“... once any one difference of any sort, even an idea, exists anywhere, then it demands or creates conditions for the evolution of subsequent events.”
Bill Mollison

Permaculture: A Designers' Manual

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

n

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

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.

twitter-quality-01

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.

twitter-quality-02

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.

twitter-quality-03

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

n

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

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

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-06-28

n

Powered by Twitter Tools.

Posted in About, Twitter Updates | You are welcome to add your comment

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

Posted in Photography | You are welcome to add your comment

Bend your Mind

n

This is another excerpt from Carlos Castaneda’s book “Tales of Power“:

1: Perception

Order in our perception is the exclusive realm of the tonal; only there can our actions have a sequence; only there are they like stairways where one can count the steps. There is nothing of that sort in the nagual. Therefore, the view of the tonal is a tool, and as such it is not only the best tool but the only we’ve got.

2: Unspeakable

The Nagual is the unspeakable. All the possible feeling and beings and selves float in it like barges, peaceful, unaltered, forever … When the glue of life binds those feelings together a being is created, a being that loses the sense of its true nature and becomes blinded by the glare and clamor of the area where beings hover, the tonal… A being pops into the tonal once the force of life has bound all the needed feelings together … What a warrior does in journeying into the unknown is very much like dying, except that his feelings do not disintegrate but expand a bit without losing their togetherness. At death, however they sink deeply and move independently as if they had never been a unit.

3: Human

The sorcerer’s explanation says that each of us has a center from which the nagual can be witnessed, the will … it is up to the individual warrior himself to direct the arrangement and rearrangements of that cluster. The human form or human feeling is the original one, perhaps it is the sweetest form of them all to us; there are, however, an endless number of alternative forms which the cluster may adopt … I have called that cluster the bubble of perception. I have also said that it is sealed, closed tightly, and that it never opens until the moment of our death. Yet it could be made to open… when one plunges into the nagual.

4: Surrender

Your reason is willing to admit that the world is not as the description portrays it, that there is much more to it than what meets the eye. Your reason is almost willing and ready to admit that your perception went up and down that cliff, or that something in you or even all of you leaped to the bottom of the gorge and examined with the eyes of the tonal what was there… At that instant you not only saw, but you knew all about the double, the other… The secret of the double is in the bubble of perception, which in your case that night was at the top of the cliff and at the bottom of the gorge at the same time. The cluster of feelings can be made to assemble instantly anywhere. In other words, one can perceive the here and the there at once.

5: Physical

Your reason cannot fight the physical knowledge that you are a nameless cluster of feelings. Your reason at this point might even admit that there is another center of assemblage, the will, through which it is possible to judge or assess and use the extraordinary effects of the nagual. It has finally dawned on your reason that one can reflect the nagual through the will, although one can never explain it.

6: Disintegration

The conviction that there is a real you is a result of the fact that you have rallied everything you’ve got around your reason. At this point your reason admits that the nagual is the indescribable, not because the evidence has convinced it, but because it is safe to admit that. Your reason is on safe groud, all the elements of the tonal are on its side … To make reason feel safe is always the task of the teacher. I’ve tricked your reason into believing that the the tonal was accountable and predictable. Genaro and I have labored to give you the impression that only the nagual was beyond he scope of explanation; the proof that the tricking was successful is that at this moment it seems to you that in spite of everything you have gone through, there is still a core that you can claim as your own, your reason. That’s a mirage. Your precious reason is only a center of assemblage, a mirror that reflects something which is outside of it. Last night you witnessed not only the indescribable nagual but also the indescribable tonal.

7: Integration

Reason is merely reflecting an outside order, and that reason knows nothing about that order; it cannot explain it, in the same way it cannot explain the nagual. Reason can only witness the effects of the tonal, but never ever could it understand it, or unravel it. The very fact that we are thinking and talking points our an order that we follow without ever knowing how we do that, or what that order is … Sorcerer’s do the same thing with their will – they say that through the will they can witness the effects of the nagual. I can add now that through reason, no matter what we do with it, or how we do it, we are merely witnessing the effects of the tonal. In both cases there is no hope, ever, to understand or to explain what it is that we are witnessing.

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

Enemy

n

An(other) former government minister was sentenced today to 4 years imprisonment (he was initially sentenced to less then 2 years, but appealed and lost his appeal with an increased punishment. He was(is?) a member of a religious political party who was been swaying with (and been swayed by) Israeli politics for many years.

Disclosure: (a) I am not a religious person. (b) The above mentioned political party and its representatives at the time, played a major role in causing me (and many others) much suffering by imposing their religious beliefs. My partner in life is not Jewish and around the time we married (outside of Israel!) this religious political party rallied around a message that the three most critical problems in Israeli society are violence, drugs and marriage of Jews with non-Jews (that would be me).

