“Knowledge for a warrior is something that comes at once, engulfs him, and passes on.”
Carlos Castaneda

Tales of Power

Gravedigger

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It indeed would be great to see Dave Matthews Band live in concert again!!!

This is the original album version and video clip.

This is what one man can do live with a guitar:

This is what a band can do live:

enjoy 🙂

Posted in Coming Through, Enjoy, inside, Wishes | You are welcome to add your comment

Tea-Leaf Meditation

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We have plants growing around the house that are great for brewing tea (we drink it hot in the winter and make iced-tea in the summer). I have found that picking leaves is an instant & wonderful meditation practice.

A part of me is still very mindful, so sometimes when I approach a plant, I am flooded by reasoning. Pick the leaves that are already starting to dry, pick another one that is not enough, don’t pick too much (umm… so we have enough to dry and last the winter)… loads and loads of mind chatter. It all happens so fast that just watching it flow by is awesome.

Then comes the fun part. First waiting for the noise to settle. Then looking at the plant, just watching and waiting. Then magic – I know what leaves to pick. Sometimes it takes an instant, sometimes it takes a bit longer, but there is always a clear answer. No reason – just an answer. Certain leaves are there for me to pick. Sometimes they are out in the open – and my attention is called to them. Other times I need to run my hands through the plant and look deeper inside until I find the leaves that are looking for me.

Posted in Expanding, inside, Meditation, Yoga | You are welcome to add your comment

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-07-19

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No More Financial Transactions

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A purely financial transaction is one in which nothing is created – money (or a potential for money) changes hands. It is like a game of chess in which moves are selected, sacrifices made all for the sake of one goal – victory (and defeat – depends on which side of the table you are sitting). With financial transactions the goal is to move money around. Like chess masters, people who live playing with financial transactions are masters of their art.

You can choose to sit down and play a game of chess. You cannot choose to play a game of money – if you have a bank account, credit card or any monetary device – you are in the money game. You have no choice. You are now on the same playground with some crafty & masterful  professionals. This playground is not friendly and neither are they. Their objective is to make all the best moves to manipulate your money into their pockets. They are winning because they are better at it then you.

There is nothing inherently wrong with money or financial games. In my mind they have the potential to be a wonderful exchange of creative potential. Misdirection comes from a distorted sense of purpose. The purpose of the money game is to use the money you have to make more money. There are individuals who have played this game to it’s fullest potential – they have more money then they (or entire countries) could use and they have nothing to do with it (so they are inventing a new game – this time it’s about giving money away).

What if purely financial transaction were outlawed and banned? What would happen if an exchange of money was outside both the accepted and enforced norms of society? What if a financial exchange had to have a stated purpose and to result in something that is created within the context of that purpose?

  • What would happen to banks and bankers?
  • What would happen to investors?
  • What would happen to philanthropists?
  • What would happen to entrepreneurs?
  • What would happen to individual and families?
  • What would happen to communities?
  • What would happen to countries?
  • What would happen to borders?
  • What would happen to you?

I get a great feeling from playing with this idea. If nothing else, it would challenge many existing systems into reorientation, restructuring and hopefully to finding a new purpose.

But this is not practical? Or is it? Initially I thought this was just a fantasy, there is no way that any legislative and economic system would allow such radical reform. But then I realized that ironically making this an immediate reality is in my hands and yours. Your (and many millions like you) are what fuels and supports this system. Any money you have “invested” – from a safe low-interest savings account, pension funds, mortgages, stocks … any financial instrument you are using to “insure your financial future” is directly supporting existing financial markets and enslaving you.

  • Can’t afford to buy a house? Rent one.
  • Can’t afford to rent one in the city? Move to an area where you can afford one – it will probably be a nicer house.
  • Can’t afford to by a nice new car? drive an old and battered one, drive less.
  • Looking to invest your savings? Find something you believe in, take an interest, offer your support.

You have so much power in your hands, use it, don’t hand it over to others!

Posted in AltEco, Featured, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

Yoga & Breath – Directional Breathing

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Directional breathing is a more subtle refinement of locational breathing. This is actually a recurring theme in Yoga – a gradual transition from gross to subtle. If you feel well rooted in locational breathing (inhale=chest,  exhale=abdomen)then you may want to explore directional breathing, if not is may lead to unnecessary aggravation. So please proceed with care. This transition will require an increased level of attention, awareness and practice.

