Friday, March 22, 2013

Balinese Gamelan, the "Interlock Flow" and resolving the dualistic mind: Pt 3

In Balinese gamelan, the Gongs occupy an elevated place of reverence within the orchestra. They are, collectively, the "spiritual heart" of the group, and warrant special treatment in the form of specific offerings and prayers. Gongs are the foundation pulse of gamelan composition, an over-arching frequency that acts as both a container and guide so that the rest of the players find and hold their orientation through the performance. In keeping with classic Balinese dualism, the Gong cycles represent death and rebirth, with the experience of Life created by beautiful music in-between.

While appearing deceptively slow and simple as compared to the fast and furious interlocking notation of the Gangsa, the Gong player's role in the gamelan is considered the most important. They are the keepers of structure, and typically have mastered all the other instruments in the group, so that they may know every note and every sound intimately. In this way, the Gong player holds the full integrity of the music within the cyclic pulses that manifest as the life's blood of Balinese culture.

The Gong holds space for the magic to exist, in the same way that the push-pull pulse of quantum physics creates perceivable reality. I blogged about "quantum possibility waves" in Pt. 2, and how on the smallest measurable level, the Interlock Flow appears to be the dominant mechanic driving everything we know, as a resolved, perfectly harmonized balance created between infinite dualistic forces.

But what about the largest measurable level? I find it absolutely fascinating that all life on Earth is contained within an atmospheric container created by two opposing forces, the highly conductive surface of the Earth (Yin) and the opposing, pressurized perimeter of the ionosphere (Yang). Electrical activity on the planet excites these two forces, and because they are restricted within this tight container, the effect can actually be measured. The natural frequency of the planet then, also known as the "Schumann Resonance" is 7.83 Hz.

But what is even more compelling, is how this pulse manifests on a personal level. Between the dualistic cycle of Awake and Asleep, the brain creates a unique wave frequency. These waves, commonly known as Alpha waves, are generated during the short time immediately before the conscious nervous system switches over to the subconscious. This is the universal human experience of deep relaxation, and if maintained while awake, can be the gateway to deeper and perhaps more meaningful levels of consciousness. This optimized natural pulse, a measurable waveform of 7.83 Hz (!), was called "OM" by the ancient Indian Rishis and is the foundation frequency of both personal Peace, and the container of all Life as we know it. As above, so below. 

In order to be qualified Gong players in this giant musical score we are creating, we need to understand much more than we currently do. While the natural frequency of 7.83 Hz would have been the anchor pulse to guide our collective orientation just a few decades ago, there has been a massive, unprecedented onslaught of man-made frequencies from cell technology, military technology, and so on. These "unnatural" frequencies are now so dense, if they were visible to the eye, we would likely not be able to see ten feet in front of us, anywhere where there are large populations of people. No wonder then, why getting back to nature feels so good.

On a final note, I am working on new ways to connect with my own personal peace and resolve the dualistic mind, using some of this information to construct a more effective visualization. Simple procedure: While playing a pure 7.83 Hz tone through headphones, I imagine the dualities that push and pull my heart (the human electromagnetic epicenter) and slowly close the gap between them until they reach a single, balanced point. Sometimes that point is just a radiating pulse, sometimes it is a person or symbol. But the idea is always the same, in my heart, I call this place "Peace".

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Wizard of Words

I admit, I've never been all that keen on the discipline of Astrology. While I love and am completely fascinated with the intersection of science and esoterica, Astrology has always seemed to me a vague, commercialized and cartoony form of sacred study. And call me a control freak, but the thought of lending even the small choices in life to some random person's creative interpretations of my position in the cosmos seems, um, kind of ridiculous. I tend to avoid horoscopes altogether, preferring the less externally guided path of listening to my own personal navigator, come what may. To each his own, of course. I'm not suggesting there is anything wrong with being interested, I've just never felt the attraction myself.

It's a bit ironic then, that my favorite author of the moment is indeed a world-famous Astrologer.  Rob Brezsny's latest effort Pronoia is the Antidote for Paranoia is totally rocking my world, even though I am neither paranoid nor interested in his first profession. His book, however, is genius. Rob is the grand-poobah of word wizardry, and uses this skill to effortlessly frolic in the deepest waters of the soul. I'm copy/pasting, in his own words, the description of this awesome book:

"DEFINITION: Pronoia is the antidote for paranoia. It's the understanding that the universe is fundamentally friendly. It's a mode of training your senses and intellect so you're able to perceive the fact that life always gives you exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.

