Thursday, March 30, 2006

Shatner's Rocket Man

I taped Shatner in concert last night on TVLand. You know, the one with Joe Jackson and Ben Folds. During the early part of the show, they were revisiting the multifarious and multidimensional masks of Shatner in his mythical Joseph Cambell-esque personae. The most shocking and astonishing footage was from the 1978 Science Fiction convention, which was broadcast here in So Cal on KTLA channel 5 live that night. I, of course, sent up this in Forkush and Ward and our comedy routines in the late eighties. But to see it again, and then to Google it and watch it in it's entirety, is even more frightening, hilarious and grotesque then I remember it as a mere 16 year old. Clearly it burned like a brand into my subconcious mind but my memory of it did not do justice to what I actually saw today. I watched it without sound, non intentionally but that's just the way it is at work sans audio, and was awestruck by Bill's hyperdystopia, his incomprehensible absurdity that Kafka, Beckett and Ionesco themselves would have pined for in their productions. This classical post-modern disaster/triumph before post-modernism was almost Cubist, Futurist. A Las Vegas Victory of Samothrace.
I was flabbergasted! Does anyone really understand the timelessness of this mans expression? His Tweedle Dee duet with Nimoy on "Plato's Stephchildren" still floors me, but Rocket Man stands alone. I feel honored to have recorded Rocket Baby with Jack Vees for his CD, maybe a small paean to this untouchable artistic stench. And I say that with great honor. It should be mandatory viewing for all semiotics classes and anything having to do with Baudrillard, Focault and Barthes. I dare anyone to erase the memory of this most radical of acts onstage. Maybe Jarry modeled Ubu on a premonition of the future existence of this former Hasidic sage of Canada.

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


What is reality? Is there some kind of solid point fixed in time that allows us to identify ourselves as a person? How arrogant are we, that the mind implies that we are a fixed point in the universe, unchanging and faceless. One single comment by a person, or a look, or something other, can change our entire dimension of our existence and our sense of who we are. The only lasting and true unchangeless face of who we are is I AM. That is the first thing that we truly know when we come into the world and it will be the last thing we know when we leave it. But how fascinating the mercuriality of our nature that glams onto the pleasures of the world and can crash down into the pain with the flip of a switch. Particularly if we are ego identified. But in Western culture any implication of our true selves behind the veil will elicit very intense resistance from us. It threatens the very foundation of our ability to remember who we are and allows us to continue the game of hide and seek. But in the west we have forgotten that this is in fact the game. And when we desire to wake up then we recognize who we really are. Certainly it is the overwhelming nature of western society to take everything incredibly seriously and not allow for the possibility of this in fact being a game. But that in itself is part of the game. Real insight and awakening threatens to derail this.
We are playing the game that we don't know that we know. When we begin to see through the maya of this then we achieve satori, the absurd laugh of Ho-Tai, the laughing buddha, who when recognizing the self has a huge laugh on his face.
We see this in those beautiful eyes of Ramana Maharshi in that famous picture. The eyes that say "Oh come on now...get off it. You know exactly who you are". You are nothing less than all of it.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The radical nature of choosing peace not pain

When we make a decision to choose peace rather than suffering we make a radical choice that is totally at odds with the game being played in this culture. As we continue to identify who we are with our minds (our thoughts, emotions, mental processes and so on), we trap ourselves in psychological time and continue the wheel of suffering. I use the wheel image because the mind is very much like a hampster wheel. It turns and turns and the hampster can't get off (well, he may choose to stay on...there again solidifying my point!). The mind simply has no off switch. But in making a decision to remain present and to observe the mind dispassionately, we begin the process of short-circuiting the involuntary process of mind energizing and identification. We make no attempt to stop the mind, but expose the limited circuity of the ego in it's need to be in past or future time. Because we are so invested in this reality, living in the phantom, we resist deeply the decision to watch the mind from the point of view of "the watcher". When we "watch" we "see", and when we "see" we reveal who we really are to ourselves, the ultimate I AM. We leave the limitations of reactive perception and join the realm of timeless presence. This is our actual nature. This is what and who we are. But we are invested in the pain-body as it runs it's automated daily activity. Watch it. It cannot continue to live in the light. It is helpless before the light. This is the end of suffering. But it is very very threatening to our sense of ego identity that we have built up and will leave us to the degree of our identification with time.

