We Are All One...

"We all live within the same illusion and are, in our own way and in our own time, trying to understand the truth behind it all. Some may not be looking at the moment or even in this particular life, but ultimately we will all wake up from the dream and remember who we really are. Ultimately, we will all become one..."

- Aaron Hutchins

Friday, September 21, 2012

Three Things That Could Change The World

The road of life is long, so we have to know that it's ok to not always know where we are on it. However, if every person on Earth, simultaneously,  tried to give more to others, to let go of fear and to learn to forgive themselves for their shortcomings, then this world that we live in would discover peace for the first time and the lives of every man, woman & child would find fulfillment in their existence.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Deciphering The Mystery Of Happiness

Find a reason to be happy everyday and your life will never go to waste. Too often, it seems, we can become overwhelmed by the specifics of daily life and lose sight of this precious gift that we've all been given. Life is a wondrous journey where even the most seemingly mundane moments can have an air of magic about them. That is, once our eyes have learned to see magical things.

Deciphering the mystery of our own happiness is like peeling back the skin of a luscious fruit. At first glance life often appears to be nothing more than a rough and bitter skin, but once we have learned to uncover the sweet nectar within, we can begin to savor all of life's decadent flavors and the seeds of happiness will begin to appear to us wherever it is that we look.

Happiness is something different for everyone and for this reason it can often elude us, but once we allow ourselves to see how exciting it is to discover those inner parts of us, then the process of living becomes a fantastic adventure.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Thoughts About Compassion

I've been pondering this question about love for some time now. Not just any love, but the kind of love that drives people to have compassion for complete strangers. I think as children we start out this way, but life can often throw us for a curve. The sheer experience of the environment that we're born into, what we're told and the paths that we choose, often shape us in ways that we couldn't have prepared ourselves for and we forget about that love that seemed to come so naturally to us in the beginning.

I spent many years myself living in what I thought of as hostile environments and situations. I went to these places with a real heart for others, along with, a beautiful sense of humor and all the excitement and fervor of a child. What I quite often found there though, were many angry, defensive, broken people who, more often than not, seemed to want to raise their fists or voices at others in anger, rather than extend their arms for a handshake or a hug. This, ultimately, caused me to find myself in a great struggle to hold on to that innocence and beauty of youth that I felt I had once carried inside, as I became worn down by my surroundings and my own personal trauma seemed to allow me to take in more and more of that negativity, with each passing year .

During those years, however, in the midst of much misery, I discovered that I possessed a very powerful gift. I found that I had an unusual propensity for subconsciously observing my environment, down to the most minute of details often times, and that through extreme empathy, I had been absorbing incredible amounts of energy from even the most subtle behaviors and emotions from people in my environment. I would walk into a room and see immediately that a person in the corner was sad, that another person was anxious, that another wanted to talk to someone, but was too shy or that someone was angry, whether I wanted to or not. I eventually began to realize that this incredible sensitivity had, in part, made my life quite difficult in the past and that, as with many gifts, this had the potential to create pure bliss and harmony in my world or complete chaos and destruction.

I would always feel quite saddened, disappointed or even upset by what I saw in these moments, as it always felt so powerful. Many times I would become so filled with another persons emotions, that I found myself unexpectedly mirroring those feelings, which frequently caused me to become so overwhelmed to the point of not being able to share anything with the world for days at a time. More recently in my life, however, I began thinking more deeply about this concept of true compassion in those moments and a love for all beings, which often reminds me of those bright souls who have found the way to make this happen in their lives. People like Mother Theresa, Ghandi, Jesus, The Buddha, the Dalai Lama, Martin Luther King, Joseph Campbell, Manly P. Hall, Desmond Tutu and countless others have chosen to bring that light to the world throughout history and the world is most certainly a better place for itThe Dalai Lama once said, "I have been confronted with many difficulties throughout the course of my life, and my country is going through a critical period. But I laugh often, and my laughter is contagious. When people ask me how I find the strength to laugh now, I reply that I am a professional laugher."

