Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Non-dual Awareness

Hola mi gente,
I am going to have to pay more attention to my state of mind. My new job puts me into contact with some deep shit, and it does so in a very unsupportive environment. Time to put experience into play.

Non-Dual Awareness, Dreams, and Intuition

The only real valuable thing is intuition.
-- Albert Einstein (1879–1955)

Have you ever had the experience of non-dual consciousness? I know, you’re probably going, “Huh?” Let me rephrase: have you ever had the experience of being as one with an object? Have you ever taken a walk and felt deeply your connection to your external environment or nature. Have you ever been so absorbed in a project or activity that time ceased to exist and when you looked up hours passed without you even being aware of it?

An Australian bushman will, after “communing” with nature, pack his family up and travel treacherous miles through unforgiving territory to find water. And most of the time, he will be correct. Ancient sailors navigated huge distances across uncharted waters using only their “feelings,” water currents, and change in temperature. How many of us either experienced or heard about a premonition of danger that resulted in saving someone’s life?

That’s what I mean by non-dual awareness. It’s an experience that’s rarely studied and is taken for granted. In fact, the little research into this state of mind shows that it holds tremendous potential for healing and points to an ability of which we have little knowledge. 

In contrast to scientific opinion, polls find most Americans believing in intuition, precognition, and the validity of dreams as a source of valid information. Actually, the fact of nonconceptual knowing is so ingrained in popular culture that we take it for granted. Yet we have no educational methodology for developing these abilities. Even those who report having refined these abilities have no way of speaking of this in a way that makes logical sense.

One night, according to an ex-lover, I awoke from sleep and talked to her extensively about a synopsis for a novel I was considering. She told me that I spoke at length and in detail for about forty-five minutes. She also told me that the idea blew her away. In her words, she was utterly shocked by the breadth and range of my thinking for the premise of this novel.

The next day when I awoke, she was all excited and asked me when I would start working on the novel, had I begun to write anything, and could she read any rough drafts. I looked at her as if she had grown a third eye. I had no clue as to what she was talking about. She thought I was teasing her, but the fact is that I have no recollection of that conversation. Of course, she didn’t take any freakin’ notes, so there goes any aspirations I had about being the next Stephen King. LOL!

Like my dream, most altered states of consciousness slip away, as one returns to ordinary thinking. What happens is that the peak experience is rationalized or forgotten, but the question still nags “How did that happen?” followed by the wish of, “How can I return to it?”

There are countless stories of non-dual awareness but they all have a common element and that is they were usually accompanied by a deep attentional state or a state of complete absorption. I believe this is where training for intuitive knowledge can begin. Modern science is now acknowledging that meditative states have positive side effects that range from the physical (e.g., blood pressure and stressed-induced diseases) to the psychological (increased focus, lowered depression, increasing states of happiness).

I know that as my meditative practice deepens, I come into closer contact to that part of me that creates, invents, and feels. I’m better able to listen to others without the noise of the incessant internal, judgmental, inner conversation. I’m also able to connect to people in ways that amazes me.

How about you -- have you ever had an experience of non-dual awareness?

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Monday, May 30, 2016

On the Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction

Hola mi Gente,
On August 6, 1945, in Hiroshima, Japan, the United States dropped the first of two nuclear bombs, becoming the only country to ever use a weapon of mass destruction on civilians. Recently, this incident has garnered some interest as President Obama, the first US president to visit Hiroshima since the bombing, called for nuclear disarmament. Despite his call for an end to nuclear weapons, the United States has been quietly upgrading its nuclear arsenal to create smaller, more precise nuclear bombs as part of a massive effort that will cost up to $1 trillion over three decades.

I first came to know the truth about Hiroshima and Nagasaki when I returned to school and discovered the Hiroshima Maidens…

Mutually Assured Destruction [MAD]

The Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil/ Hiroshima Maidens 60"x80", oil on canvass/ wood, 2003

The central image of this painting is a representation of The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. The side panels are taken from displays in the Hiroshima Peace Museum showing the aftermath of the nuclear bombing of that city.

The Hiroshima Maidens was a group of twenty-five Japanese women who were horribly disfigured as young women as a result of the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima on the morning of August 6, 1945. They dedicated their lives to telling the story of the Hiroshima bombings and the horror of nuclear war.

