Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Texas is a widely diverse society. In fact the state leads all others in welcoming immigrants. Surprisingly this is not reported by the general media. Looking back I see that Texas has always been a diverse cultural melting pot. Many native American tribes resided here for tens of thousands of years beginning with the mass migrations of Clovis People after a succession of Ice Ages that swept people south. The Spanish were the first Europeans to discover the land, traveling north from Mexico.

A reverse migration of sorts brought a mixed population of Mexican, Indian, Spanish and Mestizo back to Texas in the early 1500’s. The first mass scale cattle ranching industry was established in Texas. The mixture of people clashing became Texano’s, and they came from everywhere. Small towns still carry the names of small Irish and Czech villages that hopscotched from Eastern US ports across Tennessee and Arkansas into what is today Texas. Lost in all this were the native Americans striving to maintain their dignity and identity after being rolled over by the modern world.

Yesterday Trish and I attended a Pow Wow, a meeting of people and tribes, in Grand Prairie Texas. It reminded me that Texas wasn’t always a maze of freeways and industry.

 

IMG_3934-Optimized

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3947-Optimized

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3901-Optimized

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3936-Optimized

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3946-Optimized

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3899-Optimized

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3963-Optimized

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3954-Optimized

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3969-OptimizedIMG_3933-Optimized

Sometimes I get to act like a kid again and do something impractical. Getting out on the open road was a practice that formed the mindset I enjoy today more than any other influence. So…when I got the chance to put a cool car like a Camaro Convertible on the road and drive to San Antonio Texas I was thrilled at the prospect. Highway construction in Texas is like religion, zealous and never ending. Whatever your chosen destination or route there are plenty of alternatives, from super toll ways to busy highways , freeways laced together with turnpikes and farm roads that stitch the  hinterland together.

The amazing thing is that any road you choose will be in fantastic condition. The route I took was so smooth… it was like gliding on silk. We drove the always busy TX E 35S out of the massive Dallas Metroplex to the 130S that took us through Austin….and on the way back we drove the TX 281N to the HWY 67N and FM 1382 dotted with small town America and the history of the Old West. Many of the sparsely populated towns along the way …. like Hico…or Glen Rose…are like time capsules that stopped growing when cotton peaked and caused the entire area to fall into a long slumber. This separation cleaves two worlds neatly in two…. the old from the new.

Civilization along the sleepy HWY 281 N/S between Dallas and San Antonio is primarily centered around a bucolic ranch culture…tall signs pop out in the form of elaborate wrought iron gates above cattle barriers announcing a fanciful name …like Rancho del Blanco …or some such thing….but  indicate that nothing but more miles across  barren land through grazing herds of scattered cattle or goats might be at the end of the road.

San Antonio itself is a tourist machine for primarily American holiday makers from the South and South West…..and it is a fantastically well developed place for easy access… for example the River Walk is spectacular.  Although there are now thousands of restaurants, tours , an incredible range of accommodations, hotels and gee gaws designed for family fun…. San Antonio is primarily famous as  home of the Alamo…which sits like a queen amongst a palette of tourism jewels.

This was the location where tough minded Texans fought Mexican General Santa Anna and lost… but eventually declared  independence on March 2, 1836. Something that’s not as well advertised outside the region  is that this area had been occupied by  Spanish missionaries for hundreds of years prior to  American immigration. Before that  native Indians  occupied the land for thousands of years. Each left some fascinating reminders of what Texas looked like before the United States came to be.

A chain of religious missions and outposts …including aqueducts, built by the Franciscan order of Catholic missionaries now forms a series of National Parks called The Mission Trail. The trail is composed of four missions and other private settlements, set miles apart  connected by a narrow strip of asphalt that winds  through  broken desert and green arroyo’s . Although the fortified building complexes seem to be ruins at first glance, they are still being used as active churches for local people. The sense of 500 years of continuation, church bells, prayer ,  history and community is fascinating. Fortunately for us, none of these places are over run with tourists. The experience reminded me of visiting profound archeological sites somewhere in the third world…..not minutes from comfortable San Antonio.

IMG_3616-Optimized

IMG_3534

IMG_3740-Optimized

IMG_3724-Optimized

IMG_3731-Optimized

IMG_3797-Optimized

IMG_3700-Optimized

IMG_3798-Optimized

IMG_0075-Optimized

IMG_3790-Optimized

IMG_0056-Optimized

IMG_3783-Optimized

IMG_3803-Optimized

IMG_3813-Optimized

IMG_3725-Optimized

IMG_3623-Optimized

IMG_3715-Optimized

IMG_3670-Optimized

IMG_3636-Optimized

Yikes…  a year and a half  being cloistered  writing 13 Angels.  I suddenly  resurface and join the mainstream….so weird. A lot of new social media sites have opened up. I ‘m  learning to relate ….. the majority on social media  are now very very very young.  I’ve  rarely spoken to anyone since beginning my last project. In all honesty, it’s strange….my social brain atrophied during a long hibernation. I think inwardly like a person locked in a coma. I have  rare verbal exchange with adults . It’s like being a parent with small children…you forget how to speak except in gibberish baby talk. I have  people mention that I  talk the way I write…in prose…..huh…..too funny.

