easy on the monkey

things people say sometimes about mediation that prevent them from really doing it:

  • i don’t/can’t meditate because i can’t stop myself from thinking.
  •  i meditate by doing things i like. when something causes me contentment, i am meditating.
  • in the dictionary, meditate is defined as: to think carefully or deeply about something.

meditation changes lives. a regular, formal practice alters the brain in objectively (scientifically) observable ways. the inner experience of these changes and those less observable are profoundly freeing and uplifting. the benefits are too great to wave aside arbitrarily for a lack of information or understanding. let’s dispel some common misconceptions.

stopping the mind from thinking through use of volition is virtually impossible

a common misconception: meditation is about quieting the mind, therefore we must use our will power to squelch and strangle every poor little thought… if this were the case, no one would ever meditate. there’s no way such self-abuse could ever lead anyone to an inner state of peace.

the thinking mind has long been compared to a monkey. the monkey chatters. the monkey swings from branch to branch. it’s attention span leaves much to be desired. the monkey is not tame and obeys it’s own nature.
don’t strangle your monkey. first of all, he’s only doing what he does because it is his nature. secondly, monkeys freak when you try to strangle them. don’t be a jerk to your monkey.

so, decoding the above: it is the nature of the mind to think. why expect otherwise? the important realization, the absolutely critical realization, is that you are not your thoughts, you are not your mind. ask: who is it that is watching the monkey…?

and where does this leave us? in a position to stop chasing the poor little simian all over the place. chill and monkey-watch. human awareness is powerful. giving chase to thoughts imbues them with energy and gives rise to potentially endless narratives. observing rather than engaging thoughts will calm and quiet the monkey-mind. this takes practice, but practice is synonymous with success. every time i remember to disengage from the stream of thoughts and become the witness once more, i have succeeded.

liking what your are doing at the moment is not the same as meditating.

as an artist, i’m no stranger to the meditative mood. accessing creativity is like a switching back and forth between rational thinking states and deeper no-thought states that yield inspiration. those no-thought states might be same as or similar to a meditative state. but without the intention of meditating, of encouraging that inner space one moment at a time, it isn’t meditating.

i experience random sensations of deep interconnection with all of creation. it’s a good time that might relate directly to my own spiritual foundation, but it does not offer the same benefits as actually meditating. meditation might foster in one a deep sense of affinity, contentment, and joy, but the reverse is not valid logic.

the dictionary definition implying intentional thought is clearly not the subject at hand

i’m not saying that the definition in Websters is invalid. lots of words have multiple meanings or mean different things in different contexts. but clearly we are talking about the not-thinking kind here.

in closing:

give it a shot because there are no substitutions for becoming the master of your own mind. how powerful are your thoughts? do they serve you well? do they sweep you up in a storm? leave you with clenched fists over a scenario merely imagined? how much energy could be refocused to better use with an improvement in your thought-life?

i recommend this book:
“Joy of Living” by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche
for its great basic meditation techniques. his approach is lighthearted and accessible. this book is very secular and mentions more science than faith. i’m big on faith, don’t get me wrong – my own faith is deepened by the benefits of meditation. but sometimes you just need to retrain your brain. its non-religiousness renders it suitable for all audiences.

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‘tree-light’ – oil on canvas

this painting inhabits the space between abstract and representational. does that make it a surreal work? i don’t know. things exist prior to classification, so i’m am not unduly concerned.

tree-lightthis was a commissioned piece. that sounds so very profesh until i tell you that my Mom is she who commissioned it. she’s my number one curator. but i’ll have you know she is possessed of discriminating taste.

currently, it is hanging on the wall of her office. i took liberty with color, deviating from the golds and crimsons she requested. those colors are too hot for a work environment. how can we both calm and let in some vibrant, dynamic, energizing light?

the underbelly of a leafy canopy would do just that, throwing dappled light on a pane of glass below. capturing that along with the movement of light and leaves became the motive which evolved with the work.

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False Key

thanks to falling in with a fantastic group of authors/collaborators/friends, i am now a published author.  my name’s actually on the cover of this book; how did that happen?
Howl at the Moon Writers Jam, in Stuart, Florida.

HowlAtTheMoonWriters.com
a local nexus for serendipitous authorship
meets the third Thurs. every month at:
Stuart Coffee Co.
55 Flagler Ave
Stuart, FL 34990

my contribution of a single illustration and several short poems is minimal in contrast with the wonderful and weird world these authors have crafted with their stories and poetry.

future False Key projects are in the works…
more shall be revealed.
unless you get eaten by a sea creature.

