Friday, February 3, 2017

Die Hard!

Die Hard is like the spiritual path -- mind *blown* right?

Let's go through it.

John McClane is your Mantra. He's basically unstoppable, and given enough time, he can stop any amount of bad guys no matter how badly he seems to be outnumbered. He seems ordinary enough, but he never ceases to impress no matter how much time goes by (or in our case movies get released). When you sit to meditate, your Mantra goes to work on your mind, intellect, body, emotions, everything and just Yippee Kayai's the bad guys into oblivion.

The scared people in the building are like the body-mind. They're held scared by the big threats of Hans Gruber and his minions (the ego complex). If they all rushed and fought, a few would go down, but they'd crush the bad guys. But that's super scary -- few of us have the courage to just be ourselves all the time. I know I've struggled with that.

So where does that leave you? Well if you ask me, you are Reginald VelJohnson -- you know that older cop that calls John McClane from the outside. He's the witness of all the drama that's happening, and while he's not directly affected by it, he can't rest until the day is saved. 

What do we have to do? 

It might be a little scary, we might have to deal with resistance from the police force for employing a renegade (family, friends, work, cravings, aversions, desires), but all we have to do is make a little leap when appropriate, and call John up. IE sit to meditate.

From the little effort, day in and day out, in time, the bad guys are certain to fall. And when it finally goes down, it's going to be super dramatic and awesome and everyone will be crying tears of joy.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Higher



Gosh I really love this song. I remember downloading it on Napster in the 90s, good old middle school days.

I had no idea what it was about then, but I think I do now. It's a song about longing, longing for the infinite, for the unknown, for paradise on earth.

Scott Stapp, the singer and lyricist, went through some troubled times, but none of the touches the beauty of this song, for me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=erFoLBcNyKI

When dreaming I'm guided to another world
Time and time again
At sunrise I fight to stay asleep
'Cause I don't want to leave the comfort of this place
'Cause there's a hunger, a longing to escape
From the life I live when I'm awake
So let's go there
Let's make our escape
Come on, let's go there
Let's ask can we stay?


I felt it was very powerful in these lyrics that Scott had the authenticity to say that he literally fights to stay asleep to escape waking life. Some people have good lives, but I think the intelligent when they get to a point realize there's something even beyond a good life.

Can you take me higher?
To the place where blind men see
Can you take me higher?
To the place with golden streets 

Creed I believe was originally a Christian band or at least a band with Christian roots, so it makes sense that Scott would take his description of what he longs for from the Bible's description of heaven -- a place with golden streets. But metaphorically that feels about right to me -- when the mind gets silent, everything does appear golden.

Although I would like our world to change
It helps me to appreciate
Those nights and those dreams
But, my friend, I'd sacrifice all those nights
If I could make the Earth and my dreams the same
The only difference is
To let love replace all our hate

It's not just that he says this, it's that when the song plays you can really feel that he *means* it.

So let's go there
Let's make our escape
Come on, let's go there 
Let's ask can we stay?


Can you take me higher?
To the place where blind men see
Can you take me higher?
To the place with golden streets


So let's go there
Let's make our escape
Come on, let's go there
Let's ask can we stay?


Up high I feel like I'm alive for the very first time
Set up high I'm strong enough to take these dreams
And make them mine


Set up high I'm strong enough to take these dreams
And make them mine


Can you take me higher?
To the place where blind men see
Can you take me higher?
To the place with golden streets


Can you take me higher?
To the place where blind men see
Can you take me higher?
To the place with golden streets

Way Back Into Love

I think this is my second favorite prayer that I've ever heard, right behind Guru Puja.

I started to write out what I think this song means, and I do feel it is in line with deep, deep knowledge, but let me leave that to you to figure out. Just sing it to God or your Guru with your full heart, and you'll feel it in a way more profound than I could ever explain it. All we really want is a way back into love after all, right?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m3Ztq2hu5Kg

(Drew Barrymore)
I've been living with a shadow overhead,
I've been sleeping with a cloud above my bed,
I've been lonely for so long,
Trapped in the past,
I just can't seem to move on!

(Hugh Grant)
I've been hiding all my hopes and dreams away,
Just in case I ever need 'em again someday,
I've been setting aside time,
To clear a little space in the corners of my mind!

[Chorus]
(Both)
All I wanna do is find a way back into love.
I can't make it through without a way back into love.
Ooo hooow

[Verse 2]
(Drew Barrymore)
I've been watching but the stars refuse to shine,
I've been searching but I just don't see the signs,
I know that it's out there,
There's gotta be something for my soul somewhere!

(Hugh Grant)
I've been looking for someone to shed some light,
Not somebody just to get me through the night,
I could use some direction,
And I'm open to your suggestions.