Monday, March 27, 2006

The tragedy of designation

Any time I identify myself by a designation, I dehumanize myself and others. I create separation where there is no separation. Once I place an adverb after "I am" (I am this or I am that), then I am placing untrue limits on my identity. When I define myself as such an adverb, I create division within myself and my neighbor. This is the ultimate cause of suffering and war on this planet. This is the cause of misery and untold pain on the planet. As soon as I begin to simply state "I AM" without the prison of the adverb, I planet the seeds of freedom by recognizing my simple beingness. Any designation is not who I really am. This is the only portal to recognition of my true identity. I can not say who I AM, except that I AM. But I can say who I AM NOT. In that dialogue I begin to disolve the Maya and feel my actual state of oneness with all that is.

Friday, March 24, 2006

What now?

I'm running out of things to say the way I've been writing. Actually, I have alot to say, but I am feeling self concious about them. I mean, who is really reading this stuff anyway. All my old memory banks are starting to tell me why bother. Isn't that creepy. It's all the old stuff from my past still haunting me. All my relatives are probably reading this and thinking of calling me to offer some form of consolation or pity. I don't need any more pity, I pity myself enough thank you. I have the right to write this stuff, I believe. If it alientates anyone that is their problem. What this is really revealing is the nature of my fear to actually exist and speak my truth. My fear still focuses on other peoples responses to my being an imperfect, non-robotic being. I would simply refer people to the John Cassavettes gem "Faces". In a scene near the end, after the suicide attempt by Lynn Carlin, Seymour Cassell talks about how mechanical he feels and does a very funny take on being a robot. It is one of the truest moments I have ever enountered on screen, or in any artistic forum at all. Here's what my head tells me: "You want people to leave and abandon you, then be who you really are". What garbage! What a load of crap! It's just more of the same trauma and lies that the fear keeps perpetuating on me to keep me invested in this prison of shame and self loathing. The truth is that the more revealed I am to who I am the more loving people will enter my life. The people I can trust and feel nurtured and protected and held, the way I never was as a child by parents who were incapable of providing that as they did not understand it in themselves. AA tells us to tell the truth, except in instances where it may end up hurting someone. I think that has to have a very big caveat. If exposing who I am to the world ends up hurting someone then, I'm sorry, but that disqualifies the adage. I am on the cusp of something absolutely extraordinary, unbelievable that has implications for my life beyond anything that I have ever imagined. The wrestling with myself is almost over. Unconditional acceptance of myself is here now. I need simply to keep feeling my feelings, talking about them, and being an active protector and parent of my inner child. This is radical for anyone to do.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Keep those cards and letters coming!

All feedback seems to have stopped. It now appears that this blog is me, myself and mine alone. The comments sections are barren and nobody has commented to me AT ALL recently about any of these entries. And so I must ask myself: Am I writing these ruminations for you or for me? Is there a combination of both? Can I write for me with you in mind and then stay out of you? I want to be the bright shining star of the web with this here, you know what I mean. Now, if you aren't giving me that status how the hell am I going to enjoy myself anymore enough to want to write these things for me for you? You get what I'm saying. If I am now so focused on the fact that you have disappeared well aren't I just screaming into the wilderness? It's the proverbial if a tree falls in the forest now kids. I'm bloody alone on this island now and I guess I need to find some relationship with myself in these here writings. So, what have I got to say for myself? What am I supposed to write that takes me into account and leaves you out of it. Not exclude you per se, but just keeps me focused on what I have to say and the fun of writing. Can there be fun in writing if there is no one reading? This is a public forum for God's sake. What, should I just put my pictures and profiles on Alt.Com or and do it just for me with no expectation of anyone responding? What the hell is that? But then when is enough enough.
See what I'm doing here (well you don't because you've all fled)? I'm talking to me now. Watch how the mind circles around itself like a shark. It just can't write to write now can it? Fascinating Captain. ("Why thank you, Mr. Spock"). Judgement, judgement, judgement. Everyone left because you're a bad boy. If you ever open your mouth and say your truth remember Tony, there will never be any more comments at the bottom of the board. People will take their balls and go home. Why? Because watching a hampster wheel gets tiresome. But, what if this isn't a hampster wheel? And what if this isn't a pet store? What if this is really just me doing me right here? That's fair now isn't it? Well, maybe Tony, but you still won't get invited to any parties that way. That's okay, I like staying home and watching TV anyway. I've got my own party now. And you are all invited. But remember, it's a party of love and self-acceptance and ice-cream shame cakes that we drink and enjoy. Because it takes the calories out of the shame diet. I get to say what I want and be who I am and not worry about you loving me or not, even though I don't know how to do that...YET. But I know someday I will. When I really place my attention on being kind to myself, unconditionally. Which is now. Which is today.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Fw: Re: FW: Just Say Thank You

---------- Forwarded Message ----------

Why is it so damn hard to embrace gratitude? Why do I curdle and shiver and Oprahfry and swindle my way back to "why me, where's mine and fuck you"? (the addicts theme song). Wow. Even writing five things a day seems like selling out. You know what I mean? What the fuck is that? The ego is absolutely crazy, out of it's mind, sick mufuguh. It's tells me I'm a spineless weakling if I'm grateful (what the hell have YOU got to be grateful for?) Oooh there's so much fake power in that it feels fucking great.