So, why should we reach out to people in this way, we might wonder? What has the world done for me? Why should we want to spread the light of compassion in a world that often seems unkind and, at times, saturated in darkness? Well, I think the answer lies therein. The greatest gift the world can give you is to reciprocate to you the love that you once planted within it as a seed. Without this, love can not grow in one's life. In this way, I think it's truly important that we try to show kindness to others. Even if we don't always particularly agree with other people's ideas and philosophies, I think the trick is learning that that's what makes us all unique. It's also what makes the world more interesting, whereas struggling against the world and the people in it only creates chaos in one's life. Compassion is the key. It's something that we can always use a little more of. Compassion breaks down all those obstacles that we have in life by first showing us that we only have obstacles because we have built up walls within. 

 This life can be quite short, especially when seen in light of the billions and billions of years of the existence of the universe. The billions of organisms within a single clump of moss are as much a part of that environment as billions of humans are a part of the planet earth, as much as billions of planets are part of a solar system, billions of solar systems are part of the galaxy and that billions of galaxies are part of the universe. So, what do we do with that mere snippet of time that we have here if we're not looking to make the most of it, if we haven't tried to accept people for who they are or if we haven't understood that we are all in this together? It seems to me, that instead of spending even one moment struggling against one another, that we might instead do better to try and make this life better for everyone and understand that we and everything in this vast universe are now...and have always been...one in the same thing.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Mysterious Orbs, Triangular Lights & The Doors of Perception

I had a strange experience the other night. I was standing in a dark football field of a local highschool & was trying to match up stars & constellations to my Google Sky Map app on my phone. At around 1:00 AM, directly overhead, I saw what looked like just another distant star, but it was moving rapidly across the sky. I quickly got out another app that I had, called Space Junk, that actively tracks the movements of satellites across the sky in real time, but didn't see any that matched that trajectory. Just then, it let out a huge burst of pure white light that lit everything up almost like daylight for just a moment. It was like someone with a dimmer switch had turned a light up to full blast suddenly & then turned it down just the same.

I've never seen anything like it. I mean, of course, it could've been anything, although, I'm not sure what really. It seems that if it was a meteor or satellite or something that it would've left a streak or burned up in the earth's atmosphere. The light was very contained though, more like an orb of light or something, that just continued to move into the distance.

This got me thinking. Maybe completely fantastical things are happening all around us all the time, but we lack the perception to see them.

I was suddenly reminded of something I saw a few years ago that was truly bizarre. It was around 2008 or so, while I was living in Venice Beach, CA. I used to walk along the oceans edge everynight in the dark. One night I saw a spectacular display of movement over the water by 3 reddish lights that were in a perfect triangular formation. The lights would periodically change position as if rotating around the edge of something. Then, whatever it was, started swooping down rapidly to near the surface of the ocean, stopping on a dime for a second or two, and then immediately shooting back up into the sky. It did this 3 or four times, over the course of about 5 to 10 minutes, before it shot off like a light over the mountains to the North.

The beach was very dark & I was walking by people in the shadows, just strolling along the waters edge, and I couldn't believe that no one else had seen this. So, the next night I decided I was going to go out to the same spot, at about the same time, and see if it returned. I sat there for about 20 - 30 minutes & then sure enough, in the exact same place in the sky, the lights appeared again as if just switching on. It did virtually the same exact thing. The lights rotated. It swooped down to the water and shot back up into the same position in the sky a few times. Then, it sped off rapidly over the mountains. All of this without a sound to be heard. I went out for a third night, but it was nowhere to be found.

