Tuesday, June 30, 2009

You wouldn't have seen this a hundred years ago...or would you?

What's Going On Here? 3 Quotes by Einstein

"There are two ways to live your life- one is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle."

This remarkable quote by Albert Einstein addresses what is usually considered to be the most important question of life: Is the universe and life as we know it a big random accident, or is there an underlying and energizing intelligence behind the formation of everything we see and know? Could both be true? The probable confluence of coincidental factors necessary for the spontaneous creation and continued existence of life on earth is infinitesimally small. So what's really going on here?

The world has certainly been shaken lately, what with all this consciousness pouring into it – more now each day than in thousands of previous years. The picture we have of "reality" (back when we were taught that everything was smaller balls orbiting bigger balls) is completely different than it was not all that long ago, so it's a bit difficult to have faith in conjecture, even if you do call it "science," seeing as it generally turns out to be wrong. We can only base our understanding on what seems to work or not work. Newtonian physics work up to a level that lowers a bit every day. Einstein's relativity advanced the ball down the field, out the door, and right into a different stadium that had an additional dimension. Planck, Bohr, Heisenberg and Schrödinger made that a stadium in dynamic constant motion, waves in the field.

 Now it seems, consciousness is being recognized as the creative, unifying factor in all our forms, bringing science into accord with what the mystic wisdom of the ages, from Hindu Vedas to The Tao to Buddha's awakening to Gnostic scripture, has been telling us all along.

In a few great books, like Fritjof Capra's The Tao of Physics, Lynne McTaggart's The Field, Greg Braden's The Divine Matrix, and Ernst Laszlo's Science and the Akashic Field, we get a heads-up as to what our latest science tells us about just how "non-ordinary" reality really is. Here's some of it, very simply put:

In one experiment, photons are placed in a vacuum. DNA is introduced. The photons arrange themselves around the organic material. When the DNA is removed, the particles remain in the same configuration. Matter is being arranged by organic in-form-ation.

In another experiment, genetic material is divided equally and separated by a great distance. One sample is subjected to specific stimuli. Both samples respond the exact same way simultaneously.

It means that there exists a medium or means of communication through which information is transmitted instantaneously at any distance. Psychic contact and remote viewing are constantly documented to take place with an accuracy that exceeds margins of terror. "Transpersonal consciousness" is documented to occur regularly. Group meditation has a measurable influence on physical events on a large scale. Have you ever thought of someone (had them "enter your heart"), and very shortly received a call or email from them, or "bumped into them" in some highly unlikely place? It happens more often when you know it will.

Medical and pharmacological science has a problem here too. Many chemical treatments approved of by the FDA are effective with significantly less consistency than placebos. It's not the substance that's effecting the condition, it's what we are thinking and feeling. Non-local "remote" healing energy transmission, like reiki, can create measurable positive physical results.
This is not your grandmother's reality, unless she was an 'indigenous' person, or a mystic.

So, what to do about our clinging to Newton like those who clung to edge of the flat earth? Einstein again:

"We can't solve problems using the same consciousness that created them."

If the thoughts and feelings, the consciousness and intentions that conceive and manifest a situation that goes awry are continually exercised, the situation will worsen. We all see it happening. A new consciousness that allows for this intuitive understanding of our world needs to be applied to create a reality based in the "miraculous," where everyone eats, energy is free and non-polluting, and people heal each other, themselves, and the planet's natural systems.

 Unfortunately, we can't always communicate this to others (except through love and compassion) because though we all share the same consciousness in our thoughts, feelings, and experiences, we all have our own path, our karma of life action, that leads us to these realizations. These processes can't be controlled willfully, they must be accepted willingly. You don't breathe your breath, it breathes you. You don't make your heart beat go, your heart beat makes you go. Joseph Campbell said: "You don't live life, life lives you." It can all change very quickly at the instant we realize we, and all the life on earth, are that one life being lived.

And finally Einstein again:

"A human being is a part of a whole...limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest...a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison...Our task must be to free ourselves...by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in it's beauty."

Read about concepts like these and much more in: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor  from Llewellyn Worldwide available direct on this page, or online. The first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available the same ways – but ask for it at your local bookstore!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Here's three takes on a cartoon brownstone façade...intimate, mid-range, and super HQ...

