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Mom

I was reading the most recent chapter of the book I’m helping my friend to edit. One of the sections came to an end and I was hit hard by it, as this chapter is continually doing to me.  So I let out a little whimper, a little mewling kitten sound.  It made me sick.

Now, the thing about this sound, it precisely reminds me of my mom.  It’s the kind of sound that someone who is struck by something in a self-pitying way, but doesn’t even have enough decency to let out the full yelp of it will make. It’s even a little contrived. Simply a dispicable worthless expression of weakness wrapped in miles of complex defenses and a disingenuous grasping, utterly lacking self-confidence.  It’s precisely the attribute I hate most about myself.  I catch it sometimes in a gesture, a sound, a few words, a posture, something I spoke.

Mom doesn’t know how to be herself. She tries so hard, but I’m quite certain she hasn’t a clue who she is. Sometimes she gets an inkling of an idea and holds to it like grim death, goes on a religious kick for awhile, takes up smoking out of rebellion, drops smoking in a fit of self-realization, dresses differently, talks with a thick Southern accent, buys a gun, does her hair differently….  any number of things that seem like such a horrifying veneer of tension and falsehood slapdashed over a personality that is desperately avoiding the fact of its own weakness.

Now, for me to hate this aspect of my mom so much, and mistrust her so deeply for it, mustn’t it also be the very thing I hate most about myself?

So….  for once.  For fucking ONCE in my life, I was just fine with it. I didn’t despise it in myself at all. In fact, even as I write this and feel the tendrils of contrivance born of some weak spirit creeping into my writing, I just let it be.  What else can I do?

What does it even matter if the salty food kills me and I have a heart attack?  What is the furthest possible reach, the bottom of the well of my own weakness and why am I so damned terrified of it?  I can only die, and I’m going to do that shortly anyways (relatively speaking?  What’s fifty years or ten or three?)…

And just last night the question, “who am I?”  Had finally been reinvigorated from mere technique to the blistering yearning need to answer it above everything else…  So..  Something is obviously changing.  You cannot stay dead forever!

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Ego and Inspiration

Years ago I took the LSAT.  I kept pre-testing in the 169-170 range with occasional tests as high as 174. And I was time constraining myself, using real LSATs, etc. I even did things like take the worst of four to six test sections in order to try and lower my score. So I felt quite excited about taking the test.

Well, test day came and I bombed it at 164. A mere 90th percentile borders on a waste of test paper when it’s one that 150,000 people take every year. At least that’s how I felt about it. I wrote good essays and applied late to a few schools.  I had some acceptances and some decent scholarship offers. At the end of it all I opted not to go when it was time to sign for loans. I didn’t really want to be chained to law school and debt. Maybe the gods were looking out for me when I got that crappy score, since I think I’m better off not having gone. It would have been harder to say “no” to Columbia U.

Just this morning I woke up with one of those flights of fancy where I was considering taking the test again. I think I could do a lot better. My kung fu is better, and I have a clearer mind.  Maybe I could get a near perfect score and go to Harvard or something. The funny thing is I no longer even have aspirations to become a lawyer. I like my life as a teacher, designer, and indy manufacturer, which are probably more congruent with my character anyways.

But I still got such a cool feeling from thinking about it, considering what it would be like to do it. It’s so easy to think through possibilities and get all kinds of tingly pleasurable feelings. And for once I realized that must be my real intention, the peaceful blissful feeling the fantasy gives me. Even when I’m working towards doing it, in the middle of the difficult parts, I’m thinking it may be that feeling of bliss based on the fantasy of where it will take me that keeps me going. I’m bothered by the notion that might be my real main intention.

So this morning I said “fuck it” for a few minutes and just enjoyed that feeling, since it seems to be all I want most of the time anyways. This got me reflecting on my business. I wonder if I could set aside those feelings for awhile and have a clearer head about the steps I can take to make my manufacturing venture more successful. Thus far, lovely designs, pre-orders, generating buzz…  all that is just serving the purpose of giving me some sort of high. I suspect getting paid will make me feel the same. It’s not as if I don’t have plenty of money now, so what does more of it do for me?

But if that’s REALLY my only intention, effectively an ego gratification, then why not just enjoy the fantasy, draw it all out….  of one falls through, pick up another one. I’m afraid I might do just that. In fact, I’m wondering at this point just how much I *am* doing just that, with Wujifa, meditation, business, even my relationship with my lover. Surely this begs me to look further, to see if I have intentions beyond just feeling bright, shiny, and blissed out.