Gratitude is a tool to bring us back into alignment with our spiritual practice, reveals the nasty dangerous ego for what it is (and don't underestimate it's nastiness) and removes the crud which blocks us off from our true nature sat-chit-ananda/ being-conciousness-bliss. Happiness is that which lay revealed when the distractions of our self stop. Isn't it time to welcome this supercharged love filled word?

Thank you Rebecca. Thank you for bringing me back into ease. I've been watching Da Avahbasa (The Bright) on video and he was bumming me out big time. I think he's either a genius or a madman (not much difference there). These guru's make you feel pretty shameful sometimes. Or expose our ego's for the self-made criminals they are.

With unconditional love,


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Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Life at Hollywood High

I have been particularly cautious about writing anything pertaining to my job, for obvious reasons. This is a public forum that can be read by anyone at all. Attacks on one's work have been and continue to be grounds for dismissal. So I begin this treatise by declaiming that this is in no way shape or form an attack on my job with Los Angeles Unified School District, or of Hollywood High School in general. What this entry is about is my struggle to further open myself up to the reality of my own relationship to fear and its impact on my health and well being. These are my perceptions.
From the moment I arrive at work, I am met with the massive, overwhelming energy of the adolescent. Within that energy, the most overt experience I have is being and feeling agressed upon. No one is doing this to me whatsoever. This is my contraction at the sensitivity I have to the level and size of this energy. It is simply enormous. I move through the hallways into the main office to sign in. There I meet an even more intense energy in a space the size of my small apartment. Dozens of harried teachers and administrators are working to sign in, solve the day's problems to come, and assign substitute teachers. To wade through this sea of humanity adds additional stress. By the time I walk to the Teacher's lounge, a mere hundred yards away, I have already experienced a concentrated human mass and heightened levels of psychic stress that most people do not experience in a single day. I have been at work for about five minutes.
The quad is rife with a sea of raving teens, each one keenly aware of the necessities of all that is external. One upmanship is the name of the game at 7:25AM, as the students gulp down a semblance of breakfast replete with processed white sugar and flour. Their systems are in the red zone already.
I have a half/hour before I go to class, the most peaceful time of the day as I am almost totally alone in the staff lounge. Then I go to class.
Each class is unique. Every school and teacher different. I happen to be in a very tight run room. Very tightly run. The teacher is excellent, as is the aide. The students are wonderful. I am lucky indeed. However, the intensity of the room is more than I am accustomed to. It matches the intensity of the quad and the office. I am now in a state of almost near panic as I attempt to breathe and take space into my body. Unfortunately, this is rarely possible in the room I currently work in. This is not an indictment of the room. It is excellent indeed. This is simply an attempt to understand why, by 8:00AM in the morning, I already am experiencing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and coping difficulties. The combination of all these factors have made it almost impossible to experience real peace and serenity at my job. Of course, as my friend Ted says, that's why they call it a job. It's not called Happy Play Time for a reason. Still, each person is different, as is our own unique needs and levels of stress we can take. I have been in schools that are quite a bit calmer, and the class a little less intense. It is my feeling that, in order for me to survive in the district, I need to find an environment like that again. Or, I need to find a better way to cope with my current environment. Everyone is incredibly nice to me at work. I might find a calmer place but could end up with an abusive boss or co-workers. So much of this is finding stress coping skills within the situation at hand. Otherwise I won't be able to be of much help and service in the future.