OBJECTIVE OF PRONOIA: To explore the secrets of becoming a wildly disciplined, fiercely tender, ironically sincere, scrupulously curious, aggressively sensitive, blasphemously reverent, lyrically logical, lustfully compassionate Master of Rowdy Bliss.

HYPOTHESES: Evil is boring. Cynicism is idiotic. Fear is a bad habit. Despair is lazy. Joy is fascinating. Love is an act of heroic genius. Pleasure is your birthright. Receptivity is a superpower.

PROCEDURE: Act as if the universe is a prodigious miracle created for your amusement and illumination. Assume that secret helpers are working behind the scenes to assist you in turning into the gorgeous masterpiece you were born to be. Join the conspiracy to shower all of creation with blessings.

GUIDING QUESTION: "The secret of life," said sculptor Henry Moore to poet Donald Hall, "is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for your whole life. And the most important thing is -- it must be something you cannot possibly do." What is that task for you?

UNDIGNIFIED MEDITATIONS TO KEEP YOU HONEST: Brag about what you can't do and don't have. Confess profound secrets to people who aren't particularly interested. Pray for the success of your enemies while you're making love. Change your name every day for a thousand days.

MYTHIC ROLE MODELS: Prometheus and Pronoia. In Greek mythology, Pronoia was the consort of Prometheus, the divine rebel who pilfered a glowing coal from his fellow gods so that he could slip the gift of fire to humans.

TOP-SECRET ALLIES: Sacred janitors, benevolent pranksters, apathy debunkers, lyrical logicians, ethical outlaws, aspiring masters of curiosity, homeless millionaires, humble megalomaniacs, hedonistic midwives, lunatic saints, sly optimists, mystical scientists, dissident bodhisattvas, macho feminists, and socialist libertarians who possess inside information about the big bang.

DAILY PRACTICE: Push hard to get better, become smarter, grow your devotion to the truth, fuel your commitment to beauty, refine your emotional intelligence, hone your dreams, negotiate with your shadow, cure your ignorance, shed your pettiness, heighten your drive to look for the best in people, and soften your heart -- even as you always accept yourself for exactly who you are with all of your so-called imperfections.

POSSIBLE REWARDS: You will be able to claim the rewards promised you at the beginning of time -- not just any old beauty, wisdom, goodness, love, freedom, and justice, but rather: exhilarating beauty that incites you to be true to yourself; crazy wisdom that immunizes you against the temptation to believe your ideals are ultimate truths; outrageous goodness that inspires you to experiment with irrepressible empathy; generous freedom that keeps you alert for opportunities to share your wealth; insurrectionary love that endlessly transforms you; and a lust for justice that's leavened with a knack for comedy, keeping you honest as you work humbly to liberate everyone in the world from ignorance and suffering.

USAGE NOTE: We employ the adjectival form "paranoiac" rather than "pronoid." That way, it rhymes with "aphrodisiac" and resonates with "paradisiacal" instead of being conditioned by "paranoid."

DISCLAIMER: Material in this book may be too intense and controversial for some readers. It contains graphic scenes of peace, love, joy, passion, reverence, splendor, and understanding. You will not find any references to harsh, buzzing fluorescent lights in a cheap hotel room where a heroin dealer plots to get revenge against the authorities at his old high school by releasing sarin gas into the teachers' lounge. There are no reports of Nazi skinheads obsessed with re-creating the 14th-century Tartars' war strategy of catapulting plague-ridden corpses into an enemy's citadel.

Completely absent from these pages are any stories about a psychotic CEO of a Fortune 500 company who has intentionally disfigured his face to help him elude the CIA, which wants to arrest him for the treasonous sale of his company's nanotech weapons technology to the Chinese. You should therefore proceed with caution if you are a jaded hipster who is suspicious of feeling healthy and happy. Ask yourself: "Am I ready to stop equating cynicism with insight? Do I dare take the risk that exposing myself to uplifting entertainment might dull my intelligence?" If you doubt your ability to handle relaxing breakthroughs, you should stop reading now."

