(1)

I passed through the window looking for the outside and landed back here in my mind.

When did I find this scene? I have never been here before but with closed eyes I smell the trees and summer afternoon. I can easily recall sepia-toned memories of the rusted red swing set surrounded by a chain link fence in the yard across the street from the old school that is now a church.

Do we ever leave behind childhood? No matter the desire and effort to push away from, to bury, to set fire to the house built for protection, a place to hide… it is still there in dreams and in passing and in the air you breathe.

Concealed beneath watery dreams, steam rising from the black tar, and autumn’s gift to the earth, I found what the wind guided me to… a portrait sparingly resembling myself.

I did not realize until then what I was even looking for. I did not know I was lost and scattered to the earth. I had never seen my own face.

In this moment of clarity, I let go of the self in the present and relinquished to the past, giving up the concept of moving through forward time into unexplored seconds. When I realized I have been here before with closed eyes, the space infused with scents of home.

(2)

Myths and legends of god’s thrones in the mountain passes, of spirits in the valleys and of the gateway hidden in the cloud shrouded peaks.

The snow mist and snow drifts conceal not only the mountain but ourselves as we lose and strip away false hoods and misconceptions of self.

I left this body, the only one I knew, and drifted into the open spaces.

Turning I saw what I was or I am and felt no regret as I drifted through the open fields into the valley and through the mountain pass.

(3)

Each visit to the open fields casts away burdens and questions. Each visit dips the body in water and bathes the mind in light. My religion has become the open field that opens the mind to limitless knowledge of the infinite universe with hints of my path and genesis.

DSC00976

A well-writen article discussing Christianity and Buddhism. A question at the core of my belief is why is there so much bickering and hate in the world, and the view that “my way is better than your way”? Why are views so rigid and thrown in the face of others? Why is it so difficult to see that all of these views and spiritual paths are very similar in the end, with slightly different teachings and guideposts to get there? We may never know for certain, and even if there was some proof there will always be naysayers and conspiracists, but all of these beliefs are likely to me the same being, the same source of energy that give birth to everything.

Religion and spirituality should be what works for you, with a strong moral code, and an awareness of how we affect other humans, animals, and the earth – our sphere of influence.

While I personally am moving toward a Zen Buddhism way of thinking and living, I will never be 100% immersed in that.  I do not want to limit my view of the world, and do not want to be closed to others beliefs.

What can it not be simple?


http://www.buddhas-teaching.com/why-are-christians-turning-to-buddhism/


Raven in the Blue Sky
Raven in the Blue Sky

This is a documentary about India’s Holy Men, titled Beyond.  They are part of a spiritual sect called Aghori who practice asceticism: forsaking all of one’s earthly possessions and living excluded from society.  From a distance I respect the dedication and devotion to one’s beliefs.  I only question what does this bring to a community and how is it part of a greater good and bringing about positive energy as everything shifts?


Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays. Whatever your belief or non-belief (to say you believe in nothing is still a belief system); whatever deity or non-deity you look toward for guidance, comfort, or even out of a sense of obligation, is a personal choice. It is a choice that no other person, group, or government should take from you.

Religion or spirituality should consist of what works for you. What helps you get through each day; what guides you with a strong moral code.

During this time spent with family, friends, strangers, a snow angel, or a cup of coffee, the message of peace, tolerance, and respect becomes loud. Thundering through valleys, from mountaintops, the message is everywhere. But what happens when the celebration comes to an end? What happens when family depart from one another, heading to respective homes before another year passes? Does the message become lost amidst the daily struggle, stress, and other outside influences and obligations? Do we lose our sense of community and connection to others? Do we lose a connection with ourselves?

The questions that should be asked: what brings you peace, what can I do for you, how can I be respectful, how can I show you compassion, how can I understand your beliefs, your point of view, beyond being tolerant.

We should not be asking: how can you believe in that, what good does that belief bring to you. We should not be condemning people who have belief, who believe differently than ourselves, who hold to that belief with conviction.

Wars have consumed our history, plague our present, and muddy the future. And over what? A difference of opinion or belief? An eye and prayer to a different god or deity, or to none at all? Why are we so threatened with what is different, foreign , or unknown? With 10-minutes of respectful listening, we could gain an important and vital understanding of what that belief system means to someone, why they hold dear to those convictions.

