Sunday, December 18, 2011

The Nice Way to Do the Holidays: Having Fun and Changing Your World


Summer, Winter.....................................................................................Happy Holidays!

"None of the means employed to acquire religious merit...has a sixteenth part of the value of loving-kindness. Loving-kindness, which is freedom of the heart, absorbs them all; it glows, it shines, it blazes forth."

The Buddha, Itivuttaka Sutta



That's quite a precise break-down of the power of being nice, don't you think? I wonder how he knew? I tried it out myself at one time and I never looked back, so I'll pass it along to you as something of a challenge: The challenge to be as nice as you possibly can to everybody you meet. It's kind of a tall order, but not impossible, and can help quite a lot at this time of year – what with all the demands on your holiday cheer.

Of course The Buddha knew the difference between being religious and being spiritual – that it's a little like comparing apples to water. Going to church defines you as being a type of believer, while showing loving-kindness to everyone you meet gets right to the heart of the distinction, namely:


You're not what you believe, you're what you do.


Take this little challenge and try it yourself, from now through the holidays, and watch what happens! You'll suddenly find yourself a part of a slightly invisible conspiracy of kindness; of identification and compassion. Friends you never knew you had will show up ev-erywhere, and then disappear just as beautifully and mysteriously; leaving you with only the one requirement – to continue the chain of kindness.

First you'll be amazed, then you'll wonder, then you'll experiment more intentionally, then you might never go back. It's that powerfully amazing. It will change your world that much. You can't help but be grateful for the wonderful way people treat you when you show them unconditional loving-kindness, and you'll find you're happy all the time, because you have to have gratitude before you can be happy about anything.


How does it work so well (sixteen times better...)? Simply because being kind to others takes the focus off of who Your Ego ("Mr. Big Shot") thinks you are, and places it on someone else's well-being – which as it turns out is really yours too. And it's easy to show unconditional Love all the time, because Love is all unconditional already – it only becomes conditional when Ego begins demanding it. What a kvetch.

We all want Love and companionship. Compañero. We're all the same person, really. "No we're not!" your Ego says, "I'm not at all like Dick Cheney!" (–God Bless 'im). Well, I hope that's true, and you may have a bit of a point after all... should everyone get the same lovingly kind treatment, no matter what? Well, dammit, ideally yes they should (now that's "tough love"). But if that level of unconditionality is im-possible, then let's look for a rule of thumb to go by:


"Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked."

Yoga Sutra of Patanjali, 1.33


So three out of four ain't bad. Just don't pay no mind to Mr. Cheney. Better yet, see if you can find some Love in your heart for him, because that's how we're all evolving. We're all becoming more and more able to share in the medium of Love that actually lives under, around, and through us. It's the solution that staring us in the face all the time. Gratitude and compassion are the doors to realizing it in every moment; and when we're kind to everyone we meet, all the time, we're open to the force of evolution that's flooding our plane of existence. We're opening the gates to it ourselves – each one of us.


"Heaven arms with Compassion those whom it would not see destroyed"

The Tao te Ch'ing, 67


Kindness is a winning strategy. There's lots of people out there who've already known it all along, you know, those smarties who are always smiling. Compassion doesn't save them from physical destruction – it enables them to find spiritual realization. To remove the obstacles to Love, and so to really expand and grow and flow with Life. Ho ho ho!


Take my holiday challenge, won't you? Turn your frown upside down and look into the nicest mirror you've ever seen...You might never look back.


Happy Holidays!


Monday, December 12, 2011

Tales of the Koko Lion, Part 25: Finding Grace at Art Center– Departure

"Life can only be understood backwards, but it must be lived forwards."

Soren Kierkegaard



...continued



Could it be his Uncle Jimmy was right, and we're all born with everything already intact, like "acorns" waiting to open and unfold into whatever kind of tree we'll be? Maybe so, because from the first day at the new school, things began to happen like they do, like the whole progression had been charted out, and he was simply showing up to play his part.


There he sat in the student cafeteria with the rest of the new students at Art Center's Orientation Day, listening to the school's dour-faced administrator, Midge Quinelle, describe how difficult their course of art education would be. It seems the administration expected, in fact encouraged as high a rate of attrition as possible. Many students would find they didn't fit in at Art Center – that they "simply couldn't cut it," and so be it – it was a necessarily efficient means of dispensing with the undeserving. The flashing would have to be trimmed off the prime casting before they could buff it to a high luster, and stamp it's bottom as an Art Center product.