Range of Movement in Breathing

If you haven’t already done so then please have a look at this brief explanation of the anatomy of the torso – where breathing takes place.

yoga_anatomy_torso02

What is of interesting to note in the context of breathing is that the skeletal structure limits the range of motion of breathing. There is relatively less potential motion range in the chest (and it takes considerable conscious effort to do so) and there is relatively more potential motion range in the abdominal area. This is why the movement of natural breathing is more likely to appear in the abdominal area then in the chest.

Directional breathing is about applying a conscious effort to movement that takes place when breathing.

directionalbreathing_range

Directional Exhaling

As with locational breathing it is usually more accessible to start exploring with the exhale. The idea here is to gradually and in sequence activate muscles that partake in exhaling. The following diagram reads from left-to-right. The exhale begins with the lower abdominal muscles, moves up to the mid-abdominal area, through the breathing diaphragm and then, only at the end of the exhale there is movement in the chest.

directionalbreathing_exhale

You can practice this by revisiting the practices we used for locational breathing. Resume your familiar locational breathing and this time as you exhale try to exact more elaborate separation and control and to experience this gradual activation of muscles. Again, it can be useful to place your hands on your body – one on the abdomen, the other on your chest. Use them to really make sure that when you being to exhale, your chest doesn’t immediately collapse – it should remain active and expanded until after the lower muscles have been engaged.

For future reference we will refer to directional exhaling as an upward movement – it begins in the lower abdomen and travels upwards towards the chest.

Directional Inhaling

Inhaling is a reversed gradual process. Inhale begins in the chest area (watch out for the abdomen – it tends to pop out, you need to develop refined muscular control to really keep the abdominal area steady while the chest begins to expand).

directionalbreathing_inhale

Once you have a good sense of directional exhaling you can introduce directional inhaling. Over the time your breathing will develop into a subtle and precise wave movement up and down your torso.

For future reference we will refer to directional inhaling as an downward movement – it begins in the chest and gradually travels down towards the abdominal region.

Attentive Practice

Take time to gradually build directional breathing. Let your mind assimilate the idea. Let your body experience and assimilate new sensations. Let your mind connect to the new physical sensations. It takes time to develop this muscular control, it takes time to build a sustainable  effort. If you rush through it, you may find yourself forming misapprehension instead of clarity. Please remember this is a subtle form of practice.

As you develop this and bind it into your asana practice you will discover more and more subtle aspects of practice.

Posted in Breath, Yoga | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Yoga Anatomy – Torso

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This article was born out of necessity – so it may evolve over time as it touches on more contexts. It got started when I wanted to explain directional breathing. When I sat down to write it, I realized that I needed to establish a simple and basic description of the upper torso where active breathing takes place. So here we are.

yoga_anatomy_torso01

The image above is intended to give you some orientation and perspective on the workings of the upper body. Things to notice – scanning the image top-down:

  • A relatively fragile connection between the neck and the upper body.
  • A rather solid looking chest area – it’s a well formed structure built around the spine that fills the chest area with a ribbed structure
  • A structurally empty void in the abdominal area – this is considered a more “liquid” space – filled with internal organs. It is walled off in front by a set of abdominal muscles.
  • Then this entire system is again connected via a relatively fragile connection to the pelvis. This is the lower back where many back problems manifest.
Posted in Anatomy, Yoga | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Geek Retreat

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Give your mind a great ride – your body!
5 day retreat for technology leaders & entrepreneurs

What is a retreat? It is an opportunity to take some time for yourself, to step back (retreat!) from your familiar day-to-day patterns and … well … see what happens.

Is it a vacation? Yes the idea is to “vacate” and create space for new things. No because you don’t just sit around.

What actually happens? Days are arranged to accommodate a combination of physical activity, conversation, free time & rest, food & sleeping.

What do you mean by physical activities? Don’t break into a sweat, it’s stuff anyone can do, some of it is playful, some of it is meditative, some of it will be on your own, some of it will be with others.

Who will be there? People like you. The idea is to create a setting that is relevant for you. Something you can relate to. So though you will be going towards something unknown, you will be doing it with people with whom you have shared interest and passions.

Can I bring my iPhone? Yes you can but you’re going to have to keep it turned off (and away from your body) most of the time. You will be able to use it once a day at a given time in a given place (so as not to disturb others who may want to sustain their retreat experience).

Who am I? iamronen & this is my blog. I am a yoga teacher, I’ve worked with some awe-inspiring improvisation artists, I had a 15 year technology career, I am involved in numerous projects in which I try to create a bridge between technology and my sense of purpose.

Interested? Great 🙂 You can (1) drop me a line (iamronen [at] iamronen.com );  (2) let me know if you can help in getting it together – I will be happy to travel to a location good for you all; (3) see if any your friends may want to join.