I  hang out in the Dallas-Deep Ellum art scene , but my interactions are as weird as the LSD inspired bar scene in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Artists are a strange bunch collectively and should be taken in small doses. Worse, I live in a hotel and have nothing to do except write…. I don’t even pick up after myself…the maid vacuums around me as I work…..the staff is Spanish….. our communications are limited to new soap products and how freaking hot it is outside. …..I must seem  strange ..a foreigner gringo who sits inside and types all day…. with no visible means of support.  My wife arranges the furniture, only to have the staff put it back. It’s like an episode of the Twilight Zone.

I  give the girls popsicles so they don’t carry me out with the trash. So what to do? Of course I  begin a new novel…a  dark and twisted love story…..the antithesis of romantic expectations..  I am useless to the world. I hope 13 Angels sells…but at this point I don’t care …….writing takes precedent over  history. Goodbye …cruel world….

BTW….The chile sauce in the dish pictured below was concocted out of Habanero’s….the hottest chili’s on the planet…..a Scoville index in the range of 350,000….take that !!! I have an ice maker that  makes one ice cube every hour…. one cold drink a day….  like living on Devil’s Island. Is this the kind of annoyance that drove DH Lawrence around the bend?

IMG_3394

Gaia Uprising is a dystopian work where I pose the question “Is Earth a living entity?” I based the premise on a 1970’s theory developed by a Peruvian scientist. In the Gaia Uprising, Earth awakens to full consciousness when it finds itself under threat. Mankind is separated into two separate evolutionary paths and set against each other to fight for final dominance. Only Gaia knows the game is rigged. The plot revolves around the utopian/ dystopian elements of human evolution…who wins….you just have to read the book and the sequel…Fringelords. As always…..have a look on Amazon where you can peruse a few chapters and kindly leave a rating & comment.

 

Gaia Uprising

I am not a religious person. I have no fear of dying and have no expectations of an afterlife.  And as such I seek no guidance along the path I have chosen for myself. I am satisfied in my belief that we were all born out of chaos . As such I advise myself and anyone foolish enough to listen to this fool to live every moment of life as a precious and miraculous anomaly. I read a book a long time ago titled ‘Zen Flesh Zen Bones’. I remember nothing about the contents. But I do appreciate the concept of purity and Zen as an art form is well suited to my lifestyle.

There is no controlling dogma in my Zen world, I am a free spirit. My interpretation of ‘flesh and bones’ as a term is what  quantifies the  inside and the outside of my existence…..both the corporeal and the spiritual world I inhabit. And yes, one can enjoy a spiritual quality without the strict dogma of religious practice. Your spirit guide is within you, it is your natural wonder, an element of your instinct to survive and perpetuate the species.

It is my absolute belief that love is at the center of the universe.  Love evolved for obvious reasons. A forensic analysis and sociopolitical rationale is not necessary to enjoy what nature has given us freely. We should live in a state of wonder, but lets not take it for granted either . If there is a single uplifting miracle that everyone should experience it is the art of love. I count myself among the most fortunate of  men to have the love of a beautiful woman.  I don’t know what I did to deserve such a bounty, but her love is a blessing I cherish every day .

My love and I have been together for twenty five years and I wouldn’t exchange this for anything…. not for power, fame or gold.  Living every day in full appreciation of life  is not hard work. It’s not a matter of accepting one thing over another. Zen is an intellectual state of   demystifying the mysteries  we are born into.  How could anything be simpler than committing yourself to love the one you’re with?

 

IMG_3383

In the modern world we are constantly primping for perfection. Nothing can satisfy us for more than a few minutes. We are conditioned to better ourselves from a young and vulnerable age. Our physical appearance is never acceptable, we are either too fat, short, dark, light, coloured, thin, tall, short, poor, unsuccessful or possess some ghastly feature that has to be cut off . Not enough of us take the time to fully understand false advertising, false prophesy, false pretense or the magic of the airbrush artist.

Nothing we do  is ever in vogue long enough to make us whole according to the social norms that guide us through our daily lives. Ours is a society one fad from guilt stricken self immolation. We exist day to day, running blind, but dressed and made up to perfection, without ever stopping to understand who we are as individuals. We are led to believe we were born wrong, strangely different , disfigured, disabled….broken. Our potential and personal perfection is lost in the noise. Aren’t you tired of running…hiding?

What we think about in our own time has come into question. Our minds have become sought after possessions to be fought over by political and mercantile institutions, as if our own thoughts are unimportant, not welcome in their perfect world. I am not advocating a rebuke or rebuttal of the greater planetary systems as described by the gods of the media, that would be a waste of time, they are too well defended and entrenched. Believe it or not I think that manna has it’s function in the world having replaced the hunt as a basic driver of the human instinct to survive. I am  going to do what I think is right for me, and step aside, while the freight train represented by society at large roars by without me onboard.

