Monday, April 28, 2008

Translucent Revolution: Part II

This is part of two of my miniseries on Tranlucent thinking. It is not my intention to endorse or proselytize others into jumping onto the latest and greatest spiritual bandwagon, but rather, to pass along, hopefully, some food for thought. Here are some more quotes and sayings from Arjuna Ardagh,s book The Translucent Revolution.

Translucents do not choose between spirit and the world.: They embrace both or they have neither fully. Spirit is expressed in form, and form only works when it is infused with spirit. The inner life is incomplete without material life, like a metal untested by fire. Material life is incomplete without spirit, like a cathedral without an altar. To be successful in a rapidly changing world, you need to be at the source of your experience, awake to who you really are. Translucents embrace life, inclusive feelings and sexuality, the shadow as well as the saintliness, the failures as well as the triumphs.

Translucents are in their bodies, and care for the body as a sacred garden. They practice yoga, martial arts. They play tennis, ski, and surf, for sheer joy of being embodied, not to achieve anything. They dance as a sacred art form. And translucents are generally very sexual and sensual: they experience the body as a doorway to the real.

The tendency to resist life, to become a pattern of interference, is so strong in all of us that it takes considerable awareness, honesty, and willingness to feel what is uncomfortable, to not resist it. This is the pivotal difference between contemporary translucents and traditional mystics….and…unlike many traditional practitioners of spiritual life, translucents are not interested in running away from anything or amputating any part of their experience. In fact, they have learned to walk toward what they have previously run away from.

Translucents embrace spiritual practice not as a means to achieving a future goal but as a way to a more fully lived present moment, with open heart, open mind, and open body.

In the maturing beyond dogma and the rules of tradition, translucents have also grown beyond hierarchy. The tradition setting of one Enlightened, one sitting on a raised podium, answering questions from differential devotees, is being replaced by the sacred circle, where wisdom is everywhere in the room at the same time, where meeting is eye to eye, heart to heart. Realizing the deepest truth of who we are may occur on the mediation cushion or in a cave. To discover our potential to live as radiant love and humorous art requires involvement with other people. Through the alchemy of meeting with others in honesty and trust, we can take our inner wisdom for a test-drive and find out what happens when the rubber meets the road.

Tranlucents are lions, not sheep. They walk alone, although sometimes in each other’s company.

Translucents display willingness to be wrong, to let go and move on. Their perception of their identity is the way we might experience a crazy uncle who can be tolerated, enjoyed, even loved. There is no reason to change your mad uncle, but there is also no reason to defend him or apologize for him. If he disturbs the neighbors, a little damage control is simply intelligent.

Translucents have a natural interest in forgiving and moving on. Forgiveness is no longer a moral virtue, or something we need to practice, but the effortless by-product of no longer needing to protect an identity with a story attached to it. The past is not healed: it simply ceases to be useful….A translucents forgiveness is neither a moral quality nor a cultivated virtue, but the natural and inevitable consequences of knowing oneself as something more than the past.

Translucents have fewer beliefs to protect; They are comfortable with not knowing what to do until they really know. They have less need to think and dramatically less need to be right. When we are acting translucently, our actions come from a different place within us. Instead of reflecting a system of belief, they are a direct response to the situation as it is…Often we talk and take action based on preexisting set of beliefs about what is right and wrong. Our behavior is predictable and they almost always meet the present moment based on our past…and…having developed a complex system of beliefs, we become more interested in defending them than in knowing what is true. The actuality of life becomes secondary to the principle of the thing.
The role of a translucent teacher is to relax and allow a deeper part of the questioner to tell her what she already knows but cannot hear. This is the deeper role of a teacher; not to deliver a precooked set of dictates and theories but to be used by the Great Knowing…The key to accessing a deeper source of thought and action is the willingness to relax and wait...rather than accept the statue quo notion of avoiding “I don’t know” at all cost. Translucent action requires the wisdom of “I don’t know” as its firm foundation….