So if that doesn't grab your interest, I don't know what will. On a final note, Rob wrote a few great lines on Love recently, which I think apply quite nicely to the themes of this humble blog.  For me, this is the spirit and the message that sings to the heart of the artist, and, quite ironically, a loving guide of how to engage the creative flow:

"I love your pilgrim soul and I love your ever-deepening eyes.

I love how unflinchingly you peer into the heart of your own darkness.

I love how you're making yourself more and more receptive to truths in their wild states.

I love how you can lose yourself in passion but never shirk your commitment to the good and the true.

I admire the way you never bear a grudge against the mountains that are in your way, but rather just set to work getting around them.

I love your commitment to deciphering the code you left for yourself before you came into this life."

And to this I say: The heart of creativity is a prayer to oneself. Amen.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Evolutionary Character

Design is the largest part of my day to day work life, and has been for a long time. It's not much of a stretch to say I was born prewired for the job, always embracing the creative process as a natural extension of the things in life I enjoy. I feel pretty darn lucky to have translated these creative urges into viable methods of making a living over the years. Thank goodness. I'd make a crappy accountant.

One would assume, given the exhaustive list of designerly output generated over decades of personal and professional effort, that I'd have design flow down to a predictable science by now. Don't I wish…that's just not how good design works. Regardless of experience, design of merit always is and always will be revision perfected, starting out as one thing, but ultimately ending up a product of both the intention, and the unscripted experience of the creative process itself.

People can be described the same way. Whether we like it or not, we are mutable works in process, constantly processing feedback, reinventing ourselves a little bit (or a lot) at a time. Fighting the inevitable call to upgrade old formulas seems to make one rigid, or worse, a fanatical narcissist stuck in a lonely bubble that grows continually smaller. I see it all the time, from priests to punkers, no one is immune to the natural tendency to let what is comfortably predictable become stiffness of character.

Embracing the "Evolutionary Character" however, is a license to be flexible. With it, you are allowed to grow smarter, stronger and happier. As a creative type, I like to conceptualize the Evolutionary Character as the conscious, intentional revising of oneself, perfecting the design we call Life.

Most of us who wish stay flexible quietly battle the creeping stiffness that could, without being kept in check, eventually be used describe us as being "set in our ways". But these days, more than ever before, there are public lives that demonstrate the power of a conscious, re-visionary life. I love to indulge in the stories of Evolutionary Character success. They inspire me, and provide tremendous feedback as to what possibilities exist within my own personal composition.

One such Evolutionary Character story is that of my favorite singer/songwriter Rob Dickinson. Rob fronted the criminally underrated rock band The Catherine Wheel for ten years before they called it quits in 2000, leaving behind a treasure trove of gorgeous, guitar-effect textured alternative classics such as Black Metallic, Crank and Mouthful of Air. During that decade, I can not think of a more influential musical presence in my personal life, and I continue to revisit every album from time to time as a reminder of where I come from and what I am made of. Through the years Rob collaborated with many other artists, and eventually released his only solo album in 2005 to excellent reviews. I loved the album and even made a video to one of his songs to commemorate the first year of my son's life. But soon thereafter, Rob disappeared.

A few years ago, Rob became visible again. But this time, he was not a musician. It makes some sense that so many Catherine Wheel songs could be interpreted as love songs to cars, because Rob Dickinson is a now world famous Porsche designer! Singer, a company Rob founded in 2009, re-envisions the classic 911 as a modern supercar, a hand built masterpiece that is arguably one of the finest sports vehicles ever made, period. He produces 6-10 cars a year, and demand is very high. No wonder why I loved his music so much, having grown up surrounded by hot rods and exotics all my young life, something in his music runs deep in my blood.

With a 250k price tag, the Porsche Singer is the first Rob Dickinson design I can not afford to purchase. But I'm working on that. Like him, I'm upgrading and evolving, working toward the best version of my own Evolutionary Character. I trust the flow, and am resolved to be patient as necessary revisions weed out the stiffness, making room to reach ever-forward. There's also rumor that Rob has been engaging in parallel paths, and will be releasing new music sometime soon. Considering his current success, perhaps connecting with the past under new and less rigid terms will yield amazing results, maybe with refinements on board that would have otherwise been impossible. A Singer, this man absolutely is.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Quotes on Creativity

Scientist, artist, poet and writer, sharing a common understanding of the creative process.