It didn't bother him much, he didn't intend to be drummed out or lost overboard, but it did seem an inauspicious way to launch their fresh-faced careers. He doubted that whether a student "deserved" to be at Art Center or not would have much bearing on whether their tuition check got cashed. At that time it seemed a strangely anta-gonistic, and somewhat chaotic place.

At the break, the new students and some faculty congregated out back, on the big patio terrace with a perpetually hazy view of Pasadena, munching on crudités, and sipping seltzer – that new kind that came in blue glass bottles. He stood above by the railing, watching the crowd of his mostly doomed schoolmates schmoozing, forming early friendships and allegiances; cozying up to the teachers and department heads. The upscale kids mixed easily as though their success had been guaranteed, because strangely enough it had been, due to the politics and pay-offs common to their class. Many of them already had jobs awaiting with top agencies and the like, which was as it should be – their's was the art of the pre-existing, not of the as-yet-to-be-discovered. Kids who'd got there by the seat of their pants milled about hungrily on the edges, as did the uneasy Asians, struggling with English as a Second Language.


He walked down and grabbed a blue bottle and a cocktail paper plate of cut carrots and cucumber, and something caught his eye. The crowd opened up as though they were moved out of the way stage left and right on rolling risers, and there, alone on a concrete bench, sat a beautiful girl, her face a little bit twisted by tears. Heroic co-dependence swelled up in his chest. He suddenly had a purpose greater than simply engaging in the self-serving chit-chat.


He went and sat with her and asked why she was crying, but she didn't know really, it was just nerves perhaps. He put a carrot up his nose and she laughed. It was dumb, but it worked. He told her about the funny house he lived in, and the bar-b-que joint down the street, Gus's, that had neon chickens and pigs running down the side of their sign – and a Chef Pig on the menu, serving himself on a platter. With what he imagined to be the proper measure of jaunty suggestiveness, he asked her if she "would like to join his pork club?" To which she replied, "That depends on how many members there are in it" – and that about did it. That's how they met and fell in love.


The school was difficult, not because of the course load, but because of the unusually unnecessary rigidity of the the people who ran it – mostly Mormons as it turned out – insecure people whose moral foundation is knowingly built on a premise so bereft of credibility that their justification of faith and purpose must be willfully shifted to something more substantial, like commercial acknowledgment, financial success, or the canonical Jesus. They seemed to be confused about what an art school should be. No human expression was permitted on the polished concrete walls. No risky or possibly "avant garde" projects ever needed to be encour-aged. Illustration and Fine Art majors required no up-to-date equip-ment – that was for the product designers and ad people only.

He had some good teachers who helped him see new horizons; and others who taught him more of what he had already learned in his life up to that point; but little of the good or bad of it mattered much at all when viewed through love-struck eyes. Like always, school was what you brought to it.


The two became one of the first fast and happy couples at school, which was fine, because everyone could see how well-suited they were; and it didn't seem to effect their work badly at all. She saved him from his crazy hot dusty attic, and brought him to live with her in the cozy little apartment with a pool that her father had arranged for her. And so, as in those golden-tinged dreams of youthful love anew, they ventured down the pre-ordained path that led to ten years of adventure and marriage and travel and struggle and eventually, as is so often the case with stories of the sort, emotional disaster, heart-break, and loss.


The lessons of the hard school were stored and utilized – the endurance and the hurt. Their lives pulled them apart by the seams that were so obviously visible when they first met that day on the concrete bench. But this isn't the story of how Grace was lost. It is – like it might always turn out to be – the story of how Grace was found at Art Center.



Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I've Been Dying to Find Out What I Am


...............................................................a little bit like a prisoner, you could say



When I was in my twenties I was in a single-car accident and suddenly found myself at the top of a telephone pole next to a street light, looking down at my lifeless body hanging out of a wrecked car. I spent almost an entire day in good company, transported somewhere other than here.

In my thirties, as a result of an altogether inappropriate lifestyle, I again ended up on the ground with the life draining out of me. I was enveloped in a bright white cloud, and caringly shown pivotal scenes from my life to that point.

During both of these experiences I felt completely free, at ease, weightless, and utterly comfortable and serene...and I was me, only I don't remember having a body.

