Monday, February 20, 2012

So You Think You Can Meditate?

It has been a while since I have actually sat down to post in this blog again, so here goes.

Over the past few weeks I have found myself looking for different methods of meditation, going over countless exercises, all in the hope of achieving that empty, clear state of mind. As time went on, I found that using audio tracks from CD's and from the computer helped a lot. I think there is just something about sitting still and trying to focus that just gets to me, so having something to take my mind off...well...taking my mind off things, really helped.

After trawling the internet for decent audio tracks and meditation tapes and at the risk of sounding daft or cheesy, I did find something useful about the way some audio tracks worked. Simple tracks with plain audio didn't seem to help much at all, whereas (this is where it gets weird) audio tracks with subliminal and/or hypnotic inductions were incredible. The difference between a plain "vanilla" meditation track and one with subliminal inductions was huge. After listening to my older tracks, I didn't really feel all that relaxed, calm or "centred" (which is what your supposed to achieve, right?).

What the subliminal and hypnotic induction tracks did was actually pull me into a deep, contemplative space, somewhere that once I had woken up, I hadn't realised I had been meditating for hours! The first time this happened I could have easily believed I'd been asleep, were it not for the fact that I had my eyes open the whole time.

After using a few different tracks, and I'll be honest, spending a bit of pocket cheddar, I came across a dude by the name of Dr. Vitale. He was selling the Ultimate Clearing Meditation audio tracks. Feel free to have a look here and leave a comment in the appropriate section. Do you like/ have you tried meditation?

Friday, September 17, 2010


Well, i'm back, not with anything too connected just yet.
Thanks to all the people following, it means a lot to know i'm writing something of interest.
I have realised that i tend to get sidetracked easily when it comes to writing about oh look a butterfly.. wait, what?

Anyway, on the subject of "reaching a state of enlightenment", there are a multitude of methods when it comes to meditation and deep thinking. Many people find Buddhism is the way to go, and I would tend to agree. They promote the emptying of the mind, as the first step in meditation. For the average westerner, this proves to be nigh impossible, as the life many of us lead can often border on the chaotic. Your job, payments on a car/ house, family, friends, making sure you keep it all balanced... almost everyone gets so swept up in the great game of life, that they don't stop to smell the roses.

Although it may seem unintuitive, 'inner peace' can be achieved when all about you is chaos. For this to happen, one must shift one's own perception of the chaos. One must feel the chaos, accept that it is there, and that it may never change. I hate to draw parallels with "The Matrix", but it is just as Morpheus said, "You can, If you think you can", in this case, the chaos ceases to be if you stop seeing it as chaos. Chaos by definition is a subjective state, i.e., one must first perceive chaos to be there for it to exist, therefore, if you stop seeing all your business and social meetings, commitments with family and friends etc as chaos, and instead see it all as a wonderful gift, there for you to enjoy, then so it shall be. Optimism goes a long way.

Keep in mind, that if you do not manage to change the way you think, you will not reach a state of enlightenment. This I cannot stress enough. Everyone is taught to think in a certain way, to act in a certain way, to eat, sleep and fuck a certain way. It is a situation that is endemic of western culture, and civilization as we know it today. I'm sure you have at some point, questioned why everyone is doing what they're doing, why you have to go to school, why you have to get married, why Mr. Henderson down the road washes his car every Saturday, and Mrs. Jones next door goes grocery shopping at the same place for the same shit, week in, week out. I for one ask myself everyday, and I for one, have no idea why.

I remember my Dad telling me once, "If everyone focused on the 'how', and not the 'why', then we would already have a colony on fucking mars!"
Despite our many long and exhausting discussions and arguments, I still ask 'why'. I think it's probably human nature. What I do know, is that my life would be so simple, so uncomplicated if I forgot about 'why' and focused on 'how'. Maybe that is why I keep asking. He has a point, though, the old geezer, in that there would probably be less religion, less conflict, and more industrial and scientific breakthroughs if we were more preoccupied with 'how' instead of 'why'.

But back on topic, you want enlightenment, then get it by first opening your mind. To open your mind, you must also find inner peace, it makes this shit easier. With an open mind and inner peace, you must then meditate. Think long and hard about your own life, day to day struggles, what family and friends mean to you, anything that is close to your own heart.

Just as an example, think about how all your material possessions came to be yours. Are they really yours? Where would they be if you had never existed? What impact does your existence have on the world around you? If you never existed, how are you thinking right now? What link does your consciousness have with your physical body?

If you can, think for as long as possible and follow your train of thought as deeply as possible. Rinse and repeat. If you are unsure of where to start with meditation, read up on as many philosophies as you can, anything dealing with deep thinking. Take it all with a grain of salt, though, don't be like all the religious zealots out there, desperately clinging to anything of meaning in their fragile little cages.

