Movies – Sex vs Violence

This is a response to an article about how sex in movies is the biggest concern for parents and not the violence in movies

Of course it is the biggest concern. How scary is it when two people who are mutually attracted to one another get it on!? Oh dear! As opposed to – of course – when two people who mutually despise one another get to rip each other’s heads off.

It makes sense when you want to see life in black and white, good and bad.

It’s not the violence that people respond to – it’s the aftermath; how good it feels to come out victorious from a seemingly and albeit blind, righteous battle – seeing the bloody heads of your enemy strewn about – it’s a wonder, the heroes of movies don’t look into the camera and say without any irony, “I did that.”

What violence in movies represents (or more the point, our acceptance and love of violence in the movies) is the shadow of our culture. 

Our society and the people in it (that means YOU) – point the finger at other cultures and exclaim that they are the ones who are barbaric or evil and without god! They are the ones who are killing each other. But you forget to look at yourselves. Here in America/Canada, you are just as blood-thirsty as the next guy or culture. Don’t fool yourselves.

Every one of us needs to be the “hero” of our own story. It’s human nature – fine. What isn’t fine is not knowing that you are just as “good” or just as “bad” as anyone else in this world. You are just as imperfect as the rest of us. Without knowing this, you can not look at someone else without making them your enemy – and that goes for those who are close to you or those whom you don’t know.

You make the righteous argument that you decide what is right and what is wrong because of some arbitrary notion that somehow in some other universe, you were “chosen” to do so. You think you are the ones who are the purveyors of justice and you get to hold your righteous indignation over the heads of all others while you sit pretty in your ivory towers looking down, way down on everyone else.

You, my dear fellow human beings, are not better and no worse than the guy/guys who gunned down/blew up/mowed down/blew to smithereens people the other day, last week, two months ago, a year ago, 3 years ago, 5 years ago, etc. etc. etc. because they also thought that what they were doing was righteous and just – whatever was going on in their heads.

Violence, contrary to your belief, no matter the cause, is NOT a virtuous act. As much as, keeping your daughters locked up and keeping sex out of the lives of living breathing human beings is not a virtuous act. God doesn’t want this – the powers that be do. The fight between good and evil is all made up in your head and was planted there by those who wanted to make you afraid. First it was the church, the clergy and those powers, and now it’s your conservative powers – who want to keep you afraid and angry and righteously indignant and armed.

The feelings that rise up in you about sex has been planted (again by the same powers) in you that they are bad – why? Because it serves them to do so. Feelings of sex are natural. They raise up out of attraction, desire, and natural body functions. Feelings of violence raise up out of hatred for the unknown and a fictional enemy that has been made up – depending on who/what the powers that be want to vanquish. Violence is not a natural body function. It comes from the intellectualization of fear.

So those of you who don’t like sex in movies – it’s not about the sex itself – it’s about the fear that it brings up and the feelings associated with that fear. That fear doesn’t feel good so you blame sex for it and therefore make it the culprit for your imagined fear. And you feel violent against it. Anytime you feel you need to protect yourself (through the proxy of your children), there always has to be violence behind it.  And there is the violence again. The thing that you are more comfortable with because somehow it makes you feel more virtuous.

Parents are afraid more often than not and put it on their children – if you don’t believe me, ask the millennials.

And sex in movies brings up that feeling. Fear brings on feelings of protection which ultimately begets feelings of violence. Most people feel this way most of the time. So when violence is in movies, it justifies your own feelings of violence – because ultimately in movies, the violence is virtuous (good against evil) and therefore just. You feel better about your own feelings.

It’s terribly basic and frankly frustrating to a person like me, who can see through all the stories that we are told – what to fear, what not to fear.

I do fear one thing though, that this shadow: the fear that people are not talking about, the hatred that is in their hearts; is not being looked at.

People’s hearts have hardened in the last few decades – because people are afraid. That is what makes me sad. Their hearts are only open to the easiest things to love in this world: puppies, funny cat vids, cute children saying cute things, really nice people, beautiful people – those are the easy things to love. How about trying to not fear and love those who are really difficult to love? It doesn’t mean you have to accept what they do. That goes for those you love – you don’t have to swallow the kolaid. But when we can see that violence is never called for – that love is the only answer, then and only then can we be free.

This is in response to this article:

http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/movie-ratings-sex-remains-top-845507

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The Continuing Saga of My Relationship with My Computer

Last night, I left my computer in the living room in the cubby hole space I have to do my practice in – I need it there to play music. I didn’t leave it there on purpose – I just left it there.

After my practice, I sat at my desk for about an hour without my computer in front of me. I had a feeling I had not felt in a long long time at my desk – breath, air, space. There was a feeling of such relaxed contentment that I could actually think! My thoughts were my own. I felt creative!