 “I never made one of my discoveries through the process of rational thinking”
― Albert Einstein

"I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”
― Albert Einstein

“Logic will get you from A to Z; imagination will get you everywhere.”
― Albert Einstein

“Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.”
― Albert Einstein

“Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were, but without it we go nowhere.”
― Carl Sagan

"We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.”
― Kurt Vonnegut

“You can't depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
― Mark Twain

“Don't be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.”
― Rumi

“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun”
― Pablo Picasso

“The painter has the Universe in his mind and hands.”
― Leonardo da Vinci

PS: Einstein gets more quotes because today is his birthday :)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The Science Fair Kids Are Alright.

 “Every kid starts out as a natural-born scientist, and then we beat it out of them. A few trickle through the system with their wonder and enthusiasm for science intact.” —Carl Sagan

The above picture is a science fair project created by a sixth grader. Seriously. Needless to say I was riveted, and not just because of how impressive it is that such an idea was being presented by a little girl who looks like she might still require the use of booster seat, but because the experiment itself was relevant and fascinating. For the sake of my own curiosity I really, really wanted to know the outcome.

Here's a tip: If you are fruit fly, avoid genetically modified papaya at all costs. Humans might want to exercise some caution as well, until more people like this Jr. Scientist start calling the shots.

This past weekend, it was my privilege and pleasure to be roped in by my SCMOD friend Miguel Aznar to act as a judge for the annual Santa Cruz County Science Fair. Being that I'm all about educational games and design, in one fell swoop I got a decent fix of three awesome things that I absolutely love: Working with kids, science and blue-sky creativity. I walked in curious and motivated, and walked out totally inspired, hopeful that the next generation has what it takes to move the world beyond the troubling mess we are currently creating. Harmless biodegradable plastic alternatives? Check. Detailed studies on health effects of GMO vs organic foods? Check. College graduate level ecology science that made me and my astute fellow judges (mostly scientists themselves) stop and think, over and over again? Check, check and check.

The science was indeed great, and the top prizes well deserved. But who are we kidding, a continuum of ability exists in any group of people. And not everyone at Science Fair is going to demonstrate breakthrough work before they can even legally drive a car. But, everyone did get creative. As I saw it, the ubiquitous creative element in these projects was just as impressive as the science. And perhaps it was even more important, as every one of these kids I talked to took great pride in explaining the details of their creations. In a way, the interview process felt like I was asking an artist to explain a piece of work, and even the "least" scientifically impressive of the bunch had a lot to say, with a credible amount of depth and understanding.

The experience got me thinking about the relationship between science (or any subject really) and creativity, and at what point does western thinking demand that the two be separated? What I was seeing in the roughly 350 individual presentations was a powerful blend of the two. Kids were encouraged to use their imagination to create a meaningful hypothesis, gather data and to be creative in how they present their efforts. They were asked to engage in Shoshin, the "beginner's mind", and to think about science not so much as a process of crunching numbers, but as a channel to express themselves by asking and answering their own questions that they are eager to know about in the world. No such thing as a crazy idea if the curiosity is strong. Does it actually help kids to embrace scientific learning using their own creativity? I certainly remember my 6th grade science project (how crystals grow) and I'm going to hazard to guess that these children won't soon forget what they have created either. That's just the thing, they created these projects as an extension of their own belief systems, which changes everything by making it more meaningful.

So why can't the creative spirit, which works so well and is so magnificently supported in the Science Fair universe, be the focus throughout the process of learning? Why do we force kids to memorize and regurgitate a whole bunch of meaningless data-bits when instead they could be creating personal masterpieces that draw from every educational angle? I guess today I'm asking more questions than usual because in the context of a what could be seen as a national education emergency, the kids are, as always, ready to embrace the new and evolve. The burden of letting go of that which does not serve them is ours, not theirs.

I look forward to making this an annual event. And I can't wait until my four year old is ready to get creative with his own science fair masterpiece.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Marina and Ulay

Please bear with me. It's one of those mornings where I sat down to write with certain intentions in mind, but got sideswiped by something that moved me in a completely different direction. Consider this: In the exploration of creative flow, perhaps one of the easiest and most natural ways to produce is to act with immediacy when inspired, harnessing that which is stoking the creative fire to transform experience into manifested expression. I appreciate the method as a means to an end, and as an exercise in both being present and connected to the workings of the world. However, acts of true creative genius, the ones that thrust our hearts beyond complacent comfort zones towards the raw, emotional spring that wells up, breaks through and truly moves us to feel a deeper human connection….these are different.  True genius lays us bare, and forces eyes wide open to witness the unfolding of our own hearts, and in that space, the reflection demands of the one standing in the mirror, "what is real?".