Feel free to get back to me on your own efforts, I would be interested to see how you interpret your own lives. Also, I shall try to post regularly from here on in, this last week has been a doozy.
A perrty picture for y'all

Monday, September 13, 2010


SO, my mind has been quite dead of late, hence the lack of anything even remotely entertaining or interesting. I am thinking of writing something meaningful, yet nothing comes to mind. Then it hits me. Nothing. The void. Oblivion. A black hole. The space between my ears. I realise my sense of time and space has been very warped of late. The onset of drug induced psychosis no doubt. One whole week feels like a lifetime. I cannot remember what happened last Tuesday. It seems as though it never happened. Not even so much as a fuzzy remembrance, just....nothing.

After reading my previous post, I realise that experimentation can lead to more. not dependence, but overuse. Things have been great, don't get me wrong, it's just that, I'm not so sure I want to sacrifice short term memory for cheap emotion. What it has allowed me is a "bird's eye view" of my thought processes. I realise that my own mind does not stop working. I used to think it was normal, until the Tranquility kicked in. Once gone, when my natural state was restored, I realised how very fucked up it was. I was so drawn in, captivated by my own mind, I was unaware of my own cage.

A cage which was built by yours truly. Yet, somehow, I have been taught to build and maintain this cage by someone, something. An entity unto itself. Society, and prominent members of society, that is, family, friends, teachers and doctors alike, have knowingly or unknowingly aided in my own self-imprisonment. How do I feel about this? I have no idea.

However, what I do know is that, to be free of ones cage, (if that is indeed the objective) one must become aware of said cage, i.e. self-awareness. One must be aware of the cage, before one can be free from it.
But how can this freedom be achieved? Is it a state of mind?  A physical place? For what seems like hours, days, weeks, I have pondered such things. The furthest I have gotten is to be enlightened to the fact that Enlightenment is the key.

I have realised that to achieve Enlightenment, one must meditate on the subject. Many people I have approached with this view simply dismiss it as "psycho-hippie bullshit', or 'fuck off man, go take drugs somewhere else'. I have come to realise that many people are so entrenched and content in their own cage, that they not only fail to see it, but straight up refuse to even try.

So why then? Is it that they are afraid of the unknown? I do not know the answer to these questions, and I suspect only each individual is capable of answering his or her own question. What I do know is how they keep themselves captured, without freedom, in their "safe" little world.

Just as a bear can be placated in a real cage, so too can a human, within their own metaphysical cage. A bear is fed meat to keep it content, water, so that it may drink, and its cage is cleaned, so that it does not live in filth. Some bears are brought up, raised in cages, so that they know no better, thus they do not yearn to be outside the cage. It becomes their home. A place of security, of safety. The human is kept content in their cage by being fed the fancy car, the new house, perhaps even that new flat-screen TV. The human is somewhat tricked into thinking that the cage is a wonderful place to be. What more could you want from life?

Material possessions only go so far, however. Next comes society, a whole mass of humans, each to their own cage, yet the illusion of living together exists. Each person, believing that the cage is their everything, creates rules and regulations with which to live by, thus laws are created. However, these laws do not extend further than the confines of each individual's cage. This only aids each individual's sense of security and contentment.

But what happens when this society breaks down? When the 'laws' (created within each cage) are broken? Religion and government. So called "higher powers" are created. All seeing, all knowing, people see these as saviors, bearers of hardship, helpers to all. Newer, tougher, stronger laws are created: thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, etc.  Yet these are different. Somehow insidious, for while it seems as though they are beyond the cages, in reality, they only exist in the cages, and do not even begin to extend past the bars. These "higher powers" only serve to cement the cage in place, to make it smaller, cozier.

To begin true Enlightenment, one must accept that such material possessions are just that. Meaningless trinkets in a vast and endless universe. Next, one must not follow religion, as it only serves to restrict and govern one's own thinking. Religion is not conducive to self-awareness. Finally, to become truly self-aware, one must see all this as it is, and accept that it may indeed be true. Acceptance of the unknown conquers fear of the unknown, as it ceases to be 'unknown', in a sense. One must also accept that, while one may feel as though the previous laws do not apply, others may see otherwise, thus, one must not break these laws. Now I know that this seems contradictory to all that I have previously stated, but breaking the laws will not remove them. One must see them as they are, and accept that other individuals may enforce them, hence remaining within the law shall be conducive of self-awareness.

To clarify: self-awareness is not just to be aware of the cage, but all that it contains (the material possessions, the laws, religions, governments) as well as the way they are arranged, i.e. the construct of society. Once this state is achieved, one can then begin to escape the cage, and find true freedom.