Posted in AltEco, Featured, outside, Wishes, Yoga | You are welcome to add your comment

Energy – the Cakra Thingys

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It reads “Chakra” – but that is the correct Sanskrit Spelling. I tread carefully around this topic, because it has already received soooo much attention. I really don’t think it’s an important subject, but it deserves some space and some demystifying in the overall picture.

In the previous post we talked about intertwined moon & sun channels & sushumna. As the three channels dance around, they create points of convergence – hubs/centers of energy. These centers are often called Cakra’s – but, like many western, interpretations – that is not the entire picture and a but misleading. Cakra is a name attributed to a healthy center of energy. Granthi is a name attributed to an unhealthy center of energy. A Granthi is a knot – it is an obstacle to the flow of energy.

Cakras

It is not my intention to mince words, but there is a recurring subtle theme here that I feel is useful to recognize. I find that when people talk about Cakra’s it almost automatically leads to a healing approach in which “something needs to be done” in order to open/tune/align (there are many popular words to choose from) the Cakra’s. When I think of Knots I am reminded of a core idea – a knot/obstacle is often a result of overdoing, so more doing may not be the best thing to do. Maybe it takes some undoing/not doing/doing less/different doing to transform a Granthi into a Cakra?

Energy centers rotate: when healthy they rotate in one direction, when unhealthy they don’t rotate, when seriously unhealthy they rotate in an opposite direction. Contrary to popular references – energy centers cannot be opened or closed. They can be affected by regulating the flow of energies through Nadi – one good way to do this is Pranayama – breathing practices (which I’ll get to in an upcoming series). I have witnessed Andreea use a pendulum as a diagnosis tool – she will hold it over a physical area associated with a center of energy – and it will move & rotate in conjunction with it.

Energy centers are associated with colors, sounds, visual images, smells, elements, etc (search the internet and you will no doubt find loads of information on these dimensions). They are a powerful metaphor. For me their power lies in their metaphor rather then any fashionable truth that is attributed to them. Metaphors are tightly related to a mindset. Viewing the body as a biological system is one mindset, viewing it as a system of energy is another. I find the latter to be more inspiring and dynamic.

It is interesting to note that there is a natural physical process which affects the structural integrity and behavior  of the energy centers: age. The 3rd energy center (marked in yellow and said to be located approximately behind the belly button) is also considered the center of of the entire energetic system. It also correlates with the fire model mentioned earlier in this series.

Two changes occur around this point as we get older. Have you noticed the physical change in elderly people – how they are bent forward? This tendency causes a compression of the top part of the energy system towards the center. Then from the center down there tends to be downward sagging (this is especially true for women – who’s pelvic floor is more prone to sagging).

cakras_saggingAsana (physical postures) practice can, to some extent, counter this natural tendency. Actually most asana will affect the structure of the energy system. Therefor a key ingredient in a balanced asana practice are counter-postures – which are intended to counteract affects of previous postures and bring the system into re-alignment.

Next up – Kundalini!

Posted in Energy, Yoga | You are welcome to read 2 comments and to add yours

Energy – Nadi

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Yoga suggests that we are wired with a vast network of subtle channels – Nadi – through which energy can potentially flow. All Nadi originate in one point – somewhere around the base of the spine. Teachings (for example: Prasna Upanishad 3.6) say that there are over 72,000 channels, 3 of which are endeared by popular knowledge resources & modern teaching.

Before touching on the famous spiritual 3 I think it can be useful to notice a few more that are directly related to everyday life. These are Nadi that relate to sensing the world:

  • 2 nostrils (smell)
  • 2 ears (sound)
  • 2 eyes (sight)
  • 1 skin (touch)
  • 1 tongue (taste)
  • 2 genitalia (procreation and defecation).
  • 1 umbilical cord

I particularly like that last one – the umbilical cord. Two things come to my mind: (1) the significance of the umbilical cord as both a source nourishment in the womb and the first thing to die when babies are physically separated from mothers at birth; (2) a recurrent theme in Carlos Castaneda’s books about the umbilical region in relation to both seeing as an evolved means of perception and as the source of will – a power that is used to act on the world.

Now for the famous Nadi. There are three major Nadi which are at the heart of the Yogic energy system. They can be a source of knowledge and inspiration, and like all things in the hands of man, can be a source of much misapprehension ( and deception). This is what I was taught:

There are two Nadi that are associated with female (moon) and male (sun) qualities. The feminine Nadi is called Ida and the male Nadi is called Pingala. Some resources describe them as placed alongside the two sides of the spinal cord. Some resources suggest that they cross over at one point. there is agreement that Ida is related with the left nostril and Pingala with the right. I was taught that they cross over numerous times in a spiraling pattern (the signficance of this will be covered later in this series).

