Tuesday, November 29, 2016

What Is Samadhi ? ( In English ) HD

What Is Samadhi ? ( In English ) HD

Leonard Cohen - I Have Not Lingered In European Monosteries

I Have Not Lingered In European Monosteries
by Leonard Cohen

I Have Not Lingered In European Monosteries

and discovered among the tall grasses tombs of knights
who fell as beautifully as their ballads tell; 
I have not parted the grasses
or purposefully left them thatched.
I have not held my breath
so that I might hear the breathing of God
or tamed my heartbeat with an exercise,
or starved for visions.
Although I have watched him often
I have not become the heron,
leaving my body on the shore,
and I have not become the luminous trout,
leaving my body in the air.
I have not worshipped wounds and relics,
or combs of iron,
or bodies wrapped and burnt in scrolls.
I have not been unhappy for ten thousands years.
During the day I laugh and during the night I sleep.
My favourite cooks prepare my meals,
my body cleans and repairs itself,
and all my work goes well.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Psychosis or Spiritual Awakening: Phil Borges at TEDxUMKC

Phil Borges, filmmaker and photographer, has been documenting indigenous and tribal cultures for over 25 years. His work is exhibited in museums and galleries worldwide and his award winning books have been published in four languages. Phil's recent project, Inner Worlds, explores cultural differences with respect to consciousness and mental illness

Friday, November 25, 2016

Awakening the Heart ~ by Thich Nhat Hanh ~ The Practice of Inner Transformation.

"To be alive is a miracle." - Thich Nhat Hanh

"When your mind is with your body, you can get in touch with the here and now." - Thich Nhat Hanh

Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh explains the importance of mindfulness in connecting with our own Buddha nature. Being fully present involves connecting the breath with the body. Fully present means fully alive. Being in touch with the wonders of life involves connecting mind and body in order to connect with the present moment.

Hanh explains the simplicity of going home to the present moment. He says one can connect with the present moment by breathing mindfully, regenerating our own energy combined with a mindful approach to this moment.

Mindfulness is always mindfulness of something, Hanh continues. Mindfulness of breathing or mindfulness of doing the dishes. This is a basic practice of Buddhism. Being mindful means being aware of what you're doing, rather than simply performing your daily tasks without your mind fully present and aware of what your body is doing.

This is where freedom is found, when we can follow with our minds to the awareness produced by mindfulness.

Following your in breath and out breath from beginning to end is a good practice to cultivate concentration and an attitude of insight, which has the power to liberate us, Thich Nhat Hanh says.

Awakening the Heart ~ by Thich Nhat Hanh ~ The Practice of Inner Transformation.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Wanda Coleman at CSULA, May 9th 2013

November 22nd 2016 marks the 3 year anniversary of Wanda Coleman's passing. Wanda left us with treasure troves of her work and thank fully her voice and work is still with us!

Wanda Coleman at CSULA, May 9th 2013

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Talib Kweli and his Javotti Media family are often invincible, always determined and reflective on Awful People Are Great At Parties

If you enjoy great lyrics, classic boom-bap, neck brace beats combined with reflections on the music industry and life's ups and downs; then Awful People Are Great At Parties is for you!

The case is made strong with the release of Awful People Are Great At Parties: Javotti Media Group is a force to be reckoned with! There’s not one skippable track or one appearance that can be viewed as weak on this release. This release begs to be played all the way through. It took me a few plays to pick out my favorite tracks but rest assured Talib Kweli has surrounded himself with nothing but all stars. Chazmere and NIKO IS shine particularly bright here. K’Valentine is a comet of brilliance on her track Delusional as well, asking, “You ever meet someone you can see through?”

Whether it’s Space Invadaz doing a party track or Thanks Joey providing effervescent, neck-snapping beats; Javotti Media Group is chock full of world-class talent and ground breaking artists.

