common sense...
but it doesn't change the fact that we cannot exist in this flesh forever. in fact, it is our duty to do everything we can to help those around us... on all levels. but understand that human life is meant for more than just our humanitarian obligations. there is more than just physical and mental suffering...
Whether a hundred World Trade Centers fall, it doesn't change the fact that we cannot be these material bodies forever. Coming to the platform of realization that "I am" is truth, and that truth is eternal, is exactly the solace that we need in times like these.
so should we throw our philosophical /theological understanding to the wayside in a time of crisis like this? not by any means. in fact the events which took place show how fickle living in this material world actually is, and this philosophical understanding should strengthen our desire to help those in need rather than diminish it. if you feel that what you have accepted in theory doesn't apply to this dimension of reality, then it hasn't become conviction, and it never was...
to repair the wounds of the sick with the lips of pure words...
maybe its the special effects of all the movies that ive seen over the years, or perhaps its the fact that crumbling edifices have become the latest overused metaphorical tool for the philosopher and poet, that have caused me to overlook the depth and weight of this tragedy. because it didn't quite sink in until CNN showed news clips of our overpaid 'heroes' resume americas favorite pasttime for the first time since 9-11. the power of 80.000 people gathering in one place - not to see a ball get knocked and thrown around - but to come together in sympathy for lives lost in vain, and to reassure the world that our morale remains unshaken. a trembling voice, followed by chords of sadness, open the floodgates of my heart... the blood, sweat, tears... how much has been sacrificed, and how much sacrifice is yet to come... and the mets won, and piazza pitched a hellva game.