In this case, the moment the answer is revealed became a entire lifetime lived right before my eyes, as if the artist's heart had been my own.

Marina Abramovic and Ulay were both lovers and performance artists that started out in the early seventies. They continued on their path together until 1988, where they designed a final piece to mark the end of both their professional and romantic relationship. In that performance, each walked toward each other from opposite sides of the Great Wall of China, where they met in the middle for one last embrace, before permanently going their separate ways. Certainly one of the most remarkable and artistic break-ups I've ever heard of, but their story has one more recently added chapter that moved me beyond words.

In 2010, 22 years after their final moment together, Marina performed "The Artist is Present", where she invited strangers in to hold her gaze for one minute. Ulay traveled to her opening night show without her knowing, and this is what happened:

Friday, March 8, 2013

Robot Love

It finally happened. After 17 years of threatening to physically drag my butt out to the barren middle of nowhere, my long time friend and fellow creative spirt Nick Myerhoff finally convinced me to take the plunge and participate in the 2012 Burning Man Festival. And what wild ride it was, surpassing expectations in every way possible. For creatives who have been there before, this festival represents much more than a week of outlandish, dusty fun. This is the western world's Mecca of artistic superheroes; the best and brightest DIY minds in full, glorious bloom. For the uninitiated, all I can say is, there absolutely nothing I could possibly write in one page or a thousand that would do a modicum of justice to the experience itself. And I am a perfect example of why that is true.

For almost two decades now, I've had easy access to the most epic post/pre Burning Man gatherings, hung out with it's core creators, seen zillions of photos, videos and documentaries, and even used to date an amazing woman who ran the Burning Man Film Festival. I'm very lucky to live in an area where there are more "Burners" per capita than anywhere else in the world. Given my creative nature, I've always just fit right in. Any yet, somehow I'd convinced myself that all of this awesome peripheral exposure was enough to fill my thirsty creative cup…so, I didn't really need to actually go, right? Boy was I ever wrong about that one. My first night out on the Playa, witnessing first hand what cannot justly be described in words, basically, my head exploded. What my eyes were seeing and what my brain could actually process were leagues apart, requiring a complete re-synchronization of my creative DNA from top to bottom. I had been altered, modified, upgraded even. And that was just night one….

I could speak endlessly about the breathtaking and remarkably personal experiences waiting to happen in this impossibly perfect temporary city of 55k spiritulized revelers. There are favorite works of art, favorite people, even a favorite temporary building filled with heart-wrenching letters of love and suffering, waiting to be ignited and offered to the endless desert night sky. So many beautiful stories of what a community can do if it sets its mind to create something truly amazing. And for so many of the wild at heart, this place is as much Home as it is the refueling station to spread the spirit of Burning Man beyond its dusty borders.

But I was out there for a specific reason, at least on the surface. And that reason was to represent and support a project born of dreams co-created with my pal Nick, years before. Nick applied for and won a 5k grant to build a giant recycled-object robot sculpture for the largest daytime party camp at Burning Man: Distrikt. Here's is how blue-sky dreaming and artistic collaboration with a creative friend made it to the front page of newspapers and websites around the globe:

From the Dragun Robot blog:

"Nick Myerhoff and Mike Parisi have been misfit artist comrades since 1995 when they worked together on the original Armymen video game at the 3DO Company. Together they spent countless hours envisioning giant robot games, toys and sculptures.….The Giant Distrikt Dragun robot concept stems from Nick and Mike’s 3 year old vision of building giant robots out of auto parts as large scale decorative sculptures. Of course scrap metal giant human forms are nothing new, but ours will maintain some relevance and authenticity based on classic 1970’s Japanese robots. The Distrikt robot will be 20’ tall constructed of recycled sheet metal and scrap auto parts…."