The thing that struck me most after spending some time with Awful People Are Great At Parties is it’s continuity. It doesn’t feel like a compilation. Given Talib Kweli’s numerous appearances on this release, it feels like a Talib Kweli album. Whether his intention or not, Kweli’s heavy presence on this compilation is greatly appreciated. Bringing his high powered, rapid fire delivered and heavy verses he’s known for, Kweli is also present on the hooks as well. This makes it feel like it’s his project.

Given Kweli’s heavy New York City influence, and being from Brooklyn, this release has a healthy balance of a combination of geographically influenced sounds. That being said, it’s refreshing to hear many of his southern comrades such as Big Gipp, Corey Mo and Scotty ATL on this project. Another high caliber collaboration from a southern artist is NIKO IS on Smoke Somethin’. The Orlando based Brazilian artist brings that raw sound and southern-drawl yet keeps the flow technically on point and precise with Kweli on the duo’s track dedicated to the ever-potently creative inspiring plant we know as that ganja!

This compilation was so fun to listen to and keep going back to because of the plethora of personalities Kweli recruited to get down. Although it feels like an album, it’s a thick with multiple personalities, voices and points of view. Culturally diverse, and all encompassing; this release is sure to have something for the lovers of many different styles of Hiphop.

My two favorite tracks come well equipped by the Space Invadaz. Getting down over a Hi Tek instrumental on the always inspiring, uplifting and motivational track titled, Wait; the Space Invadaz were a breath of fresh air. I had never heard them before and I was pleasantly surprised. Wait is one of those tracks to put on in the morning to get ready for your day. After the first play I was left feeling somewhat invincible. That song gives me strength and motivation to stay dedicated to my work, life and love! Later in the release, Space Invadaz get down over a J Dilla instrumental. I would have loved to hear the conversations between them and Talib Kweli about picking that beat for that song, and how they got the opportunity to rock over one of the greatest beats on this release. It is well deserved, Space Invadaz murked the Dilla beat!

Although Awful People Are Great At Parties comes equipped with production from legendary cats like Nottz, Hi Tek and Dilla; it is some of the lesser known (yet still tailored to the road of greatness) producers that really blew me away. And Repeat, a track produced by Thanks Joey, is sure to rattle trunks for blocks upon blocks. The strings near the end are impeccable. Thanks Joey also delivers on his two other efforts near the conclusion of this release. Tamahmgiso is a laid back, bass heavy, chill type beat that inspires Chazmere to reflect, “the way the NYPD move, I’ma cop for vests for everyone in my projects.”

Despite the tongue-in-cheek title, Awful People Are Great At Parties is chock full of reflections on Hiphop culture, the political climate of the culture and America. If not already well established by this point in his career, Talib Kweli lets it be known that he is a man of the people. On the high light track, Every Ghetto Part 2, Kweli reminds listeners what life is like in the ghetto. His ability to make it out is no less marked with perseverance as willingness and a need to let anybody still in the struggle that they can make it out too. Kweli doesn’t forget his people, ever; and it is made clear who he is speaking to, for and who he represents.

It is on Every Ghetto Part 2 that Kweli’s flow is the most polished and at this point he uses this rapid fire delivery and consciousness to remind listeners who’s at the helm of operating this machine of Javotti Media.

All in all this is a great release. There’s something for everybody here. Long gone are the days when conscious rappers aren’t allowed to have fun. There are songs for turning up and there are songs for turning down. Me personally, I can’t always be listening to the club bangers. Sometimes I need something to think about, something to contemplate when I feel like spending time by myself.

That’s what impresses me most about Talib Kweli and his counterparts here: they keep things balanced. This is party music. You can have fun with it. At the same time, this is music to enjoy in solitude. You’ll be given something to move your body to as well as contemplate when you’re in need of some time alone. I love turning up and partying but I need something more sometimes. We need to maintain balance and have options for the Friday nights as well as the Sunday mornings. You get that balance with Awful People Are Great At Parties.