3nadis

The 3rd and most popular of the three Nadi is Sushumna. It runs up the spinal cord. It is blocked (more on that later in the series). A popular goal of Yoga practice is to unblock the Sushumna so that the energies of Ida & Pingala can mix and merge and … it hasn’t happened for me so I don’t know what happens (for an account of what may happen you may want to read this: Kundalini: The Evolutionary Energy in Man) . However this does represent for me a core inspiration and idea in Yoga – integration. Mind tends to separate things in it’s attempt to make sense of them. Yoga has taught me that when integration replaces separation there is clear perception. The idea of mixing two raw forces of nature of opposite qualities – this I like very much.

Of course you are required to find your own context and inspiration in these teachings.

If you want more details on the Nadi mentioned in this post – you may want to look here.

Posted in Energy, Yoga | You are welcome to read 4 comments and to add yours

Energy & Modes of Yoga Practice

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With a framework for relating to energy we can approach and create a framework for Yoga practice. There are 3 modes of practice:

  1. CIKITSA: recovery. This mode of practice is associated with dispersed energy. Dispersed energy can be felt as low or unstable energy. Yoga practice in this mode is a relatively soft practice – one that can be gracefully executed by a person with dispersed energy. Yoga in this mode can facilitate a process of recovery – collecting the energy. In practice this is a therapeutic mode. Chronic back problems, asthma, depression are examples of situations in which a Cikitsa practice can be useful. The dominant tool in this mode is Asana.
  2. RAKSANA: health preservation. This mode of practice is associated with collected energy. Yoga practice in this mode is intended to preserve and sustain a stable state of energy. The intensity of the practice should be adjusted accordingly. A practice that is too low in intensity will have little to no effect on the system. A practice that is too intense can cause and disturbance and potentially lead to illness (which would require a Cikitsa practice for recovery). The dominant tool in this mode of practice is Pranayama.
  3. SIKSANA: intensifying. This mode of practice is associated with condensed energy. This is the classical mode of practice in Yoga. It assumes that energy is readily available – collected and condensed and that the system can be pushed into more intense modes of practice. This is literally playing with fire. The dominant tool in this mode of practice is Mudra & Bandha.

ModesOfEnergyAndPractice

Weekly Yoga Classes

Yoga practiced by common people like you and I is usually integrated into a hectic and busy life. It is not practiced in monastic conditions with an entire system of support dedicated to the practice. It is injected into a tight corner of a crowded life alongside a career, family, friends, hobbies, etc.

This means that most people meet Yoga in a dispersed mode of energy. The relevant practice for most people is therefor Cikitsa – recovery. Indeed, many people come to weekly Yoga classes with an expectation to recover from a hectic week. In some cases, when the practice is effective, they will experience a sense of recovery, a rejuvenation of their system. When this happens people leave a practice with a collected energy. If they were to start a practice now, when the practice has ended, they may be able to contain a more intense Raksana practice. But alas they are not going into a practice, but going back into a hectic life and back into a dispersed energy. So a weekly Yoga practice, for most people, will be a movement back and forth between recovery and health preservation. People can practice Yoga for 20 years in this way without a substantial change in the system. Their are preserving a baseline of health, preventing, slowing a process of degeneration.

Daily Yoga Practice

I know of only one way to move beyond this basic loop of preservation. Practice more. My teachers have described Yoga practice as a savings account, the more you put into the more you have. My experience as a practitioner supports this. A more frequent practice can eventually leads to a more sustainable mode of health. If you practice 3 or 4 times a week you are altering the balance between disturbed energy and collected energy. You are no longer facing a week’s worth of dispersed energy but only a day or two. This may lead to improved health and in time open a crack into more intense Yoga practices.

SIKSANA

For most people this is an irrelevant mode of practice. Unfortunately some of the most popular brands of Yoga in the western world preach and teach intensifying forms of practice. It is a matter of personal responsibility and conscious effort in choosing a proper yoga practice and teacher. Learn to walk, then learn to run and then train carefully for a marathon.