Saturday, April 26, 2008

It's Official

Drum roll please.....It's now official... Guillermo Del Toro has signed a contract to direct the Hobbit and he will be joining forces with producer Peter Jackson over the next four years in New Zealand to bring us the much anticipated prequel to the Lord of the Rings. The Hobbit is tentatively scheduled to arrive in theater's in is the interesting part...there is a sequel...In 2011 the team of Del Toro and Jackson will release the "long discussed theoretical middle story" that connects the Hobbit to the Lord of the Rings. There is no book explaining these two stories but apparently Tolkien left behind hundreds of notes and concepts that will used to bridge the gap between these two stories...

Del Toro has a reputation of potentially being the next great fantasy film director in the league of Jackson, Speilberg, and Lucas. His background is steeped in the world of fairy tales and he has already directed some very interesting and critically acclaimed fantasy stories such as Pan's Labyrinth, The Devil's Backbone, Hellboy, Mimic, and the upcoming Hellboy II: Golden Army...and...he is currently working on a film called Saturn and the End of Days, which is a story about a young boy who witnesses the rapture and the Apocalypse and apparently lives to tell the story...I have heard an in depth interview with Del Toro and he does seem to possess the creative/fantasy genes in spades.

I am excited and jazzed...but...apparently not everyone thinks this is a match made in heaven. Andrew Heir of Salon, who interviewed Del Toro at Cannes in 2006 asked Del Toro what he thought about Tolkien and C.S. Lewis and Del Toro said, "I was never into heroic fantasy. At all. I don't like little guys and dragons, hairy feet, hobbits -- I've never been into that at all. I don't like sword and sorcery, I hate all that stuff."....Hehir goes on to say this about Del Toro, "His aesthetic is darker, more Gothic and more grotesque than the Tolkien-via-Jackson universe; it derives more from the medieval mire of middle-European fairy tale than from the high-toned, pre-modern northern European epics Tolkien was channeling."...While it is true that many of Del Toro's films do lend themselves to the "dark side", that doesn't mean he can't suck it up and do one for the team...which is my hope...As far as the challenge of two heavy weights working together, that remains to be seen, but Peter Jackson has always come across to me as a lovable current day hobbit who is easy to get along with...and...if my take on Jackson is correct and Del Toro works his magic on his end than the fans of the Middle Earth may be rewarded with another great adventure in a couple of years...

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Translucent Revolution: Part I

Over the years I have identified myself at different times as a Reaganite, Evangelical, Christian Anarchist, Baby Boomer, Country bumpkin from Bakersfield, mystic, Pomoxian, Obamamaniac, and modern day hobbit. Personally, I don’t like labeling others, but I don’t mind labeling myself as this or that if it stimulates conversation. I also enjoy the shock value but I also don't mind making fun of myself either.

Recently I have been reading a book called, “The Translucent Revolution”, by Arjuna Ardagh. While I can’t relate to some of the Eastern leaning philosophy I do identify with a number of the characteristics of a Translucent Revolutionary. So what is a Translucent Revolution and what are the primary characteristics of someone who fits the definition of a Translucent Revolutionary? …Rather than try to explain the answers to these questions I will include a series of quotes from the book that define the questions at hand…

Some definitions:

“Webster’s dictionary defines translucent as “letting light pass through, but not transparent” A transparent object, like a clean sheet of glass, is almost invisible. You see everything through a transparent object as if it were not there at all. An opaque, on the other hand, blocks light completely. A translucent object allows light to pass through, but diffusely, while maintaining its form and texture. Objects on the other side cannot be distinguished. A crystal is translucent. So is a sculpture of frosted glass”….A translucent person is an individual who has undergone a spiritual awakening deeply enough that is has permanently transformed their relationship to themselves and to reality, while allowing them to remain involved in ordinary life in a process which is evolutionary and endless.

Characteristics of today’s Translucents

“Today’s translucents live for the most part outside the context of organized religion and hierarchy. They no longer need to have one teacher or teaching, but rather have many teachers or experiences of life as a teacher. Ram Dass speaks of no longer being a Buddhist but being a generalist. Richard Holloway, a retired bishop of Edinburgh, has reevaluated his relationship to the Christian church since recognizing God to be everywhere, both behind the eyes and in front…Cynthia, who has attended events with the Dali Lama, Wayne Dyer, and Thomas Moore, says, I think I’m as much a Buddhist as a Christian, or maybe I’m just all of it and none of it” Right now I’ve got Eckardt Tolle, The Tao Te Ching, Cosmopolitan, and a thriller on my bedside table. They seem to be getting along just fine”