Some beliefs are to believe in nothing, that this is all a veil, a system, a programming that consumes the mind and robs the soul of a true existence. To this I say, that veil was created by a lack of respect, a lack of understanding, a lack of self-awareness, of our sphere of influence. The veil further darkened by clinging to suffering and things, becoming lost along a path when the path already exists.

And the way to that path is already known to each person. They just need a way to uncover and bring to the surface its knowledge. Some do this through believing in nothing, others through the religion of their choice, because that is what works for them.

Dreams: Path or Reality

What will it take to trust this path? How many more years will I take the steps carefully, always watchful, before I finally give in and trust, not only this direction, but more importantly, myself?

Dreams far beyond my physical reach are an integral part of each day. I have read many adventure and outdoor books about expeditions to every corner of this world, but what captivates my attention more than anything, are snow covered peaks – above tree-lines with a reduced level of oxygen dotting the globe and touching heaven, while overlooking snow filled valleys and glaciers.

Reinhold Messner  is a fascinating character and legend in mountain climbing with a few records in his honor, and many firsts (first to summit all fourteen 8000 meter peaks, and the first to climb Mt Everest solo without oxygen). He has written extensively about these almost unbelievable feats and the accompanying visions in several books: in very poetic language filled with images and brutal honesty, each step taken on the way to summit Mt. Everest is told with amazing detail and candor in “The Crystal Horizon”. What Reinhold accomplishes is for him, as he pushes through many obstacles, but with the goal and dream within his reach, he will do whatever it takes to reach them.

Lofty goals and dreams are vital to the human spirit, as they grant us a sense of purpose and when we find ourselves stuck and mired with emotional baggage and the weight of the life we are living at that moment, they give a reasons to get up each day. We have more energy and a clearer head to face the oncoming events, regardless of what happened to get us to that moment.

At some point, the dreams and all the energy they require and consume, will have to be released in one of two ways: 1) in the direction that pushes the dreamer into a new reality, or 2) pushes dreams into the minds archive to redefine the current reality.

I dream to summit a couple of the highest peaks – Mt. Elbrus, Mt. Rainier, Mt Kilimanjaro – but I recently let go of my dream to scale Mt Everest physically. That has not dampened any of my spirit, and I am still jazzed by real stories and people setting off on an expedition, and intrigued by the brutal environment, mystery, and tragedy. By letting this one go, it has allowed me to refocus and move the energy elsewhere, into other dreams and projects.

At this moment I hear, see, and feel the distant traffic as a rushing, swollen, and murky Alaskan river.

As years pass and I become more aware of my true passions, I have to keep in mind the reality I have already chosen, stemming from my decisions and experience. I have no energy left for some paths. They have become dead-ends after transforming and merging with other dreams. Besides learning about Reinhold Messner, I have taken the formed images from my mind and created pieces and essays about the spiritual and mythical landscapes surrounding mountain peaks, here and elsewhere. If I cannot get to them, I will bring them to me.

There is something spiritual about winter in general, and snow and cold specifically. The air is singular, full of meaning, simple, known, with no mysteries or things hiding – just answers and questions to the questions and answers that you already have. The suns light is magnified and blinding, and we retreat inward for warmth. The challenge is opening yourself up, and becoming ready what waits.

Winter is the season of awareness as we become more dependent on what we carry, the tools and resources we are born with and have been developing. From this space of knowing we can manage what is outside of us.

Late in the evening and what was a struggle to write, and the intention of this essay, has become a bit of soul searching about dreams and the path created and the path taken. While listening to Alva Noto, I let myself slip away so I may get out of my own way, and allow an honest assessment of my actions, thoughts, inward and outward energy and the place within this.

Dreams are an integral part of growing spiritually as an individual and within a community. What is a community in this context? A community consists of other things, people, in a person’s sphere of influence; obviously family and parents are included, but also people we may meet at the grocery store, in the coffee line at Starbucks, or in passing on a freeway. The more interaction of two bodies, no matter the distance, the more they will exert some influence on each other. So, our dreams and the energy we expend affects ourselves and the community; a neighborhood, city, state, country, global, or the universe as a whole, this and others we have not seen yet.

