Tag: zen

Seek truth, embrace sacrifice, gain real power, and be able to resist with real strength.

America is vomitous. Decadence has turned our beacon on a hill into a pit of desperation and despair. But the world at large is just as loathsome, if you don’t want to be some felating Yes-man to the “acceptable” notions of the moneyed aristocracy. The state of humanity in power in 2017 is just plain wretched. Occasionally I have the urge to a throw up just thinking about the state of our media and leadership. I’ve been repeating these themes for a long time, but people silence minorities who want to speak up and say something, well until it’s too late.

Here parades a sad cavalcade of bullies who need to be laughed at vociferously, but true and meaningful laughter comes from real power, and most Americans have had their power deviously stolen from them. So where does real power come from? It comes from going on a journey of the soul and confronting your fears deep inside yourself. Often this kind of growth comes from ordeals which most people either do not want to face or are not forced to face. Plus, there is spiritual knowledge that the powers that be have scrubbed from our literature through the generations in order to keep the people weak and think that the journey is pointless.

Robert Anton Wilson is someone that I highly respect. However, he was not just some two-bit political word slinger. He looked for esoteric knowledge and pursued it to the point of being laughed at himself. He took the words of Crowley, Leary, and Korzybski et al. and put them to work within the crucible of the human heart. Unless you are willing to pursue these verboten techniques and are willing to break laws in order to achieve them, you will not get anything in life except a gaggle of fake Internet points from other members of the insubstantial class.

Social media has turned so many people into dress up queens who put on metaphorical Instagram filters and think that they’ve done something important. Real power, the power that flows within you, comes through deep sacrifice, and sacrifice is a word that has been crumpled up and thrown into the trash. Honestly, for myself, I’m not sure if I really was that brave with my sacrifice. I grew up with a “wrong” gender and a “wrong” sexuality for an ostensibly male American. I was deeply shamed for most of my youth. I was ostracized from straight and gay communities alike. For some reason, I was born different, and my road has been very difficult. Finally, because I decided to live a life that was no choice to me, custody of my two beautiful baby boys was taken from me with the assistance of a conservative judge and the State of California. This was my forced sacrifice, and I had to go deep within myself to try and find peace in a world that was unfairness exemplified.

On that journey, I found something that others said was not real. I found the power of psychedelic substances that shone a light within my consciousness and illuminated my inner psychology to such a degree that I was able to quickly grasp what was real and what was not. I found the power of meditation and inner control. I found the power of a seemingly intelligent universe that sought to guide me forward. I found the power of internal rejuvenation. I found redemption.

The path for everyone is different, so it cannot be prescribed in a blog post. But the journey is the reward. Somehow I’m OK with my trials in this lifetime. I’m a rather despised member of our society in general, but I can smile from within my heart and have peace at times. Great and fortuitous forces have come to my aid when my realities were especially bleak. I have no assurance that I will survive my existential journey with any kind of “reward,” but onward I go, foolish and more free every day.

Recovery and Rebirth in Interesting Times

America makes you crazy, so you gotta give yourself a break. I’m trying to work on getting over a lot of my instilled fear of groups and friends. I spent so long being incognito, desperately trying to be this “perfect male” so that people wouldn’t know who I really was. It takes a lot of deprogramming to undo that kind of thing, and you have to be careful about it and not just go at your history with a flamethrower. Truly remaking yourself, healing your mental health, is the subtle and daring work of a shaman or artist more than a “good patient” or whatever the authorities advocate to heal. I think that mostly I need to have an unerring devotion to the notion that I am fallible and be ready to cut those wrong assumptions about myself at the root when I find them. I rather enjoy being humble and accepting my own flaws. But it takes a lot of work, and I have to be able to accept when someone else says something true about me that I don’t want to hear. It takes practice, and each time gets easier.

