Friday, December 30, 2011

Note from my brother

It's not very often I receive long messages from family, especially my brother. We've always had a relationship of picking up where we left off instead of keeping in touch extensively. Today, I received an email from my brother about upcoming change in his life that inspired me and made me damn proud to be his lil' bro. Whether your beliefs differ from his or not, you must admire his insight and writing, thus I share with you...

Happy holidays! Happy new year... happy birthday Jesus... happy solstice! In all matter of reality, we should have based the calendar new year around the solstice. I demand calendar reform from this Gregorian bullshit. We could even pretend that Jesus was born on the solstice just to appease the Christians.

I'm looking forward to 2012 with great anticipation. I haven't been this excited and scared and intrigued by coming events in a long time. In fact, I've never felt the way I feel now. I'm living in madness right now. Not in a bad way, just general madness. I think about all the crazy shit I've done in my life and I still can't clear my head of the shockwave set off this fall by a casual spill on my bicycle. The most painful and mind-consuming traumatic injury of my life may be the best thing that ever happened to me. The healing process of the organism is incredible. It's like the awareness of self comes reverberating all around in everything I sense. It didn't happen all at once and it's not just me, but everything around me feels more alive.

As you all know, I've spent my entire life in cruise control. Lucky me, right? I learned at a young age how to tweak the system in my favor. I never cared for school and I definitely never learned anything, but I always did just enough to get by. I've used that same technique over the last decade to manage financial security and good health. But jobs are like relationships. It's no place to be if you don't want it. I could be the best chairlift mechanic in the industry, if that were what I wanted. If I really cared to own the situation, I wouldn't just work on the equipment. I would engineer every chairlift right down to the nuts and bolts to be more efficient and environmentally compatible. But I don't really want to. Basically, I can perform this sort of work, but I'm simply not a mechanic. It's time to be honest with myself and stoke that inner fire again. I've always been comfortable with life changes. It seems I am at my best in times of transition. It's the idea of job security which frightens me. It's the security which dulls the mind. But life transition offers the chance to sharpen the edges and focus on execution. But where's the passion? What to do? It didn't come to me as an epiphany. All I needed was a few seeds. Once the thoughts were planted, I watered them with research and life began to appear in a far more peculiar fashion. Never has anything so changed my fundamental perception of the world than the combination of a few seeds in the past year. Yeah, so breaking my face was a 'seed', or more directly a wake-up call.

Who are we to impose our values on the future

- Another 'seed' came from a speech at the Aspen Ideas Festival this summer. Aubrey de Grey is a prominent gerontologist who believes that aging is completely not necessary. Seriously, check him out on youtube. Essentially, he doesn't see any reason why we should just accept death and aging as a natural process when we have evolved to manipulate our way out of natural processes. He believes we can manipulate ourselves on the cellular and bacterial levels to refresh and re-up our bodies through therapy. What caught my attention wasn't the general subject of immortality, but rather the fact that he admits it may not occur in his life time. But he has dedicated the rest of his life to bringing light upon a subject that people today find not only controversial but demoniacal on many levels. "Who are we to impose our values on future generations." This was the line that got me thinking. This was a seed.

So I thought to myself, what if people from millennia past foresaw the future and left warnings in place to tell us that our way of life is wrong. Some people may say, 'yeah, you're right let's go back to the old ways.' But I think most people would defend their lives. If the past generations altered things to the point which current time were effectively and fundamentally different, we wouldn't be here. Our families, our cities and all the things we know would be gone. Would you allow past generations to alter our evolution in such a manner?

I truly believe that nothing but recyclable matter exists after death. All life occurs within the realm of respiring cells in the ever-constant process of decay. A friend of mine once questioned the enduring sadness of this position. She even accused me of being a depressive and hopeless being who should have more faith in the simple joys of life. Sadly enough, she is missing my point. In theory, all life concedes to the perpetual cycle of the next generation. Whether an afterlife exists or not, I have no interest in what lies beyond. What could be more liberating than living for this life, and this life only? Why rest any hope on going to heaven when heaven is here on earth? This is it. Love it, respect it, study it, own the experience. To me, life is religion. God didn't make man in his image. We make god in our image. Again, evolution. We can become masters of our own destinies. We won't be around for it, and we won't always be rememered, but life in some form is immortal. I do believe this.

