Archive for the meditation Category

Open heart forgery

Posted in Fighting, martial arts, meditation, Mysticism, Philosophy, Powermongers, propaganda, Reality Bites, self-help, The Arts, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , on December 21, 2009 by wizardsmoke

I am a fan of Hatsumi’s books. He is a good writer — an artist; he is able to make you think existence has a purpose. Cool stuff, I admire his work.

I remember I showed his books to a friend and then took him to a Bujinkan class, to which he responded like a real wise-ass: the Bujinkan that can be spoken is not the true Bujinkan. Hatsumi writes beautifully and shares his dream narrative with you; he can make himself desirable to others; he is an artist. But the budo he teaches does not bestowe the same skills as his ability to appeal to you, or yours to accept him.

In social status, and especially in business, much of what makes a person successful is their self-presentation. The rock star’s charisma is what makes them a success, not the music. The music is the background canvas that works once people are receptive to the personal spectacle. In society, talent alone does not create status or ensure survival. What is more useful is ambition, energy, the ability to make people comfortable and laugh, and to speak to their heart.

The bodily arts are interesting, for they take root in the heart immediately. They quickly effect our social presentation.
Martial arts is a discipline which, like dance, is kinesthetic. And the kinesthetic learner is the genius of the arts. And martial arts have mostly become arts, rather than trades, in danger of dying out for lack of necessity.

And so I have seen tons of great artists (martial and otherwise) without the clever endearing qualities in which they can sell themselves to the masses. How strange, that the ability to successful endear oneself to others is an artistic quality, and has no bearing on one’s actual talent or skill in the field being extrapolated. But people without a desire to sell themselves are less likely to seek financial gain from your interaction.

The entertainer does not merely entertain, but rather creates an illusory personality for the world to desire. And like in the world of business, where a compromised upbeat persona is created to angle profitable transactions, the conjured entertainer becomes a necessary function of the art, and soon one loses track of where their own identity lies.

But, whateva.

Forever real

Posted in Asceticism, Buddhism, love, Magick, martial arts, meditation, Mysticism, New Age Baloney, Occult, Religion, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2009 by wizardsmoke

What’s the best thing to do with your time? To become real. But what does that even mean?

Well, as my friend pointed out, it’s the process of making the story you tell yourself — the idealized you, a tangible reality, where there is no delay or separation between your perception of self and the objective self that interacts with the world around oneself. This is the real goal of studying and practicing magic, martial arts, or a religion. They all have different means of achieving this, stimulating different paths of awareness through the body or the mind, but they aim to get to this point. A crappy curriculum of path is one that does not actually have this in the syllabus.

But just because the aforementioned methods are ways of reaching this, they are no guarantee. Most folks practicing these things are floating around helplessly just like anyone doing anything in this world. Plus, what is the ultimate point of enlightenment, or total cessation of attachments and cravings? Well, there is no point in the tangible sense, because it is the place where points are dissolved entirely. And I think I heard Ajahn Brahm say, enlightenment is actually very boring.

When people create the causes for enlightenment, as they describe in Buddhism, by laying down good karma — a good rhythm, to attaining nirvana in this life or the next, they are effectively embedding the rhythm toward that experience or dissolution of enlightenment into the intrinsic fabric of their being and mental developments. Thus the desire becomes inherent to the self-clinging being taking birth and the enlightenment is no longer such a blatant desire. If the drive toward enlightenment is buried deeply enough and forgotten (made automatic), one begins to simply manifest it, now and forever. It will sneak up on you, create an innate moral quality, guide you from beyond your intellect.

Desire is blatant and therefore must be sublimated to the subconscious to really become effective in one’s life. If one can burn out the desire for enlightenment by going in the right direction towards that experience, they are creating good causes. They are pushing enlightenment into their mind until they manifest it fully. But it has to happen subtly — big enlightenment experiences are usually the stuff ambitious crackpots or intermediate students. You don’t go to heaven, you grow into heaven, to borrow a phrase from the old-school New-Ager, Edgar Cayce. Enlightenment comes to you throughout your whole life, like the expanding, full-on deafening roar of water crashing toward you through a tunnel. Every kind of understanding happens like this, until we’re floating in the water, which is our experience made reality.

Reader Feedback

Posted in Buddhism, meditation, Mysticism, Religion, Wizard Quotes on October 23, 2009 by wizardsmoke

From the mailbag…

Q: I finished reading hardcore zen and wanted to know what your meditation practices are and how seriously you take zen buddhism as far as a way to the truth.

Smoke: I read Hardcore Zen too. Brad Warner is a cool dude. I used to follow his blog a lot, he used to write more stuff on it before he was promoting his books. Zen seems pretty sweet, and I don’t believe any method is the best. Tibetan Buddhists seem to say theirs is the best more than most other Buddhist people do, because they have all this magical stuff in it that’s really similar to western Hermetics and occultism. But religions are all conspiracy theories on some level, haha!