What caught my attention was a remark by one of his political peers (another religious politician from the same political party) calling out to change the judicial system in Israel into a jury based system (similar to the American system). This remark, portrays to me an impossible situation of the entire state of Israel.

Religion & Politics

I am not a religious person, but I do consider myself spiritual and attribute myself a capacity for faith. My faith includes an embrace (which goes waaaaay beyond tolerance!) of others, including those with whom I have very little in common and who may even be enemies. This includes religious politicians, who I consider an enemy and a threat to myself. But as my faith would have it I choose to embrace. I want to believe that religion is rooted in spirituality and as such it represents a personal choice – every man potentially has a right to choose a religion. Religious people also vary in their interpretation and application of religious practice to a degree that suits their personal preference.Ultimately spirituality is a artful pursuit of personal growth.

Politics, on other hand, especially systems like democracy where “the people” are represented, are a system of a social choice. Though an elected official may bring personal choice (and charisma!) to office, that choice can only resonate as long as it is in harmony with a vast network of other choices that represent a total accumulated effect of government and “the people”. When he doesn’t resonate well he gets kicked off the choir and a replacement is brought in. Politics is an impossible playground for spirituality and spirituality will always lose to politics. Only a rare spiritual leader who is willing to sacrifice everything (!) may affect a political system – though it is likely that the affects will appear long after he is gone (from politics and probably from his earthly body).

Politicians who bring their spiritual (religious) beliefs and practices into politics are most probably making a (conscious or unconscious) sacrifice.  If they are also prominent religious leaders then they are sacrificing not only on their beliefs but also on their entire system of beliefs, and the hearts of the people who subscribe to that system. And so the Israeli religious politicians are playing the lead role in the destruction of the very beliefs they (apparently) set out to protect. Judaism itself is not threatened because it has more flavors then Ben & Jerry’s. My heart goes out to the people who will find their hearts & souls emptied by this misguided, even if well intending, individual.

What about the Jury?

This is such a wonderful point, I wonder if the politician that brought it up has any concept of what it actually means and what the implication of his suggestions would be. The torn fabric of Israeli society around religion goes deep, so deep that if you trace it long enough you may find that this dress we wear and call “Israel” is from it’s first days hanging by a barest of threads. Israel, in it’s current configuration, is a Jewish country.

This was a good enough definition when everyone was busy fighting for their lives. Sure there are a few million Arab citizens that don’t subscribe to that decision but we have managed to keep them checked. We haven’t had a good war in quite some time, so we’ve had a chance to evolve.

For example, My parents had time to raise me, and I grew up to marry a woman who is not Jewish, which puts me in direct conflict with the reigning national definition. Apparently I am not the only one to do this. It seems that many people prefer to consummate their life together without a Rabbi present. Homosexuals can’t get a Rabbi even if they wanted one. What about foreign workers and their children? and the list goes on and on…

What then is a “Jury of the people”? which “people” are you referring to? Am I people? Is my wife? Are gays people?Are the millions of national Arabs people? To answer this question we are going to have to role up our sleeves and dig into a deep swamp – because we are going to have to go back to the beginning and ask “What is this thing called Israel?”. I read recently that this question actually did come up when Israel was just taking it’s first steps. There was a temporary parliament in place and on it’s task list was to form a committee that would deal with this question. Already the USA was a role model for us because the answer was supposed to come in the form of a constitution. But the task was put-off, indefinitely, and to this day is rotting away in the national to-do list, and it takes just one rotten apple…

My Fellow Citizens

Indeed Israel is in a state of advanced rot:

  • We have absolutely no leadership. I can’t think of one member of parliament as a leader or even a potential leader.
  • Politicians have a life-span shorter then hi-tech workers. No effective legislation can be carried through because the system does not have enough longevity or motivation to cope with it. In these troubled times (I am not into listing troubles – but people are welcome to compliment my work in comments below!) members of parliament have time to debate canceling a law that requires bicycle riders to wear helmets! They may as well do something while they are in office right – after all they are getting paid!
  • The “jury” (pun intended) is still out on the helmets but we are running out of agriculture water. There is a long standing speculation that water (or lack of it) may be at the heart of a coming local war… while Israel has a long coast-line and is claimed to be a world leader in water processing technologies.
  • It seems that people shoulder very little responsibility for their choices. People don’t seem to care about what is right or good (at the risk of being wrong), but only about what is punishable (and this too is sliding away – see 3 points down).
  • Exploitation is rising. A Russian-immigrant-rooted-right-wing-extremist political party rose to power by promising to pass a controversial family-status legislation – and is has recently pulled out it’s support. It didn’t really matter because the suggested legislation was hollow and toothless. When an example of exploitation is set by leaders…
  • As a result respect, both personal and others is at an all time low (there really isn’t much to respect!)
  • We have a judicial system that is collapsing, and justice is not on it’s agenda. Members of parliament publicly display their contempt and lack of respect for the highest judicial authorities. The legislative and enforcing bodies openly attack the judicial system.
  • I could go on, but I don’t want to.