[Chorus]
(Both)
All I wanna do is find a way back into love.
I can't make it through without a way back into love.
And if I open my heart again,
I guess I'm hoping you'll be there for me in the end!

[Middle-eight]
(Drew Barrymore)
There are moments when I don't know if it's real
Or if anybody feels the way I feel
I need inspiration
Not just another negotiation

[Chorus]
(Both)
All I wanna do is find a way back into love,
I can't make it through without a way back into love,
And if I open my heart to you,
I'm hoping you'll show me what to do,
And if you help me to start again,
You know that I'll be there for you in the end!

Something in the Way

This is a really interesting song, but it's really more of an emotional one for anyone that's really ever been in a rut. If you have been, you will know this feeling. But I'd like to warn you -- it's probably not one to listen to over and over again! Don't want to get depressed...
Anyway let's go through the lyrics:

Underneath the bridge
The tarp has sprung a leak
And the animals I've trapped
Have all become my pets
And I'm living off of grass
And the drippings from the ceiling
But it's okay to eat fish
'Cause they don't have any feelings

This sounds really incoherent, and that's probably because it is, but I heard something amazing in it. The singer has become a miser -- because he doesn't want to give, life has robbed him of all abundance, and he's reduced himself to living off scraps, and he justifies eating fish with thin reasoning because he has to. When misery strikes us, we tend to let our hearts harden if we're not courageous enough to bear the pain (and often we aren't) so we just get bitter and this lack of abundance can happen.

The rest of the song is just a visceral, crying-from-the-soul cry about a spiritual block. Guruji said there are four acceptable states -- intense joy, intense longing, intense desire, or intense misery in his talk "A Conversation with the Master" and here we have intense misery. But you come to terms with it, you meet it head-on, and you move past it.

The album cover is also interesting -- it's a baby in a pool chasing a dollar. When I was a kid (a way too young kid by the way) and I got this album, I just thought it didn't make any sense. But I saw it recently, and it's a perspective an artist might hold -- that we're all spiritual children chasing dollars.

Listening to this song again recently reminded that what we learn through Art of Living practices and from Guruji (or other masters) is timeless and everywhere -- that it explains the whole creation. I may have mentioned this on an earlier post -- but I really do feel it's true.

Here's the link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jDyvClUsCJU

Monday, January 16, 2017

Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)

So I love Arcade Fire (at least Funeral and this song -- the rest I'll have to give a fair shot)

Here's the video (it's cool but a little weird):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awHWColYQ90

This song is soooo amazing, to me it both intellectually and on the feeling level captures the feeling or someone who wants to be free, and is starting to taste it. It just makes me want to dance! Yeah it really has to be felt more than understood I think.

They heard me singing and they told me to stop,
Quit these pretentious things and just punch the clock,
These days, my life, I feel it has no purpose,
But late at night the feelings swim to the surface.
'Cause on the suburbs the city lights shine,
They're calling at me, 'come and find your kind.'
 
It kinda reminds me of Neo, locked in average life. Spirituality isn't practical, they say, but you feel empty -- what Guruji calls the restlessness of the soul. But the self wants to sing and dance, and it's being shut up.

Sometimes I wonder if the world's so small,
Then we can never get away from the sprawl,
Living in the sprawl,
Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains,
And there's no end in sight,
I need the darkness someone please cut the lights.
 
 I think these guys really meant the song and album to be about consumerism, but I see it from a more general perspective -- like the stuff they're seeing outside is indicative of something going on inside too. And he wants the darkness -- Samadhi can be very full, they say, but it can be just silence too.
 
We rode our bikes to the nearest park,
Sat under the swings, we kissed in the dark,
We shield our eyes from the police lights,
We run away, but we don't know why,
And like a mirror these city lights shine,
They're screaming at us, 'we don't need your kind'
 
 I feel like spiritual people are often not black sheep, but rainbow disco sheep, doing anything to shake loose. Sometimes they just don't fit in, until they come into their own. Then they REALLY fit in.

Friday, June 24, 2016

A Short Story -- part 1

Today I make a departure from the usual write about a song posts -- as I was just relaxing, an idea for a short story came to me so I thought I'd just write it out.

Here goes :-)

Phil was having an average, even boring day, at his Minnetonka Chevy showroom on May 28th, 1978, when a man in a straw hat and cowboy boots walked in through the revolving glass doors. 

Phil had owned this showroom for a long time, after his friend had gotten him out of the hotel and into selling cars. He did have a knack for it, but he was having to admit to himself recently that it was getting a little boring.