Then, when I was forty, a skinhead mistakenly unleashed his homophobic rage at me on a city street. I fought back, but was knocked unconscious from behind and stomped and kicked "to death" by his gang of fellow neo-nazis. Ouch. That time I went to a dark place, but struggled to stay there, wanting to find that peace and light again, only to be forced back into this life against my will – the sense was that I hadn't gotten it right yet. I think it was in order to tell you what I learned from these three "NDEs" so maybe you won't have to find out in the (painful) way I did...because you don't want to try this at home.


My will didn't account for much beyond this life. Will is a function of being human the sense that we need something to happen a certain way; that we can make it happen for us; that we can control the outcome of things. Sometimes we can. We can set our goals and work towards them, and manifest our wishes for ourselves; but regardless of the intentions and outcome, I learned that everything we experience in this life is part of an unfathomable, largely imper-ceivable system that we may never quite know from this angle. I learned that I am a spiritual being having this physical experience in order to learn to transcend the limitations of this sensory world in order to evolve. I learned that this body really is an "avatara." We precipitate as these forms, into this field of energy, shaped by genes, thoughts, feelings, and actions...and unknowable karma.


That's why I was attracted to Evolver at first, I identify with the spirit inside it. This life of physical materiality is our medium of spiritual evolution. We step in and out of these bodies as seamlessly and purposefully as walking through the rooms of a great mansion we've been invited to explore. It's "the nature of the beast" that we don't always know that purpose, and more literally that nature that pre-vents us from experiencing the true medium of our greater being, which is Love – except for in the little bits that blow us away.


Being human is our only way to discover it – to discover anything – but it's also our greatest obstacle because of all the contrariness and misinterpretation this human form insists on imposing on our spirits, and on this beautiful, living planet. It's the obstacle the Hindu call maya.


You probably couldn't help but notice by now that it isn't easy being human. The attractions of our sensory state can be so fun (thrills) and compelling (sex), and seductive (intellect); and our afflic-tions can seem so painful and unfair, and relentless in the course of what feels like such a long life – but then tomorrow little of any of it may scarcely register in our recollections. (We've likely just forgotten being born and dying before – that may be how really limited our body/mind vehicles are.) Then even those attractions that can lead us to such fantastic fulfillment and accomplishments can also lead straight to utter despair and willful, idiotic destruction. Just imagine having to drive a car that likes to crash, and often insists on it. Pretty crazy, right?


Being sensory beings leads easily to a philosophy of life chiefly defined by the form we're in – a kind of spiritual "Catch-22" that is, pleasure as a philosophy to live by. Gratification of the will, of the body, of the ego. The chief drawbacks, aside from the previously mentioned destruction and despair created by unconsciously pursu-ing these gratifications, is that they just don't last very long; and that our means of recognizing what's actually happening (and what does last) is once again limited to another function of our form – our intellect, our thinking mind.


Unless a person has a spiritual experience brought about by the practice and exercise of wisdom, or, as in my case, they've had their sense of "reality" sufficiently smashed to pieces well enough to reveal the eternal intelligence that underlies and energizes everything around us, the tendency is to slip back into what our limited powers of observation and calculation will permit. And we'll be right about it.


You'll see lots of really smart people who simply can't realize the essential nature of this life, because they haven't had such an experience. Unless it's convincingly adapted to the true nature of it's purpose, the vessel will never really be able to carry any real, spiri-tual water (but it can come close). A big example is that scientific observation keeps insisting on "what it knows is fact," until spiritual evolution empowers a new level of observation. Then it will start in-sisting on that as "fact," through force of will. However, the truth is always a function of the spiritual – not the intellectual, so the intellect can never really know the truth. It's that human thing again.


"Blessed are those who have undergone ordeals. They have entered into Life."

The Gospel of Thomas, 58


Somethings are obviously very "wrong" with this form we;re in (or I should say with this form I'm in). It's the way we're hemmed-in by our interpretations of sensory experience as being the only "real" thing, our intellects acceptance of ignorance, and our inability to perceive the mind-blowing evidence all around us. But then our senses are also our doors to The Divine, and allow us our opportunities to grow, to change for the better, and to realize the obvious intent for life on Earth, and of the magic around and within us.


I was plainly (and painfully) given these unusual peeks "behind the curtain," so to speak, and here's how they've informed my point of view: You can rarely change anyone – each of us is on a unique (and naturally similar) path of spiritual evolution, towards the same place. The only way to actually change things is to change yourself; to choose to (occasionally) detach from the limitations of the form and embrace the spiritual moment, and to go where it takes you as much as you can. That is what's is changing the world right now.


