Why trying to forgive is like yelling at a stone to make it become a tree.

Why trying to forgive is like yelling at a stone to make it become a tree.

Forgiveness cannot happen within hierarchy. All sides need to be whole and as they are. To as-they-are-ify is impossible, so, instead, wait patiently. Let go of all things for they are not of use and never were. See what happens by letting all be what is. The moment shall after a while, come into a new unexpected focus. The most important thing to consider: why do you wish to forgive? Wanting to forgive someone implies a judgement. Who are we to judge the unknowable? To play leap frog via humanly-established bylaws of acceptable thought and emotional trajectory is a trap. Forgiveness is irrational and can enter in like a knife through the curtain, cutting off a layer of skin and revealing the hidden command we once gave ourselves as the sole, best option we had at the time, for we are all ever doing our best. The command is no more of use, with its ink instead coating our bloodstream, our lifestream. Purity is impossible if we keep renewing the messages we do not know we carry, and the reality is we cannot see that we carry messages inside our skin, nor do we see their renewal. But we FEEL everything.

On Shame, and How to Breathe Underwater

On Shame, and How to Breathe Underwater

There is a you that exists that is absolutely alone. The world cannot touch you. You are unaccountable to it. I say this is Truth, but, you cannot trust in that for I do not actually exist in this layer. What does exist in this layer, this frequency, is this you reading these words. No one else. Inter-dynamics of self and other cease. Your mind is left robbed of its purpose, like a thief in the night stole that radio you have on all the time. You are alone and you feel the curtains around you, this separation. It can feel lonely, so let yourself feel that. There! You are alone in solitude for perhaps the first time, you yourself reading words on a screen, and nothing else actually exists. You have a deep conviction of all these things. It makes no sense. How did the world disappear? You then question whether it was there to begin with. Perhaps it actually wasn't. Doubt cuts deep and the severing is swift, the curtains increase. Stay calm. No harm can come to you.

The Origin of Disturbance

The Origin of Disturbance

I want to speak about something that is disturbing, and must be done in a disturbing way--but not with the intent to disturb. Still, it may well be disturbing and difficult to read. That being said, if you let it all in, if you plant the seed, there will be a lightness that disturbs your disturbances, brings them out from their stealthy burrows. This is the work to do. All the same, I have decided to use light-hearted images to offset the potentially grueling task ahead.

With enough effort, there is a way to hate everything. But, "haters", as we understand the definition, don't exist, because we, ourselves, are not hatred. We are, rather, the observation of hatred in ourselves and in perceived others. So, haters don't want to hate. They are actually incapable. Hatred is involuntary and out of our control. Hatred itself wants to hate, and if you don't allow it the time and space to simply exist, it will find a way to indirectly justify its existence through a plethora of fashions.

Fear in our time; what is Hell?

Fear in our time; what is Hell?

On facebook, I recently posted a link to a video of an upcoming computer game, titled AGONY, which gives us perhaps the most realistic depiction of Hell we have yet to see, and thanks to graphics technology, one that is quite close to tricking our eyes into seeing it as a real place. WARNING: it is graphic and disturbing, and some elements really make me question my own comfort levels. 

I wanted to share on this blog that late-night post in full, as I feel what it explores is very valid, and often seen in a very narrow field of vision:

"I did debate sharing this. It won't be for everyone. This is perhaps the most ambitious art direction ever for a computer game, and we now have physics-based rendering, meaning everything looks quite real due to how light behaves with materials.

I think there is something very healthy in the ritualistic observation of our fears. Halloween is
important to me for this reason. Everything comes out, kind of universally for our neighborhood. There is permission. This demo lets one have a meditative walk through our carnal, Jungian realities, nightmares, unconscious. Lit by torch light, swatting away flies, hiding in dark corners from terrible demons and acknowledging the HORRENDOUS depictions of pain and suffering of others, of ourselves, the kind of suffering where nothing can be done at that moment. Buddhists may find resonance with it. It isn't scary, nor do I think it is meant to be violent or cruel. It is a powerful and artistically detailed creation, one that has thick feelings of isolation, ancientness, but also an odd sense of calm. It is a safe, unhurried space to vicariously acknowledge inner conflict or torment.

