I Had This Dream

At the beginning of the dream, I was in a house with a man who kept large glass cases filled with reptiles and snakes of all sort. The cases were enormous, floor-to-ceiling, but had the small flaw of not completely shutting the reptiles in.

Immediately, I identified this problem to him: “They’re all going to escape.”

Thus it began. Snakes and such began to slither from underneath the glass cases, and I bolted from the room, with the reptiles chasing me all the way.

Outside, it was raining. I was running through a city that was slightly more futuristic than our current level of technology, and at one point, I remember a bridge collapsing- it wasn’t a huge bridge, but it fell anyway.

As I kept running, I somehow ended up in a psych ward. I don’t remember why I had to go through there, but I knew someone was after me.

At one point, two of the patients that eerily resembled some of the antagonists from American Horror Story: Cult appeared and killed some of the staff members. I told them I wouldn’t tell anyone, and the girl grabbed my left arm and then stabbed me.

It didn’t hurt, and then…I shot her. Then I shot the guy as well.

Nurses came in to clean up the mess. They didn’t act surprised that anyone was dead; no distress, just coming along, cleaning everything up, telling me to watch the blood I had all over me.

Around this time, I woke up.

What a weird dream.

Steve

Advertisements

The Emptiness: A Poem

Neither here nor there

I cannot save my past

Though my future is unknown

To the Emptiness I can go

Source of all

But Nothing Itself

Sink into the Sea of Emptiness

The cracks in reality

That which is Not

Gives rise to meaning

All you have valued

Is sustained by Non-Being

Die before you die

To know what life is

To know what death is

Endless flow, endless suffering

Let it all come to rest

Let it all come to Silence

And in Silence, know

Let the Center collapse

That the All may be All

Let that which is Empty

Become Awake

On Thoughts and Prayers

Let’s break this down.

The criticism I have of “thoughts and prayers” isn’t that I think they’re entirely ineffectual (I don’t), it’s that the people who usually say those things are doing it to make themselves feel better and avoid doing anything useful.

Even if the usefulness is something like directly contacting someone and having lengthy conversations with them so they can vent to you (something I’ve done for most of my life), that’s still better than the hollow-ringing “thoughts and prayers.”

Yes, I admit that we can manipulate energy or something along those lines in this world. I also acknowledge that takes specific conditions and hefty training. Yes, if someone’s thinking about me, that can make me feel better or know that I’ve “got this.”

But that only goes so far. At some point in time, people need resources- time, energy, supplies, you name it. At some point in time, “thoughts and prayers” just becomes one giant “fuck you; I’m going on with my life” to the people in need.

And I’m not okay with that.

On the other hand, there are people who themselves have limited resources and who literally can’t help. “Thoughts and prayers” from them may be the way they’re expressing sympathy- that may be all they can give. In which case, I think it would be better to simply express condolences of some sort. Someone telling me they wish they could help me but aren’t in a position to do so will not make me feel ill-will towards them in the way that someone who absolutely can help me denies that help by saying “thoughts and prayers.”

So yeah. There’s my critique and nuance. Take it or leave it.

Steve

Some People are Uninvited to My Life

Another person got blocked on Facebook. They used to be part of my life, and now they aren’t, but I went to their feed, saw they were posting things from the likes of Breitbart (particularly racist pieces), and so I said, “Nope. You’re officially uninvited to my life” and blocked them.

The Nazis don’t have any regard for facts and reason; their entire game is one long illogical piece meant to throw those of us who regard decency and reason as integral to life into a state of frenzy and fear.

The point I try to bring home again and again about Trump and the Nazis is that he is the symbol they’ve celebrated and empowered; he is the symbol that, as long as he’s around, reflects their open status to them.

Thus, the solution is that the Nazis, their symbols, and anything to do with them must be thoroughly and swiftly crushed and dumped into outer space.

Moreover, people who’ve always been bigoted but didn’t feel they were allowed to openly vent their bigotry because of “politically correct” culture now feel like “Oh, now we’re able to say the truth!” It isn’t that they’re “saying the truth,” it’s that they were always bigots and didn’t realize they were wrong.

The Roy Moore situation is yet another symbolic battle. My homestate of Alabama is now the determining factor for the next psychic tidal wave.

Somewhere underneath it all, I have compassion for these people. Well, sympathy is the real word- I feel sorry for them. I feel sorry for people who are so miserable, who are suffering so much due to the systems of the society that affect all of us and which prevent them from understanding what got them into the situation in the first place. Then the unquestioning loyalty dedicated to their abhorrent variety of so-called “Christianity” for the sake of a better afterlife than this life leaves them virtually defenseless on all intellectual and emotional grounds.