Tales of the Koko Lion, Part 10: Ch'i Whiz

 "We shape clay into a pot, but it is the emptiness inside that holds whatever we want."

                                                                     The Tao Te Ching, 11

      One day Tommy said he'd started taking "Khan Foo" lessons from some fellow out of his garage.  This was well before the kung fu craze started, though I'd seen Bruce Lee in his role as the high-kicking Kato in the ABC TV series, The Green Hornet, and I'd always loved samurais, sword fights, Knights of the Round Table, and the like, so I asked if I could tag along.  It began a  long relationship with the only true discipline that life had given me up to that point, aside from my paper route.  I started taking the lessons too, once a week, then twice, then as often as I could, learning first of all that it was Gung Fu, with a G.          

    My teacher had systematically cobbled together his own style based in the Wing Chun school of Gung Fu, named after the woman who invented it.  To that he'd added elements of Japanese Kenpo, and some of the ancient anthropomorphized animal styles that originated in China around 1000 CE,  popularly associated with the famous Shaolin Temple. 

    I ate this stuff up.  I truly loved it.  I was good at it, so it made me feel like somebody.  And I loved my Sifu, Barry, who was not at all Chinese (on the outside), but rather a first generation Scots-American, who at times gave lessons wearing his kilt.

    Barry seemed older than he was, in large part due to his all-encompassing intellect.  He was constantly searching out knowledge of all kinds, from literature to technology to the historical accomplishments of ancient cultures.  The politics of war.  The poetry of the romantics.   He quoted Byrnes and Emerson as well as Lao Tzu, Confucius, and the great samurai, Musashi Miyamoto, because for at least that part of his life, he was a martial artist of the highest order.  It was a mystery how he got that way, where he had learned what he knew,  but it didn't really matter.  I required no provenance, nor did anyone else who ever shared a sparring session with him.  His mastery was just a mysterious fact.  He was so good, and knew so many different styles, that it wasn't until years later that I realized he must have been channeling from myriad former incarnations lived in the martial pursuits.

    You would never know it to look at him.  His appearance wasn't classically impressive, though his straight and balanced carriage did suggest an evolved underlying discipline.  He seemed a bit paunchy and built close-to-the-ground, and had a round face, prominent teeth, a mustache, straight brown hair, and glasses.  But when he donned his gi, and tied a band across his forehead, his eyes narrowed and he assumed a remarkably asian appearance, for a Scotsman that is.

    Somehow he also knew about all things asian too - things it would seem only asians would know.  He used to take me to the San Diego Chinese Buddhist Temple to watch Hong Kong kung fu movies, so heavily subtitled with four or five dialects at the bottom of the screen that you could barely see the film itself.  The little auditorium was smoky, and full of Chinese men crammed together on metal folding chairs, cheering the crazy chop-socky action.  We were the only lo fan - white Americans there, years before any Chinese kung fu movie had cracked the American market.

   When Barry sparred, it was real magic.  He could only spar groups of opponents, no single person could avoid being completely defeated within seconds.  No group in fact, no matter how big, fared much better.  He would become a sort of human hydraulic tornado.  He dropped down close to the ground, eliminating any possible target, and began spinning smoothly and powerfully, like a scythe on a vertical axis, high and low, mowing through his attackers with an icy, expressionless calm, tossing bodies aside like spent tissues.  Then suddenly, he would just stop, as a dramatic punctuation, holding an opponent impossibly off balance, his claw-like curved fingers buried just beneath his victim's eye sockets;  the victim wild-eyed and paralyzed.  Then he would casually drop that opponent, as if to emphasize how hopeless it was to have even tried to fight him, and begin mowing through the group again, taking the legs out from under one, stopping his diamond-hard fist just bending another's nose.

    He possessed a power that gave me my first bit of understanding of the invisible energies that surround and enfold our material reality.  With the slightest shuffle, he could side-kick a heavy punching bag off it's hook and send it flying twenty feet.  From a half-inch away, he could generate enough power with a tiny push, to propel a large man three meters off his feet.  Once, as he stood in ma bo- the solid stance of a man on horseback, another student and I tried to push him off balance manning either side of a heavy-handled shovel, the handle crossing him at the navel.  We rhythmically pushed and bounced against his midsection until the handle just cracked and splintered.  He was absolutely immovable.  His expression was that of inscrutable focus.   