I've told this story to people quite a few times over the years and they always respond with the same thing. "If UFOs are really out there, cruising the earth all the time, how come I've never seen one?" My answer is always the same. "Well, you have to be looking...and I'm ALWAYS looking!" I also like to mention that what I saw was simply "unidentified", which by nature makes it a UFO. What it was...is another question, but I think the more in tune and aware we allow ourselves to become with our surroundings in our lives, the more magic we will begin to see all around us everyday! :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Hero's Journey

I've been thinking back recently to a trip I took last year to see the Mayan ruins of Mexico and Guatemala. I've always been fascinated with the magic of the region and with Mayan culture, beliefs, architecture, creation myth, etc. This has been particularly true as we near the end of the Mayan long count calendar; an intricate system of time keeping which spans the 5,125 years from August 11, 3114 BC to the winter solstice on December 21, 2012 AD.

Many translations say that the Mayans predicted the end date of the calendar to be the end of a great world age. In fact, it seems the Mayans thought that at the end of this 5,125 year cycle we would enter what they called "The Time of No Time"; a period which would bring with it phenomenal changes and transformation on the earth. These changes, they believed, would propel us into a great evolutionary period on this planet, which would carry our world into a time of new beginnings and deep spiritual growth.

When thinking to myself about all the mind blowing structures that I was privileged enough to experience at each of the ancient sites, I was reminded of just how much of a feeling of awe and reverence, as well as a deep reflection upon one's own spiritual nature, that each of these spectacular monuments seemed to command. This was a defining experience which planted the seed within me to find more peace and harmony within myself, as well as letting go of fear, that I might one day come to understand more the true nature of existence and reality. Many of these concepts, I feel, have lead me to a place of comprehending, that the road to enlightenment is more than just a quest for personal knowledge. It's about learning compassion and coming back with all that you've learned, with a burning desire to share with other's what following that call within your heart has taught you.

This burning call to action, that all of us experience at one time or another in our lives, got me thinking about the book, "The Hero With A Thousand Faces" by Joseph Campbell. In the book he introduces the concept that all the great journeys in our lives that make epic stories, help us achieve difficult goals and even perhaps lead us down the path of ultimately becoming better people, unwaveringly follow the same progression of events, which he called "The Hero's Journey". Fascinated with this concept, I started researching more about the hero's path, as it no doubt mirrors the path of one whose goal is to seek true inner peace and enlightenment. This can be seen here in this short clip from the fascinating documentary, "Return To The Source: Philosophy And The Matrix", where they briefly discuss Joseph Campbell and "The Hero's Journey", through Neo's path to enlightenment, in "The Matrix" movie.

Now, looking more closely at these steps as a process of spiritual illumination, I began seeing instant parallels with the enlightened figures of the past, such as Jesus or The Buddha, for instance. In both cases, their lives seem to almost precisely mirror this process in perfect sequence. Particularly, the story of The Buddha's life, I think. I've been looking pretty deeply into Buddhism lately and have been completely fascinated with the life of The Buddha, as it is such an inspiring story of giving up everything that feeds "the self" in order to attain a completely pure state of love and compassion for all that is, as well as the obstacles that one must face along the way.

As far as my own "Hero's Journey" is concerned, I have most certainly experienced "The Ordinary World" & I have many times heard "The Call To Adventure", of which I have many times followed. Regarding, the particular call towards deepening my own level of enlightenment, however, I have definitely experienced "Refusal of the Call" more times than I think anyone would care to admit. Perhaps, that phase of the journey though, is by nature, designed to ensnare most any one of us, if only for awhile. I'm not sure I have specifically had my "Meeting With The Mentor" yet, although I have become quite inspired the last few years by the writings, documentaries, talks and teachings of many different spiritual masters and intellectuals advocating the exploration and development of consciousness, compassion and love, as well as refining our ability to perceive who and what we are beyond the veil of the physical world. I've hardly "Crossed the First Threshold" by making some minor changes recently towards helping myself refocus my energy in the direction of this goal. Though, it seems those "minor changes" have already presented me with some rather major "TestsAllies & Enemies" to be regarded.