For your FREE download of Awful People Are Great At Parties, via Javotti Media, click HERE.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib - "Ode to Biggie" (Rustbelt 2014)

Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib - "Ode to Biggie" (Rustbelt 2014)

Alan Watts - Reincarnation & Relativity

Alan Watts breaks down the illusion of "reality" as well as goes in depth on a rather intoxicating lecture about his ideas of reincarnation.

The only thing that is happening, is happening right now, Watts argues.

Perhaps partly a lash out against the insane fear of death that many promote, perhaps part joke on the whole idea of that fear, Watts is candid and inspiring on one of his (and mine) favorite subjects.

Alan Watts - Reincarnation & Relativity

Friday, November 18, 2016

Nothing Exists?

Yamaoka Tesshu, as a young student of Zen, visited one master after another. He called upon Dokuon of Shokoku.

Desiring to show his attainment, he said: "The mind, Buddha, and sentient beings, after all, do not exist. The true nature of phenomena is emptiness. There is no relaization, no delusion, no sage, no mediocrity. There is no giving and nothing to be received."

Dokuon, who was smoking quietly, said nothing. Suddenly he whacked Yamaoka with his bamboo pipe. This made the youth quite angry.

"If nothing exists," inquired Dokuon, "where did this anger come from?"

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Milarepa on Possessions

I have no desire for wealth or possessions, and so I have nothing. I do not experience the initial suffering of having to accumulate possessions, the intermediate suffering of having to guard and keep up possessions, nor the final suffering of losing the possessions.

~ Milarepa

Alan Watts - Importance of Play in a Survivalist Culture

Alan Watts describes the perhaps accurate apocalyptic view that television is ruining our society. We're driven mad with images! "One can only draw the conclusion that the assumption underlying this is that expressions of physical love are far more dangerous than expressions of physical hatred," Watts concludes. One can argue that this obsession with images, more specifically with television, is at the root of our society's long-winded decay. Whether or not you agree with my conclusion, based on this lecture and other statistical information, it is quite obvious that American society is clearly obsessed with television.

Watts also goes on to elaborate on our evolution or our de-evolution. We've become so occupied with making a living that we're forgotten how to make a life, is one way to say it. We've brought our children up to believe that "work" is of the most vital importance. Play becomes work and work becomes tedious. When time becomes scarcity, there is hardly any room for joy, unwinding and playful occupations that elaborate our soul's existence.

There's no time for fun at work. We get home from work and are driven to the point of exhaustion because of this occupation that we think we "need." The image of walking alone in a desolate suburb, everybody glued to their bright light in a box, where one must have a "purpose" or a reason to go is a rather stark one.

It seems very wild, and irrational that we must always have some place to arrive at. Through this constant need for a place to "be," we hardly arrive anywhere and we hardly know where we're going, Watts argues.

This may seem like a very somber world view, however, i would classify this as "realist" in nature.
There's nothing wrong with an honest look at our society, it's goals and it's results in the seemingly obvious numbing-out of the American intellect. There's quite a therapeutic release, for me at least, when one can sincerely look at the direction this culture is headed even when the end point or destination doesn't look like a bright one.

More optimistically, i am enthused with the counter culture, with the rebels and thinkers who look for an alternative way of life or a simple "way out." How to do this is becoming ever more clear. All one must do is simply say "no." No to the abuse, neglect and mistreatment of the human intellect, its resilience and ability to expand consciousness, awareness and YES: LOVE!

It becomes quite arduous, i can imagine, to deny the needs to expanding the mind, learning and growing as well as evolving in a natural manner in order to be a purveyor of Good in this world, rather than become a passive, dismissive and judgmental victim of this intriguing system of control and unending quest for excessive comfort and leisure.

Alan Watts - Importance of Play in a Survivalist Culture

Rico Jeezus is both vulnerable and indestructible in his quest for truth, beauty and ultimately, Love.