Again my choice to embrace comes up. If it smells like change, it looks like change, it tastes like change and it feels like change – maybe it is change? Maybe we need to copy one more thing from our American role models – a civil war? The more we try to avoid it the more viciously it will come at us. We can paint over the walls over and over again but the cracks will keep coming out until we reinforce the foundations. It may look nice, but eventually it will come crumbling down.

Finally My “Enemies”

I imagined a real warm-blooded “enemy of Israel” reading this and thinking what a great opportunity this is – they are fighting each other, maybe if I … just a little… If you happen to be of this disposition I’d like to give you a peace (some pun intended) of advice. Nothing will pull Israeli’s together more effectively then a clear and shared enemy. Unlike our role models in the USA who’s constitution (ahum!!) tempers democracy, Israel can shift and reorganize and be unexpected. Israeli’s have an ingrained burning fear of survival (or potential lack of it) and an amazing potential for improvising. Israeli’s will quickly release each others throats and take up arms to fight, so they can quickly get back to each others throats.

So it would seem that by being an enemy, you would also be a great friend. What to do?

Evolution?

A classical dictum in the history of states & war was that my enemy’s enemy is a friend. Maybe it’s time for a more mature, and at the risk of contradicting myself, more spiritual dictum? It is tempting to offer one, but, in the spirit of staying true to myself, a spiritual dictum is a private place – so I will keep mine to myself and leave you to form yours.

Who is enemy? Who is friend?

Posted in Expanding, Featured, inside, Israel | You are welcome to add your comment

Dear Child of Mine,

n

Please join us. It feels now like your presence has been with me from the first time I denied your existence – a very very long time. Most of these years I was afraid both for myself and for you. I wanted to figure out what’s going on in this thing called life. After all these years I can admit to you that I have failed – I haven’t figured it out, and I don’t think I ever will. But in the process unexpected things have happened which have made it possible for me to face you with open arms.

There were two things that I wanted before coming to you. I wanted to have money and I wanted to be happy, to be able to smile at you. While I have failed at money I have thrived in happiness. I am looking out at a beautiful view as we live closer to nature now. Your mother and I have created a huge space cushioned with embraces, care, appreciation and curiosity – a space I now recognize as your space. Our lives are filled with a sense of inspiration and purpose – and every morning we recognize and express our gratefulness for a clear sense of presence and direction when facing so much that is unknown to us.

I am curious about you. I believe you know our strengths and weaknesses, our passions and fears, our capacities and limitations –  and I am amazed that you have chosen to spend this life with us. I wonder what you bring with you and I am looking forward to changes that your presence bring into our journey. I have so much faith in you and so much hope when I think of you.

During my morning meditation you came to me again. As I embraced, you a single fear surfaced and brought tears to my eyes. Together with all the love and support you will find with us, I am afraid you may also face hunger. I can peacefully accept hunger for me as a consequence of the choices I have made, but I fear of making that choice for you. I truly fear this. As your presence nears us and will turn into a physical presence, so does my sense of complete surrender to my fears and questions. This sweet and beautiful and graceful path I am on, the very path that leads me to you, is also distancing me from many others, people that our livelihood depends on.

Please accept my apologies for any suffering you may experience once you occupy a physical body and join us. I will be there to embrace you, I will be there to listen, I will be there to learn, I will be there to guide, and I will be there to witness your suffering. I so wish I knew how to magically make that suffering go away. But I don’t.

Finally it seems that I am surrendering to you. I have great faith in you. I have great faith that your sweet and clear perception will guide you and perhaps even show me the way. When you do come, please know I am lost.

Love
Your friend of many lifetimes

Posted in Expanding, inside | You are welcome to read 5 comments and to add yours

10% of a Guitar

n

A few days ago I was speaking to a friend who runs an intimate guitar fixing & teaching business. He is an artist in his work and puts much care and attention into it. Over the past few months he has also been learning to make guitars – he dedicates an evening every week to building a guitar under the guidance and supervision of an experienced  guitar maker.