Thinking is just a focusable tool. It wasn't the same thing, in "the great beyond" – not as incessantly demanding. Not as linear. Much more comfortable, like good meditation, or the full and empty space at the end of a good laugh. The moment is plenty alive without it.


Death is just a part of life that comes quickly or slowly. It's quite nice and comfortable itself, but often a bummer to get to. Love is the true underlying medium of life, and our job is to remove the obstacles that separate us (and our planet) from that amazingly powerful con-stant. I know my job now is to try to overwhelm ignorance with Love (which is also tolerance, compassion, and service to others).


Just be careful of skinheads, crocodiles (yeesh), or thinking that you're right.



Thursday, November 17, 2011

Animation and BG Design: Many Ages, Many Stages



Animation and background design take you on a trip into a look and a place...

like the direction into Sheep's long ago drawers from The Big City (Cartoon Network)

...............................putting ideas into your head


What animation designs design for...





Into a tight line pop mall...
The "pencil" stage for a fun kids room...

.....to a (PBS Kids) high school (without all the kids)

...........................here's the finished line stage of...a stage.

....from a big, soft rough from a Disney thing...

...to finish, like I started, with a rough bridge back to when Sheep were still in the Big City...

Ah...Fall.....in New York City.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

On James Hillman: Au Revoir, and Hello to Uncle Jimmy.




Week before last, my uncle (by marriage) James Hillman – Jungian analyst, scholar and teacher, champion of the psyche, and "renegade" psychologist – passed away, into the world that comes after this, venturing into a dimension that I'm certain he's currently delighted to discover, given that he's always dedicated himself to the most profound explorations of life [and death] with all the impetuousness and constant willingness to be amazed that was his nature. (I didn't know him very well, but I know that much for sure.)
I met him first six or seven years ago at a Hillman family reunion at his home in Connecticut with my then-fianceé-now-wife, his niece; again at his eightieth birthday; and then when he attended (...and boogied on down) at our wedding, with his wife Margot McLean.

On our first meeting, I was in a formative part of a personal re-configuration, of sorts, doing lots of meditation and reading, but not knowing yet that I'd be called to set down my own personal explorations and dis-coveries, much less how to go about it. I'd cursorily examined some of his writing (The Soul's Code was in my then wife-to-be's bookshelf), and while he spoke so authoritatively of the same wilderness that I wanted to describe, I found myself more than a bit confounded.

Here was the voice of a true explorer into labyrinthine reaches I'd only just recently been opened to, but speaking in a language that I found nearly indecipherable. It was the language of an academician of the highest order, and as such seemed dense and elaborately logical to me, at the time. But I also saw that it was the welcome language of a Jungian mystic, a popular Gnostic, and a playful articulator; and, as it was very deep stuff, I began to recognize him as a sort of Jungian Jacques Cousteau of the psyche, diving into the imagery of mythic imaginings, bringing colorful, long lost archetypes to the surface and joyfully rubbing them clean for closer examination. That was his contagious joy of discovery.

He found me on the fringe of the family's reunion activities, perusing the books on his shelf and work table and asked,"Well, what do you think?" I answered that I thought it was a remarkable thing to undertake, "describing the indescribable." His eyes widened and looked straight into mine, "Describing the indescribable," he repeated, "...I suppose so." He smiled (he was always smiling), jumped up and ran off to his duties, to the happy ritual of organizing his family's past and present.

I never got the chance to have the conversation with him that I would have liked to have, about ourselves, and our relation to the whole; about what I took to be his redefinitions of karma and reincarnation; his marvelous rejection of the intricacies of prescribed psychology, and his instead gleeful embrace of so many of the heroic and romantic idylls of mythology and lost civilization that I'd always wished I could define myself by, when I was a child..when I was that "acorn" growing toward what my life might allow me, might ask me to become.

Here was a man (suddenly my uncle), who'd given to the entire world that rich and provocative opportunity for self-definition, who'd opened the trap door to that amazing underworld of fantastic self-configuration, em-bellished and defined by the shared timeless imagery of our psyches. He was a kind of wiry, jocular 80 year-old Heracles, pushing the glasses up on his nose, wrapping up his labors and splashing around like a kid in this gnostic puddle we call Life on Earth. Wrestling with the demiurge was al-ways that much fun for him.