Right Now-

Worship? Why not worship the true creator of all life as we know it. I dig our world's creative relationship with the star in our daylight sky. Creation is due solely to the nearly improbable events of the last four billion years. The chances of this particular experience of life in all it's odd and unusual forms is nearly infinite. The connection is perfect in it's way simply because of the reality that it even exists. That is to say nearly impossible, one can only guess at the sum of trillions of a trillion billion chances at this exact outcome. Earth is a cell in the universal sea of outer space. Just like the first single-cell organisms which appeared in the shallow tides and the volcanic soils of the young earth, we appear in microcosm wading through the cradle of life. Simple prokaryotic cells born of base elements, electrified by ultraviolet radiation, who photosynthesized for over one billion years just to release enough oxygen over the surface of the waters to create an ozone membrane and allow for an oxygen-rich atmosphere. The evolving complexity of organisms over the next two and a half billion years, along with the complexity of atmospheric cycles has given way to a species whose dashing attempts of conquest and desire for understanding had driven all life to the brink of fatal pressures. Our greatest imaginations cannot comprehend the rarity of our current circumstances. There are so many questions and endless mystery to life. There is so much we'll never learn so much we'll never know, but we'll never stop asking the questions. We will never cease to uncover the mysteries. I just want to live like heaven is here on earth. This is it. I want to draw the most accurate connections to natural world. I'm going back to college to study biology. I hate academia, but right now it is going to provide the right framework around my self-education. I need to surround myself with like-minded people for once in my life. People seeking truth in life. So there you have it, back to school next fall. That's all I've been trying to say here. CSU or CU Denver to burn up my GI Bill for a couple years of undergrad core curricula, then on to grad school and an everlasting life of continuous education and research.

Sorry I had to drag that out so big, just trying to get the idea across.Let's skype soon, Love you bro!

Love you too hermano, suerte en 2012 :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Blissful moment

Tense, all tense muscles remind me I'm not breathing properly. My shoulders, my neck, my face all tight and caught up in the world of responsibility. Managing a tour business in high season, based on level of service. Keep our service level high, keep our friendly faces smiling, keep our name in the right light. So many thoughts, anxiety level inclines until I remember to inhale.

I stretch the legs, set aside twenty minutes. Emails, you leave me alone for a minute. Phone, shut the hell up for just a minute, maybe even twenty. People, give me this moment. Take it easy, just for this moment, shhhhh.

Hamstrings stretch, quadriceps stretch, breathe in... breathe out. Gluteus maximus, stretch to the maximus, so tight from the pedaling motion. I'm sure lucky to be complaining in my mind about a job that I absolutely love I think in each stretch.

My position transfers to lotus, stillness. Just... breathe!

Inhale 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.... hold... exhale 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

Email the accountant, respond to Alejandro, call Ingrid...

The thoughts make their way quickly to the moment of stillness. Invited or not, thoughts find their way in the backdoors and sidedoors of the mind, even the doggy doors. My awareness stops them in their place, then lets them pass.

Remember to update finances, check bike maintenance log, go buy a few onions for dinner...

Through the sidedoor perhaps? My awareness becomes scissors and cuts the tangle of thoughts invading this moment, cut them away... they float away in pieces.

Inhale 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6.... Hold.... Exhale 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

The muscles begin to relax a bit after several rounds of uninterrupted breathing.

Hmm, rice, veggies and chicken or pasta? I'm hungry, what's for dinner?

Just breathe, be here, be now.

But my stomach is growling, listen to the body right? I need to call my benzinha tonight and email my family.

Inhale 1-8... Hold... Exhale 8-1.

I feel lighter, with each exhale the muscles loosen and the tension gives way to slack.

More thoughts arise, this time, I don't fight them as I usually do. Accept the thought, observe it, embrace it fully. This thought is here for a reason, it snuck it's way through the windows of my mind and I greet each one that comes through with a smile and a hug.

Poof... stillness... bliss.

Moments of absolutamente nada proceed, no thoughts occur, sneak in, nor ring the mental doorbell. I've embraced them and they're gone.

Inhale 1-10... Hold... Exhale 1-10. Light fills my bloodstream, each blood cell is a particle of light. I'm not longer physical matter but rather a field of energy. Energy connecting with other forms of energy, all flowing on different wavelengths, but flowing nonetheless. The bird chirp outside the window, the honking in the distance, the smell of eucalyptus from the candle are all inside of me, the world is inside of me.. why? Because it's in my head, it's my perception. This eucalyptus candle may smell different to you, the honking and bird chirps may come across your ears differently, but it's your perception, in your world. Breathe in, let it go.

This moment is bliss, this moment is peace, this moment is meditation. And just like the moments of stress, tension and dis-ease... this too, will pass.

Happy Holidays, may they be filled with moments of joy, peace and love.