It ended up that Dragun (aka, Recyclatron) was more like 24 feet tall, and required a crew of five awesome humans to engineer and build. Many a weekend was sacrificed and much trial and error went down before the final form found it's way Home, as the 2012 mascot for Distrikt's insanely over the top daytime revelry. And for one crazy week, our giant robot watched over the tens of thousands who came to our camp to dance the days into night, the nights to morning, and mornings into hugs and tears and silty sweat. It was a ecstatic and exhausting journey, and watching it all come together for that brief period of time made me think of that 5 year old robot-obsessed kid, who fell in love for the first time and never, ever gave up. And that is the only "final destination" that matters.

PS: This super cool Distrikt clip below has almost 4 million! hits, not exactly SFW, but if you watch closely you will see the Recyclatron.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Undone, and Done.

Happy Birthday, Michelangelo Buonarroti born March 6th, 1475. Western civilization owes you more than just a debt of gratitude for works of art so great they continue to define the standards by which we see and understand beauty. Yes, the debt runs even deeper, as even up to this day, your works, in all their limitless power, continue to draw us into the mysteries of man's inherent desire to understand God and Heaven. You never stopped pushing yourself to create in the spirit of Divine Flow, all the way to the final effort of your justly celebrated life.

This is Michelangelo's last statue, the unfinished Rondanini Pietà, which he started sometime in his eighties. The depiction of Jesus and Mary at first glance appears to be a Mother supporting her Son, as his bodily form slips away. But seen from another angle, it appears that it is the Son who is supporting the Mother, with her full weight pressed on his back as he gives his strength so that she may stand tall. And still, some say that the two are essentially fused, all barriers dissolved between Mother and Son, perhaps as an expression of Michelangelo's own personal loss (his mother died when he was 6).

Whatever the case may be, the piece stands as unique among his works. It is as much a confrontation with his own mortality and human frailty, as it is a testament to his undying belief in his purpose to merge his hands with God's intent.  It is a rough, haunting final story of a spirit in unrelenting creative flow, even as his body, nearly 90 at that point, wished to pen its final page.

Art critics routinely pass over this work, dismissing it as "pitiful" and a product of mental weakness and loss of power. I don't see it like that at all, but rather, an acceptance of never being able to fully understand that which he loved so much. Fitting then, that he left it unfinished.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Balinese Gamelan, the "Interlock Flow" and resolving the dualistic mind: Pt 2

"There is good and bad, and the river that divides the two, running deep through the core of everything and everyone. The mirrors we encounter in our lives, those who stir our hearts, will reflect all of this back, in all the beauty and devastation we carry as a burden of being human. The Lesson being, not to get tripped up on judging what we See, but to honor the mirror itself, and its infinite capacity for wondrous reflection. "

With regular frequency, an odd but wonderful thing happens when practicing gamelan in the Anak Swarasanti studio. Though all parties present do not utter a word, from seemingly out of nowhere one can hear, quite clearly, the distinct sound of a human voice accompanying the music. Basically somebody is singing along that isn't actually there. It sounds a bit like a musical chant actually, and alternates between male and female in tone. Appropriately, these non-corporal verbalizations seem to come from a talented Balinese singer, as if their part was written specifically for the composition being played. I've noticed this dozens of times now, and have come to enjoy the company of this ethereal, if just ever-so slightly creepy phenomenon. Now, one could make the assumption that perhaps I am just a little off, or maybe something is wrong with my hearing. Or, perhaps I just need to trim down on the meds. Well, I can't really defend myself from being a bit off, but I certainly do not take any medications, and my ears are just fine (despite the Metal years, dude). So what then, could possibly explain the perfectly audible and hauntingly beautiful vocal stylings of a person who does not exist?

The answer is found in part one of this story, but to sum it up, this is just how Balinese music is intended to work. There's not really a human voice present at all, but the audible artifacts of interactions between paired instruments with slightly different tunings, played in interlocking sections. If it still sounds like magic, I am convinced that it actually is to some extent, regardless of "rational explanation". Balinese mysticism explores the idea that acknowledging and honoring the opposites, whether it be man/woman, flat/sharp or the sangsi/polos within a gamelan orchestra, is the path to grasping full consciousness. Furthermore, Integrating the opposites allows us to share the strength of both to create the ultimate balance: Life. Indeed, the transcendence of dualism is the simple Balinese explanation of humanity itself. We are, according to the oldest religious texts of Bali, the result of balance struck between the positive powers of Heaven and the negative of the Underworld.  We are the river between the concepts of good and evil, and "as above, so below" the same river runs through all of us as well. It's worth noting that in Bali, children are seen as angels descended from Heaven to help mankind, and that they are born entirely good, the closest earthly tie to celestial divinity. I completely agree.