“Living in this hut, free of all anxieties, one should earnestly practice Yoga as taught by one’s guru”

(translation by Brian Akers)

Posted in Energy, Models & Metaphors, Yoga | You are welcome to read 9 comments and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-07-12

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  • I entered 102 as my age in an online survey I was asked to fill and it said that is an incorrect number! #
  • altEco – Disruptive: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1312 #
  • if your vision does impress you, it's not very likely to impress anyone else #
  • personal attacks really affect my energy… can take a whole day to fade out….. #
  • FEM – Fertility Awareness Application for woman http://www.myfem.org – crossed 50 users… slowly but surely… #
  • if words could make wishes come true… ♫ http://blip.fm/~9m9sy #
  • you said always and forever is such a long lonely time… ♫ http://blip.fm/~9m9uw #
  • masterful musicians, light touch, so little goes so far ♫ http://blip.fm/~9makl #
  • updated my projects page http://twurl.nl/xoczbs, acknowledged that art got pushed down, so I put Yoga back in 1st place, not happy! #
  • Collect yourself: http://www.ontekusuto.com/ #
  • indeed another day ♫ http://blip.fm/~9o96s #
  • there is not world to change, it's only me…. #
  • those who like "free" are those who can afford it, and that, I fear, is an illusion! #
  • RT @raymondpirouz: Biz models of future have to be about win-win. 'the people' have had it w/the win-lose scenarios of the past. #
  • gratefulness reminder: I saw DMB live in Portugal… you should too, anywhere… #
  • Does wisdom come in the form of questions or answers? #
  • academic books about happiness are sad and depressing #
  • @raymondpirouz ultimately to me design is about caring.. and indeed the world would be a better place if there was more care in business in reply to raymondpirouz #
  • 42nd Street – Art & Business: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1354 #

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42nd Street – Art & Business

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Art

Most of my life I didn’t get art. On my rare visit to a museum (granted – I have not yet had an opportunity to visit a major museum) I would look at walls rather disinterested. On rare occasions I would encounter something I considered aesthetic or interesting. Most times I felt disappointed and ignorant – because I didn’t get what everyone else seemed to be getting. I also recall the last time I visited a theater play – it was a famous and well received play. I wanted to leave after 15 minutes (I didn’t). I felt like I was watching some cheesy, insulting comedy. At the end of the performance – the crowd stood and sent waves of applauds and appreciation to the stage. Again – I felt ignorant and stupid – what was I missing, why is every body cheering this lousy & uninteresting performance?

I was completely alienated from Art, instead of inspiring me it mocked me and left me feeling that I was not yet mature enough to appreciate it (everyone promised me that when I grew up I would learn to appreciate Classical music… still waiting). As a result I pretty much stayed away from Art. I felt is was “nice-to-have”, belonged to rich people who could afford it and had nothing to do with me.

Then in the summer of 2006 I met Shahar and everything changed. When I witnessed Shahar creating and performing I was completely engaged, mesmerized. It was magic. I was moved, I felt it in my heart and in my stomach. I was inspired and elated. I was pulled in and embraced by this magical force. Over the coming years I immersed myself completely in Shahar’s world, exploring in his bubble. From the beginning I encountered unbending faith in me, completely and utter confidence that I too possessed this magic.

I left behind everything I was ever taught & knew about art and had to fill that empty void with my own experience. My own experience has so far shown that Art is a discipline with a unique opportunity to reach into a precious quality of human nature – inspiration. Art, to me, is no longer “nice-to-have”, without it, life is empty and lacking direction. I reclaimed “Art” and gave it my own personal context – rooted in direct and involved experience.

Business

Business was one of the things I gave up when I embraced Art. Within a week from the day I left my job, Art, in the form of Shahar, appeared in my life. Ironically, artistic exploration brought me full circle and I again found myself approaching business, with a new disposition. I set out to share my new found inspiration with the world through SweetClarity. Since then I have been re-involved in numerous technology-based projects. They all come from my heart, they are all with a sense of purpose and so far they have all completely failed as “businesses”.

During a recent conversation with Andreea I shared with her an observation I made about myself. I observed that almost all of my attempts to reach out and connect with people have failed. I have consciously made a choice and an effort to ask people for help (this is not something that comes naturally to me) – and so I spent time and effort in seeking and reaching out to people – many people. Most of the time  there was no reply, and when there was a reply, it very rarely translated into any action (a very few times it did, and I am immensely grateful for those people and those times).

Granted I am an intimate person, but this was an intense experience. So I came to a conclusion that this is probably something of my nature, that I am not a “people” person. Lucky for me Andreea can spot bullshit from a distance – and she objected. She said that I thrive when I am with people – this doesn’t happen much – but when it does I enjoy their presence and they enjoy mine. It was the “art story” all over again – this time I found myself mixing with an irrelevant crowd online. I am still hard at work trying to reclaim business as a personal experience and giving it a personal context.