    This was my introduction to the power of ch'i, the flowing energetic force of the universe (what is called prana in Sanskrit), which courses through all things, and can be channeled through the body; focused and manifested as force, solidity, and resiliency.  One aspect of the divine unseen.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Happy Cool Father's Day

This spot from the NY Times Circuit Section days...in honor of the cool dads out there.

Tales of the Koko Lion Part 9: Fellini, Into the Light

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

San Diego in the late Fifties and early Sixties could've been defined in a number of ways. As a border town. As a Navy town. As beta suburbia. Growing up I was saved, in part, from the delusional mindscape of nascent American TV by the more realistic attitudes and practices of our next-door neighbor to the south, Mexico. Like the wonderfully defiant listening alternative provided to the U.S. southwest by "Border Radio," there were also TV stations just over the frontera that transmitted a whole different kind of programming (than what the 3 networks had to offer) right into our uptight family rooms, with enough power to curl the FCC's hair.

There was a real variety of shows offered, many of which, thank God, side-stepped the standards of decent American programming. Wrestlers, sombrero westerns, bullfights, silly sexy skit shows. For me, as a twelve-year-old, the most anticipated of these programs was, naturally, the most potentially corrupting.
Late at night while the decent folk slept, XETV, Canal Seis en Tijuana, aired racey foreign movies. Uncensored european, and especially Italian movies. Some of which were especially Italian. Those were the ones I liked best. At six, I'd been caught in a closet with an early Playboy magazine and a flashlight, presumably looking for something that I was not going to find in those dirty, wholesome pages.

On weekends, I was baby-sat by the sword-and-sandal triple-features at the local movie palace, or on Saturday mornings at home right after the beauty of the Warner Brothers Cartoon block, I could tune into such amazing prepubescent psyche-shaping Technicolor extravaganzas as "Hercules Versus the Leopard Women," and watch the dubbed-into-english english-speaking Steve Reeves impose his well-oiled torso on a mysterious ancient sect of zippered-bodice amazons ( God bless you, Joseph E. Levine). Steve made heroic pronouncements out-of-sync while holding plaster columns over head, or while tossing aside paper maché boulders like paper maché. The Leopard Women were ultra-alluring in their panty hose of antiquity, their vibrant lips glistening; their majestic mascara-ed eyes flapping like teal-winged peacocks.
 But this was nothing compared to the surreptitious promise of the middle-of-the-night movies, where the themes were decidedly more surrealistically adult. Like the thrill of seeing the original brassiere machine gun deployed by the ravishing Ursula Andress in the pre-feminist Sci-Fi classic, "The Tenth Victim." Or the barely night-gowned Barbara Steele wandering the darkened castle grounds, stirring up mayhem and pre-adolescent libidos in "Black Friday."

You never know the package a life-lesson will come in.  Very late one night, when everyone was asleep, my paper-route alarm clock went off on low at five minutes to two. I crept upstairs and positioned myself no more than fourteen inches from the Zenith color TV, quietly popping on the tube to the promise of secret and forbidden content suggested by the night's listing of an especially Italian, decidedly adult film, La Dolce Vita. Somewhere, I'd seen the poster image of an abundant Anita Ekberg dancing in a fountain. The screen lit up with the double masks of Janus. Then something completely unexpected happened.

Yes, there were titillations. There were situations that excited me that I didn't really understand. But there was something else that I'd never felt before – an agitation and satisfaction of the most profound nature. I sat, glued by the magnetic blue glow of the screen, and spent that whole evening immersed in a separate reality, accompanying Marcello along the meridians of Rome, and deep into the passages of this attractive, anti-heroic, strangely familiar man's life. His tentative and mysterious relationship to women. The absurd humanity at the media event of the children witnessing The Virgin. The sophisticated cocktail party at his urbane mentor's moderne flat (I wanted to be at that elevated cocktail party for years after that). The heartbreak of a "wild" night on the town with his fading father. The collapse of his spirit in the shadow of a tawdry sexcapade.

 It was storytelling of a prophetic nature for me, for while I'd never grasped the metaphoric significance of St. George and the Dragon, or the Labors of Hercules – my boyhood tales – here at last was an attractively disaffected mythology that I could base my approaching adulthood on. A night in existential armor. It felt like the story of what I was going to become, and I would go on to live my own version of that story. In a way, a small part of me is still living it.