Why Gratitude Means Missing the Boat

Why Gratitude Means Missing the Boat

Alright, it's been a while, and now is time to reveal other particular colors of my plumage. As a way to debut the new season, and to say in the voice of the late great Majel Barrett,  "...Last time, on the Breathe Blog", this is a place where I have shared my reflections on zen and investigations of commonly held and even celebrated aspects of human existence, in an attempt to come to a greater clarity. Doing so has informed who I am as a person, artist and singer. If you are new, welcome! 

There is no way a singer can know when to start singing the exact microsecond as the rest of an ensemble. We must in fact rely on the reality that we do not know, in order to then tap into our sense of being able to feel precisely when not to come in. Then, something happens of its own accord. It is perhaps impossible to quantify, and the results are frankly miraculous and life-transforming. We are basically improvising together on when the next sound will be made. Recently, I have joined an ensemble, Mruta Mertsi, led by André Pappathomas, with very skilled, classically-trained vocal improvisers, and here, elements of pitch, vowel, harmony AND time are completely improvised. I'll never forget how the first example of an improvised 4 notes out of 4 singers came out to be something like a V4/2 chord--without any previous pitch reference. Those were veteran singers of the ensemble who gave us that example. Since then, there have been really striking harmonic and melodic, gestural occurrences in our workshops. These are feelings one can perhaps only get to by going beyond conventional notation and structures. I had been seeking to have this in my diet recently and I'm happy that this opportunity came along! Now, onto the meaty bits...

 

To observe correctly is to act correctly, is to know, is to have life become what life wishes to become next. So, what is the correct observation, then? 

 

Step Onto the Void

Step Onto the Void

Is it possible to be bugged DIRECTLY by what you think is bugging you? It's actually always about something else, yet we want to have knowledge and control, and so our habit (and want) is to assign a direct connection, not realizing that it's the indirect scattering outwards towards the future, consequences either perceived or real, that upsets us. Dare we look to see where those rays reflecting and refracting lead? Realizing at least, that you are not DIRECTLY upset by what is upsetting you helps to establish a gentle ripple of centeredness, which can allow any action required (if any is required) to present itself as self-evident. It also allows the healing instinct of your body and life itself (the greater body) to resume. 

 

Darkness Cannot Exist (by Itself)

Darkness Cannot Exist (by Itself)

“We” cannot be right about something without rightness. Rightness, if it is, only is, when it is. Being “right” is impossible without rightness. We want the opposite to be true, we want to own rightness. Yet, it is unownable. We scoop up the world and make it our own and it is too heavy. Being ”right” has its costs. We can only be wrong. What a marvelous thing to proclaim in total exasperation: “I am a dumbass!”

We are but a lens, and one that can capture light when light is there; however, it cannot hold nor create it. Much of what we see is darkness. But, the lens is perhaps not dimly or darkly tainted at all. Rather, our understanding of how a camera works, is. Our lens works perfectly fine. Our egoic understanding attempts to convince us (quite successfully for the most part) that we somehow own the light. Do not be afraid to move, to lose the light for a moment. There are many stars, and surfaces to reflect the sun and point you back and achieve right tuning. Without darkness, the light is dulled. Darkness helps us to find the light again.

The Warmth of Tubes

The Warmth of Tubes

What is it about those Christmas Specials from decades ago, with new music each time, that created so many hits that we still know and sing today? Even going back and listening to a sketch and duet between Bing Crosby and David Bowie that I had never heard before--because it was composed and shared in that time--I find myself open to it, enchanted by it. 

A disarmed place allows for originality. Otherwise, we get stuck in graphs and tables of integered possibility. The digital topography vs the warmth and possibility of tube; a wave vs Morse code. 

I heard my Mesa Boogie Single Rectifier for the first time in ten years (it's a big tube-based guitar amp), and oh man it was like Christmas! What a beautiful, emotional creation of sound, so satisfying, nothing of want remained. It wasn't just about testosterone, or adrenaline or loudness; this sound was moving me. It was actually very surprising. 

How many of us operate on transistors or settle on digital approximation these days, vs the natural warmth of tubes?