The Trick They Have Pulled on Us


I recently watched a cool talk by Grant Morrison, which he gave at the Disinformation convention a couple of years back. It blew my mind along several axis, one of which I want to talk about today. (You can see the full talk here. WARNING: turn your speakers way down for the beginning as he starts with a very loud scream.)

Grant spoke about several subjects that are near and dear to my heart. One of them was sigil magic and the basics of how to do it. Then he segued into how people think about money, with a quick detour to point out that the “M” that we so often seen rendered in stylized gold on a red background is not really an “M”. That symbol is a sigil, a magical placeholder for associations in our collective brain space. In a certain sense the big corporations have begun to use ritual magic against the masses.

That was a sideline to what I really wanted to touch on today. What really got me was what Grant had to say about money. The gist of his point was that those at the top of the money spire, the 1%-ers, aren’t actually concerned with money. They are concerned with power, and control, and personal freedom. Money is just what happens as they make the moves, and run the corporations and power structures that ensure power, control, and personal freedom for themselves and their legacies. The Bilderbergs don’t chase the almighty dollar. They work the system to funnel power into their structures, and the money just comes along.

What came to me was that, if the above is at all accurate, then they have secured their position by making us (the 99%-ers) believe that money is the way you gain power, control, and personal freedom, and not the other way around. So, while we spin our wheels chasing the phantom booby-prize of “fat stacks”, they chuckle and just keep pulling in the power. It we push this idea further I think an even more malicious game is revealed. They foster the image that what they are doing it scooping in money. They present a villainous facade, casting themselves in the role of guys in expensive suits sitting on stacks of one thousand dollar bills, lighting their Cuban cigars with hundreds.

This is a gaff. A shell game. Three card Monty. While we focus on their money as the source of the power, we chase a phantom they control. Meanwhile they rake in the real abundance. Chasing money is a slow march to the grave, with nothing to show for it but the ups and downs of our bank statements. All the while we are also in competition with each other, snatching at notes whose value is designed to decrease. Rather than moving towards the real prize, we keep elbowing each other to the side, and trampling our brothers and sisters under our ambition.

I think it’s time we leave that behind. Instead we can do what they do. We can consolidate forces, agree upon intention. We can present a united force with the idea of increasing abundance for all, rather than striving for the thing they have convinced us can be used to purchase that abundance.

It’s a fools gambit, and we are the ones they are making fools of.

Meditation with a K.I.S.S.


Recently I had occasion to do the math on how long I have been meditating daily. Of course the number of days is listed via widget on the very site, but I wanted to be able to state it in years. I’ve been meditating for a bit over 7 years and 4 months. Whew! The reason was someone had asked on Facebook for opinions about meditation. I offered mine, and was immediately embroiled in a conversation about why I was wrong. It was quite amusing.

Meditation is a very personal thing. I do happen to think there is a set of activities that qualify as meditation, and as well as a set of activities that do not. That being said, it takes on flavors as needed for each individual practitioner. I feel it’s important to honor that distinctiveness. If we don’t, it’s all to easy to fall into fundamentalism in our practice.

For myself there is a good working definition of meditation. It’s lightweight enough to allow for variance between the needs and proclivities of the practitioner. It also has enough structure to not drift into allowing anything to fit. To come up with it I held firm to the philosophical guideline of, “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” This definition is what I tell everyone who asks my advice on meditation.

Here it is – Meditation is staying in one place, for a stated duration of time, moving as little as possible, attending to the contents of the actual moment and situation of the practice period.

Like I said – simple. The one thing I add to this definition, as advice for beginning meditators, is this: The only way to do meditation wrong is to not meditate. As far as I am concerned, if you are intentionally doing something that fits at all into the definition I gave, you are meditating. Once you’ve got a regular practice going (whether that’s once a day, twice a week, or once a month) there are refinements we can get to. Until you’ve got a regular practice going, this bare minimum is sufficient.

As for whether people should meditate, I’ll leave you with this quote by a Zen master, “Everyone should meditate for ten minutes a day. If you are too busy to meditate ten minutes a day, then you should meditate for one hour a day.”

The Meaninglessness Of This Here Now

There is a funny little thing about meaning.  It’s not inherent.  Nothing means anything until after we experience, asses, label and judge it.  We drive down the road and there is a sign.  That sign does not mean that this is an intersection where we should stop until we have experienced the sign, remembered what it symbolizes, and brought up the associated meaning.  It is only at that last point that the shape and contrasting colors mean anything.

The same is true of expressions that cross our loved ones faces, turns of phrase, language in general and the announcement of a sale at Macy’s.

Nothing has meaning until after we assign it, consciously or unconsciously.  When I took Landmark Education’s Forum weekend one of the important distinctions I learned was that the human brain is, essentially, a meaning making machine.  (I personally cannot recommend the Forum enough, and cannot recommend Landmark Education as a life choice at all.  I am very grateful for what I learned, and very grateful that I got out before I sank too far into the cult which Landmark education ultimately is.)

Meaning always comes after an occasion, after an experience, after an event.

That means that this very moment, as it is, has no meaning whatsoever.  It is only once it has passed that meaning arises.  In this present moment we are utterly free of meaning and restriction.  Now is only as it is.

Within that instant of freedom we can bask…. but just for now.  😉