All that had seemed so complex to me at first now winnows itself down to a very direct, playful formula for living... with me dressed in a toga, with a scuba mask, and maybe eagle feathers, and a sword, and a chariot (with Krishna driving, that would complete the picture). Anything to help describe my self.

"It's important to ask yourself, "How am I useful to others? What do peo-ple want from me?" That may very well reveal what you are here for."
James Hillman
Enormous respect arose out of the realization that so many of the "amazing" discoveries I thought I was discovering for the very first time, were merely simple, commonplace blips and bits of the contents of what his life's work contained. Just a couple out-of-the-way corners of his inex-haustible imagination. Ego jumped in, as usual, and told me "you'll never be that," but then that would be missing Uncle Jimmy's point, wouldn't it? You can be. You are now. We all are!

"Sooner or later something seems to call us on to a particular path...this is what I must do, this is what I've got to have. This is who I am."
James Hillman

It was, after all, his life's work, and whenever I saw him, he most definitely was not working, but instead was taking part in a kind of ongoing celebration of all of Life's moments with the same logical attention to detail – the significance of that very moment, the nuances of storytelling, and always the setting-up of a good joke. There was that Zen fun, the updated Laughing Buddha (with a Jewish twist), invoking the joy of the eternal moment.

"Just stop for a minute and you'll realize you're happy just being. I think it's the pursuit that screws up happiness. If we drop the pursuit, it's right here."
James Hillman

Being a strong believer in the seamlessly continuous nature of life and death, and death and life, I'm looking forward in getting to know Uncle Jimmy better, and asking his help with my own awkward spelunking, in hopes I'll surface with some self-defining evidence from those "other worlds" that we've all inhabited, that focus themselves right here and now. Maybe I can joyfully rub the muck off of those bits and blips, and give them a good once over.
I've pulled together a few locations for you to explore James' life and ideas, and sincerely hope you do. The Wikipedia entry is pretty straight-up and does contain a bibliography. Of particular note are the two really wonderful interviews with Pythia Peay on HuffPo, and Scott London on his excellent site. The YouTube piece is great, but nothing I found really communicates just how funny he is...Enjoy! ...and thank you, Uncle Jimmy.



Monday, October 31, 2011

The Real Rapture, Pt.2: The Second Coming for Activists, Evolvers, and True Believers.




For as long as human beings have been discovering the path to wholeness and connection within themselves, someone has wanted to put up signposts, detours and toll booths on it. You can't blame 'em for trying – the expansion of consciousness leading to self discovery and unification with our Source, and with all life on earth is ultimately humanity's most powerful motivation – with the co-opting of such powerful motivations coming in a close second.
Naturally, egoic institutions have always built right on top of that rare real estate, in order to claim ownership of the intention and direction to God, so to speak – and that's as it should be, I suppose. The richness of institutional allegory and myth renders The Divine accessible to the mass of people whose egos insist that only something external can deliver them to Heaven; the problem then becomes the insistence that one must take those symbolic imaginings literally.

In suggesting that a secular, consciousness-based "Rapture" of sorts is taking place at this very moment, vis-á-vis the Mayan calendar, Hopi prophecy, and of course, Christian eschatology, perhaps we can liberate our definitions, and our selves from the constraints of dogma, and consider the means of our present apocalyptic transformation, rather than all the myths that reflect it to us. You know – how we can really make it work.

Using "The Rapture" as metaphor suggests that I'll have to deconstruct Christianity a little, and I will give it a try; but in no way do I intend to belittle the power of the underlying source spirit. This exploration is intended for true believers, because there was definitely a there there, alright. Perhaps the teachings of an Essene Hebrew, I'll call him Yeshua, who might well have been strongly influenced by philosophies from Egypt, Greece, India, and points East that were available to dedicated seekers back then, especially in and around the Alexandria of two thousand years ago

It's very possible that this fellow's teachings and spirit were so powerful, that through their popularity they became a vessel for opportunistic redirection. The institutional dogma that arose around the early Christian model became far more elaborate than the apparent source – the codifying scripture carefully selected and recomposed by politically motivated elites (who could read and write, that is), well removed from the supposed actual incidents they describe, who aggressively plagiarized earlier popular allegorical folk narratives and mythology.