My friend has also been struggling with questions on the nature of his guitar-fixing business and it’s place in his life. He strives to live a simple life and spend time at home with his family. He recently began a business-consulting/mentoring process to help him grow his business. This consultant asked him what was his objective in running a business in terms of profits. My friend answered a sum approximately equivalent to $2000.

When he told me about this – there was a sense of heaviness in his voice, presence and body. A number like that, in business terms, translates into questions: how many guitars need to be fixed? what do I need to do in terms of marketing to reach enough people to create enough guitar-traffic? The questions quickly go through so many topics which have nothing to do with his work – that the result is a dissipated energy, heaviness and a lack of motivation.

When we talked about this – I asked him why not focus on what he really loves doing – building guitars? It seems reasonable that a hand-crafted guitar can be sold for a profit of $2000 – so all he has to do is manufacture & sell one guitar a month to achieve his business objectives. In response to this his energy grew and expanded. The same objective, when stated in terms that are closer to his heart lit a spark motivation and passion.

Inspiration, motivation and passion need to be treated with care. Work can be about creating something, business can be about an exchange of values. When money becomes the objective it blocks out the core qualities of doing and leaves an empty and purposeless space.

When my friend creates a guitar and exchanges it – the exchange is an isolated, complete, beautiful and natural entity. When money is involved, it opens a door for other interests that are foreign to that exchange – a financial abstraction is born and has a life of its own. You can take 10% of $2000, but you can’t take 10% of a guitar. This life is independent of the original exchange or the intents of those involved. This in itself can be a thing of wonder because it enables others to partake in an exchange and enhance it’s total value, but it can also be abused and manipulated.

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

A Teaching Model

n

This is an excerpt taken from Carlos Castaneda’s book “Tales of Power“:

Sorcerers say that we are born inside a bubble. It is a bubble into which we are placed at the moment of our birth. At first the bubble is open, but then it begins to close until it has sealed us in. That bubble is our perception. We live inside that bubble all of our lives. And what we witness on it’s round walls is our own reflection … The thing that is reflected is our view of the world. That view is first a description, which is given to us from the moment of our birth until our attention is caught by it and the description becomes a view.

The teachers’ task is to rearrange the view, to prepare the luminous being for the time when the benefactor opens the bubble from the outside … The bubble is opened in order to allow the luminous being a view of his totality. Naturally this business of calling it a bubble is only a way of talking, but in this case it is an accurate way.

The delicate maneuver of leading a luminous being into the totality of himself requires that the teacher work from inside the bubble and the benefactor from outside. The teachers reorders the view of the world. I have called that view the island of the tonal. I’ve said that everything that we are is on that island.  The sorcerer’s explanation says that the island of the tonal is made by our perception, which has been trained to focus on certain elements; each of those elements and all of them together form our view of the world. The job of the teacher … consists of reordering all the elements of the island on one half of the bubble… on the side of reason. My task has been to disarrange your ordinary view, not to destroy it but to force it to rally on the side of reason …  on the right half of the bubble.

The teacher always addresses himself to that side, and by presenting his apprentice on the one hand with the warrior’s way he forces him into reasonableness, and sobriety, and strength of character and body; and by presenting him on the other hand with unthinkable but real situations, which the apprentice cannot cope with, he forces him to realize that his reason, although it is a most wonderful affair, can only cover a small area. Once the warrior is confronted with his incapacity to reason everything out, he will go out of his way to bolster and defend his defeated reason, and to that effect he will rally everything he’s got around it. The teacher sees to that by hammering him mercilessly until all his view of the world is on one half of the bubble. The other half of the bubble, the one that has been cleared, can then be claimed by something sorcerers call will.

… The benefactor’s task is then to open the bubble on the side that has been cleaned. Once the seal is broken, the warrior is never the same. He has then command of his totality. Half of the bubble is the ultimate center of reason, the tonal. The other half is the ultimate center of will, the nagual. That is the order that should prevail ; any other arrangement is nonsensical and petty, because if goes against our nature; it robs is or our magical heritage and reduces us no nothing.”