The workings of the mind

I have been reading (what else is new?) two books at the present. Selections from talks given by the late J. Krishnamurti, and "The Power of Now" by Eckhart Tolle. Both offer the same message from deeply personal perspectives. Both are heroic, towering works of understanding and insight into the extreme problem that the mind presents to us. Each of us. It offers concrete, real solutions to the problems affiliated with the mentation process and hence are works of vital importance to the world and to our lives. Both are direct challenges to our heavily buried true self to aid and assist us into removing the blocks to love's presence, which lies at the root of the mind and it's process, thinking. It asks us to be aware, simply and without judgement, of the actual thoughts we produce, or that produce itself. By doing this, we transcend the limited vision of our ego and come back to our eternal nature as divinity itself.
So, I did some of what was suggested today. I took time to turn off everything in my environment and just be for one hour. Sounds pretty basic, no? Just to be, without distraction of any kind for one solid hour. No talking, reading, listening to music, computer, anything with a dialogue of any kind. I didn't have to stay still, but I needed to remain silent and be in each and every activity of that hour in my apartment. I'm sure you can imagine what I'm going to say. Anyone who has tried this before knows that that was one of the most difficult hours I have ever spent in my life. Watching each activity, seeing and hearing my mind trying to wiggle out of it, running it's non-stop cinema as I like to call it. By the end of the hour I wanted to jump out the window. That's how profoundly difficult simply being is. But I found, eventually, that my mind did give in to the silence at times. It began to surrender and I found myself laughing at how strange this experience was. I also had a residual peace and contentment that I had not had prior to the experiment. It turned out that I was more centered and elastic by the evening and it carried over to my relationships out in the world (the one hour I spent at a meeting being sick).
I will continue to try intense awareness of the present moment, watching my thoughts, and seeing what happens on a daily basis to my thinking process and the alabatross that it has become in my life. No-thought is the silence of love and is the true wisdom I seek. The rest is the ramblings of my ego.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The silence of love.

Someone says something to me to instill fear. Someone says something to me to compliment me. Someone says something to me that I believe, either complimentary or derogatorily. Someone says something to me to help me, which I perceive as to hurt me. Someone says something to me that is an underhanded backhand and I take it as sincere. Someone says something to me. Someone says something to me about them, not me. I believe it is about me. I believe that what they say may bust me. They may find out that I'm not really who they think I am. Or better yet, they may find out that I'm not really who I think I am. One way or another, what they say matters to me almost as much as what I think they said. So what's really going on here? The mind is making decisions based on protecting it's fallacy of being the only true and lasting me that I know. the mind doesn't want to allow the I in me to reveal itself to itself. So it goes into a kind of overdrive to push the silence of love away. The silence of love is the present moment. The silence of love is without fear, or guilt or shame. It is not bought and sold by compliments, as it is the eternal currency of our being. It need bargain with no one. But the mind is outrageous in it's persistance that it judge and weigh and scurry and run and condemn and look for anything outside of itself for safety and security. Where's the fucking ice cream man? Where's the fucking ice cream? MAN!
There is simply no amount of mental security to make us feel safe. As long as we go to our minds for our information then we will get a fearful solution. That's really what prayer is. Going to our I our God self for the truth of the matter. And one person's comment can send me onto the hampster wheel for my serenity, despite any evidence to the contrary. Evidence from the outside world, or evidence from God. This is victimhood. This is what needs to be observed and compassionately viewed, without judgement, without perniciousness or self-condemnation. From this perspective we can see what our tendencies are, truthfully and then, as we see truthfully, see from love. This is where our answers lie to our many questions, not in the mind that see's through the head of a straw.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

More on illness

Write what you know. Isn't that what they say? So, here goes.
I have healed from my other infirmity, of the gastric distress variety, and now am fighting a bad flu-like respiratory cold. I have been chronically sick now coming up on two years time. How do I define chronically sick? I guess considerable recurrant health problems every several months. In other words, one gets better for a bit and then gets sick again.
I have found that when I want life to be different in any way, shape or form, I suffer. Can I change things in my life to increase my liklihood of consistent health. Yes sir. Quitting smoking, diet and excercise and positive mental attitudes are all very helpful.
Dana Reeves was a non-smoker.
Don Knotts died of old-age.
Kirby Puckett died of a stroke. Yes he was overweight.
The point is that Jim Morrison's line "No one gets out of here alive" looms more and more significant everyday I'm alive.
Constant and recurring sickness is a drag. But so is obsession and addiction and fear and lack of human connection and lonliness and poverty.
And, above all, boredom and security. the sameness of life, lived rituaistically, non-risking, in a bubble of self-concious protection of the body that is not you. Being out of touch with the divine is far worse than the worst sickness.
But, wah wah wah, I feel like shit. I want my mommy. I want some one to come here and take care of me and my life. I want to be better.
I have the right to ramble on here. It is my blog for christ's sake.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

What the bleep do we know?

"God must be greater than the greatest of human weaknesses and indeed the greatness of human skill. That God must even transcend...a most remarkable- to emulate nature in it's absolute splendor. How can any man or woman sin against such a greatness of mind? How can any one little carbon unit, on earth, in the backwaters of, indeed, the milky way, the boondocks, betray God almighty? That is impossible. The heighth of arrogance is the heighth of control of those who create God in their own image."

Which God?