Some of these imaginings got so complex, they became almost crazy in fact – a case in point being the biblical Book of Revelation, a hugely idiosyncratic Christian prophecy whose incredibly rich symbolism is downright occult, and has nothing to do with the simple teachings supposedly responsible for it's genesis. Loaded with so much potential meaning, it's countless interpretations serve as the source of the most radical eschatological prophecy, as well as more missed predictions than the Mayan calendar can ever hope to provide us. Coincidentally, only a very serious guy on a throne in Rome (and legions of other experts) could untangle it's gravely portentous meaning concerning the End of the World and The Second Coming of Christ.

What's all this have to do with our "Rapture?" Sorry for all the back story – here comes the payoff: What if we don't need to wait for post-tribulations, for Armageddon or the seventh trumpet blowing? What if the prophecy was true, andThe Second Coming has already happened, in the general form of the compassionate consciousness that's streaming, unabated, into out present "Earth-plane," and in the specific form of the rediscovery of the amazingly modern teachings at the heart of the mythology?

Just how, and when (wake up true believers!) might this have happened? How has He "come back," without it making the news at six and eleven?

In 1945, in Nag Hammadi, Egypt, a shepherd seeking his flock (of course!) stumbled upon a big, clay jar in a cave that happened to contain a bunch of very old early Christian scripture – all the stuff that up to that point had not survived nineteen hundred years of purges and suppression, and guess what? In amongst it was an early gospel, The Gospel of Thomas, that had no narrative, no miracles or specific prophecies, but does contain teachings in a voice so clear and so modern, as to immediately inform, inspire, and direct our rising global consciousness, now. It's the return of a kind of ["quantum"] understanding that our present world is just beginning to learn and understand, like aspects of The Vedas, or Taoism.

For example (most of these start with the acknowledgment,'Yeshua said'):

"Whoever searches must continue to search until they find. When they find, they'll be disturbed; and being disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over All." Logion 2

When we finally begin to awaken through our expanding consciousness, we see a mess of sorts. What the egoic human is driven to is generally pretty chaotic. But then that awareness– our expanding consciousness, reveals an understandable order in that chaos; a forgivable kind of delusional thinking that can be overcome with identification and Love, and lead us to our spiritual evolution and reconfiguration of human progress.


"Recognize what is in front of you, and what is hidden from you will be revealed. There is nothing hidden that will not be revealed." Logion 5

We often learn (the hard way) that being honest is truly liberating. That getting our desires out of the way presents us with a fresh realism that can be reasonably dealt with. When we apply that awareness to the external world, to conditions and the intentions of others, we can see what the real obstacles to our successful evolution are, the veils are parted, so to speak. Why, we can even realize that the matter in front of us is actually comprised of coalescing energetic waves and particles responsive to consciousness, far too small to ever be seen by the naked eye (...sort of).
So, here's to the "new nakedness! "


"...When you make the two into one, when you make the inner like the outer, and the high like the low; when you make male and female into a single One...when you have eyes in your eyes, a hand in your hand, a foot in your foot, and an icon in your icon, then you will enter into the Kingdom." Logion 22

If we can honestly eliminate the difference between who we're supposed to be, and who we really are; merge that timeless Me that we always experience now with the external, ever-changing Me from yesterday and tomorrow; allow Love, and the intention for spiritual growth and union to determine our behavior, actions, and external appearance – so our insides are our outsides; eliminate the need to differentiate sexually, and blend aspects of femininity and masculinity into our own cooperative understanding; really compassionately see through appearances; actually be of service, rather than just intending to be; "walk the walk;" and come to an understanding of our shared source and intention for good and for Love and for growth – beyond definitions of "God," why then we'll all be living "in Heaven." Simple, right?


"...There is light within people of light, and they shine it upon the whole world. If they don't shine it, how dark it gets!" Logion 24

There's a real energy to positive energy. Love is transformational. Aim your Love like a lighthouse beam. "Be the change you want to see in the world," said Gandhi.


"One cannot capture the house of the strong except by tying their hands. Then everything can be overturned." Logion 35

We don't hurt anyone, right? We'll change things by being humans being, not by being humans doing – by peacefully obstructing the plainly delusional doings of the less compassionately conscious among us. When we shine a light on the destructive "business as usual," then we can begin to gently turn it over.


