Wednesday, December 9, 2009


I like when things break down. There’s something about long weather delays at the airport, a dead-stop in a traffic jam or a train derailing slightly off the tracks. Any shift or rotation where the Earth stops rotating the way it is supposed to. For that moment, I can relax and be like a child again: curious, starry-eyed, wondering what will unfold next but realizing that my will and my actions can’t or won’t force anything. For that moment, no matter how brief, one is absolutely free. In that moment, you truly realize the weight of the world doesn’t have to rest squarely on your soldiers and you can just relax and let go. You’re free - perhaps for the first time ever - to enter a state of pure being, for as long as you wish, or until the snow melts, the traffic picks up, etc.

I’ve always longed for these kinds of moments, though not necessarily for myself. You see, that moment, when things break down, offers a mesmerizing look, a peek, a glimpse, into what is real and tangible and eternal about you. For a moment, you realize that incessant machine hum, the constant barrage and inundation of the fast moving consumer culture, the echo of your worries, your doubts and fears, has stopped. That moment offers an entryway, a door to a whole new outlook, an entire new awakening. A world where you can turn those distractions off and fall in love and be one with silence; hands clasped. When you see that entryway and you choose to walk through it, you can begin to manifest harmony, love, peace and joy. Are you following me? Do you understand? Don’t worry, you will..

I feel like the world is currently immersed in what I’ll call a prolonged moment of things breaking down, yet, simultaneously, it feels increasingly like a return to the Natural State. It appears to be the defining truth, the musical soul of the ebb and flow of the universe. Call it a movement of consciousness, a vision of love or an existential musical celebration of life as joy. Whatever you choose to call it, we’re here and we’re fully signed in.

You see, what we’ve got here is a flavor to communicate. Call it a flavor like the smell in the air or on the concrete after a warm summer rain, like moonbeam concentrate, or the way you can still smell her on the pillow, even after she’s gone. If you pull all of these moments and sensory concoctions together into one funky existential soup, boiled with pure, childlike joy, then you can begin to have an approximation of the world that awaits each and every one of us.

We’re here to share joy, to cultivate joy, to articulate our own vision, to live the purpose that birthed us and to experience that joy with one another. We are a Cosmic Happening rooted in a Local Event. We're a musical, spiritual, literary, socially conscious, spiritually aware movement of joy. The sum of all life, after all, is joy.

The art we create can reflect that feeling, without reservations or pretentiousness. And our lives, individually and collectively, are a sacred work of art. Please feel free not to just listen or observe, but to actually join in and create as we weave koans for a new Buddha consciousness , backing off that tired road of the ever-saddening human condition.

You are not your tragedies. Forget about your sadness or your delusory awareness of past opportunities that have been compromised. You and I and God are all here now, fully awake and alive. We are all one. One consciousness, one prolonged masterpiece of living joy. It is our true and natural state of being. That tired road I spoke of earlier soon will no longer exist. It is fading. Come find the new road with us. Explore and wander with us, as we abandon that sad formless tragedy of old and recognize the beauty of the magnificent universe and the sacred music of the Eternal Now. Join us on a new sacred lifejourney that will offer love, insight, humor and an abundance of joy, as we recognize the equivalence of the uncarved block and the well-wrought urn, the ornate and the austere as peacefully coexisting contraries.

I hope that collectively, we will summon up a joy that has been dying to find it’s way into our hearts and minds. I hope it will conjure up massive feelings of actualized unconiditional love and allow you to release your true self into this new world that you’ll help create.

Joy is our sonic canvas and we’ll play music, create art, write truth, or sing sacred mysteries with an honest sweetness, attempting to evoke the same awakening in our universal brothers and sisters that we’ve been blessed to experience in our own lives.

Can you hear the wheel? Can you hear Gaia Song? It sounds like the everlasting sweetness of October as trains disappear until a grapy purple dusk, like a blanket starry desert sky on a soft summer evening, as ghosts whisper secrets on an old, haunted radio. The Universal Sound is as inspired by a childs’ laugh as by bluebirds scattered from an ancient, weeping dreaming tree. We’re noxious illusions , romantic prose and hidden profundity as weird, but beautiful sleeping truths. We’re that first touch of love, that invincible summer. We’re the first three seconds of your favorite song. Come on, check it out for yourself. Hold my hand and declare, here and now, that you're a unique, sacred expression of God and that you're here to create! Bring a blanket. Stay awhile..

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Moonlight paintbrushing against the window
Drowning out helicopters
And firey birds of prey
Dancing in the Angelino landscape night

Timbales stomp rhythm
Echoes from disappearing alleys
Young thug disciples
80 ounces deep
Dreaming in black and blood
Hieroglyphic West Coast style of speak
Glock hyperbole

Ceiling fans lay claim
To being the only witness
To ugly
All too human
Perpetually unfolding
Into cold steel tragedies

Babies find their lungs
For the first and last time
Under a shotgun starry sky
Silver screen tragedies
Breathing life into crying eyes

And I see her walk
And I see her smile
In the same deep water
Underneath the same tragic moon
I see that smile
And she’s not old enough to have a child
She finds
The strength
To smile


Exiting Union Station in the early morning rush can be quite an adventure. I’ve never flown any helicopter missions or been a part of any real political intrigue, but, shuffling in and out of thousands of people on a Thursday morning in Los Angeles can feel every bit as dangerous. Weaving your way through crowds of intense faces, strolling under the portico of that unbelievable architecture and taking in the smell of brewing coffee, fresh bagels and various human scents, while departure times are yelled out of a loud speaker is enough to shake even the most meditative soul out of any sweetened slumber. It’s a difficult time to stop and smell the proverbial roses.