But there is secret stuff in lots of lineages, branches of Chinese and Japanese Buddhism, Shintoism and Daoism, Yogic/Hindu traditions, as well as Christian and Jewish traditions. Basically they only teach “secret” higher level practices to the next generation of lineage holders — people they can ensure will maintain the tradition to the fullest quality. It’s easy to cheapen something by selling or giving it to everyone and thus no one will really maintain it for the right reasons.

I really like the Buddhist teachers Ajahn Chah, Thanissaro Bhikkhu (both Theravada), as well as Taisen Deshimaru, who was one of Brad Warner’s teachers’ senior classmates. Basically I think it’s a matter of finding the style that fits a person the best, and a good teacher. Like, if I were in a small town, I’d probably just try to find the best martial arts teacher regardless of style, but in a city I would find the MA that fit with my body/personality and find the best teacher within that.

Astral Adams

Posted in God(s), Magick, meditation, Mysticism, New Age Baloney, Occult, Paganism, Religion, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , on August 23, 2009 by wizardsmoke

I am as sick as you are of hearing “present moment awareness” paraded around as some tepid mantra. But the reason is that maintaining “present-moment awareness” leads to something deeper, where you’re perceiving the present moment before it physically happens — before it is reflected in the mind. Like, deep present awareness dissolves the sensory and physical boundaries of time-space perception.

The place where demons and other astral beings dwell is often in those gaps between our present-moment awareness. Every time we have a distraction or are manipulated by something, we become prey to outside entities or influences. When we project our own illusions or desires somewhere else, outside of the present moment, external forces can work their way through our actions and willpower. And many religions identify external beings and individuals which surround our sphere of existence.

But it seems when you achieve some sort of awareness and dissolution of the self, there is not that concrete division between oneself and others. However, “others” can still think there is such a thing, even though this unaware other is another reflection of the interconnected cosmic self. These kinds of avenues of perception can be of benefit in regards to knowing how things work in the astral (simply that deeper awareness is able to evade the chaotic attentions of malicious beings).

The big mystery to me, is how there are cosmic beings of all kinds (real or imaginary — it doesn’t matter what you think) but they’re all just the same material. They’re all another manifestation of the self. So even if your god of choice is real, it’s just another manifestation of the cosmic self that you are. Which makes me consider the veneration of divinities within a different light than mere subservience. We’re just praying to ourselves, no matter what (and yeah, I know monotheistic religions are supposed to bypass that, but I don’t buy it).

Fangsong 4eva

Posted in Exercise, Fighting, health, martial arts, meditation, New Age Baloney, Qi, tai chi, taijiquan with tags , , , , , on August 12, 2009 by wizardsmoke

I’ve been busy and haven’t had much I care to write about lately. Society has had its way with me. But I have been practicing a lot of Taijiquan (TJQ). That’s the only thing in life that doesn’t seem like a complete waste of time — it levels up the soul as well as the physical body all at once.

The principle you hear superior TJQ bloggers talk about these days is maximum use of relaxation, specifically the Chinese term fang-song. The principle of using the waist efficiently in movements (“waist is the commander”) is the core of most martial arts; pretty much every martial art does that at advanced levels. But in TJQ and “internal” martial arts, the key unique principle or secret above all else, is total softness and the ability to relax muscle while fighting.

But even if you don’t practice TJQ or any other macho head-games, fang-song is a beautiful concept to work with. It literally means a combination of “relax” and “unclench the muscles”. It’s pretty much the idea that all meditation teachers are trying to point to, but don’t usually have the vocabulary or practice methods to elucidate. Whenever I am sitting somewhere with nothing to do, or lying in bed drifting off to sleep, I just fang-song my whole body. Sure, sure, you could sit and “be mindful of the breath,” but a lot of people do that without taking heed of their levels of tension. Fang-song is a lot like meditation-class body-scanning-for-tension, but it’s a method that was developed to also function when confronting extreme violence or threats to one’s life.

Most tension starts when the back isn’t straight, and immediately ripples to the shoulders and hips. When the shoulders and hip joints are tense, there is a parallel effect on the elbows and knees respectively. The other big issue is the verticality of the spine, which is a whole additional TJQ principle in of itself (all the principles are co-dependent upon one another). Ideally, one wants to tuck the coccyx until the whole spine, from the bottom (or top of the ass), up to the neck, is one straight line (as when viewed from the side).

It’s also very important to unclench jaw and facial muscles. The reason to wear sunglasses in on bright days is to keep your face from scrunching up and becoming incredibly tense. Excess jaw and facial tension can lead to migraines, headaches and other kinds of annoying pains. Shoulder tension can do this too, and practicing TJQ-related fang-song is practically a miracle cure for chronic back pain, myofascial muscle issues, etc.