"When you bring forth that which is within you, then that will save you. If you do not, then that will kill you." Logion 70

How modern can you be? This saying seriously pre-dates every psychological and psychotherapeutic theory and movement of the last two centuries, including Schopenhauer, Nietzsche, Freud, Adler, Jung, Maslow, Skinner, et al, trumping them with it's simplicity. And it obviously applies collectively too, indicating that we're all the same thing here. Why are we doing what we're doing? We need to turn that truth out in order to grow, to survive. It's a spiritual death we need to fear.


"I am the Light that shines on everyone. I am the All. The All came forth from within me, and the All came into me. Split the wood, and I am there. Turn over a stone, and you'll find me." Logion 77

In the self-same spirit at the heart of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam; Einstein and Quantum Theory – we are all one. God is in everything, we are all God. We are "The Son of Man;" the expression of this benevolent shared consciousness whose energy materializes into our being. This you can take to the bank.


"If you have money, do not lend it with interest, but give it to the one who'll never pay you back." Logion 95

Speaking of the bank, how's that for the bottom-line solution to all of our economic troubles? Exclusively no-interest lending forever, and absolute debt amnesty. What do you think our economy would do if we tried this? I mean, banks will be banks, but c'mon now... what exactly is accomplished by hoarding wealth and resources? Wealth has to flow from where it's needlessly accumulated to where it's needed. (Of course, you'll still owe me that twenty lent you...unless I don't need it!)

And finally:

"[They asked]...when will the Kingdom come?" Yeshua answered:
"It will not come by waiting for it...The Kingdom is already spread out over the whole earth, and people don't see it." Logion 113

Heaven is in our very midsts, and in our hearts. Our transformation can find definition in these, and other timeless teachings.

These translations come from the ancient Coptic interpretations of Jean-Yves LeLoup; and the Lambdin, Grenfell/Hunt, Layton version from The Sacred Text Archive (http://www.sacred-texts.com/chr/thomas.htm); with a little of my own sh#t thrown in for good measure.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Architecture of Word World, Pt. 2: Things in 3-D

Just for fun – a continuation of the "architecture" necessary to design for 3-D animation; in this case for PBS Kids "Word World," where not only do you have to use an architect's sensibilities to design buildings and locations, but also to design things...some that need to be built out of their own words (Word World is "Where Words Come Alive"), some that gratefully don't. Here the design takes on the quality of product design, or toy design (which it occasionally ends up being...)


Like these first two– it wouldn't really make sense to build something that read: "Automatic Cake Frosting Gun on Wheels," or "Valentine Making Machine;" nor would it ever be possible in the space allowed. Still, you have to start with an idea of the thing in all it's 3 dimensions:

This rough idea might demonstrate just what the thing can do...

Then from b/w plan, to color...
Things that need to be constructed out of the letters of their own word can be a little trickier. 'The Educators' have to make certain that legibility isn't going to be an issue (especially for the littlest viewers)... Here's the gray model, for revisions, before painting...


....................................and don't forget space for the action figures!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Powershifts, Protests, Compassionate Consciousness, and Spiritual Evolution: The Real Rapture, Pt.1


We're a lot like moss on a rock, our humanity here on Earth – a simple, opportunistic colony of life, clinging to something alive that gives us Life. In the same way that any collective life form ex-periences stress when conditions for it's survival begin to change, our world is changing, and we're experiencing the stress. For all of us looking for solutions, wondering what to do, the answers are in front of us already in the simple intuitive need to adapt consciously – in that rapidly rising awareness that's showing us the way. The simple truth of things.
Our corporate culture has wrongly modeled itself on mis-construed Darwinism. It's not about "Survival of the Fittest," it's about survival of what adapts in the most cooperative way. The triumph of which ideas benefit the most people all the time, without putting the whole at risk. So we require only the simplest reliable human mechanisms to carry us through tough times, mechanisms like Love, Compassion, and Cooperation. Like the shared vision of what's really possible here on Earth that so many of us all around the world can plainly see.

It's an altogether different definition of success. A different definition of "fitness." A success based on the shared success of the human species. A fitness comprised of spiritual consciousness – the very kind that we can feel coalescing around and within us, right now.

The qualities and dogma associated with "Power" and "Science" are dangerously anachronistic in the face of what's humanly pos-sible, and what's humanly impossible. We simply can't successfully allow our present systems of commerce, governance, and resource management to continue on their present course, or continue to deny the physical changes affecting our planet, and expect anything but catastrophe. Our reality is clearly changing.