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the book is freakin’ awesome and is available on amazon and here at our official website: FalseKey.com

please purchase, peruse and enjoy.
thanks for your support.

 

 

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Human Incandescence

How long a wait for the
filament to bite it, the
final
tick: the moment to

Apprehension?
believe it will be painless:
the smell of burning cloth from far away,
a trail of ash from an invisible wick.

And then
hanging in the air
Like a buttery salve,
temple incense
gently pooling in the nostrils of the
faithful.

The bulb is dull and black.

To be alive is to be in flames-
Is that true?

A visceral if irrational reality.

Feel it like a bulb in the wrong socket.
Heat that’s light restricted.
It can’t tell you how it feels to burn.

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Of a certain type

Seeing your face
can cause me to hate my father
and in turn blame him
for how I wanted you
left waiting beyond all yearning for closure
in the infuriating silence of the phone
it was the same, again
I had to learn
that some things simply must be taken
And I will take… and shall be repaid
I will wear an hourglass on a chain around my neck
as a reminder of what is mine.
Say what you want and think what you will despite all.
You say I can’t hear you;
I say you can’t see.
My candor will grow to menace you
A red bloom, it will open and overtake.
As for the past… call it a crucible.
Or you can call it a damn hard year
but I have learned
how to take.

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Writing to be rid of it, a pyre of paper:
sacrificial vessel of words.
Ease them to the flame.
Torn edges light quickly
the weight of the past, wax dripping
the binds of memory, smoky spirals fading
Sweep the past into the fire
The cold stare in the coffee shop: gone.
Misplaced contempt for bus driver: emolliated
along with failed math tests
uncomfortable cafeteria meals
Take it- the early childhood fears
how I ran from the darkness in the hallway
how I almost drowned in the pool
drunk, still holding my cigarette aloft.
I couldn’t ever drown any memories
they surfaced from the sand far too early in the morning
spewing watery venom and the smell of low tide
I shed them as tears and they came back
through my skin to swim again in my ocean
I spoke them and had them spoken back to me
A lit candle is a small thing
but fire is fire and what it does is burn
Burn, word by word, slip away
The darker space beyond the penumbra
rife with the ghosts of unwanted nouns and verbs,
my hands glow weakly, lighter, thinner,
clearer and redder, the veins below my skin.
Cleanse me of my story.
Capillaries etch out hieroglyphs
I read them backward from the inside
like a note taped to a window
Will I soon be gone from here-
a bereft parchment shell, a kite of paper?
Words stream from my fingertips,
I read them finally as they hiss into the flame.
It sputters, flickers and sways
What are we but our stories as they shape us?
Take it- what is left but smoke rising gently into nothing
and inert wax slowly seizing
as the flame of the era sputters and sways?
(Smoke and ash and shapeless wax…)

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one yoga poem

sitting beside you on the train
i struggled with all i had learned
about light
trying to fill my body with light
and pierce through the grey shade
of the afternoon
of those days
stacked behind one another like rail cars
doubting days
i stared out the window and remembered
i once seemed so lost i formed a theory
that confusion was the most natural state of man
honestly, it was in youth
before i’d fallen hard enough to learn
truly how to rise
and i’m on better footing now
to go back to my mat
and expore
the model of my life
an ocean fish tending an aquarium garden
reaching from my core and sweating
pulling up the weeds of what
no longer serves me
when i lay down on my back with open arms
it will be to welcome
the world as it always has been
the darkness of the waves at daybreak

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ode to an age

This: an ode to the post post (post?) modern age
	‘round her neck atoms threaded on satellite web
     so many silver beads in the bitstream
an ode to powerlessness unclothed by
     endless access to information
     city lights that blaze unceasing
darkness this day is of a different kind
     wet dark of oil slick
     the hungry who know there is enough food
     the hungry that already have enough
so this is an ode to the world of the web
     homogenate, priority dissolved in emergency
     no one can say is it growing or shrinking
in this age context stands in for meaning, 
     diplomacy demands relativism
     the accommodation of competing narratives
yet how - we are all starving
     for something that searching can only dilute
and still, the hungry search links us all
     aerospace and industry and blazing signs of neon
     across the colossal loom of our time
the intangible presence of the sleekly woven song
of the age
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