Three-and-a-half hours later, the sun rose over San Diego, as it arose on Marcello's Roma in the film. I turned the TV off, and crept back downstairs, but Fellini's carnival collision of human motivations that I'd witnessed grew me up in a way that no superficial guidance from parents or teachers ever could.

My mother didn't understand why suddenly at age twelve, I kept pestering her to drive me to the art house theaters out by the beach every time they showed a Fellini film.
"Why would you want me to take you all the way out there to see one of those weird Italian movies?"

Mama mia!  Because in my life, in La Dolce Vita, I had discovered art, and art is living the life within you.

"What we call fate does not come to us from outside: it goes forth from within us."
Rainer Maria Rilke

Read about this and much more in: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor  from Llewellyn Worldwide available direct or online. The first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available the same ways – but ask for it it at your local bookstore!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Character Page!

Thanks to more terrific work by Michael Perkins at Setstatic, my website finally features a character design page in my animation dept. Check it out to see more of the character work I've been posting lately. From robots to dwarves to many-lettered "word pals" to Jonas-like teen dreams....I hope there's something for everyone.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Characters: Rescue Bear!

Rescue Bear is about a bunch of wanna-be cartoon stars, awaiting their big break while taking classes at "The Comic Animal Cartoon Academy" (CACA). Unfortunately, the most promising young talent falls prey to the professional and alimentary appetites of fellow student, Baron Von Sharkula. Here's some of the slightly-flawed student hopefuls...click to enlarge.

Friday, June 5, 2009

A Comic for MoCCA

I hesitate to post these old "SH&W" comics. Even though I did so many of them, you know, we become different people than who we once were. I'm now a tree-huggin' vegetarian. I enjoy SH&W now as an exploration of anima and animus, the duality of the conscious and unconscious, the juxtaposition of the feminine awareness (Winky) to the masculine self-centeredness (Sh#thead), but at the time I was just complaining, really. I came across this one housecleaning, it's from exactly 10 years ago and was meant to be in the next SH&W comic tentatively titled "The Big Change" (boy was it ever), but it was never published. Now it has some interest because of it's unfortunate prescience...so here it is, dedicated to this weekend's Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art Festival. See you there!

Making Choices Now : Seeking Love In-Form-ation

"The fact that the mass of a particle is equivalent to a certain amount of energy means that the particle...has to be conceived as a dynamic pattern, a process involving the energy which manifests itself as the particle's mass."
Fritjof Capra

'Muhammed says, "God does not look at outward forms,
but at the love within your love."'

Here's a theory about seeing love in everything: We can semi-consciously manifest the real things in our life into being through intention, and the focus of our thoughts and actions. I say semi-consciously because often our egos don't allow us to see the process as part of the larger system of consciousness we fit into, that's constantly creating everything we perceive. That's that damn illusion of separateness again. Our ego insists that we're the sole engineer of our creations, regardless of the uncontrollable circumstances of life's synchronicitous events. Regardless of luck, and karma. Lots of things just happen to us, but if they're good things, we usually want to take credit.

Of course we are responsible for some of it, but often the degree to which our ego takes credit for these otherwise spontaneous acts of creation is the same degree to which we, and the actions we take and things we create, become separated from their positive potential – their actual underlying Source energy – which is Love.

In the way we can "see with our heart," that is, to perceive vibrational energies that constitute people and things (when something doesn't feel right, or resonate), we can simply and directly observe to what degree the energy of ego and fear – the imposition of human will – has influenced those forms. Here, Mother Nature is the constant benchmark.

I'd like to propose that everything comes from Love like the beautiful wildflower growing through the crack in the blacktop. Those forms that are natural, spontaneous, efficient, and beneficial can be easily discerned from what is forced, unnecessary, wasteful, and destructive. Let's look at the simple examples of architecture, food, and then (God forbid), each other:

The forms of our buildings have always been a direct indication of intent, of the amount of Love expressed in their making. We need shelter. We need purposeful structures, and it's part of our spontaneous creative nature to create them. It's evident in the forms and materials that are used just how much Love has played a part in their construction, in terms of quality and aesthetics, and so to what degree they are beneficial to the world, and to our future.