“Today’s translucents have fallen in love with the present moment and the possibilities of living right now as a gift of love, as a work of are. They’ve lost interest in potential future states. Translucents have seen past the dangling carrot of future enlightenment. They live for now, and now, and now”

Translucents speak of life as a rivering, a process without end. Like a fountain that is always pouring forth, it is an endless and spontaneous enlightening, not a fixed state. Unlike the goal- oriented self improvement industry that has dominated our culture for so long, this process is an endless unfolding of discovery and delight. There is no attempt to fix a problem or to achieve a final higher state. Translucence is more a direction than a destination. Like heading East, the process doesn’t imply a specific point of arrival. It is a way of living life with art and humor, returning continuously to here, and here, and here, always steeped in the vastness of the view and blessing each moment with a gift of creative presence.

Translucents are always evolving, but they also display an extraordinary and often humorous acceptance of themselves just as they are… Translucents have canceled their subscription to the self-improvement industry; They no longer pin their sense of well-being, their connectedness and peace, on the process of fixing themselves. Yet they fully recognize the dysfunctional habits that hurt people and create separation, and they take a tremendous amount of energy from the simplicity of this moment, from being able to live fully and acknowledge the gift of life.

Translucents delight in color, sex, children, blood, dance, and music as the very expression and demonstration of divinity in flesh. Art, music, images, and sensations are just as sacred as words.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

The Season of Hope

Today was a beautiful day so I went out in the neighborhood and took some pictures of flowers. It has been spring like for the past month but it has only been the last week or so that the flowers and other plants have reached full bloom. The neighborhood is currently bursting in reds, oranges, yellows, pinks, and purple and it is the most beautiful time of the year. It’s hard to imagine that in two months we Bakersfieldians are going to be sweltering in the heat and the beautiful flowers and other plants are going to be hanging on for dear life and at the mercy of local homeowners who decide when and how much to water.

Spring is important because it reminds us that winter is over and that which was dormant or at deaths doorstep now has new life… As I ponder my own life there are some areas in my life which are currently dormant or feel dead…so…the flowers remind me that life has it’s cycles and that which currently appears dead or dormant will in time come back to life. Flowers represent hope and without hope life is unbearable. If you want to see more photographs of flowers go to Bilbo’s Picture World and you can see
a large collection of photographs I have take of flowers on my various trips on the west coast.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

World Wide Suicide

Sometimes one listens to a song and hears the other times one hears a song and "feels" the music. Tonight while I was at the gym listening to Pearl Jam's song World Wide Suicide I found myself "feeling" the emotional force behind this song...then...later I found my mind pondering why I sometimes feel like we are at the brink of a World Wide Suicide...and... Here are 15 reasons why I sometimes feel the existential angst behind this particular song.

When I am reminded of the war in Iraq and the loss of American and Iraqi lives.

When I continue to hear one bad story after another regarding the economic situation in America and the potential implications for the rest of the world.

When I am reminded of the story of a woman I know who was raped by her father who was a deacon in the church and a leader in the community.

When I see people I know who have been legitimately victimized and can't break themselves from the shackles and bondage of the victim mentality.

When I see politicians willing to do "almost" anything to win an election.

When I see so much money spent on the nomination process.

When I am channel surfing and come across one of those ridiculous reality shows. I don't mean to offend anyone, but I "hate" all these shows...for the record.

Whenever I hear one more story about the Reverend Wright and the guilt by association implications that come from some quarters.

When I see people I know who are caught in the destructive web of workaholism.

When I visited my mom's vacant house and discovered gang bangers had tagged the entire inside with graffiti. I almost threw up.

When I drive around town and see house after house after house either for sale, rent, or in the process of being foreclosed.

When I am overwhelmed with such powerful emotions like fear to the point where I feel like I am having an out of body experience.

When I hear idiots who have not stepped into a classroom in twenty or thirty years assert they know and understand the terrible plight of public education in this country.

Anytime I allow myself to listen to talk radio...and...remember that millions of people listen to this "shit"...pardon my French...

And finally, whenever I hear a anyone assert that Barack Obama has no substance and anyone who follows or supports him is simply caught up in a "cult of personality"