While all of this might sound fine in the relatively obscure, ethno-cultural context of Balinese mythology, what is so fascinating to me is how this theme of "reality in the balance beyond dualism", also adopted by many other cultures throughout history, mirrors the bleeding edge of modern scientific knowledge.  I've been following some of the fascinating and incredibly creative integration work of computer geek/scientist/spiritologist Gregg Braden,who has dedicated his life to revealing vital information on the subject. For instance, Mr Braden states that one of the fundamental tenants of quantum mechanics is the idea that there is a "soup" of possibilities  that exist within the infinite invisible energy fields that surround us. In fact, there are two kinds of "quantum possibility waves" in this soup, the coming wave and the going wave, which categorize all the possibilities in our lives as either, well, coming or going. However, when these waves are directed (and I do mean intentionally directed) to interlock, the wave transforms into a pulse…literally a "standing" wave, producing the atoms that construct what we perceive to be reality. 

This isn't guesswork by the way, but the result of  massive amount of scientific research in the field. You may have heard about how quantum particles cannot be observed, without actually changing the observed system. This is what scientists believe to be proof of our conscious ability to affect the material future, as well as the material past. The interesting part of this, to me anyway, is that quantum possibility waves are most deeply influenced by a particular electro-magnetic powerhouse… The Heart! Which, not surprisingly, is the epicenter of our personal electro-magnetic energy production. So it is the heart (which, btw has memory cells much like the brains, but has thousands of times more electro-magnetic energy) that transforms the combination of lower chakras (emotions) and higher chakras (thoughts) into feelings, the drivers to all our Beliefs. When our emotions and and our thoughts combine, the heart is literally influencing the physical reality we truly Believe in. So if this is indeed true, nothing could be more critical than that old saying "Be careful in what you wish for". A good start might be, only wish for that which brings you Peace.

His work is definitely a lot to chew on, but as a creative person with an interest in the science of belief, most of what Mr. Braden is saying falls into place. In a sense, emotionally driven visualization is the essence of our capacity to be creative, and this applies all the way to the extent where we can harness thoughts and emotions to create our desired physical reality. In practice, it points to the heart as a mechanism to integrate "what is coming" with "what has gone", into the "what is" reality we call from the possibilities that surround us, from birth to death.

In my day to day life I struggle with dualistic thoughts, always trying to "conclude" something so that I may neatly wrap it up and move on to the next quandary. And in the past, if I've been really stuck in an impossible to resolve situation, one method to cope has basically been to let myself go numb as survival mechanism, just push through with the least amount of damage. Nothing could be further than what really needs to happen. This is where the power of real prayer, the ultimate creative visualization of the heart, helps to guide the possibilities toward that which heals.


Feedback is good. After a month of rapid-fire blog blasting I'm taking to heart some welcome advice on this practice of turning thoughts public, by narrowing my focus and getting just a bit more serious about about what gets published. There's good reasons to write everyday, but what makes a blog interesting is not so much about stream-of-consciousness flexing and more about crafting with intention. I started out with that idea, but sort of fell by the way of becoming more emotionally attached to the process, rather than being solidly in love with the final offering. In the end, I think breathing new perspective into our collective story is far more interesting for both me and the reader. So, thanks for the feedback, and welcome (again) to The Interlock Flow.

Which, by the way, is a blog about creativity. Indeed, the whole idea behind what it means to find this "interlocking flow" business is to explore that sweet spot of creative output, where who a person is meets the context allowing for the fullest possible expression of mind, body and spirit. It could be writing, painting, business, science, athletics….whatever inspires to create something beautiful as an offering of the heart. I'll routinely celebrate those whom I admire in this universal endeavor to create, in all their many shapes and forms. I'll also be talking a lot about my own creative process, with the hopes of sharing something worthy of the precious time we all seem to have a problem getting enough of these days.

The discipline of birthing novel ideas is a love letter to the heart. And in return, the spirit stays young and fertile, always open to new possibilities, and therefore, new potential futures. Nothing could be more exciting for the evolutionary soul, whose journey plans no destination, but rather a merging with limitless flow. I hope to honor this intention with words that settle in as nothing less than poems to the creative source.