And why do these fantasies make me feel those lovely feelings? Maybe because the thoughts of my goals make me feel special, stroke my ego, gratify my sense of self. I determined awhile ago that my fear seems to be lack of something to identify with, to think of myself as being. But SURELY there has to be worthy intention beyond that empty naval-gazing roller coaster of a life. At the very least, I must have some intention beyond sensations. What is it?

Perhaps if I knew then I would take my Wujifa practice more seriously, make better decisions in my business, and contribute more to my students. Maybe I would find more depth in my relationship with my girlfriend, and contribute better insight to her.

Perhaps I could get past this plateau in meditation.

Method

“The method is medicine”

“Method is not the truth, once you get the feeling, get rid of the method.  But even feeling can become a method at some point.”

“It’s okay to take medicine when you’re sick, but if you keep taking the medicine after you’re better, it becomes dysfunctional.”

So I started noticing major gaps in my perception.  For instance, why was I willing to gloss over major issues in the film “Eat, Pray, Love” when almost every human in the free world seems to realize that movie was hollow, vapid, and patronizing.  Even as I watched it and felt the vapidness of the spirituality portrayed, some of the underlying spite in the main character, and got pissed at the way she treated her teacher, I sort of set that at the edge of my consciousness and thought, “well, she’s being braver than most people I’ve met.”

Likewise, I’ll admit, for a long time, in a tough situation I will sometimes not trust my feeling when I listen to someone.  Instead of intuition, I look to one of two things, “What is this person REFUSING or TERRIFIED to consider?” and “What is irrationally pissing this person off?”  Normally one of those two things will reveal where someone is stuck.  They’re quite effective.  But of course, resorting to those two methods every time has a deadness to it.  This is rooted in my fundamental lack of trust in myself.

Frankly, I’m refusing to and terrified of trusting myself, or of trying to step out and move and live and flow in the reality of the moment, instead leaning back on method to avoid taking the tougher steps.  This has been showing up to me for months in my Qi Kung.  When I get to a certain particular spot, it’s like I’ve absolutely done as much as I can with the Qi Kung I’m comfortable with, and I start needing to do some new excercises, specifically some that are challenging or even scary for me….  I can even go into that to a certain extent…  but there’s something, a blind spot, a space where I turn away and distract myself as rapidly as possible.

So I got wrapped up in studying Chinese.  On top of that, I started obsessing over it.  And then being a coward about it on top of that.  Moreover, I was taking every mistake I made too personally….  even making it into a wedge between my girlfriend and I.

And lately, I’m blocking something so drastically that I’ve nearly had four or five motorcycle accidents this week.  That’s from “nearly having” ZERO for the whole year I’ve been here.  I’m a good driver folks, and I can speed around on one of these things with major margins of error to play with….  now, suddenly, I’m almost running into people because I’m not looking?  What gives?

More spelling errors and such… The kinds of things no one else would notice (except some of my kids), but they reveal to me that I’m just thinking differently.  Why?  How?  Well, three things come to mind that I might be avoiding::

Something to do with Cheryl.  Obviously it’s intimidating to build a close relationship with somebody.  I do catch myself blocking my own energy and not making as free and easy of a connection sometimes in the days leading up to when I’ll see her.  I don’t know if it’s a pattern or something I can deal with with her, or what.  I’ll see her this weekend and just be honest about it when I’m talking to her.  At least we’re both honest about our intentions and how we feel….  that should be helpful.

Something to do with my business.  Obiously I’d like this to be successful.  But of course there’s a lot of hard work.  It’s easy to want to obscure innaction and laziness with “patience.”  I think I actually know how to manage this effectively and I seldom don’t know what the next step or two is that I should take….  yet it’s easy to not want to do anything.

My Qi Kung, and meditation….  okay, I’m sure there IS something here.  First of all, I haven’t been meditating very much for the last couple of months.  Maybe when I ended my previous addiction, it left me with a big space…  like, wow…  what do I do?  I know that sounds kind of stereotypical, but there is something to it.  Also, I get scared sometimes when my meditation connects me with a sense of eternity or timelessness…..  And my Qi Kung.  It’s easy to not want to go past a certain point, like I said above.  But not just because the excercise is scary, but because the results, like the meditation, can also be difficult to deal with….  Some part of me wants to settle into what I’ve learned and just stay there forever.

I’m reminded of how it seems like things always go the smoothest with Cheryl when I am constantly aware of the truth that everything changes.  So I never expect to sit our relationship down on one spot and keep it there forever.  It’s nice when things have a predictability for awhile, but I always proceed with the awareness that things evolve and change.  I never know exactly where they’re going, or when they’ll shift, but all I can seemingly do is observe all this peacefull.  That’s been a very fruitful attitude to have.