My next post will begin to explain the methods an individual may use in reaching a state of self-awareness.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

High Times

"The Dude" Lebowski

Since the dawn of time, humans have sought a way to expand their horizons both mentally, emotionally and physically. Explorations across the frontiers of civilization, through love with another, and through mind-altering substances. It is when these substances are employed in one's exploration of the mind that things get more complicated. Lines are blurred, and more often than not, others will frown upon such means of exploration.
Take alcohol, for example, a widely accepted means of exploration, usually of social situations, as well as to improve one's own mental state. It is a gateway to fun times for all, as long as certain boundaries are not crossed. It is much the same case when dealing with cannabis. "Weed", as it commonly referred to, is used by many and yet, such use is often denied by the user when asked directly. There prevails a certain social stigma in western society, when dealing with cannabis. Much of that is to do with the fact that it is still illegal in many first-world countries. 

Then why is it so widely used, either regularly or occasionally, by almost everyone at least once in their lifetimes, regardless of social standing/race/religion/gender/creed or culture? The answer lies in the effect that it has on the human body. Many people report having a 'high' or euphoric sensation after consuming/inhaling the drug in one form or other. In 1990, the discovery of cannabinoid receptors located throughout the brain and body, along with endogenous cannabinoid neurotransmitters like anandamide (a lipid material derived ligand from arachidonic acid), suggested that the use of cannabis affects the brain in the same manner as a naturally occurring brain chemical.

Then why is it illegal? If such a chemical could be regarded in much the same way as one which is naturally occurring in the brain, why is it that many governments worldwide still maintain that cannabis ought to be illegal? 

This question shall be discussed in future posts, so stay tuned.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Powderfinger with The Vines and Ghost Hotel

The following are some shots I got at Powderfinger's opening night of their Sunsets Farewell Tour. Opening for them were The Ghost Hotel and The Vines.

Halfway through the set, they left the stage. In their place, a huge multimedia show involving stock footage of  Cold War era space flights and atomic bombs being detonated, all to the sounds of traditional Russian folk music. When it had finished, the band emerged at a smaller stage in the centre of the crowd, where they proceeded to rock out with even more vigour than was previously thought possible by anyone.

Lead singer Bernard Fanning, after leaving the stage for two songs, emerged onto the original stage, playing an acoustic piece.

The big finale

This was by far the best rock concert I have ever been to. Fantastic performances by the musos, and flawless work by their crew, as well as an awesome light show, led to this being a standout performance by Powderfinger, and a perfect way to kick into Spring. On top of this, punters were able to pick up a recording of the show right after. This was made possible by Abbey Road Live Here Now. 
As a performing musician, it was great to see real professionals work so hard and put on such a wonderful show. The fact that Powderfinger have been on the Australian music scene for nearly 20 years means that you would expect nothing less. 

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Pride And Joy

It's finally here. The 'spare-parts' strat is finally mine. 

After much haggling, I was able to coax out a bargain, and at just $230, this baby sure provides buckets of tone and playability for such a low price.

With a beautiful woodgrain finish and black pickguard, this guitar just oozes character and relic charm.
I must admit, I was never too keen on Fender's "authentic" Relic'd series of guitars, with their purposely scuffed necks and chipped bodies. To me, it seemed so fake. I used to think that I would rather own a guitar brand-spanking new, all clean and shiny, and beat it up over time gigging and mucking around. 

However, after much perusal of this fine specimen, I realise that not all relic'd guitars are phonies, bought and sold on their currency of timeworn charm. This axe has indeed been authentically "relic'd", in that it has been used as a working guitar for much of its life.

Add to that the fact that it lacks the Fender logo on the headstock, I can safely say that it is a true, custom-made guitar. 'All this may be fine and dandy', I here you say, 'but what of it's music-making abilities?'
Well, I can tell you that the tones that scream forth from the pickups are straight from the gates of Hades. 

Add to that the crazy trem-locking bridge (not too sure on the type/brand) and you are in for one sweet ride to tonal paradise! Tried an tested through both a 4x12 cab with a Marshall head, as well as a Vox Pathfinder 15R practice amp, this guitar can do the lot. Silky smooth, twang on your country or clean blues tracks, right up to your super vegetarian deathcore ear-shattering metal.

The playability is amazing also. With a nice, heavy body, the guitar almost begs you to cradle it in your arms all night and day. The frets are a comfortable size, with a low action and as close to perfect intonation as you can get. To tell you the truth, I found it very hard to put down last night and this morning.

In comparison to a standard American Fender Stratocaster, well, there is no comparison. This guitar owns. I have played many strats and teles, jaguars and jazzmasters, and I have to say, if you have the choice between a beat-up old custom built cheapy like this one or a genuine American Fender, I implore you to look first to the beat-up cheapy, and never, ever, EVER discriminate on the basis of price.

Well, thats enough from me, I'm off to wail away some SRV favourites!