I was not deterred or distracted from just staring out the window or looking down at the empty page in my book. I was really there observing. Not partaking in anything that constantly needed my attention because there was nothing to do but to be in my space. It felt good – really good.

I think I’m going to do that every day for an hour – take my computer off my desk and sit there with my own thoughts. ahhhhhh.

Madness.

crazy

This photo from this site: http://stottilien.com/tag/shadow/ (a great read btw)

 

Madness – “Crazy” and Depression are two different things. Madness or Crazy were thought to be a gift bestowed upon individuals in Aboriginal societies. You have to be sort of mad to see god or the workings of the universe. Gurus (saddhus) are mad with the knowledge of god and their culture supports and even reveres them. Most of the Saints would have been thought mad by our standards. Madness or crazy that Robin Williams was talking about I can only IMAGINE what he meant -is the crazy that is the true Creative Spirit. The spirit that makes you act in spite of criticism, in spite of rules like gravity. I don’t mean rules like laws – I mean rules like you can’t fly. The crazy that comes from seeing the truth about life. The madness is the creative spark that it takes to turn this knowing of the true workings of god or the universe, this intuitive vision into art – funny, sad, poignant, inspirational, dirty, truthful art. Depression comes from the pressure of being constantly asked, chided, cajoled, ridiculed, forced to conform to the systems of the material world – the bigotry, the separateness, the fear. It goes directly against the truth that is real and tangible only to the artist. Depression is the weight of keeping your head in this world and your heart in the creative energies of the universe. Depression is the weight of knowing you can really fly but you are tethered to this reality. Depression comes from knowing that if you don’t conform you will be isolated by and from our society (madhouses and asylums, psych-ward). There is no support or acceptance of those who fly outside the Norm. FLY in the face of it. And let those who don’t get it try to figure it out later.

 

This is in response to this comment about #RobinWilliams standup piece about keeping a little madness. He was full of the Creative Spirit. You can see it, hear it… beautiful Robin.

http://www.upworthy.com/robin-williams-advice-for-people-who-are-depressed-is-really-touching-and-important?c=reccon1

What I Offer At The Studio Has A Lot To Do With What I’ve Experienced In My Life…

I grew up with the notion that women were less than. This attitude was perpetuated by both parents and then siblings. I did not believe this but was victim to it time and time again. I became quiet and reserved with my feelings yet expressed my opinions aggressively. I was confused a lot of the time about who I was and what I was doing, who to love and who loved me. It took me a long time to unravel the mess that was my childhood because it was all about me trying to appease those around me, rather than listening to myself… I lost sight of who I was.

My spiritual practice and training – once I realized that it was do or die, allowed me to become whole again. Through this work, I realized my fullness, and I was able to see a way through.

This is (one of the reasons) why I practice and teach yoga, meditation and offer Transpersonal Therapy.

I believe I can assist those who want it, to see a way through as well. I realized both victim and perpetrator are in constant protection mode because of their feelings of emptiness and vulnerability. I can guide the process of unravelling and then the reasserting and rebuilding that comes after.

I grew up in a family that believed that you have to be “crazy” to go to a therapist. But I soon learned that this is a process of growth and discovery (when done well) and not an exercise in labeling and pointing fingers.

I believe EVERYONE should seek out self-knowledge – to practice self-awareness/self-observation through any means – the best of which are: yoga (taught by a teacher that practices this not only the postures), meditation (taught by a teacher that practices to see passed the egoic nature), and therapy (facilitated by a person who believes that the spirit is a huge part of the equation and that it’s not about “fixing” you). All of this can bring you leaps and bounds into another and more full sense of self that calms the storms of self-absorption/self-centredness. (Self-observation/awareness is opposite to self-absorption/centredness).

Why am I telling you this? Because this is what I do. I offer those who seek it – wholeness through the therapy I offer, and the yoga classes and meditation (private or semi-private) I have at the studio. I believe I have experienced all this – the prejudice, the name calling, the putdowns, the self-doubt, etc. – in order to work through them and come out the other side with understanding and equanimity so that I can be a light to those who are still in darkness and who believe and feel that there is more to them than what those around them are saying, and who would like to live more fully and more present in their own lives.

 

Here’s the article that inspired this note:
http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/why-women-arent-crazy/

Missing the Point…

This and that.

This and that.

The 50s moral conduct police are back: *Just sit tight while I’m reviewing the attitude of doing right. There is this trend on most social media sites to *accentuate the positive, eliminate the negative, latch on to the affirmative, don’t mess with Mr. In-between.

Christian Ethic As Yoga

Sound familiar? It should. It is the uber Christian Right attitude of the 50s. And although the name of the social group has changed from Christian to Yoga, it is the same thing. The mores which are associated with Yoga these days come from the same pressures of the material and social/religious worlds that the 50s (and before) were influenced by and have nothing to do with Yoga and its teachings.