42nd Street

I started tap-dancing when I was 11. Around that time there was a broadway musical hit called 42nd Street – filled with tap dancing. My parents saw it when we lived in LA but didn’t take me, and regreted it. Some years later in my late teens, when the show came to Israel I went to see it. It sucked. It was a 3rd rate traveling cast, it was lifeless and uninspiring, the sound was terrible – I could barely hear the tap-dancing. It was a business operation pretending to be a mythological broadway show.

Posted in Expanding, Featured, inside | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Disruptive

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There is a myth about Yoga in the west – that it is a calming and relaxing practice. People come to Yoga from a restless lifestyle and expect Yoga to restore and induce a sense of relaxation. This is one of many misapprehensions about Yoga. Yoga is actually a disruptive practice – it is intended to disturb the system. Like forging a sword, heat it used to make mind & body malleable, then pounded (more literally than you may care to imagine) into a new shape and given time to cool off and re-assimilate. Originally, to quality for Yoga practice you had to arrive calm, relaxed and fit.

I was taught that because of the disruptive nature of Yoga it needs to be applied with care and attention. A physical Yoga practice should be a process of gradual warming, a peak intensity practice and then a gradual cooling off and settling of the system. Over a long period of time mind & body become more resilient and tolerant of heat and capable of sustaining higher levels of disruption. That facilitates a gradual development of “levels of disruption” over a period of time. Without these two elements of settling and gradual increase of intensity there is a risk of over-heating and damaging of nervous system, injuring body and disturbing mind. Unfortunately many forms of Yoga practice in the west are not aware & respective of these aspect and are actually an agitating practice for people who are already agitated enough. Literally an unhealthy practice.

Andrew Keen

This journey started yesterday on Fred Wilson’s blog – he wrote a post about a hot and trendy topic Free and metioned Andrew Keen. I encountered Andrew Keen by chance on Twitter and his observations caught my attention, though I haven’t invested much time and attention in his work. Fred’s post sent me to his website.

In browsing around Andrew’s website I found he wrote a book called “The Cult of the Amateur” – and a generous excerpt of it is available on his website. This is how the book starts:

“First a confession. Back in the nineties I was a pioneer in the first Internet gold rush. With the dream of making the world a more musical place, I founded Audiocafe.com, one of the earliest, digital music sites.”

I got a feeling of one of those karma-waves hitting me (which is what is fueling this writing), something clenched in my heart.  Over the past two years I have been dedicating my life (in what seems like an uphill battle I am doomed to lose)  to a similar project in visual arts and I completely relate to Andrew’s observations both as an entrepreneur and an artist.

So I continued reading through the excerpt of Andrew’s book. I felt much resent and pain in Andrew’s words and I feel it is rooted in great personal care and interest that has been met with equally great disappointment in people who are active in shaping  what we call “the internet” – and I can completely relate (because I have similar experiences). But I don’t like to live my life in this disposition and so I try to move on.

Andrew, as I read your words I realized that as a fringe artist I didn’t have much of a chance to reach exposure (not even talking about financial reward) in the pre-Internet world (of galleries and museums) and I don’t have much of a chance in the Internet dominated world. The Internet hasn’t induced a qualitative change, it has (so far) been an amplifier of what is already there. My experience shows that mediocrity is a natural human  state – it takes great, dedicated, sustainable and conscious effort to go beyond it. There is a long delay until greatness is recognized by society and so those who do dedicate their lives to greatness are usually not recognized or rewarded for it. I carry with me as an example John Coltrane – it took  over 40 years until recognition of his greatness reached beyond circles of fringe musicians and artists.

This wonderful amplification afforded by the internet is reflecting back to us what we are – and it’s doing it painfully loud and clear – more then ever before. Everything gets amplified, the mediocre things and the great things. I see vast oceans of mediocrity and emptiness in the internet but I have also come to learn about many more islands of greatness and inspiration. Some forces will embrace, exploit and cash-in on mediocrity (as they always have), but other forces will embrace greatness. I have faith in quality. Not only will it prevail, but it will do so at perfect times and in perfect measures.

Disruptive Technology

Like Yoga in the west, I have a feeling that disruptive technologies are misused. Like Yoga, they have a great potential in facilitating change, but to do so effectively there needs to be some settling and cooling off and a gradual process over time – there are disruptive forces that are inhibiting both.