He was 3 days from a vacation in Miami, which he thought might help him get over the winter blues, and he never suspected that this man, nor any man, could really contribute much of anything to him -- he had always been a bootstraps kind of guy (besides the whole Chevy dealership, chalk that up to an accident).

"I'd like to buy a Silverado truck, preferably from the last year, to tow some stuff around my new cotton farm. Can you make me a deal?"

As if he hadn't hear that one a million times...

Phil went through the motions, going back and forth with the gentleman, and luckily settling on a price about $500 what he usually ended up getting for that particular truck. Quick transaction, no BS, this is my kind of guy, he thought. He went home and watched Bonanza with his wife and didn't think about the man even once more, settling into the usual routine with a little more pleasure than usual, and slept well.

It was only when the man returned to pick up the truck that the interesting part of this story starts. He had a sort of red dot on his forehead, which honestly in Phil's mind gave him the creeps. He had heard about those Hare Krishnas, and wondered if this man might track him down and perform some black magic on him later if the service agreement wasn't quite right, so he made a mental note to be careful later. 

But he noticed that the man had such a peaceful vibe about him. And that wasn't even the language in which he thought. The way in which he moved, the overtones of his voice, even the light around him seemed so rarified. Certainly these aren't thoughts that a Good Christian should be having, he thought, but it was undeniable. 

Before he could think to stop himself, he blurted out "Where did you just come from?". The man replied, "It's actually a little strange. Are you sure you want to know?". Phil said, "Honestly I'm not sure, but I'll wonder all day if I don't know what that little dot was all about". The man replied, "I just learned Transcendental Meditation. You know that funny Indian guru that was on Merv Griffin? I just took his course, and boy was it a trip."

"Who needs a guru? Christ is our Lord and Savior, right? Don't they just want to take your money and make us their slaves? I've heard they're into sex too...are you sure you should be involved with all that business?"

"You know I had my doubts, but about 3 months ago my wife took this course and she's really been off my case ever since. She doesn't bother me when I go fishing, her food tastes better, and she smiles a lot more. I actually don't regret marrying her anymore, and that's saying something after what we've been through this last year."

"Boy that does sound nice, I have to admit. What did it set you back?"

"Oh about $500. But they did say that if I ever needed support, you know checking if I was going it right and what not, they'd always be there. You know they don't do customer service like they used to when we were kids, so that did sound good to me."

"What was it like? The meditation? Did you see all kinds of weird stuff in your head?"

"It was actually kind of boring, but in a really good way. My body did start tingling like after a couple drinks, but the best part was that my thoughts just stopped, and I was THERE. I didn't know that was possible."

To be continued.... :-)

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Given to Fly

Today I write about one of the more powerful and lyrically accurate songs I've ever heard -- "Given to Fly" by Pearl Jam, a song that closely matches the story of Buddha, and many saints of old I'd say. 

This song has such powerful lyrics that I'm just going to go through them bit by bit.

He could've tuned in, tuned in
But he tuned out

The way I interpret tuning in here is living a life in maya, the changing world, the repetitive existence that most people live in.

A bad time, nothing could save him

I think Buddha must have felt this way, he had everything in the world, but nothing there could have saved his soul.

Alone in a corridor, waiting, locked out
He got up outta there, ran for hundreds of miles

This reminds me of Buddha taking his horse and just running for it.

He made it to the ocean, had a smoke in a tree
The wind rose up, set him down on his knee
A wave came crashing like a fist to the jaw
Delivered him wings, "Hey, look at me now"
Buddha's seeking left him powerless and prayerful, and delivered him wings at the end -- Enlightenment.

Arms wide open with the sea as his floor
Oh, power, oh

I've heard the Buddha played with the moon like a toy when he awakened fully.

He's.. flying
Whole
High.. wide, oh

Enlightenment has been called wholeness (loosely quoting here, I haven't seen the video), and the flying state of consciousness by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, Sri Sri's Guru.

He floated back down 'cause he wanted to share
His key to the locks on the chains he saw everywhere

I think this describes every Enlightened Master -- they have nothing to gain, yet they still give....

But first he was stripped and then he was stabbed
By faceless men, well, f***ers
He still stands

...and yet, they are not received with the respect they really deserve -- Guruji says that facing these waves of negativity makes the Masters who really come out into the world "Mahavirs" -- great heroes.

And he still gives his love, he just gives it away
The love he receives is the love that is saved

<3

And sometimes is seen a strange spot in the sky
A human being that was given to fly


It's not often we see human beings that are given to fly, but when we do, we can only marvel at them, bow down, and send them our love -- like Swami Purnachaitanya for me, and other Swamiji's I'm sure if I knew them better and other stars of the Art of Living.

High.. flying
Oh, oh
High.. flying
Oh, oh
He's flying
Oh, oh