Maybe I should start applying this to my business, meditation and Qi Kung…. After all, Wujifa is nothing but Daoism in Practice.  “In the Dao, Everything Changes.”  What did you expect?

Open Letter

Why would I ever make someone pay for knowledge I have that could potentially improve them? I think of a blogger I know who sells “how to live an extraordinary life” ebooks and travels from the profit. Basically life porn for people too scared or naive to make the leap (judgment I guess). He certainly has knowledge and can profit from it.

I think back to Thoreau’s recounting of the indian in Walden. The Indian makes baskets and tries to sell them in town and gets miffed that people are not buying them and Thoreau thinks he should have asked why go into business in the first place? (Thoreau is a smart ass though ;).

What of the coupon-clipping wife bloggers? The ones who sell seminars to teach women how to buy $300 with of groceries for $20 using coupon and promotion tricks. What of them? If they have the secret, shouldn’t they give it out. And what of a life playing off of primate-created technicalities like grocery rules?

What of guest bedrooms and their necessity? What happened to guest tents?!!?

Do I need money to live in this world? It sure seems like I do.

M

My Reply:

M,

I watched Zeitgeist 3 and I was so turned on by it that I almost turned my synth project into all open-source stuff…  I basically think capitalism as we know it now is going to prove itself to be a sinking ship.

Then I put a lot of focus into what Jesus said, “be as innocent as a dove but as wise as a serpent.”  I realized that if I cut my own profits I wouldn’t be getting more instruments to poor college students who just love electronic music, I’d be saving money for egotistical gear whores who want to think they’re cool because they have an unauthorized Buchla copy.
So I’m keeping the trade secrets and selling the sizzle ofunauthorizedclone.com to those people…  because frankly, they want it.  It’s like I’m a prostitute giving them a blow job.  If I stopped selling blow jobs, they’d go pay somebody else or maybe date rape a girl or something….  so I’m just going to peddle my wares as long as there are people who are slaving away under the illusion that you get what you pay for, and if it ain’t expensive it isn’t worth having.
And eventually I can make bigger runs and get plastic housings
made and probably get the synths out to poor college kids.  Plus, with the money I have, me and my sweetheart can spend time fucking in a lot of different countries.  Eventually, maybe I can fulfill my age-old dream of helping child prostitutes, but I have to have some cash on hand before I can do much for them.  I think Steven Covey refers to all this as a “win-win.”
Seriously, I wouldn’t worry about if you “should” “make someone” “pay” for “your knowledge.”  If I was working in a leper colony I wouldn’t dare charge those people a dime.  And they’d probably offer me all the food and free place to stay that I could ever want.  But, we’re currently trying to operate in a specific system, and instead of “lepers” we’re just playing Jesus….
….to the lepers in their heads….
Oh yeah it’s one love, one life….
Okay, so the U2 break doesn’t really cut it but like, seriously, if you’ve got something to offer, people might not even value it if you give it away.  What do you think is the difference between a $150 an hour escort and a $1000 an hour escort?  Have you ever looked into escorts before?  You can get an astoundingly beautiful woman for $150 an hour.  Yet senators and such want the exotic $1000 an hour ones.  Maybe they beat them up, or get beaten up or piss all over each other or something, I don’t know.  And all the same, I’m sure I’ve spent the last coupla years having better sex with my lovers than they’re going to get for all that money.
Still, there’s a demand for the $1000 an hour prostitute.  Do you need some kind of moral judgement to prevent you from fulfilling that demand?  Who is doing the judging?  Why?  What would such judgement do for you?
Love,
J

Clear

And with every death, a rebirth.

I noticed the moment of change.  I saw it happen.  I’ve gotten good at seeing it and I love Aranofsky’s films above all.  Mickey Rourke’s character has asked the stripper to have a regular relationship with him.  She said she couldn’t do it.  He screws things up completely with his daughter, but the stripper comes back to him.  It happens in one perfect instant.  You can feel it, she opens up.  Two human beings in a dance.  Everything he’d asked her for, laid there in front of him, her trusting her innocence enough to make that leap.

But he misses it, he’s already closed down, maybe because of his daughter or maybe because he’s lost faith in himself.  I can only recommend “the Wrestler” as one of the best films I think I’ve ever seen.