My curiosity piqued after listening to their talk while I was in college, I investigated further and what I discovered wasn’t pretty, to say the least. The accepted rationale for Hiroshima and Nagasaki has been that if the atomic bomb had not been dropped, the war would have continued and more lives would have been lost. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Many nations have tested nuclear weapons, but only one has ever used them. That nation, of course, is the United States; the bombs it dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August, 1945 incinerated more than 100,000 residents and left perhaps twice that number dying slowly from radiation poisoning. However, politicians at the time and conventional historians still maintain that those acts were justified. Short of a full-scale invasion of Japan, its leaders would not have been convinced to surrender, and that, the reasoning goes, would have resulted in an even higher death toll.

How many lives would have been lost in such an invasion is not clear. While President Truman threw around figures from 500,000 - one million, at least one historian wrote that the figures the military planners projected put the number at between 20,000-46,000. However, the disturbing issue here is not the discrepancy in numbers, but the fact that neither an invasion nor a nuclear attack was necessary to make Japan surrender.

By June 1945, whole-scale bombing of Japan’s six largest cities had substantially wiped out Japan’s infrastructure and countless lives. In March of that year, as many as one million Tokyo residents were left homeless from the bombing raids. No oil shipments were getting into the country, which was utterly dependent on foreign oil, and by late that July, 90 percent of Japanese merchant shipping had been destroyed.

While it is true that some Japanese factions were resisting the notion of surrender, the leaders in charge were on the verge of calling it quits. The only point deterring surrender was the Japanese concern that the emperor would be allowed to maintain his title. The US forces, of course, eventually accepted this condition.

A US government report issued in 1946 concluded that the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs did cause a Japanese surrender. The report cited documentation that as early as May 1945, Japanese leaders had decided that the war be ended even if it meant complete acceptance of Allied terms. The document cites the conclusion that Japan would have surrendered even if the atomic bombs had not been dropped and even if no invasion had been planned or completed.

Another 1946 document, a recently discovered secret intelligence study by the army’s top planning and operations group, came to the same conclusion: an invasion “would not have been necessary” and the A-bomb was not decisive in ending the war.

This view wasn’t some radical lefty bullshit; key military leaders echoed it. “The Japanese were already defeated and ready to surrender… In being the first to use [the atomic bomb] we had adopted an ethical standard common to the barbarians of the Dark Ages,” said William D. Leahy, who was the president’s Chief of Staff and the nation’s senior military officer. The same opinion was offered by Dwight D. Eisenhower and Winston Churchill. As you can see, these were conservative people. Indeed, Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, Commander in Chief of the Pacific Fleet, went public with this statement: “The Japanese had, in fact, already sued for peace… The atomic bomb played no decisive part, from a purely military standpoint, in the defeat of Japan.”

This isn’t hindsight, as these assessments were known by US policy makers before they chose to drop the bombs. In fact, in July, American intelligence had intercepted a cable from Japanese foreign Minister Shigenori Togo to his ambassador in Moscow that referred to “His Majesty’s strong desire to secure a termination of the war… ”

There was no attempt on behalf of the Truman administration to demand surrender. No show of power by, say, dropping the bomb on an unpopulated island. There was no careful consideration. This wasn’t the act of last resort. So, if there was no true imperative to drop the bombs then why?

There are several theories, but the one I adhere to is that the US was about enter an unprecedented position of leadership in most of the post-war world and a demonstration of nuclear might was intended more for the Soviets than anything else. It was a show of power to the Soviets, a nation the US military feared. In fact, that the second bomb was made from plutonium, and not uranium as the first one, suggests that the Japanese people were the subject of a gruesome scientific experiment. The bombs were more of an opening shot in a Cold War that would last for decades.

I write all this because we should never forget. We all should know all those innocent men, women, and children didn’t need to die, as those in power would have us believe.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization… 


Alperovitz, G. (1995) The decision to use the atomic bomb and the architecture of an American myth. (New York: Knopf) [link]
Zinn, H. (1991). A people's history of the United States: 1492-present. New York: Perennial Classics. [link]
Loewen, J. W. (1995). Lies my teacher told me: Everything your American history textbook got wrong New York: Touchstone Books. [link]

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Sunday Sermon [Surrender and Devotion]

Hola mi gente…
I’ll be at the Loisaida Festival today. Come join us!