Like any belief system, it is an attempt to codify, encapsulate and synthesize the teachings of the Existence of Universal Consciousness and Divine Energy into a graspable, definable, code of conduct that pretends to understand the ineffable nature of Spirit. Once the intellect tries to make sense out of this eternal, ungraspable reality – it is done the same way it has been done for centuries – it is reduced to a myopic view of how one conducts oneself in the society that strives to understand these energies.

This And That

Again, it’s about taking one thing and elevating it to cult status (positivity/god/angel) and casting the other down into the abyss (negativity, devil). Even a well-known pop spiritualist does this. The idea that: all problems are illusions of the mind, without revealing that then all successes (the opposite) are also illusions of the mind. Only half the story is being told and it is irresponsible of anyone to not fully disclose what it is. If one: 1. frees the heart from hatred, then ideally one must free the heart from loving sentimentally – both are projections of our own psyches and therefore reflections of our need to control and protect. And if one: 2. frees the mind from worry, then it goes without saying that one must free the mind from planning/dreaming – both are a result of the thinking mind and therefore as a spiritual being, one must live out one’s life following one’s dharma, not directing it. 3. live simply, again is misconstrued as something it is not. The projection is – depending on the “values” of the society, a reflection of that “value” and has nothing to do with what living simply really means. The outward appearance is taken into consideration not the attitude with which one lives simply – as in looking like a hippy could be misconstrued as living simply or taking on the protestant ethic of living could be just as misguided. It is the attitude with which we live that expresses simplicity. 4. give more – again with what attitude? If one gives for one’s own sake (I’ll look good, I get a write off, I need to feel needed, I want to help) then, personally, I do not want your charity. Really. 5. taking less – again with what attitude? You get the picture.

Who Am I?

It’s a judgement call and who’s the judge? Who is it that decides when one is giving less and taking too much? What I mean by Who is the eternal question that Ramana Maharshi put to himself and everyone he met afterward – “Who is it that wants? Who is it that needs? Who is it that asks the question? etc. Who am I?

Before one can dissolve the ego into the ‘I’, the practice then is to cultivate an attitude that ALL things within our understanding and beyond it, must be taken equally into our mind. One must not have sway over the other. The weight of one has to be the same as the other. Mr. Inbetween or the Buddhist concept of the middle way is the way to calm the mind. Then once the mind has calmed, through mindful reflection on Who Am I – the Ego can release all concepts of “this and that” and sit in the quiet knowledge that ALL THIS THAT WHICH IS SEPARATE FROM US IS the Illusion of the Mind. AND ALL THAT IS – IS ONE.

* from the song: Accentuate the Positive

** Link to Ramana Maharshi

Reflection: Looking in the mirror…

Reflection: Looking in the mirror...

What if the only mirror you had was sitting right in front of you.

Answers To Some Questions Someone Asked Me…

Image

Someone asked me about my practice. It is hard to articulate and I don’t think I’ve expressed it as well as I can. It’s hard for me to express something that I do so intuitively. But here goes – I hope you find this informative and inspiring! 🙂 Peace!

What brought you to devote your energies to yoga?

It wasn’t really my decision. I think all my life had been directing me that way. Since I was a child, I had this feeling that I was to heed the call of the universe but obligations in regular life kept me from seeing my path clearly. It took me years to follow the calling. And when I did, it threw my life into a tailspin. I lost friends and my family because they could not understand the direction my life was taking. I sacrificed a lot but gained so much. I attained a disposition that is contentment itself. I could not have experienced this without the pain and sacrifice, without the missteps. I devote my energies to yoga, because all there is – is Yoga. Everything else is Maya; superficial; unreal.

How does it “in-form” [sic] the person that you are?

If Yoga speaks through me then there is a truth that is in my eyes. I cannot hide or “get rid of” the organism I am; the human I am. I cannot ignore that I am a very sensitive human being. Not only in emotions – because I’m not as sensitive that way as others – but my organism is sensitive. I taste more, I smell more, I feel more, I vibe more. This, when attached with an ego, can get very irritating and precarious and at the same time, can make me acutely aware of my surroundings and the other humans near me. Yoga takes my hand and leads me through the jungle, swamp as my teacher likes to call it. So yoga doesn’t take away the uncomfortable moments as it doesn’t take away the blissful moments. Yoga doesn’t distinguish one from the other. It is all experience. It is all about being human. Being a restless spirit. Yoga informs my organism by allowing my humanness to express itself without judgment. I feel the embrace of god no matter what I do these days. Yoga – as I become transparent – accepts the incarnation of whatever happens through my ego.

How does it relate to seeing in terms of sacred and profane and to your quest to integrate these poles?