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

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-06-21

n
  • to effectively help someone you need to see how doing so influences your own life #
  • does anyone else see the bitter-sweet irony of people chasing after "vanity URL's"? #
  • you cannot monetize life so please stop trying #
  • RT use a retweet 🙂 @SirKenRobinson: If I want to reply to someone and show the original message I'm replying to, how do I do that? #
  • RT he is Ronen @ronenk: Hi, I'm Ronen. #
  • it's time to go home: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1090 #
  • a person that out to fix the world wants to love it, a person who sees nothing that needs fixing loves it #
  • RT @gotoAndSmoke: Best WEDDING INVITE EVER!!! http://www.hurl.ws/39v0 #
  • tweet -burst alert #
  • an end does not justify a means, but it does give it context! #
  • "…all of us are a bunch of nincompoops. We can never relinquish our crummy control voluntarily, thus we have to be tricked" #
  • "This very rock where we're sitting is a rock because we have been forced to give out attention to it" #
  • Ahimsa = non violence? http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1095 #
  • @lajik who are you and what do you have for me? in reply to lajik #
  • @lfano a great thing about twitter is that in the beginning you don't get it … hang around and c what happens 🙂 in reply to lfano #
  • Yoga and how change can happen: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1102 #
  • Shakuhachi insight – Playing myself: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1104 #
  • flexed my wordpress muscles and put together a new theme for http://www.iamronen.com #

Powered by Twitter Tools.

Posted in About, Twitter Updates | You are welcome to add your comment

Playing myself

n

During my first year of Yoga practice I attended a weekly group class on Friday mornings. At one point I observed that my presence and quality of practice would be influenced by how my work week ended. If I was agitated on thursday night, my yoga practice would be agitated as well and I would be impatient. If I was relaxed then yoga practice would have flowing sensation – thing would seem to move and fall into place.

A few days ago I realized that my Shakuhachi playing had a nervous quality to it. Yesterday I listened to some recorded Shakuhachi music and this reinforced my observation. I felt that the music I was listening to was slow and patient, every note given time to become, many spaces between notes and a feeling of meditative flow. My playing over the past days is definitely of different qualities.

Playing Shakuhachi, alongside my recently resumed asana practice, is indeed revealing to me a quality of nervousness and agitation I have recognized and felt within me. I am greatful to have these tools available to me and I am know that recognition itself is a door opening to change and growth. I recognize an agitation within me, I recognize my hand in it and I look forward to experience it changing.

Posted in inside, Shakuhachi, Yoga, Yoga & I | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

Yoga & Change

n

I would like to revisit a topic I have addressed in the past – about how change occurs through Yoga. Change has resurfaced in my consciousness over the past few weeks and this morning I read a passage from a book by Carlos Castaneda which caused a crystallization of my thoughts:

… the island of the tonal was complete and not a single element of it could be removed. Change, then, did not mean obliterating anything but rather altering the unassigned to those elements.

I would offer, as a temporary agreement, that Castaneda’s “tonal” is a concept of all that mind can know & comprehend.

Yoga offers an idea of Samskara. One could say that a Samskara is a whole impression created & left-behind by experience. This includes a sense of memory, feelings, thoughts, energies, etc. I see it as an endless rippling effect. Every experience continues, one way or another, to resonate within – eternally. This happens regardless of facilities of consciousness and memory. A Samskara exists if I am aware of it or not, if I remember it or not. It is also something which cannot be removed – experience cannot be undone. An experience may fade from memory, but a Samskara remains.

Yoga also offers an idea of Vasana. Vasana is a potential for behavior – I think of it as a starting point, triggering mechanism and anchor. Vasana are sown in fields of Samskara and are related to them. I carry many Samskara’s that relate to money and to the potential absence of it. These Samskara are home to a number of Vasana: one that triggers worry, another to which fear is anchored and another that starts a hunting-gathering pattern. Each Vasana is connected to a pattern of behavior and action. Worry is connected to impatience and anxiety. Fear is connected to self-pity and morbidity. Hunting is connected to an ambitious and achieving form of activity.

Consciousness is an intricate dance of these elements. Experience leads to Samskara. Samskara connect and relate to existing Vasana and & give birth to new ones. Vasana trigger action and behavior which then create new Samskara. This is an endless cycle is which consciousness evolves. It can be subtle and hidden and also gross and obvious.

With this model of consciousness Yoga suggests a sober & sensible mechanism of change. Since Samskara and Vasana are here to stay and there is no known surgical process for removing them, focus falls on a relationship between Vasana and action – and a bond that exists between them. To be even more specific, Yoga focuses on a nature of how this bond is created – and this is surprisingly simple – practice. We are constantly training our consciousness muscles – everything we do feeds this system of Samskara & Vasana. Every time I deal with my bank I am accumulating money-related Samskara, which trigger some rather unpleasant Vasana that lead to feelings of worry & guilt and ensuing behaviors which are unpleasant both to myself and others around me.