Some buildings are plain cheap and dangerous. Some display intimidation and institutionality – "Man's Will." Others offer qualities for people to live with and share in. Brick and wood structures, made by hand, crafted from nature's resilient renewables. Buildings with terraces, alcoves, rooms of appropriate sizes for different uses, well-lit and heated or cooled, and done so in an efficient, sustainable way. These could be the rooms in the mansion of the human heart – host to the spiritual energies and exchanges our future depends on.

Buildings made of metal amalgams, glass, and plastic products, whose forms are manifested out of expedient commerciality; or those that offer little or no logical use or comfort and are intended only to stand out as their own statement, or as the statement of their designers, these structures are regressive products of harmful and unnecessary ego and separation – not of Love's evolutionary intention. It's practically impossible for people to function up to their spiritual potential surrounded by so much toxic ego. Better to make your important decisions in the park across the street.

Food is a no-brainer. Everyone knows that Love is the major ingredient in all the tastiest, healthiest food. The forms are pretty obvious. Stick close to nature. This doesn't mean that all prepared or packaged foods are loveless – there's an evolutionary, intuitive trend towards simple natural content. If a prepared food has a shelf-life beyond that of it's natural components, there's little Love in it's making. It's only intended to nourish the bank account of its producer. Don't eat anything that appears to be the result of killing anything – this includes all commercially farmed meat and marine products.

Remember, there's always Love in simple, carefully prepared food. Everything has energy. Food supplies that energy to you. Why not cut out that whole nasty, wasteful process of the corporate dietary hegemony, and just eat food right from the trees, seas, and ground? Cut out the corrupt middlemen. Close that market. It's more enjoyable, and naturally much healthier to be able to eat without the repressed guilt that comes from taking part in a barbaric and destructive system (whether you notice it or not). There's clearly no Love in one approach, and there clearly is a lot in the other.

Lastly, but not leastly, let's look at people. With what the Hindu call sakshi, the non-judgemental witnessing of life, we can see how much Love has gone into the formation of a person from their bearing, expressions, and attitudes. The obstructions to Love that exist in their psyches are reflected in their exterior physical and psychological expressions; as well as in the sometimes destructive, disconnected goals and results of their actions. Some people start out with lots of Love and have no problem showing it in everything they do; others have to find it later, or suffer (and inflict) the consequences. It's no coincidence that the quantity of Love expressed mirrors the level of consciousness attained. That's the spiritual evolution for which Love is the Source.

For those whose separation, self-centeredness, and personal struggle evolves from not having had enough Love in their formation – vain, demanding, withdrawn, or other clearly fearful, damaged people, it is our job to see that they receive enough to help overcome it. Our pets also do this work constantly, providing Love to open our hearts and bring us into balance with The Divine, so why shouldn't we work to assume a similar, transformational grace-in-being to try to aid our fellows return to Source?

Why is all of this so important? Because this world of ours presents us with a very complex set of problems, that won't be easily deconstructed and repaired, so where and how to start is our imperative. At those moments that you are asking The Universe for direction, like right now, The Universe is constantly showing you the path to follow. Follow the outward forms, the evidence, created by Love in all your choices: Where you live and go, in what you eat and wear, in the art and entertainment you take in, and in who you are with and how you behave. And don't worry about anything else. Simplify your life around this most comforting ethos. Follow what makes you feel best – in your heart. Everything else will come from following that lead. Where there is a lack of Love in the forms around you, supply it yourself, or if possible, get help supplying it.

It begins with each of us being where we are, doing what we are doing, and being with who we're with. Ask yourself this: Is this from Love, or is it from Not-Love?...And remember – there's always the gift of being in love...and there's always the power of Love in Being.

Read about concepts like these and much more in: How to Get to Heaven (Without Really Dying), Wisdom From a Near-Death Survivor  from Llewellyn Worldwide available direct on this page, or online. The first book: How to Survive Life (and Death), A Guide To Happiness In This World and Beyond is available the same ways – but ask for it at your local bookstore!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Characters: Retro-lectrified!

Here's the last of these 60's-style characters. It's Gramma, and of course, Gramma electrifried. The spot was a little sarcastic, so all these characters have a bit of attitude. You may have noticed, they also all appear to be pinching something, or someone...and they were- all were composited pinching the little boy's cheek. I think Gramma pinched a livewire here.... Fortunately, this shocking effect only caused cartoon damage.