Andrew communicated agitation. Fred reciprocated with out-of-character agitation. I hooked into that and spent 24 hours in a state of agitation. Another commenter on Fred’s blog picked up on my agitation and took it even further. This is how it works. Thankfully calm and care can spread just as effectively.

Freedom

The Yoga-Sutra mentions Svatantra – which can be translated as “Freedom”. “Freedom” is also an undertone in this cross-blog conversation – there are many qualities to internet technology that have a potential to facilitate Svatantra. But it is never easy, never fast, it requires care and guidance, patience, time and loads of personal responsibility.

Personal Freedom cannot be given nor taken away from an individual.
Personal Freedom can be offered to an individual.
Personal Freedom has to be claimed and cared for by an individual.

Posted in AltEco, Featured, outside, Yoga, Yoga & I | You are welcome to add your comment

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-07-05

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  • information arrives at mind, care transforms it into knowledge in heart, practice transforms knowledge to wisdom in gut #
  • listening and looooving Kevin Johansen (to whom I was introduced by a French woman in Spain!): http://www.iamronen.com/?p=314 #
  • feels like there is war coming and it seems Iran is in the drivers seat #
  • plants grow every day! #
  • awareness is about recognizing where I am rather then chasing where I want to be #
  • call me old fashioned – I still use 2 characters to create a smily! #
  • @ronenk u unfollowed me, good on u 🙂 I tried to sent you a question via dm and found out i culdnt… which also answered my q 🙂 in reply to ronenk #
  • windy days, yesterday I felt an attacking wind, today it's even windier but feels caressing #
  • nice: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1286 #
  • @ronenk thank you (4 looking and mentioning)… I feel that talk about"better" requires a context 🙂 in reply to ronenk #
  • it's amazing to watch Tree, the cat that lives with us, watch sunsets… she is so engaged! #
  • @irismo 🙂 a great day to you 🙂 in reply to irismo #
  • @acip emotion is generated in heart, it can shine through text, but not generated there 🙂 in reply to acip #
  • Ola … FEM (online fertility awareness application for women) is now available in Spanish too: http://es.myfem.org #
  • RT watch out for getting work at drunk @gotoAndSmoke: getting drunk at work #
  • RT for some… and depends on the egg… @adambn: Boiling an egg require great attention #
  • a tweet (am I allowed to say that?) on Twitter: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1289 #
  • RT I do my best creative writing on a typewriter 🙂 @SaraJChipps: I saw a beautiful hipster with a typewriter. You go, hipster, typewrite. #
  • recent talk by @photomatt – insight on why improved application performance is ecological: http://twurl.nl/l03bt5 #
  • with the lowest number of open firefox tabs in a long time I wish us all a peaceful and restful weekend #
  • AltEco – Paper Mills & Server-Farms: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1309 #
  • had some milk (soy!) & chocolate cake … off to play Shakuhachi for a few minutes then sleep…good night #
  • I wish I could hear it, a thing of beauty isn't it? http://www.shakuhachi.com/AJ-24-18.html #
  • overflowing with thoughts, going to do some writing, hopefully something crystallizes… #

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Paper Mills & Server-Farms

n

A while ago I encountered some articles that suggested that while journalism may still be necessary, newspapers are not. Recently I read a post by Dave Winer in which he highlights  a core idea that is similar but offered in a wider context:

The Internet always disintermediates. Did you see the “media” in the middle of that word? It’s the middle that’s hurt in the new world. Sorry. The new world pays the source, indirectly, and obviates the middleman.

What if there is a deeper disintermediation “meta-pattern” taking place – a distillation and purification of the entire idea of mediation? Could it be that online mediators such as Facebook will share a fate not unlike the newspaper industry? that it too is threatened by this “meta-pattern” of disintermediation?

Online services such as Facebook exist in a higher level of abstraction then physical newspapers, but still do have a physical existence they are utilizing to mediate. If you strip down facebook – you will find an online hosting service – maybe one of the worlds largest – but still an online hosting service – instead of paper-mills you they run server-farms (ironi to find the word farms in this context!). It provides hosting based on the same core business-model that newspapers offered – revenues are based on advertising. Facebook is in the same mediation business, and mediation is in crisis!

I wonder, isn’t advertising an ultimate example of mediation? Wouldn’t it be great to see disintermediation sweep through this antiquated, polluting, irrelevant medium and all those who have subscribed to it’s dictums?