So, as boxers in a tight corner will do, Yoga embraces. It recognizes a potential of practice and training and utilizes that very facility – change begins by practicing and training new patterns of behavior. A Yoga teacher can call upon a very large set of tools which can be applied with endless subtle choices, elements & variants that are tailored to a practitioners needs. From my experience (as both a practitioner and a teacher) a practitioner will usually have access & grasp gross qualities of a practice and only in time grow aware of more subtle qualities (though she will be practicing both the gross and subtle) This can shed some light on benefits of practicing with guidance and supervision of a teacher.

When I practice Pranayama (a breathing practice) I sometimes encounter challenges. One example of a challenge is holding the breath after exhaling. I can hold my breath after inhaling using willpower for quite some time, but I cannot do this after exhaling. Holding in breath after exhaling is an experience of surrender. When my body (or maybe it’s my mind?) wants to draw in air instead of holding a bit longer – I experience difficulty, resistance and stubbornness. I want to assert control and forcibly hold my breath. I practice this over and over and make no progress until at some point I discover (or am introduced to) an alternative. How about surrender? What if I don’t hold my breath as long as I want to, but only as long as I can?

If I try this for a while my breathing practice changes. But not only my breathing practice changes – my consciousness changes. I am practicing and training subtle patterns – every time I encounter difficulty I am engaging embracing and surrender. If I practice this for effectively for a long enough time  – I can (a) establish new patterns of behavior and (b) associate these new patterns with existing Vasana.

So now when I encounter money-frustration Samskara which trigger related Vasana – there are new options of behavior and action available to me alongside older patterns. Money-frustration is still there and worry, fear & hunting triggers are still there but I have attached them to new patterns. Worry still comes, but I am less bound to dysfunctional patterns of behavior and able to emply new ones. I have options. I have created these options by practicing them as I have practiced older patterns that they have replaced.

For at least as long as I am breathing this cycle of consciouness continues and so can practices that support it.

“… a warrior could not avoid pain and grief but only the indulging in them”
(Carlos Castaneda from “Tales of Power”)

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

Ahimsa with a Twist

n

An exceptional recurring pattern I find in spiritual ideas is that they are slippery – they can’t be locked down and mindfully assigned a clear and simple explanation. Spiritual ideas die in mind and flourish in heart. I find that when I embrace a spiritual idea it can, if I let it, move within me and in time even move me. If I am patient, I may in time, gain a sense of clear perception, but not a fixed explanation that I can, for example, communicate with others.

Ahimsa is a great example. A literal translation of Ahimsa is non-violence. A popular expression of Ahimsa is ideological vegetarianism. Ideological vegetarians refrain from eating meat (and sometimes even dairy products) because of the violence involved in killing animals. In effect their choice saves very few animals and they know this, so they try to organize into movements so that many people adopt their ideology – so indeed some animals may be saved.

My diet is vegetarian but this was a consequence, never an objective. My eating ideology is to eat what’s good & right for me.  I also refrain from eating things, such as fried foods,  that “vegetarians can eat”.  My diet changed over a long period of time as I grew more aware of my body and it’s reactions to foods I ingest.  When my eating awareness expanded beyond my taste-buds – I made different choices, I refrained from certain foods, and sought other alternatives – a process that continues to this day, as  & my bodily needs change. This has nothing to do with Ahimsa. But I digress.

What if there is a deeper intent to the idea of Ahimsa?  one that appeals to heart  instead of mind? What if a key to Ahimsa is actually intent and not definition? What if Ahimsa is actually an intent of non-violence? That small change can make a big difference. It is no longer about your actions or their direct consequences (death is waiting for all living creatures!) – but about your intents and how they drive your actions. Are you eating meat because it is vital to your health, and if so are you (can you be?) grateful to sacrifices that have been made so that you can eat that meat? Or are you eating meat as an indulgence without any recognition and appreciation of those same sacrifices?  When you are negotiating a deal – are you expressing nonviolent intents to other people involved in the negotiation? When you are defending yourself in a violent war – are you expressing non-violent intenst as you shoot and aim to kill? To really integrate Ahimsa in your life can be a very consuming task – and it can change your life and radiate outwards from you to others.

A Twist

When I started writing this post I ended the first paragraph with this sentence, but I also cut it out:

I have also come to recognize that when I do find an explanation – I am usually in a state of misapprehension – or in other words – I am wrong!

A literal translation, such as Ahimsa as Non-Violence, is easily adopted by mind – because of its simplicity and fixed meaning (even though it is an impossibilty, like Ahimsa!). With every breath you take you are killing micro-biological creatures, With every step you take you are probably killing larger creatures – such as ants and insects. Recent news has been flooded by a headline about president Obama killing a fly on camera.