If you enjoy tales of love, love-lost, self-actualization and brilliant phrase turning, with a cadence capable of moving the crowd on its own; combined with mellow, soul stinging beats, then Rico Jeezus’ A Misanthropist Heaven is for you.

The thing that struck me first when I first turned on A Misanthropist Heaven is that Rico Jeezus is giving too much. I felt bad for him at first, almost pitying him after my very first listen. However, it was only because I connected so much with the music that I felt this way about the artist.

I heard so much of my own story in his music that I was pitying myself. We are often driven mad in our quest for money, truth, beauty and ultimately love; as Jeezus himself admits on his track Madman. It is this ability to connect on a human level that I love about Rico Jeezus. I relate to the music so much that I almost felt like he was telling MY story as well as his own. And this fact is priceless. Rico Jeezus is a true artist, in the purest sense of the word.

After all, who hasn’t felt the pain, joy, sorrow, ecstasy and its ability to free us from our chains in our own search for love, meaning and respect?

Rico Jeezus clearly has a lot to get off his chest on A Misanthropist Heaven. Dealing with subject matter such as love, loss of love, addiction and Spirituality is nothing light. It gets very heavy at times but isn’t that what music is for? Expressing the thoughts and feelings that often go unspoken in day-to-day life; Rico Jeezus often comes across as a downer but all too human.

This is a breath of fresh air, as the emcee “crumbles slowly in the cold,” while he’s looking for love seemingly everywhere outside of himself. Once again, human. Rico Jeezus crushes the stereotype that emcees must be emotionless; despite how confident and strong he clearly is about his own pursuits.

People aren’t quite who they seem to be and Rico’s got his eye on only one “beauty queen.” I can’t tell if Rico’s crush is a love lost or a love coming to him on the concluding, The Phoenix. Like the bird who rose from the ashes, Jeezus remains resilient in his search for everlasting love.

My favorite track is “Paper Planes.” The beat continues the previous efforts at laid back, chill vibes with a simple drum break and an ill guitar sample. The emcee’s trials of loneliness is well established at this point, but it’s his flow that is unparalleled anywhere else on the album that really does it for me. He’s relentless. He’s rugged. The subject matter is deep (for lack of better word), which is what I like in my Hiphop music, especially with love songs. The emcee laments on those who would tell him not to chase his dreams, and seems very heroic-but-all-too-human like towards the end of the track. Indeed, life’s not a game as the emcee stays elusive as “nobody knows my where abouts,” and he brushes off those who would deny his dreams. It’s a great feeling to hear the emcee’s resilience and steadfastness to his goals and dreams. The beat being very melancholy, while Rico Jeezus is anything but; remaining strong, goal-oriented and purpose driven in the face of doubt is what seems to signify Rico Jeezus on this release.

As a listener, I often felt liberated and free when listening to A Misanthropist Heaven because the emcee is consistent with his expression, his flow and his Oneness with his Spirit and character. He’ll stick to a slow flow for a bit and at the unexpected time kick into an almost double-time, high-powered cadence to keep you on your listening toes. Rico Jeezus masters the art of bringing you the unexpected with this release.

On Madman (which also contains my favorite beat on the project: that chopped vocal sample is EERY!) the emcee questions his own sanity; something a lot of great artists do. Is he a madman for loving so passionately? Is he a madman for loving the almighty dollar and the will to make more of it? He paints a tale of one on the come up, yet never being satisfied with enough as he admits he’s “willing to be driven mad for money,” also questioning whether being attracted to the financial freedom having money offers makes him indeed insane or not; even questioning whether or not he’s damned and his own suicidal thoughts.

When an artist can be so vulnerable that it turns into strength is when I connect more evenly to the art. Rico Jeezus isn’t afraid of his own humanity and his fearlessness is contagious. It’s inspiring. It’s invigorating. It’s uplifting.

