Sunday, January 31, 2010


We are in Florida for the Renaissance Festival. I left a pretty secure business to go on the road and basically join the circus. I find that you have as much money as you need if you walk by faith. Times in my life that i have been making a lot of money, things come up to spend it on. Times that i have been without work and living in a state that some would call abject poverty, you don't find things to spend your money on. Talking to Bill Darr, he call called it living in "poverty comfort." He hasn't had a mortgage or utility bill for twenty years. He is far more free than those who carry houses on their backs and mortgages through their lives. The things we possess wind up possessing us.

I feel free. I am actually able to do things now. We went to the Everglades the other day and i realized that i did not have to be anywhere. In the time since i left my school about four months ago, i have seen more of this country and spent more time with quality people than i had in six years of trying to run a business and be involved in the rat race.

In the past i always shied away from love and relationships too believing that they would fetter me. What i should have been cutting looses were my things and corporate ideas. I have found in Bethany, more freedom than i ever knew when i was on my own. I do not feel that i am in a penal colony, but that i am part of a team. That part of the universe that is kin, that is self, just got bigger. She enhances me and adds to me. There is someone on my side and that is an awesome feeling.

I am going to continue to simplify, like Thoreau, cut out the things that i don't need and get down to the bare bones of what is left. It is amazing how much crap we accumulate. As Tyler Durdan said, "we work jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don't need." So true. I am much happier living in my tent with no running water than i ever was when i was working 80 hours a week trying to chase after the elusive American dream.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Winter Stillness

I am a fan of the winter. When we had the huge storm and the world shut down for a little while i took a walk with my family. So peaceful and still and the earth smells so clean. There is an alive-ness in the cold. I never feel more awake than when i am walking in a frozen wonderland that has shut down the trappings of the human-centered-world. Everything was quiet until there was a honk from an angle of geese that made their way south across the sky. A red-tailed hawk performed a beautiful wing over as she disappeared behind the large row of hardwood trees that lined DeWolf's field down the road from my house.

I used to walk from college avenue campus over to Livingston college for classes in the dead of winter when i went to Rutgers University. My path took me across the Raritan River on the Route 18 bridge and through Johnson Park. No human-people were around. The chickadee and the Canadian goose, they were the people there as i walked. That same stillness brought in touch with a primal part of my being. The earth was dying for the winter and all was still. The blanket of snow and the ice on the river were beautiful and clean in a way that was different from the spring on a deep level. It is a beauty of rest. That walk was miles through the cold, the ghost of my breath my only human companion on my journey, and i will never forget those walks.

I think it was 1996 when we had a record blizzard here in New Jersey. Businesses and society were basically closed down for about a week. In the middle of that week i journeyed out and took the five mile walk to my friend's house. The roads were drifted over and the government warned against venturing out, so i had the vast winter wonderland all to myself. The snow drifts on the road and the silence were my kin. I was alone with the earth. Again i felt that aliveness. There is something fresh and new about a blanket of snow and the quiet of a lack of human bustle.

All of those events share a quality that is palpable but hard to put into words. It is something like a forest after a rain, or the morning in the salt air at a beach. It is a rejuvenation, a great cleansing. I spent a winter in Florida once, and i truly missed deep winter. I will take the northlands. Give me a fire place and some wood to chop and snow on the ground and you can keep your pina coladas and mosquitos.

Dreaming Update

I have had some success with the lucid dreaming. While i was in Texas and sleeping next to Bethany i found a great ease and clarity in my dreams if i slept with my head touching hers. I have found that often in my life when i have been in a relationship, touching heads together with a woman has solicited vivid and powerful dream control. I read about that in Carlos Castaneda actually. Carlos and La Gorda were sitting on a bench in the book, "the Eagle's Gift" and placed their heads into contact and they were both able to see in the Castaneda sense.

Since i have been home it has not been as vivid but last night i had a lucid dream. I was walking down my home street to go and confront an old friend that i have had much conflict with in the past couple of years and i was walking naked. I was excited to get to his driveway because i would be able to put my underwear on. When i arrived at the driveway, after donning my underpants i wrote a long letter to him on the back white wall of his house. I looked at it and noticed that i could not read it. Between the jumbled words and the fact that i realized it was silly to carry my underwear down the street and not wear them, i realized i was dreaming. I was going to change the scene around but then remembered reading that you can use lucid dreams as rehearsals for difficult conversations you will have in life. I proceeded to have a very productive conversation about what had happened with us and it was a very helpful dream.

I realized in this dream that lucidity can come in different levels. I have had dreams where i was in total control. In this dream i was aware of being asleep, but still subject to the dream world. I also kept slipping in and out of various levels of lucidity.

I do feel that i am gaining more potential to dream lucidly. I am starting to train myself to question whether i am dreaming more and when i do i look for my hands right away. That is increasing the frequency with which i question my consciousness in dreams.

Keep me posted on your dream progress as well.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Path of Action

Ah. The mantra of Action. My good friend John Williams and i have been on this path for some time. We have talked about a show, the Men of Action. The purpose would be to help people become agents of action in their own lives, especially kids. We have talked about making something like a church. People need a place where they can gather and buoy each other. Lend support in times of need or in times that are average as well. This is a small beginning.