As I finally emerged this morning into the great Angelino January chill outside of Union Station, I took a walk around the streets of Los Angeles and I started to get just as overwhelmed as I was navigating through the train station maze of people. Gazing up at the cold glass windows of skyscrapers, looking across at the brightly colored ground level cafes, the obscenity of the filthy rich living and working directly above the streets of suffering, where thousands live with the indignity of having to beg and plead for a helping hand, I started to feel out of balance. This juxtaposition is an odd one, as the unfolding human comedy tends to prefer sharp contrasts and drastic discrepancies within the same scene, as if to clearly articulate the strange inequality of life on Planet L.A.

As the cars honked, swerved and hollered, they all seemed to be impatiently, often angrily, racing to some temporary destination, apparently convinced that this is all some kind of an elaborate competition. In these situations, I try to combat this, in my own way, by offering a smile to anyone and everyone, hoping to make a sincere momentary human connection, hoping that someone will make break out of this dream of separation and experience a minute of collective realization with me. I am convinced that those in the street and those in the glass structures both have something to teach myself and all of us. It would become very evident this morning.

As I shuffled across the busy crosswalk at Alameda, two men started yelling at one another out of their car windows. One of the gentlemen apparently cut the other one off a few seconds earlier in traffic. Whoever was the offender, I didn’t notice. Both men, however, seemed quite intent on verbally inserting their own particular right to be first in line. Again, it seemed to be some sort of elaborate competition unfolding before my eyes.

I don’t really blame my motorist friends or the people shuffling through the train terminal. Who could? In 21st century America, we are inundated, daily, with an intricate tapestry of commercial yawping that supports this theory of competition. Various electronic advertisements are geared to remind us, in some cases even to shame us into believing that we’re somehow lacking something or other and that our soul will not feel complete and authentic until we have as much or more of that particular something or other than the next guy.

When we take all of this into account, the larger fuzzy picture begins to take a clearer shape. Thousands of my fellow Angelinos racing around, every day, trying to keep pace and maybe even get more than those around them, perpetuating that strange human comedy, starts to feel like an obvious response to that advertising circus. We know we are going truly mad when we can justify the madness. The reality of the game at play can be isolating and cold, even for a naïve little bodhisattva like myself.

Then, just as I started to feel shackled to sadness and the trappings of egoself, something miraculous occurred. Just as these images started to compound in my brain and break my spiritual stride, just as I started to slink and feel a little bit of sadness at all of this unfair human business , this blatant disconnect and isolating individualism unfolding around me, I saw the most beautiful thing I’ve seen since the birth of my son. I saw a homeless man smelling the roses lined up against the fence on Olvera Street. He was dressed almost in rags, with a torn brown coat, virtually clothed in dirt and yet, he patiently closed his eyes and slowly took in the fragrance. Deep, sincere breaths seemed to fill his soul with profundity and his eyes with gratitude.

As I started to visually pan out, I could see the entire human story unfolding around him, just as it was in the moments before. Cars were still honking, lights were still flickering and people were still racing to countless destinations, seemingly afraid or unwilling to look at or engage one another.

I started to walk toward this gentleman of the street, not really knowing what I was going to say or do, only knowing I was grateful for the lesson he was bestowing upon me. I wanted to look in his eyes and acknowledge the God in him, maybe offer him a dollar or two to nourish his hunger.

As I crossed the street and stood a few feet behind him, he suddenly seemed to become aware of my presence. In a broken voice, he asked if I had smelled the roses there before. I told him I hadn’t and he motioned for me to take my turn.

I turned around and saw that the man was now standing a few paces away from me, waiting for his turn to once again take a whiff of these magnificent roses. “God is Good,” he told me, in a manner generally bestowed upon saints and those who have spent lifetimes understanding the human condition. “Seems like some of these people might be too busy to realize it,” I responded.

And, just then, my displaced brother, in his infinite wisdom, empathetically declared, “They will, once they figure out how to wait.”

I’m 31 years old. Though I am fascinated by most of the world, I must admit that I’ve never experienced Machu Picchu. I’ve never seen the sun set over Stonehenge. I’ve never barreled across the moonlit Atlantic on a luxury steamer, but what I saw this morning was just as profound.

In the shadow of corporate luxury and the cruel reality of indifferent decadence cohabitating with horrific hunger and displaced bodies on the mean streets of Los Angeles, I saw morning dew drops on red and yellow roses. And I saw God, on Olvera Street.