Jainism was a religion devoted to Ahimsa. I was once told that Jainism is symbolized by a man wrapped in vines that have grown over his body because he keeps still so as not to cause violence to any living creatures. When I began to write this post I had Jainism and mind and I went searching for this symbol. I found this:

jainism_vines

What I also found and took my breath away was that this is not the symbol of Jainism – a religion devoted to non-violence. This is:

jainism

Posted in Expanding, Featured, inside, Yoga, Yoga Philosophy | You are welcome to read 3 comments and to add yours

Home

n

For months I’ve been playing around with this post in my head – it is about a wish. Over the last two weeks this wish has taken a turn and matured into something I can embrace and share. I wish for a home for myself and for Andreea and a family that may grow from our shared journey.

A few months ago we moved to live in the north of Israel (Galil area) with two convictions: (1) we love this area and living here, it is rightfully considered a heaven in Israel; (2) this is our last stop in Israel. The next stop will be somewhere else in the world. Home is a wish embodied in the 2nd conviction. It has evolved from “leaving Israel” to “finding a home”.

  • Home is a welcoming embrace.
  • Home is where our energy can settle and expand.
  • Home is where our destiny can manifest.
  • Home is where we can live a productive and balanced life.
  • Home is where we can pursue our passions & our passions can pursue us.
  • Home is where our passions & actions resonate harmoniously with others.
  • Home is an intimate island in an ever-changing life.

I feel these qualities absent from our lives. In the past this has led to self-judgment and injury and a tiring list of what home is not – no more. It’s time for us to go home.

Posted in Coming Through, Expanding, Featured, inside, Wishes | You are welcome to read 18 comments and to add yours

Twitter Weekly Updates for 2009-06-14

n
  • 14:41 #
  • Yoga for a Murky Mind: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1060 #
  • So, when the mind is still and contained – what shines through? http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1064 #
  • RT Yes,yes&yes http://twurl.nl/aywhh5 @SaraJChipps: just discovered Ray LaMontagne through @EvilBobby bone chilling, sexy, beautiful voice #
  • money turns art into decoration #
  • released an updated FEM application http://www.myfem.org – some corrections, some refactoring, much better engine under the hood 🙂 #
  • if my ego rises to the occasion, I am probably better off sitting the occasion out… #
  • thank You for everything #
  • @SaraJChipps @EvilBobby thank you so much for the Ray LaMontagne reminder… so wonderul … in reply to SaraJChipps #
  • people in Israel are to scared to actually work together and collaborate… it's a sad state! #
  • no, I don't think so… #
  • on contracts: http://www.iamronen.com/?p=1076 #
  • if u r absolutely sure you have figured something out, though you may be close, you most surely have not! #
  • @adambn yep… leave facebook 😉 in reply to adambn #
  • RT what the … ??? @ronenk: 11:08 #
  • exciting news… I will be receiving the second hand made classic guitar from a soon to be famous guitar maker 🙂 #
  • RT ecology is an unrelenting force to be reckoned with @davewiner: US cities may have to be bulldozed in order to survive. http://tr.im/omUs #
  • 18:18 exactimundo #
  • you&I are the same, both Buddha, our confusions separate us #
  • if you are to attached to what you want, you may miss what you already have #
  • too much knowledge in my mind can leave too little room for knowledge in my heart #

Powered by Twitter Tools.

Posted in About, Twitter Updates | You are welcome to add your comment

See Giant Steps

n

A note transcription of John Coltrane’s “Giant Steps”. I never got notes… but this is so captivating… I really loved the visual echoes of the music’s rhythm. Enjoy 🙂

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

Contract

n

“A key factor that contributes to difficulties in creative collaboration is a problem with contract. The contract is an energy bond that appears at beginnings. It represents an agreement between participants where each participant commits to playing a particular role in the fulfillment of the others’ destiny. Disagreement, misunderstanding, or desire to change these roles can affect the ability to collaborate. Resolving issues around the contract is an important consideration in any creative collaboration.

Most of the desire to change or clarify the contract comes from newcomers. Even in the early stage of their presence they have a desire to communicate and be reassured. The prospect of unknown change can be quite frightening. If they do not feel listened to or receive the reassurance they seek, they will often withhold themselves from the collaboration.

It is easy for newcomers to feel lost in the confusion and frustration that occurs when starting a new collaboration. With all the attention on the day-to-day necessities of work, it is easy for newcomers to feel neglected and need reassurance… In times of stress newcomers often need the comforting reassurance of the more experienced participants attention before they will take that first big step towards collaboration. It is important to remember that collaboration is a life-transforming event for everyone involved.”