Alva Noto becomes BioSphere and I trace contoured lines on a map of Alaska and concentrate on lands north of the Arctic Circle. This dream of years ago became reality and changed the path I walk forever. Not a day goes by that I do not feel the land, or taste the sea.

Find, define, and chase the dreams you can and they become passions for life, forever altering your reality and existence. The dreams we cannot or choose to not pursue blend with this reality and provide creative juice and an opportunity to learn more, expand our consciousness, and then they will come to life through thoughts and writings.

The perfect saying here, for writers and the way to improve our work, is to write what you know. Even if a piece is fiction, knowledge of your subject matter, real landscapes, for example, add authenticity to writing and credibility to the writer. Your audience can taste the dirt, feel the salt water burning open eyes, or see the glorious setting sun from across the sea.

Reading an unrelated news article, and a photo of a mountain catches my wandering eye. I am quickly taken from here, beyond the city of industry, and transplanted upon its peak, and given an opportunity to experience one of nature’s gifts.  It has taken me some time to be at peace with having to let one dream go, but with this open mindedness, and self-awareness, another has quickly taken its place.

In the end, each person’s reality is defined by choices, experience, dreams, passions, and learning to balance all of these, and make the life that works for us, within the community we have chosen to live within.

The path being taken is open to diversions, changes, bumps, and the occasional washed out road. What is important is how we respond, react, and move forward in the spiritual sense, not necessarily forward motion, as the next step may backward, or a jump to another, unrelated path.

I recently received the most honest, straight-forward, and thoughtful response to my writing, and this has caused me to stop, and re-evaluate my path. Although I have not determined my next step, it will be a change. This also reminded me of a book I read a long time ago titled “A Writer’s Life”, by Gay Taleese. I figure this is a good time to return to its pages and words of wisdom.

It feels like the new sun rising over darkened lands.

It is the mist clearing from a winter lake emerging from a deep freeze.

If we use logic to define the Nothing, then a response must include logic.

If I asked God – “Where did you come from, how did you get here?”. I would expect them to respond – “From nothing”. This I understand and this makes sense to me when I think about what is it that we float within, what comprises the space. Take away everything that does not “matter”: everything created by “man”, the dull matter, the negativity, the objects whose gravity pulls and affects other objects, what is left? Nothing.

Now, does the Nothing lie within anything? How did Nothing arrive, where did it come from, or is it the result of removing everything?

The God I imagine, has no gender, has no voice, and does not breath. They speak through light as energy and through the thoughts we entertain and are aware of, from the universe we are aware of.

If there is only nothing, has always been nothing, how did biological processes and planetary processes start? Where did the energy and fuel originate from? What first ignited the nuclear fusion process within a suns core, to begin heat and energy production that radiates outward, into solar flares, and across the universe?

How to explain an expanding universe, a scientific and logical process, with a beginning, but unknown ending? Could this eventually wrap into itself, the beginning, and start again, so the end then becomes the beginning? Is there a limit to the expansion, such as a thinning liquid or a rubber band, where the gravitational pull from the “central” location eventually retreats and pulls the matter back?

If the universe is expanding, what is it expanding into? Is it within nothing? Is the nothing a container for something? In this case it contains everything, the universe, all matter, all light, all dark, and all energy. Is nothing simply the space fabric, stretched infinitely, and the universe, as defined from the big bang, is expanding within that?

If time is infinite, and is only used as a point of reference to another object or event, the soul and energy are trapped within a finite being, a finite vessel with a start and an end – human beings. How did this infinite energy become trapped? There are so many things within the nothing, where did they originate from? There are many finite systems, processes, biologics that may or may not contain awareness, that exist within the infinite or the nothing. Where did they originate from and what is their purpose?

What thing beyond this, more powerful is able to collectively pull energy together, within a vessel? How to capture energy from nothing? What put the first subatomic thing within the nothing to create something?

Do they exist to comfort those without an awareness, that need something tangible, something warm, with life, anchored to the earth, to cope?

This can explain the light and energy that exists, and has always existed, and further extended to energy does not disappear, it is constant moving, inhabited, affecting other bodies, and always exists.

If it is assumed that Nothing has always existed, what started the biological processes?