I’ve decided to like who I am, how I look, how I think and what I have done with my life and if anyone doesn’t like it they can ‘screw off’. I can live without negative people in my space. I find that by first making my own life interesting and jam packed with things that I enjoy, that this has been an effective  recipe to cure loneliness, heartache, depression and the holes in my psychological makeup of every description  that were left behind by the fact of my existence.

Having worked in advertising, I have a fundamental understanding that advertisements are like cartoons, meant for entertainment purposes, not thoughtful consideration. What other people want is not my concern. I have found that my needs of all kinds  have diminished as my sense of self worth and interest in raw life has grown. No type of automobile possession, whether by long term lease or cash payment will grow hair on a bald man or enlarge my penis. The type of persons who would be attracted to me solely on the basis of the number and model type of my possessions are of no interest to me.

The idea that drink, drugs, meditation, possessions, position, posturing, pretense, joining or cosmetic surgery will help you find fulfillment within yourself is a patent fallacy. All such avenues are thinly disguised escapism’s designed for the temporary abeyance of who you are from your current reality, into a void space of someone elses creation, where you have been relegated to unimportant monkey status. Remove yourself from the people and things you don’t like  before you try to deceive yourself with commercially available stop gap measures as being a panacea for what ails you. When you distance yourself from the things and people that make you unhappy, you’ll start feeling better as the negative influence of those persons or things subsides from your memory.

Does all this sound narcissistic and selfish? I am coming from the position that if you can’t make yourself happy and self satisfied, then you have precious little to offer anyone else in terms of the joy of your company and the enlightenment you have earned through your endeavors. A better, happier and more satisfactory life for yourself starts with you….and evolves. In this I think we can change the world one soul at a time, starting with us. This sounds simplistic, but self satisfaction has been undermined by the concept of politically correct guilt and is deeply ingrained, and as such it’s hard to shake the death grip societal ‘norms’ have on us, especially when you try to break free.

We have all be taught to consider everyone elses grief before our own. There are many religions and practices that promise to help ‘stop the internal dialogue’ by redirecting your energy elsewhere. I don’t accept that you should run from yourself, and therefore I suggest a sea-change in the way we relate to societal expectations. I’m saying “Go ahead, be happy with who you are”….”What are you saving your happiness for?”….”spend some of that joy on yourself”. I’m off to enjoy the last days of summer sunshine. What about you?

This is an insight to my perfectly satisfactory imperfect world.

I’m always looking for material metaphors. I’m a great believer in synchronicity. I have always found it wonderful when having realized that something I did, was doing,  or caused to be done in the moment or distant past has come around to lend a meaningful relevance in the here and now, or begins to affect someone whose life-force has enjoined the same sphere as my own. In my second novel ‘The Enablers’ I toyed with the theory of a 1950’s physicist who proved mathematically that we live in a multidimensional universe, with certain people uniquely tuned in on the altered states existing all around us. It is our personal  bio-electric signal vibrating, something  generated by each and every one of us, that holds the key to inter-dimensional travel and insight into the universal mystic.

I don’t wonder that cross-boundary travelers have  influenced my decisions from time to time. I have met beings who physically resembled humans but had no absolute hold on this reality. They appear with a single purpose and act in simple and childlike ways as undeveloped characters who don’t reflect the complexity around them, as if they dropped as innocents from the sky. I now recognize that several of the spirits I have encountered were manifestations brought about by specific energy signals that were emanating from me and the place I was in at the time of their appearance.

There are geographic places of great energy, this has always been known, and these special places shift continuously. When a ‘sensitive’ human accidentally aligns himself/herself with one of these shifting energy vortice’s or gateway’s, where the energy separation is compatible with the persons own energy signal and thin enough to penetrate, then communication with other dimensions is not only possible, it is highly probable. I know  I have crossed over many times and have experienced shifts of time and space. And as I have explained I have encountered many beings who have ‘visited’ our world.

These beings had always appeared and disappeared at very specific moments in time, at times of high energy, as if they had known my life was in flux, at a crossroads where either direction was possible but only one was preferable, and I needed a nudge to put me back on the wavy lines of some nebulous master plan that has never been clear to me. When I was young I explained this knowledge of inter-dimensional phenomena away with the practical explanations of an inexperienced mind as being borne out of psychological drama or the intruding element of past mistakes in a ragged confluence of random events. I’m not so sure anymore.

Far from being a frightened child I now willingly engage any mystic event I might encounter. I welcome coincidence and crazy fortune. The beings I meet might appear on park benches and lonely bus stops, might speak in strange languages, I listen with my heart. I have my function keys engaged at all times. I have no idea what life will bring. My universe is  a raging river that has flooded the broad plains of contemporary civilization. I never know where I’ll wake up. As they say in Spanish “Estoy Listo”…I am ready.