Yoga then is ultimately a heart path. It is not just an intellectual path. It is not just a physical path. It is not just a mindful path. Once the ego has been exposed to the Yogic path; after all the fighting and resisting, the heart opens up to all possibilities of expression; that there is no right way or wrong way to attain Yoga. The heart, in the ego’s evolution to spirit, casts a wide net and sees which way to turn next. All movements toward deepening are accepted and in line with the dharma – whether it is sitting in meditation or learning a (big or small) lesson from a decision made. The stronger the heart path the more sincerity, with sincerity there’s honesty and humility, with honesty and humility comes equanimity. With equanimity, there is acceptance of all. Integrating the sacred and the profane in one place, one organism, is to practice non-dualism or advaita and that is what I think is the truth of the universe. The restless spirit goes through stages of evolution and revolution to reach Yoga and anything can get you there if you are listening and done with sincerity.

 How is your practice related to architecture?

When I was practicing architecture, I was concerned with how the ‘spirit’ was expressed through building. I turned to a lot of the modern architecture of Europe but also and more importantly of Japan.

Japanese architecture always fascinated me – at least when the architectural space expressed the concepts of opposites and their juxtapositions through materials, expression of space and how they use it. The Zen garden was a part of that as well as placing cool water in relationship with warm wood, or stone floor as transition between garden and tatami mat. And so on. To me, this created an experience of balance between sensations of the senses. A yin yang of living if you will. It reminds me of Hatha yoga – balancing energies through the physical manifestation of opposites.

As well, I studied a lot of medieval architecture and urban landscapes because they showed how humans met their needs in built form and at that time it was unstructured (to a certain extent), unhindered by intellectual notions of design and unself-conscious. Take gothic cathedrals for instance – they were built simply to express their devotion to the Divine. And like gothic architecture, the spiritual path takes time, patience, devotion (to the work as well as god), vision, concentration, and contentment (because you might not see your efforts come to fruition in this lifetime).

And finally, Sacred Geometry and Alchemy. My studies informed me that there are unseen forces which can be expressed through certain parameters – that the Divine is revealed through them. In built form, sacred geometry harnesses the energies from the universe – the sun and stars. The architecture then becomes the energy field. It is then interesting to compare the practice of yoga asana with this harnessing of energy of the universe. Sacred geometry is expressed through form and mathematics. I suppose you could say that asana can be and, in theory, is that precise and practical. Sacred geometry and its expressions need to be precise in order to harness these energies. Hatha yoga need not be – precise – in form. Every body is different and can not express postures in the same way. Then what is it? It needs to be precise in ‘energy’. Energy to me equals mindfulness (or right-mindedness) plus perseverance (dedication) plus forcefulness (effort) with breath. Enacting Hatha yoga postures in this way is the harnessing of divine energy from within – not without. Where sacred architecture draws from outside and then contains the energies within, a human being creates the energy within and contains it. This is known as Prana, created through breath and enacting the postures with force (Hatha yoga – the ‘forceful’ practice). Both the architectural space and the individual contain the energy within.

Is yoga as you practice it a kind of embodied, spiritual architecture?

I suppose if I read this like: that the practices of yoga and meditation are a kind of architecture which endeavors to express the restless spirit – so in a way, to find new form by building or by practicing; by sensing the changes that are needed and making adjustments; by recognizing the potential and limitations of what you have to work with; by harnessing and containing these energies (prana) within, and finally, by knowing that this kind of embodiment is much bigger than you. To that, then yes, I’d say so.

How do your Buddhist meditative practices relate to or complement your yoga practices?

Buddhist meditation practices complement my yoga practice because of its simplicity. I practice Zazen, which really means to “just sit”. I take that into my asana practice and although I’m very aware of structure, my meditation practice helps me to “just practice” and breathe. We sometimes like to put values or qualifications on our practice – do this and you will be healthy or fit or whatever; do meditation and you will be calm or mindful and so on. Really there’s no guarantee that any of that will happen for you. We say, build your core and you can do handstand easily or this or that arm balance. But in truth there’s a lot more going on in an asana, which does not relate at all to how strong your core muscles are that would hold you back from realizing that goal. So then, in the “just sitting” or the practice of Ashtanga (in my view) is the means to the end. The practice or rather to practice is the goal. And you do the best you possibly can in your body, your organism with sincerity.

How do you see the evolution of your path?

Really to just keep doing. Keep making myself available to my own practice, to the universe, to others. Making myself available to others also drives me down my path. Making myself available to the universe means to cultivate intuition, heart and mind. So on that note – thank you for asking these questions because it has helped me to articulate these things that I do intuitively.

I hope I’ve answered your questions for you. Please feel free to ask me to clarify anything that you are unsure about.

Peace!

Christine