In other words, the compassionate part of me wants to say that the bigots and Nazis have no way to work out of the quagmire into which they’ve been plunged without outside help- and that would require reaching out to the very people they’ve demonized.

Sighs. A bit of compassion, but we can’t chunk commonsense out the window- these people are dangerous and will harm us if we aren’t careful.

Steve

Christmas Lights

We’ve put up Christmas lights both outside and inside; they start in the laundry room, go around the kitchen and dining area, though the living room area, back to the kitchen, and there they end.

The ambience offered is soothing; this may as well all be one room, and the subtle light is enough that it doesn’t hurt my eyes but also makes everything thoroughly visible, a sunset-like quality.

Last Christmas was awful, not because we didn’t have a good time, but because I was still spiraling through my three-month depression of Trump’s election.

At some point, and I’ve probably written this before, I finally had enough. I turned off my social media, I did a Pagan ritual to cleanse the home of harmful and negative vibrations, thoughts, thoughtforms, entites, and so on, and…

…the very next day, I had my first good day, the first good day I’d had since Trump’s election. I’d really been depressed for that long- three months or so.

And around that time, I had an argument with my mother, a blow-out argument, and I vowed in that argument that *I* would have a good year regardless of who the president was- because I’m not like the people who whined and moaned about Barack Obama for eight years.

And it’s true- I’m not. They hated Obama because he was black and because of lies that had been spread about him. I hate Trump (yes, I hate him; no, don’t lecture me) for who he is, what he’s doing, and for the people who support him (mainly the Nazis).

The difference? My reaction is based on the truth; their reactions were based on a fantasy.

Oh, yeah, and I’ve been meaning to say this, but…Trump is going to burn in Buddhist Hell. Or maybe freeze. AND AS A BUDDHIST, I CAN SAY THAT NOW! It’s not really a good thing to say, but…yeah. It’s really less of trying to be the judge in the case and more of venting.

And that feels good to say. Wow, it just feels good to finally get it out- however, let’s be more accurate: Trump, according to his bad karma, is going to have a tough time in his next life. The amount of good he would have to do at this point to counterbalance that karma is probably impossible. No god is going to save him and protect him from the rotten fruit of his deeds; it’s cause and effect, baby.

Anyway, this is all to say that basically, we’re gonna have a much better Christmas this year. There’s hope, there’s a path, and even if we’ll take down the Christmas lights, this Christmas feels more like the Christmases of my childhood.

Another truth of Buddhism that’s smacked in the face, the first characteristic of reality, Impermanence, explains why Christmas stopped feeling like childhood Christmases around 8th grade. I thought I was the only person, but in high school, I remember hearing other people my age say the same thing.

The reality is that Christmas, and our experience of Christmas, changes from year to year. The “essence” of Christmas is also something that’s in flux, as are we; we can’t “recapture” Christmas exactly. This is difficult to explain in words but is definitely what I experience.

Moreover, the underlying Emptiness of everything is what gives Christmas (and anything) it’s sense of meaningfulness. Again, it’s something you have to experience.

So enjoy your Christmas or whatever holidays you might celebrate. (We’re also doing Yule this year, so yay!).

Take care.

Steve

The New Path is the Old Path

While one might say that I’m going through a “Buddhist phase” at this point, I’m not entirely sure what the best description is.

This began with me watching an anime based on the Chinese classic Journey to the West. The anime is called “Saiyuki” (the Japanese title; compare to the Chinese “Xi You Ji”), though the title is actually written 最遊記 instead of 西遊記.

So I began reading a book I picked up a while back, or downloaded would be the actual thing I did, but anyway, Daniel Ingram’s Mastering the Core Teachings of the Buddha, and let me tell you, it rocked my world. You can purchase a copy or read it online or download it; Daniel has it on his website.

Anyway, very quickly, ya gotta understand that in high school, I kind of floundered between Paganism and Buddhism for a while, and these past several years, I’ve had an ill-at-ease relationship with Christianity as best, mainly because I’m only concerned with the mystical components and the imagery that support that inner transformative mysticism.

Unfortunately, 99% of self-proclaimed Christians aren’t interested in those things at best, and at worst, they would condemn mysticism and such as being “of the Devil.” So, fuck ’em. I don’t have time to waste on that.

What I’ve discovered is the continuing process of “we bring ourselves, as in, in our maturity, our experiences, and so forth” to whatever path we’re walking. (Canova phrases this differently: she said, “Canova being Pagan in her 20s doesn’t necessarily mean the same thing as Canova being Pagan in her 30s.” Of course, we mean the same thing.)