OK, I confess, this is not really a quote. It is a game I wanted to play in applying inspiring ideas from one context to another. It is a transformation of words from Walter Makichen’s book Spirit Babies. As I read these words I smiled and realized that they carry, for me, a wide context. At first I realized that the words resonated closely with a form of communication I know from my work with Shahar in a performance space. Then I thought back to a post I read and commented on a few days ago by Fred Wilson – and decided to do this little experiment. Following is an authentic quote of from the book:

A key factor that contributes to difficulties in conceiving a child and to miscarriage is a problem with something I call the “conception contract”. The conception contract is an energy bond that appears at a moment of conception. It represents an agreement between a moth, father and the spirit of a child-to-be. Each participants commits to playing a particular role in the fulfillment of the others’ destiny. Disagreement, misunderstanding, or desire to change these roles can affect the ability to conceive and carry a child to term. This is why I believe that resolving issues around the conception contract is an important consideration in any approach to these problems.

Most of the desire to change or clarify the conception contract comes from the spirit baby. Even in the spirit stage of their existence, the unconceived have the desire to communicate and be reassured. The prospect of a new life and identity can be quite frightening. If they do not feel listened to or receive the reassurance they seek, they will often withhold themselves from the conception contract.

It is easy for spirit babies to feel lost in the confusion and frustration that occurs when a couple has difficulty conceiving. The doctors, the tests, timing intercourse for maximum fertility, and worrying if “something” is really wrong can leave even the most loving couple tense, distracted, and frustrated. With all the attention on the physical “mechanics” of conception, it is easy for spirit babies to feel neglected and need reassurance.

… In times of stress spirit babies often need the comforting reassurance of their mothers’ attention before they will take that first big step towards their new life. It is important to remember that conception is a life-transforming event not only for the parents but for the spirit baby as well.”

Posted in AltEco, Business, Coming Through, Expanding, Featured, inside, outside | You are welcome to read 1 comment and to add yours

What Shines Through?

n

The Murky Mind post left an open idea I wanted to address. When mind is still what is it that shines through? To answer this I will call upon two Sanskrit terms Cit (pronounced Chit) and Citta (pronounced Chitta). Citta can be interpreted as mind (though that does warrant an extended debate). Cit can’t be translated directly. It is the source of clarity that shines through when the mind is still and contained.

I am not keen on using religious terms, but I take comfort in the fact that the text I am calling on The Yoga Sutra is not a religious text and it dances with grace around the idea of god. God, in yoga and Vedic philosophy has many names & manifestations – one of which is Brahman. Brahman is an eternal unified existence – a greater force from which all consciousness originates. Then there is Atman – a name attributed to the manifestation of Brahman in each and every one of us. Atman & Brahman are one and the same – simply different names used and indicative of different contexts. Atman is that part of Brahman which is in me (and you) – but Brahman has no parts… so remember – context!

Cit is my personal experience of Atman that is within me. Cit is also referred to as the seer (as in that which sees). If you’ve ever practiced any kind of meditation – Cit is that which can observe that your mind is wondering off (since your mind has wondered off – it can’t be the one doing that for you!). If you’ve ever been a situation where you’ve seen “through” a person – realizing something about that person which is not directly stated (this usually happens when mind does not interrupt a subtle channel of perception and communication!) – that too is Cit. Cit can be seen as an intuitive facility.

brahman_bumps

Cit & Citta (mind) have a kind of love-hate relationship. Cit can be a perfect clarity – but it can’t relate to the world beyond it – it is an isolated existence.  To do that it needs Citta. Citta is connected to the world – it can take information in through the senses and act on the world by (for example) manipulating body. So Citta is a life-saver for Cit – but it comes with a price – a price of murkiness. Cit can now relate to the world around it – but sometimes, when Citta develops it’s own ambitions, Cit can find itself shoved aside from the drivers seat. This, according to Yoga,  is what we are. A convergence of a potentially integrated, eternal, clear & sweet perception with a murky mind that feeds on and manipulates.

If you recall – the definition of Yoga as put forth in the Yoga Sutra – chapter 1, sutras 2,3,4 is:

1-2: Yoga is the containment of the mind’s activities
1-3: In that moment the state of Seeing remains.
1-4: At other time the activities [of the mind] are presented.

An ad-hoc interpretaion: when the mind (Citta) is settled and not bouncing around feeding on and reacting to everything that reaches it, there is clear perception (Cit). At all other times (which for most of us – is most of the time!) – the mind (Citta)  is perceiving an echo of it’s own inner workings – it observes what it expects and wants to observe.

Posted in Getting Started, Yoga, Yoga Philosophy | You are welcome to read 6 comments and to add yours