Surrender & Devotion

You all are probably sick and tired of my constant references to surrender. But you see: there’s no way around it: if you want to be happy for once in your fuckin’ life you first have to surrender and surrender completely. This is no, “Well, I’ll surrender a little bit, then later I’ll surrender sum more” surrender. No, that shit doesn’t get it. You’ve been doing that long enough and half-assed surrendering got you half-assed results.

No, I want nothing more than your total, unconditional, utter surrender. And I don’t want it for myself (though my world would be made better by it), nor do I want you to surrender to me (though that would be nice).

I guess I should start at what I mean by surrender. The word “surrender” gets a bad rap in our culture, with its almost obsessive and exclusive focus on the individual. Surrender is often interpreted as giving up, weakness, ceding, as in defeat. While I am referring somewhat to giving up, I use it in a different way. Surrendering to me means letting go of our resistance to and fear of the total openness of who we really are. Allow me to reiterate:

Surrender means opening up to the fact of the total openness of who you really are.

Yup. You are total open consciousness. You may not know it, but everything you need for your freedom exists within you right now, in this very life, this very moment. You just need to stop resisting this very important truth.

Surrendering to me means giving up that little mass of tensions you call your “self” -- the story you created as a response for the need to feel real. All that bullshit: your horoscope, your Myers/ Briggs categorization, your social security number, your ID card -- all that shit is bullshit. It’s your little telenovela, your personal soap opera. That is not who you are. That whole thing -- that “personality” -- is a bundle of tension you chose to take on in order to separate yourself from everyone else’s telenovelas. You can actually feel it: it manifests itself as a contraction in your body.

You cannot be vulnerable nor can you surrender while immersed in your personal soap opera. You cannot love, nor know love, nor be loved while you’re all twisted like that.

Soften yourself, breathe -- luxuriate in your free space… 

Surrendering to me means to open with no boundaries. Shit, you cannot say, “I love you,” when in a state of surrender. There is no “I” -- no “you” -- that loves. There is only love. Quick! Think of someone you love totally without condition -- a son or daughter, or a lover… 

Feel that?

That is what you are. It’s palpable -- you can feel this thing that you are -- it’s always there even when you lose sight of it. That’s who and what you are.

Surrender to me means loving without limits. It means to break down your walls and to let down your guard so that your lover can feel your genuine, naked, and unhidden core without defenses. Your belly becomes soft and your breath becomes full. You willingly open your body and heart to your lover. When you reach this level of awareness, life unfolds differently. If you are hurt, you experience the hurt, but you remain open and full. You live your life as open like the sky, the ocean, the trees. Surrender to me is the gateway to the deepest possible way of knowing.

You might say you have opened like this and I will challenge you. You may have surrendered to someone or something but I have met very few people who have surrendered to the notion they are love. What I mean by surrendering is the practice (not the thought, or analysis) of surrendering. In this context it is not surrendering to your fears, nor the demands of another, but directly to love. If you tell me you have no resistance to any of this, then I’m going to call you on your bullshit because if you have ever tried surrendering in this way the first realization is that there is a huge resistance to it.

True surrender, in the manner in which I use the word, is not adapting in order to please people. Nor is it even momentarily sacrificing your emotional needs. These are all secondary needs and true surrender is about breaking through veil of these secondary needs and amplifying the primal and very human yearning to give and receive unlimited and unbound love.

And that my friends is devotion.

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…

Saturday, May 28, 2016

You are fighting me...

Hola mi gente,
Today, I will looking at some rooms/ apartments and then I hope to enjoy this magnificent weather. Tomorrow marks the unofficial start of my summer with the annual Loisaida Festival in the Lower East Side. If you’re there, look for me at the impromptu rumba that takes place every year in front of that Puerto Rican institution, Casa Adela. The original J-Lo, Iris Chacon, will be the host of the festival and Johnny “Boogaloo Blues” Colon will supply the sounds.  If you see me, come shake my hand, or kiss me. LOL!

Today, I am dusting off a very old poem of mine…

Nows [no. 2]

You're fighting me I find,
and you will fight me all the way
to that painful
instant of surrender
we can both already sense.

You will fight
my text messages
my emails
my presents
and my midnight calls.

You will fight
the endless affections of my tongue
and I will ignore
your enormous eyes
and your unbearable smile.

I can buy you
airplane tickets,
dinners in San Juan,
and clothes you must learn to
love yourself to wear
and still you will fight me.

Because I have taken away
your practiced old
game of giving,
and made of you
an honest trader again.

* * *

My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…


[un]Common Sense