My serious journey into mysticism started around the autumn of 2007, and that’s when I turned toward Christianity and began trying to make peace with it, searching through the mysticism and so on. And it’s interesting that in the autumn of 2017, ten years later, that would finally all collapse (but many people have noticed it’s been giving away for a while).

This is where things get interesting, though.

You see, in Buddhism, there’s a such thing a “skillful means,” and thus it’s possible to participate in other religions, their imagery, and their practices if they’re conducive toward attaining Nirvana.

Moreover, instead of seeing a conflict of worldviews among Paganism, Buddhism, and Christianity, I now see rather the internal clarity- I see that Buddhism can, in many ways, subsume both Paganism and Christianity as these can both be skillful means to Nirvana.

Which leads us to the point about how we’re still definitely celebrating Advent, Christmas, and so on, and also leads to the point about how I’ve been celebrating the Holy Eucharist in my home, by myself; Apostolic Succession and hierarchical structures be damned. I’ll still pray the rosary and use Christian prayers when it seems conducive and suitable. The biggest point here is that literally no one can stop me from doing any of this.

The goal is to attain Nirvana, not to fit neatly and squarely into a presupposed image of what some religion is meant to look like.

So I’ll celebrate the Holy Eucharist in my home, I’ll do rituals with Pagans, and I’ll keep doing vipassana meditation and chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo.

And in some ways, this means that I’m more Gnostic than ever.

Honestly, Jordan Stratford was on the mark about Gnosticism being “Catholic on the outside and Buddhist on the inside.” He also said Gnostics quote a lot of dead Greek guys, but that’s not accurate on my end, but yeah, my Gnosticism is pretty much Buddhism in Catholic drag, so I mean I dunno what to tell anyone beyond that.

So am I a Buddhist? Maybe, but the goal is Nirvana and to realize the beyondness of it all, so there won’t be anyone left to be a Buddhist, just the Buddha Nature existing in all things as it always does anyway.

Hugs and kisses to those who’d like them,

Steve

Anime

Canova, I want you to participate in a sort of experiment with me, which is to say I need you to watch all of the dubbed episodes of Sailor Moon- and by dubbed, I mean the NEW dub, by Viz, the one that’s uncensored and unedited.

Here’s the breakdown: three seasons have been dubbed (Sailor Moon, Sailor Moon R, and Sailor Moon S ((read as “Sailor Moon Super”)), but only two of them are available on Hulu (Sailor Moon and Sailor Moon R).

Let’s just say I’ve marathoned them and am in Sailor Moon R now.

On the other hand, knowing Canova as a thorough-going person, I can see her deciding (wisely) to wait until the full series is dubbed and available and then going through it and watching all 200 episodes, but starting with the first 90 isn’t bad, haha.

The Sailor Moon dub is actually really good, and since I’ve avoided watching dubbed anime for years upon years, I kind of feel like that is no longer an issue so long as it isn’t butchered (see what happened to Sailor Moon in the 90s as well as currently shows like Pretty Cure, hacked, slashed, and made into something called “Glitter Force”).

So another dubbed anime I’ve picked up is Saiyuki, also available on Hulu. I really, really like Saiyuki as it appeals to my more masculine personality streaks- plenty of action and funny, crass dialog along and horsing around in the way so many men do. The Buddhist elements also strongly appeal to me and reminded me how much I fell in love with Buddhism a teenager.

Then there’s Yu Yu Hakusho- the one anime in this list so far I’m watching in Japanese. Given, I can’t understand what people say when they start talking fast but refuse to read the subtitles.

That’s the curious thing about language- obviously, cartoons have a different degree of voice acting going on than live-action series. I can understand a lot of what people say in dramas.

Anyway, I have a whole list of currently available anime to check out, and I may secure a Crunchy Roll account at some point in order to watch some of the anime not on the streaming services.

One-Punch Man has never appealed to me, but I’m going to check it out as it turns out I’m not as averse to action-anime as I thought.

Inuyasha, well, I definitely want to complete that.

Full-Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood was rated by Americans as the best anime ever, while in Japan the favorite anime is Tiger and Bunny as per some Youtube videos that talked about worldwide polls done.

Case Closed/Detective Conan, Mahoutsukai no Yome, Made in Abyss,  and Magical Circle Guruguru are all on the list.

Of course, the Pretty Cure franchise as well as Card Captor Sakura are all goals of mine.

Watching anime makes me infinitely happier than not watching anime, though life is full of me being inherently unsatisfied. So. Yeah.

Oh, and there’s an anime that bombed in Japan but was dubbed over in a kind of humorous way (sort of what happened with Shin-chan): the dub is called Ghost Stories, and it’s available on Crunchy Roll if you’re willing to deal with their ads embedded in the video.

All right. Wrappin’ this up.

Steve