For example: Aspects of Capitalism work very well to achieve certain goals, but the bottom line is that it's a mechanism that now serves money (and those most interested in it), not humanity. Old Science is in denial of New Science, and strongly resembles a Flat Earth Society, of sorts. Our political system is too compromised by corrupt capitalists to be effective for the vast majority of people.

All of us, red and blue, know these truths. It's an awareness born of our human spiritual evolution, of our progression. So our institu-tions of Power are losing their power. They all resemble pyramid schemes, slash and burn, where the earliest in and out thumb their noses at all the rest. Today there are ethical, spiritually conscious barbarians at their gates, and of course, they are us.
Something has happened – is happening. Human Beings are percolating together, re-configuring our world on the basis of what's real and necessary for life. Conscious humans are inspired by an awareness of what managing Earth's abundance actually entails; and understanding what science is actually telling them – all with a profound [and beautiful] kind of non-violent presence, that suddenly seems most practical. It's the inheritance of Gandhi's ahimsa. It is a rebirth of the human spirit, the awakenings of Heaven on Earth.

In an irreversible way, a kind of "Rapture" is actually taking place now amongst those awakened to this consciousness in the world. Many people are having hard times, falling through the same cracks in The Wall Street of 'Rome' that allow spiritual evolution to enter; the fractures in the falseness of materialistic consumerism, and science in denial. As patriotic humans, this consciousness inspires a profound dis-identification with the corrupt media, political, scientific, and legal structures that clearly only serve a small, pathologically ego-driven minority.

Lifting us up is a new evolutionary cooperation – a reality based on the spiritual unification of humankind, facilitated by instantaneous global communication. A tsunami of racial and sexual tolerance, and of unity and community. An understanding of our new scientific realities, including the urgent need for clean technology, and free, clean power; the impetus for universal human rights; reuse and recycling, and invigorated environmentalism; local food production; greater animal awareness; social support systems of all kinds – and the public momentum to institute these ethical concepts by means of a truer form of democracy. It is arising everywhere.

And it's all based on a simple spiritual mechanism we haven't seen enough of for a while, humility. The kind that engenders real sanity and res-ponsibility. The Christ Spirit that has returned isn't the iconic bearded redhead with all the answers – it's this spirit of ethics, cooperation, compassion, and humility that is the answer. It's the profoundly practical spirit of Love – for ourselves, each other, and our blessed Mother Earth.

The real extremists, ironically called conservative, and the self-entitled religious, financial, and militaristic radicals, are dividing themselves off from the whole. Those who suffer the delusion of superiority and entitlement, who think they can will the world (even the weather) to be what they want, are being "Left Behind" in a spiritual morass – drunk on piety, greed, and destructive self-will. They don't have to stay back while the blessed ascend to Heaven, they are living in a fearful hell already. That's why they're grasping, arming-up; why they're consolidating. They actually constitute a very small part of the world's total population. They, too can be "saved," through what I like to call Compassionate Consciousness.

All the scary storms and politics and economics we're witnessing are actually bringing us together, cementing the understanding of our changing world, connecting us to each other in the most important ways. They're terrible times, yes, but they break through the stupor of fearful apartness that so many people experience in their lives. They bring us to our true purpose, which is to love and help one another; and to appropriately manage the changing resources of the Earth, which are still and always boundless. In this way, Life is getting better, as it's getting worse!

In each of our lives, we've all experienced a little Heaven at one time or another. That's because Heaven is here. Heaven is here already, has always been here, and has always been meant to be here, right now.

The personal role we can all play is to reject willful ego, and recognize it in one another as the single most destructive disease of humanity – a spiritual disease that threatens to kill Mother Earth as we know her (…and would you, red or blue, allow someone to kill your mother?).

The balance is returning – as it will and must, and if you intuitively want to be part of it, what really matters is showing up for the change (like supporting the protesters), and embracing it! Personally become part of the solution. What's important is what each and every one of us keeps in their heart, as long as it's the intention and power of Compassionate Consciousness.

"For so [humanity] moves towards the infinity of the Truth by the ex-perience of its variety; so [conscious-ness] helps to build, change, destroy what [has been] built, and prepares a new construction, in a word, to pro-gress, grow, enlarge in self-know-ledge and world-knowledge, and their works."

Sri Aurobindo, The Human Cycle