I have a lot of anxiety. It comes and goes, but it has been my most loyal companion of my 37 trips around the sun. The anxiety is rooted in fear, a fear of rejection and loss of security. I’ve had people I thought cared about me suddenly turn and shun me so many times in my life that I’ve developed a serious inferiority and instability complex. Having my kids taken away was the nuclear bomb that severed me from my history. I was so broken that I was forced to start over and try anything to not want to kill myself on the daily. But I haven’t been like that for almost 2 years now because I learned to laugh at the total insanity of my situation and my behaviors. A good laugh can cure just about anything. I have my secret and unorthodox means for arriving at these salvations, and I wish I could be more open, but we live in paranoid times, so the prudential people must follow the ancient Chinese proverb in “hiding their light and biding their time.”

Life is still just as much of a challenge as when I was at my lowest. It might be even harder because I was ignoring so many things back then that I have to address now, but I just have a different perspective. I think something Buddhist or Christian or whatever stuck down in my heart, and I internalized the truth that pain is a constant in life, and yet in spite of pain, we can still have joy. It’s easy to pigeon-hole folks like myself as overly emotional social justice warrior millennial whiners, but I just have to say that some of us have a lot of shit to dig out of. Growing up trans or queer or radically in the minority is heavy, heavy stuff. There are some people who are just addicted to the victim attention for sure, but most of us misfits are just trying to get better, do better, be better, etc.

I do have great news to share though! My cat of 12 years, Snow, is recovering incredibly well from Hepatic Lipidosis which is a fairly common liver disease for house cats. I’ve had to feed her through a tube twice a day for over two weeks now, and it’s been a challenge, but my little Snowbie is doing great and returning to her cranky and loving self. Our vet is also using traditional Chinese herbal medicine to assist in her recovery, and she looks better than she’s been in a long time. My heart is so joyful over it. I am so completely blessed that my partner was able to pay for the expensive surgery too.

It’s such a strange time for America and for transgender people and everybody. There is a funny Chinese aphorism that one tells to someone they don’t particularly like: “may you be born in interesting times.” Well these sure are some interesting times. My life has been nothing if not interesting. I’m not sure exactly what I’m supposed to figure out with this Sisyphean exercise, but I’m gonna figure out whatever I can. I’m gonna play this video game until I see the final credits! 

The tragedy and hope of confronting suicide and mental health

I grew up listening to Chris Cornell’s music as most other 90’s teenagers did. He was able to easily evince a feeling of sensitive yet aggressive angst with operatic bravura. This ability most likely came from his own struggles with mental health and personal darkness.

I understand what it’s like to be artistic and depressive. I’ve been suicidal for long periods of my life. I’m not suicidal now and haven’t been since January of 2016 when I sort of figured out how to exist in my darkness. It’s work. Daily work. Artists and sensitives have to deal with their environment, and America as a country is very dark. America tries to wear this ridiculous, happy mask to try and convince the world that it’s “so happy!!!” However us sensitives get to swim in the darkness, seeing the realness that others might be able to ignore.

There is relief of mental health troubles, but overcoming these struggles requires the best in us. I’ve found ancient Zen and Taoist concepts of letting go, nothingness, and peace to help me cope. I’ve also found solace in the passion and suffering of Jesus although I’m definitely not a mainstream Christian by any measure. I also use modern mental health techniques like dialectical behavioral therapy to address my anxieties and extreme emotions. I try and use a holistic and whole body approach to tackling mental health concerns, and I believe I’ve found a modicum of success in this respect.

I don’t really blame people for committing suicide because it’s a tough row to hoe, but I definitely think it is a tragic error that tends to amplify your suffering onto other people. I’ve come to see suicide as “self murder,” and I believe that murder is not really helpful in most if not all circumstances. Through this re-framing of concept, I’ve been able to take the romanticism out of my old obsessions with suicide. Mental health concerns challenge us to radically confront ourselves, and this is often a most precipitous mountain to scale.

But I want to say that there are other climbers on this mountain willing to help you if you reach out for help, which is my final point: always reach out for help. If you humble yourself and say “I just can’t figure out how to live,” most likely someone will be there to help you, and often this act of letting go can free us from the notion that we have to fix everything ourselves.