As far as qi and issuing energy goes — without total relaxation, the amount of qi a person can circulate and issue in strikes is pretty minimal. I’m not entirely sure what the energy programming instructions are in external, muscular styles like Karate, Shaolin, Silat and so on, but in TJQ and internal styles, it’s the total relaxation which gives you the qi explosion. A lot of beginners are always interested in qi circulation and bringing it out in striking energy, but once you get somewhere in practice, you realize the qi naturally appears and soaks into everything when you relax really deeply.

Anyway, I have a feeling that Taijiquan will get super big in a martial way soon, right before the world implodes. Considering that there are a large number of MA teachers pitching TJQ efficiently now, I don’t see how it could go any other way. Especially since TJQ is the best.

But what difference does it make if TJQ becomes commercially popular in a martial way? Is that really better than the current trend of it being popular as a New Age healing tonic? I guess I don’t care either way.

Headroom

Posted in health, meditation, New Age Baloney, Technology with tags , , , , , on April 2, 2009 by wizardsmoke

What is the point of “clearing the mind” — whether it be via meditation, seclusion, practicing a hobby, or any other method?

In audio engineering, there is a concept called headroom, which refers to the amount of audio space a recording, or audio wave, has before it clips or distorts. Each element added to a musical recording, every ingredient, every track of instrumentation, effects and chains — they all add to the recording and eat away at that precious overhead. The skill of good audio engineers and mastering engineers is capturing a fantastic sound and fitting it clearly into the right amount of audio “space” while still maintaining some overhead. They are able to do this through consistent practice, and by paying careful attention to every step of the recording process.

This is similar to what we are preserving when we attempt to clear our heads, relax and maintain good health removed from emotional binds. A while back, I pointed out a literary illustration Doug Wilson, from the Henka blog, used regarding his martial arts experience. When we train, we’re creating space in the mind, in which we can move freely, regardless of our physical position. The less space we have in the mind, the more attached and controlled we are by our everyday surroundings, circumstances, relationships, and emotions.

When we run out of headroom, our perception distorts and it becomes difficult to perceive what is really going on around us and inside our own heads. Not that folks who meditate or whatever else don’t have distorted perceptions — clearly many such people do. But the distortion that builds up from stress creates a serious mess. Better to have only a few distorted clips in the audio file than extended bursts of white noise. Likewise with headroom in the mind — ya keep it from clipping by paying careful attention at every step of its activity.

Warner Smoke

Posted in Buddhism, Fighting, health, martial arts, meditation, Religion with tags , , , , , , on March 27, 2009 by wizardsmoke

Looks like I’m going to go see Brad Warner on his book/talk tour thingy. I don’t really know what kind of turnout he’s going to get, but the booking joint near my town is very random and out-of-place, so there’s a chance no one will show up. At the same time, I’m sure the most random spots can get tons of visitors. Who knows? Maybe it’ll be a total cattle herd or maybe no one will show at all (we’re truly godless and savage where I live) and I can freak him out with some chit-chat. Hahaha!

I actually don’t want to hear more talks on zazen and Vippasana/Shamatha meditation though. So sick of that! And not just from him. Yet I’d rather hear Brad ramble about it than the New Age hippie Buddhist teacher that leads a bunch of yuppies in meditation every week at the church across the street from my house. Of course, what do I know? I’m just some punk.

Anyhow, I got injured sparring the other day. A nice facet of martial arts training is the ability to deal with injuries, and in turn, avoid them. In other words, you get injured and learn how to deal with it. This skill comes the same reason any skill is developed: practice and experience. But other bonus points: I never roll my ankle over anymore (haven’t twisted my ankle in ages), I never get jostled in crowds, I never fall on ice or in the rain, etc.

But from the way the MA stuff is presented in pop culture (or shall we say, marketing), you wouldn’t know that almost every serious martial artist has experienced serious injuries. The only time you hear about it is in weepy stories about how a person couldn’t practice anymore, or in cases like Bruce Lee, where they hype up his injuries to make it seem like only one such Herculean man-god could still practice after being wounded. These are most of the stories people regurgitate to one another, like dopey myths. And my question is similar, myth or otherwise — why not just do that stuff yourself? It’s only magical because you haven’t put forth the effort to do it. Most people float around like driftwood, giving little thought to the direction of their lives — like me and this blog post.

But hopefully there’s an end to this physical means. Hopefully one day there will no longer be any sort of fear with relation to any thing — be it future inhibitions, physical pain, mental and emotional anguish, fear of damnation and so forth. Really all you need to train into yourself is a firm disposition to keep going. I know a lot of guys who are super tough badasses that can plow through all sorts of insults and threats and violent scuffles, but as soon as they get really depressed because their girlfriend left them — they’re cooked! What the hell kind of willpower is that? Perseverance and willpower get shifted around to be useful in every possible medium of expression and experience. Even if you have to start from scratch again and again in everything you do, if you master that ability then you won’t be afraid to let go of things when the time comes. Or something.

Anyway — Brad Warner! We’ll let you know how it goes.