Posted in AltEco, Featured, outside | You are welcome to add your comment

Matt Mullenweg – Why Fast is Ecological

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Let’s do Twitter

n

Twitter is getting bigger but it is not getting better. Twitter is dying, at least the good part is. I am not speculating about it’s future I am only looking at it’s present state, and I am sorry for it. When Twitter started out it had a magical force working for it – it was unknown, which puts it right up against magical. It was a completely dynamic and creative tool. It’s founders loved it, investors loved it, users loved it. It’s energy and presence were resonating loudly. People who are new to twitter don’t get it. People who are addicted to it still can’t say what it is.

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But, like all good things, dynamic quality has a sustaining force which moderates it and keeps it from burning out – it transforms into static-quality. It is kind of like a gravitational field that pulls it down. So initially Twitter gravitated into intellectual patters of usage – intellectual people started playing around with it (still with a quality of playfulness!) and realizing they can do all kinds of things with it.

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Soon after I started using Twitter I was following Guy Kawasaki (sorry Guy, no promotional link here, if someone wants to they will have to go out and find you). Guy is most definitely an intellectual person, he is sharp, smart, witty and can be very inspirational. He got some ideas on how to utilize Twitter as a social tool to promote his work. It was as if a damn had broken and his message stream started to overflow to the point I could not tolerate it anymore and un-followed him – he (though by now numerous  people were sending messages on his behalf) became noisy and polluted my Twitter experience. Guy is not the only person to do this. There were others who did the same and Twitter continued to succumb to the pull of static quality into Social patterns.

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It was now a just a matter of time before Oprah and her friends appeared. Quality was now clearly beginning to fade and make room for Quantity. The numbers grew and grew. Twitter seems to have embraced this patterns with it’s controversial Suggested Users List. Twitter is becoming socially crowded that some of the smart people who used it are considering walking away, some already have.

Though it may not seem possible, it seems Twitter has managed to filter even into biological patterns of quality. People are now trying twitter simply because they feel they have to (everyone else is!). People follow people in the hope that they will follow them back (a kind of foot-in-the-door marketing exploitation for making friends). Whenever I make a move in Twitter, the ripples include at least one lonely girl that wants to meet with me.

A Business Evolution?

To me, Twitter is a pivotal technology company. When it didn’t sell out to Facebook (for a reported $500 Million) it opened a  new chapter in technology history, it’s founders want to sustain the curiosity that brought them so far and remain true to their personal ambitions. Bravo!! Are we witnessing an alternative to the idea-killing and ecologically-polluting pattern of “business exits”? But that was just the first step of their struggle. Financial forces are still upon them, they are with them from the moment a first investor joined their team.

I have great respect for one of their investors – Fred Wilson and I invite you to watch this interview video with him. Mr Wilson represents to me a junction where forces collide and a potential for change rumbles – he is very sensitive to quality, values (not the monetizable kind) and he is also a VC – an, if you will, money person. I believe he has great faith in the people in whom he invests and in their ambitions and beliefs but he is also there to make a profit for his investors. He brought all of this into Twitter when he joined their team.

Money is bearing down on Twitter. It is pulling their attention away from improving by demanding “monetization”. If I could relay one thought to the founders of Twitter is it this. Your biggest  challenge is not in the market-place but in your investors. If you can convince them to connect and support your exploration and forgo their interests to make profit you may have a shot at discovering the magical potential of your dreams. This does not mean that Twitter CANNOT be financially profitable, it does mean that Twitter MAY not be financially profitable. You need to break free from economic forces and introduce… something else. If anyone can help you do this, it’s Fred Wilson. You are in a unique position to introduce a change in technology-business.

I would also like to bring together two thoughts I have collected from reading & listening to Fred Wilson. (1) You sometimes need to challenge obvious and acceptable patterns, those things people say can’t be done may be worth closer scrutiny  (2) “you can’t turn around and start charging people to use it [a free service](this is a quote from the above mentioned interview”.

1 + 1 = maybe you need to figure out how to do it effectively? A few months ago I would have gladly paid to use Twitter, now I am not so sure.

Posted in AltEco, Featured, inside, outside, Quality | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Hope

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My cousin sent this to me about a month ago, I finally got around to seeing it. Enjoy 🙂

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Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-06-28

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Photography?

n

When I am visited by a relevant mood and motivation I try to reach out and connect to photography. I spend enough time on my private and intimate island and sometimes wish to experience interaction and inspiration with others.

This image appeared in my inbox from a newly resurrected and well known community-based photography website as “Photo of the week”. I apologize to the website and photographer for infringing their copy-rights, but I wanted to show it without linking to either of them in the context of these words.

If this is “select” photography – then I really can’t relate to photography! This reminds me of both how unique & diverse people can be and how rare quality can be. My search for a bridge off my island continues.

badimage

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