I love watching movies to see these kinds of changes.  It’s beautiful to see even in a stupid movie like H.E.A.T. where DeNiro has a clear moment, his dying motion, in the hotel when his girl wants him to just leave with her and he jumps back into this murky, deadly world he cannot seem to let go of, long before Pacino guns him down.  Contrasted to Kilmer, who keeps his course and walks away.

I see them in my own life, as I saw the moment where everything changed with my girlfriend.  I felt it as certainly as you might notice the sun break the mountaintops.  It’s a worthwhile practice, noticing what changes.

The other thing I recently caught was my tendency to judge my actions in a situation by how peaceful, blissful, or easy the encounter felt.  However, I’m also seeing that the right thing doesn’t always flow that way, sometimes deceptions are called for, or ‘worse.’  And my judgements do little but get in the way.  The only barometer I can find for this is my own innocence.

The last few weeks, I needed to make sure I wasn’t loosing it to chemical reactions in my head when I entered the dance with my girl.  “Love” is pretty common and about as “special” as taking a shot of whiskey (both stimulate the opium receptors in the head).  I choose to stay aware, continue growing and learning.  My intention is to build connection, not just read a lot of magical mystical bullshit into an endorphine high.

The only way I find is to center myself upon the reality of death, coupled with a type of self-enquiry, and the transience of everything becomes clear.  For keeping a steady mind, death is the only worthwhile advisor.

Still today, after such a deeply intentional strike a couple of weeks ago, severing the head of a decades-long addiction, I find the difficult part is when no decisive strikes are needed…  indeed, the times when NOTHING is needed.  The hardest thing, perhaps, is silence.  I still want to think of myself as “the one who did this or that,” worse yet “the one who does this or that.”  ….and I feel that’s the road back to hell.

Victory

“In every victory is a defeat, in every death a rebirth.”

In our KungFu, WuJiFa, we focus on connection, intention, groundedness.  Through deceptively simple exercises we refine these to a high degree.  This is how we excel at “the Qi Kung of dancing, drinking, and fucking.”

Maybe you knew me long enough to know that I didn’t want being transgendered to dominate my life.  Maybe you knew me well enough to know that while I make no judgements about it in general, I knew that some aspects of it were obsessive for me, tantalizing, crazy-making.

The biggest trigger point has always been relationship.  Opening my heart, I could feel as if the whole universe were wrapping around me, holding me, reaching out to lift me up and support the liquid flow of openness between two people — if and only if I were a woman.

Thus, many times I shut my heart.  In fact, while sometimes I would go awhile without feeling gender dysphoria, I never managed to make a sexual connection in my life without it, and I mean a hefty dose of it.  Enough to drive me close to suicide many times.

Recently, though, I used the Qi Kung.  I let myself feel all the sensations of connection, of opening and beautiful flowing, touching, holding that I once only reserved in the box I called “womanhood”…  I used my orgasmic breathing techniques to amplify all this.  Then I very specifically connected all this in a grounded way, with touch and movement and awareness, back to my own body, simply….  flowed in it.

For months I’d been praying to lord Ganesha, every time I would find myself in the throes of teeth gnashing addiction I would focus on him.  And that act, that final act, clear focus and grounded connection was a killing blow.

So here I am, feeling the blankets on my own skin like I’ve never felt before, feeling my weight through my legs, feeling my shoes, feeling my fingers and toes, everything so lucid.  And I’m in a relationship, my heart is open, I feel her clearly, I listen, I appreciate her without any pain.  I don’t feel blocked in my affections or any flow of any part of myself….  It borders on miraculous considering I’ve been unable to do this for the last fifteen years I’ve been dating and having sexual relationships.

Now, senses emerging, feelings of self and openness….

The heart knows no boundaries.

Yet, I reach for some sort of content.

In love, The universe answers my questions, and my heart feels a pure and simple connection, like a great silver liquid flowing freely.  I can follow freely, not based on exclusivity, but simply following a knowingness.  Truth is, I can do little else.

Yet, I try to fill in details, to make a love story.  I correspond birthdays, or I look for commonalities.  This is why a book about the heart of magik lacks any sort of formulas.

In ethics, who is watching?  Who might I be justifying myself to?  What image of myself do I wish to believe?  What morality is there on an island alone?  Or in the darkness of sensory deprivation in my own apartment?  What about when I am alone on the street?  So which one am I holding internally RIGHT NOW and why?  Such fine, subtle deceptions, though they hint at morality, they masquerade as ethics…  However, with no reference point other than self-trust, the purest heart is born, the most innocent of intentions open up.

Free of ethics, they may seem unethical.

Free of morality, this may seem immoral.

But I haven’t glimpsed a purer light.