Action has been dawning in me as a reality as of late. I was in South Padre, Texas for the New Year and yesterday walking out onto the dangerous part of a jetty, Bethany and myself found a sea turtle trapped in the large behemoth rocks that make up the surf break. He was trapped. The tide was also coming in and i had fallen already on the slick green slime that coated the promenade. I did not know how i was going to climb down to where he was, but i knew that i must. The path of action must be followed. In that case there was nothing else to do, and we set a sea turtle free.

That is part of it i think, being a man of action, one must do what it is one's responsibility to do even if it is difficult. I will chooses the path of action, that is in my nature and i can not resist its call.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

These Dreams

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Current mood: awake
Category: Religion and Philosophy

These Dreams....

“Descartes, if this is a dream, it is a wonderful dream.” ~me....

I have been trying as of late to dream together with someone very important to me who lives a thousand miles away. I have read a lot of Carlos Castaneda and the concept is hammered out in the pages of his books quite frequently. There are two types of sorcerers in the philosophy of his mentor don Juan. There are stalkers, who handle everyday waking reality and dreamers, who handle the reality of dreaming. Carlos Castaneda and others were able to dream together, share the same dream and interact therein. This is my first real attempt with someone who does not just think I am a quack and is actually willing to give it a try.

I have managed to pull off lucid dreaming before. That is where you are in the middle of a dream and realize that you are sleeping and essentially wake up in the dream. This is super cool! Basically you can do whatever you want. I was always a fan of flying around. The dream reality is fluid so you can control most anything with enough practice. Usually when I get into it I get good at it for about a week and then can no longer do it.

Essential for achieving this is first, remembering your dreams. I find dream journaling really helps this. I tell myself when I am going to bed that I am going to remember my dreams and I keep my journal right by my pillow. First thing in the morning I write down whatever I remember before I get out of bed. This really helps with recall. Sometimes it helps too much. In no time at all I find myself remembering 10-15 pages of dreams per night. Very time consuming and as I am in the middle of writing down one, another earlier dream will come to me. Really works wonders, but it turns into a big time commitment.

Certain techniques I have had for achieving lucidity were to start questioning during my waking hours whether or not I was asleep. Ask the question often, “is this a dream?” Then you have to check. Some things I would do would be to look at something for a little while, then look away and look back. If it is the same, you are probably not dreaming. I would also read things, look away and then look back. Words and text seem to be really fluid in dreams. If the words change however, you are probably dreaming. If you do not often question your state of consciousness, you are not going to be likely to ask in a dream and then will never achieve dream control in the words of Queensryche. (Any 80’s fans?) One of the things Carlos Castaneda was taught to do was realize that he was dreaming and then look for his hands in the dream. I sometimes will do that as well, condition myself to look at and examine my hands in waking life. I think you could use anything, your feet, elbows, etc. The idea is to give you something to do and stay focused on.

I don’t know if anyone out there is into this or has tried it but if you have any other tips let me know. Myself and my partner in dreaming have come up with a few things to try to get into the same dream, we have not succeeded yet but i still feel like they are good ideas. We will talk before sleep and decide on a place we will try and visualize and meet. We have been trying places that we are both familiar with. For example her place where she was living where we spent a lot of time is one we have been trying out. I had another friend who was an avid dreamer and apparently lucid dreams frequently who said that when she wears a necklace that comes down to her solar plexus she has more success. I have started wearing the amulet that my dream mate carved for me. It goes to the solar plexus and also has lots of her energy in it. She mixed her labor with it and put a lot of feeling into the making. I really try to visualize her before I go to sleep as well.

As a philosophy major in college and in life in general, I have put a lot of thought into dreams. Rene Descartes reckoned that sometimes he is dreaming and doesn’t know it, so maybe he could be dreaming right now. Holy cow said Descartes, maybe this world is just a dream and doesn’t exist outside of my mind! This little bit of mind gamery has caused lots of problems for western philosophy and society in general. It has created the great mind-body dualism that has plagued us in a lot of ways. That whole cogito ergo sum, I think therefore I am leads to a lot of degradation of the body and feelings that the body is bad and not really what we are. Western society has tended to look at thought and consciousness like this, we are a mind isolated in our skull that sits aloof and watches the world from inside its cage. Very separate and divisive thinking this is. Of course, Descartes could have gone the other way, like hunter-gatherers or Carlos Castaneda’s mentor and said, “Sometimes I can’t tell I am dreaming, so maybe my dreams are just as real as my waking life.” Imagine being a cat. They sleep about 2/3 of their lives. Their dreaming life is more real to them than their waking time. You are a recurring dream in the life of your cat. I believe that our dreams have reality.

Dreams are powerful business. I like to listen to them and pay attention to what they are saying. There are often messages there. They are not necessarily mystical or spooky, but they do come from deep inside you. I once had a student from when I was teaching high school who became my auto mechanic years later. It bothered me that I could not remember his name. One night I had a dream where he walked out of the darkness told me his name, “my name is John Doe.” And then he walked back into the darkness. That was the whole thing. The name was correct and I never forgot again. That came from somewhere deep inside me, but it was still pretty powerful.

Everybody have a good night, and as my friend Brianna once said, dream fierce.

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