My main complaint of A Misanthropist Heaven is twofold. First, it’s too short. There’s simply not enough material here and Rico Jeezus is too good to take in such a small dose as 7 tracks. That being said, the second portion of my complaint takes a bit more explaining.

This release is very heavy. If it wasn’t for his own seemingly indestructible self-confidence, I would be left feeling very sorry for Rico Jeezus. He seems very lonely and afraid, yet almost possessing super-human self-assurance. He seems like a genuinely good dood who’s simply looking for love. However, it seems to be a very lonely existence. At about the 5th track, Stiff Liq & Lust, it becomes obvious why this is such a short release. Perhaps it is because the emcee is not intimidated by his own search for truth, meaning and ultimately love, perhaps it is because life is a bitch (as the emcee even admits). But the feel of this release is somber, almost down at times. Just listen though, there seems to be something very rewarding, something unseen: a gift that only the richness of experience and learning lessons can offer that Rico Jeezus seems to subconsciously possess on A Misanthropist Heaven.

 Take for example, on Love Lies; the title is a play on words where the emcee questions the truth and sincerity of his own love. As well as questioning the double entendre of the phrase, wondering where true love actually “lies” or resides. This is simply brilliant song writing. Plus the cadence on this track alludes to heart break at the same time lending itself to a sense of never-saying-die attitude, the same attitude that keeps a human being going on our often unending search for love, acceptance and faith.
Rico Jeezus is a poet in the truest sense of the word. Heart on his sleeve, tough-as-nails and never flinching at his own fear and loathing; the emcee possesses the delivery and knowledge of the breaks to move the crowd as well. As dope and soulful as the beats on A Misanthropist Heaven are, I’d still love to hear some of these tracks a capella because the cadence is so free and powerful on its own, it often sounds like many of these verses were the product of well-planned and methodical freestyles.

Rico Jeezus possesses a style that often relics the greats and blemishes the lazy and malnourished styles all too popular in today’s Hiphop music climate: a style that has been tended and cared for over time, like watering an orange grove; the songs come to life with rich and ripe fruit, in the head phones and when played full-blast through the speakers.

Stand out tracks: Love Lies, Paper Planes, Stiff Liq & Lust

For your FREE download of A Misanthropist Heaven by Rico Jeezus, via bandcamp, click HERE.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Poland Rediscovered: Krakow, Auschwitz, and Warsaw

A Stone Mind

Hogen, a Chinese Zen teacher, lived alone in a small temple in the country. One day four traveling monks appeared and asked if they might make a fire in his yard to warm themselves.

While they were building the fire, Hogen heard them arguing about subjectivity and objectivity. 

He joined them and said: "There is a big stone. Do you consider it to be inside or outside your mind?"

One of the monks replied: "From the Buddhist viewpoint everything is an objectification of mind, so I would say that the stone is inside my mind."

"Your head must feel very heavy," observed Hogen, "if you are carrying around a stone like that in your mind."

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso - What is wisdom? + FREE Download of the Heart Sutra

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso explains what wisdom is. He continues to explain the principle object of meditation should be on emptiness.

Gyatso also goes on to explain the meaning of karma and what karma is, how it is accumulated and explains that it takes many life times for us to accumulate karma. In this life time, we wish to have good karma so it can be said that in our other lives we would want good karma as well.

If we want something right now, it can be said that we will also want that same thing in the future, considering that our want is born of necessity and free from desire and passion.

Gyatso illuminates the way that passion leads to anger. And contemplating beautiful things and concentrating our attention on beauty is a way for us to arrive at a calm, peaceful mind.

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso - What is wisdom?

For an explanation on the Heart Sutra, via wikipedia, click HERE.

For an excerpt of the Heart Sutra, and a bit of elaboration on the Buddhist notion of emptiness, click HERE.

For a Free Download of the Heart Sutra, translated by Thich Nhat Hanh, via Plum Village, click HERE.