So, I am pretty far from my goals in this endeavor. I suppose though, enlightenment, is probably the most trying goal a person can set for themselves in this life, but, then again, I do like to make life difficult. Nonetheless, after many years of deliberation & "refusal", I have embarked on this journey; not quite a "hero" yet, but it's a start and I imagine every hero's story begins somewhere.

What's your "hero's journey"?

Monday, June 11, 2012

Severing Your Technological Umbilical Chord

I had recently taken a couple of camping trips into the wilderness to sort of get away from it all & reconnect with nature. It was refreshing to take in the natural environment & get away from my computer & cell phone for a change. The first thing I noticed was the silence. Not just the silence of being out of the city, but the complete & utter silence from my phone. No more calls. No more texts. No more Facebook updates buzzing my pocket every 5 seconds. It was clear to me immediately how much I didn't really need it.

On my last trip, while gazing at this beautiful river running through the forest, I began to examine my life & just how I'd been spending my time the last few years. I started to realize just how dependent I had allowed myself to become on Facebook in particular. This revelation sort of left a deep pit in my stomach as I thought about all the hours I'd spent uploading, tagging, commenting & writing perhaps somewhat hollow posts, in an effort to avoid the somewhat frequent snickers that often arose from attempting anything philosophical. It seems people aren't generally really looking to hear your ideas on Facebook as much as the social scoop, the goings on.

All at once, I could see just how jacked into the internet "matrix" I had become & how Facebook had been this invisible force that sat on my shoulders day after day, frequently beckoning me to log on, as if whispering in my ear to go and see what was happening in the virtual world. It became clear to me that I was actually really tired of having to do that just to know what was happening with people. I started thinking about what life was like before social networks(Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc.) and seemed to remember life having more of a natural ebb & flow; an existence not governed by anything but one's own exploratory nature & the natural course of daily experiences. 

Now it seems, not just for myself, but for many of the people that I've had the privilege of knowing, that social platforms are becoming the ultimate medium for planning nearly all of life's daily encounters. I mean, I've rarely known what was going on for some time, except what Facebook seemed to be telling me & this phenomenon doesn't seem to be showing any signs of slowing. Virtually every branch of my family has joined Facebook to date. Even my grandmother seems to have become somewhat obsessed with Facebook games. It seems to be a phenomenon that has become so far-reaching, for millions & millions of people, the world over & much like the matrix of this illusory, quantum, universe we live in...it's all around us...and it's growing.

So, in an effort to get back to the basics & simplify my life; to reconnect with nature & my spiritual side; I shut down my long time running, heavily invested in, Facebook account & let me tell you...it feels good! :)

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Mystery of Life & Near Death Experiences

I recently watched this video about accounts of what people have seen during near death experiences and was reminded of a poem I wrote about how, despite all of our differences, death seems to be the one unifying factor that binds us all together in life...

Never Alone

Life is a mystery,
as days become years past.
People come and go;
sometimes to emerge once more.
Our lives, they ride,
on the waves of experience.
With each of us, perhaps,
blind to what this "self" is for.
This difficult puzzle

that we've come to call living,
May only yet be
no more than a dream;
But one day soon
we shall again awaken,
To extract true meaning
from all that we seem.
Everyone does live;
Just as everyone will die.
To each of us
these things must be,
But in this way
we soon find our connection;
For in this, we discover,
that never alone are we.

- A. Hutchins

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Inside The Mind Of The Last Person On Earth...

What if you were the last person on Earth and had been for many years? After awhile, I wonder, would it seem like there was a point to anything? Do people provide 100% of our meaning & purpose for existence? When that last soul passes on, be it animal or human or insect, and no one is left to supply conscious observation to the universe, does all time & space just cease to exist as we know it?

A Call To The Light Of Life Within Us All....

Artists...don't put your passions behind you! Free Spirits...don't let yourselves be tamed! Explorers...never stay in one place for too long! Existentialists...never stop asking that question "Why?" Life is too mysterious & rare a gift to not be true to your heart's desires!