How bout this God. How bout the one you are right now. How bout the one you pray to, plead to for help and aid, sustenance and comfort, forgiveness and solace and then realize that you need no one to grant you these things. How bout getting down on your hands and knees and being directed to turn over and sit on your tush, close your eyes, put your hands in your lap and find forgiveness that way. How bout both ways. How bout one way leading to the other which is not supposed to happen is it? It's supposed to be one God right? Theism at it's finest baby. But non-dual? Pan-theistic! Surely heresay, the church would say.
Go in and find out that you are God. Go in and find out that you are every fixed point and beyond and that your normal waking concsciousness, your singular point of attention, is just that: a radar to move you around your hologram as you do this life one moment, one being at a time. Remember, it is all of you. God is all of you.
But if you need a father figure in the clouds to redeem you moment to moment, just remember that he's there also, merely one of the many faces of you.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Try to imagine...

What will it be like the final time you are sick? I mean the real and final time. We know what it is like to be sick. We've been sick all our lives. And, of course, we always get better. But just take a moment and imagine what it will be like to get sick and continue to get sicker, and sicker and never get better. This is a difficult concept, but certainly not impossible. We have been through levels of illness. When I had pneumonia, I found myself rather perceptibly getting sicker and sicker and weaker and weaker. As I got this way I noticed that there were indeed new levels of suffering that seemed rather imminent. When I topped out at one level of suffering, another level seemed to kick in. This new level of suffering portended yet another level of suffering to come. What was so remarkable, and it continues to haunt me today, a day after my most recent hospitalization, is that there are a multiplicitous and seemingly infinite myriad ways of suffering during illness. This has a rather strange masochistic, perhaps shall we say sublime, feeling to it. Almost like sex. And of course, how often have you heard of the comparison of sex and death (certainly among the neurotics)? As I sit here today a number of things occur to me.
First of all, I have witnessed the death process in several people. I would say fifty-fifty between those who died suffering and those who died peacefully, or shall I say faithfully. The difference in contrast is striking. Those who died peacefully seemed to come to terms with their creators and had true understanding of the infinite and eternal journey their souls take. They had trust that their families and friends would be well and tended by God and had a sense of acceptance. They were at rest.
Of those who died in shackles, well, something of their soul was critically unresolved. Either that, or more expressionistically, they were moved to suffer sensualistically, almost akin to the final movement of Beethoven's fifth symphony. Sturm and Drang were their highest hope. To have an experience of dying that would reach ecstatic heights of agony, to complete them, their absolute destruction, this was the grand finale to glory. Exaltation.
I wonder which direction I will go when the time comes.
I kinda think I have an idea.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Truth in illness

Ok here goes. I languished for four days at Kaiser Hospital with a debilitating disease called Gastroenteritis. I just got out today. In that time, absolutely no one came to see me and a couple of people called and left a message. This is not new. I have been taking ill on a fairly regular basis for the last couple of years now. But don't get me wrong folks. This is not an idictiment of those self-serving narcissists with too much to do but an observation of fair treatment for all. In the four days I was there, I had a new suitemate each day. Only one of them had any visitors at all. When I took a short walk down the hall, I also noticed empty rooms with an occasional "spouse" thrown in for seasoning. As I sit here at home today I need to write this because I am FASCINATED by this observation. Simply FASCINATED. I have a great many theories about this but the ones that jump out at me right away are made very keenly perceptable by the comments we hear from other people when they discuss with us our plight. For some reason, it seems to be the dubious luxury of our friends and colleagues in the world to COMMENT on our illness. Not to diagnose or discuss the illness but, yes, to COMMENT on it (read: to make a judgement/to render a bias or opinion of the friends habits/choices etc). Of course this is at the core of Susan Sontag's legendary work "Illness as Metaphor". It is much easier to hold the sick individual accountable for their lot than to actually exist in a present state of dis-ease with our own mortality and impending destruction, whenever that will be. This is too disconcerting to offer simple emotional comfort and support because it makes obliteration true. So we flee. We call it not knowing the person was sick, which technically may be true, but isn't disassociation from our loved ones on a daily basis the same negligence? Isn't focus on their poor and immature life habits our own form of shadenfreude? A brief, but rather satisfying knowing that we are not the ones hooked up to those IV's, whose brains may be frying, whose internal organs are bleeding, perhaps unstoppably. It is our one shot at immortality. To have real empathy and BE THERE is a far too ringing admission of our inevitability and relinguishment of all that we hold, to the last shred of recorded ego!
Maybe, if you're lucky, a young immigrant nurse from Ghana will wrap a shawl around your neck to keep you warm as she wheels you down to the curb where you get picked up, she pushing aside rude onlookers, heartless of the sick, because there is God somewhere in this mucked up human ignorance. Forgive them lord for they know all too well to look the other way.