Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The world is sick


I watch recently released video footage of this James Holmes kid sitting in court, 24 years old and his life is over, just like many others of his kind. I look at other recently released video of him when he was 18 and in school, this brilliant and shy science weirdo with a bright future ahead of him and i wonder what the hell happened. There is talk that his later academic ventures were a bit of a crash and burn and i wonder if that was part of a greater breaking point for him. 
We live in a world where our first world problems are stress, ridiculous amounts of work and striving to be the best you can be as long as it's better than the next person. And for a person who is already mentally ill, painfully shy and trying to do your best, failure can be the worst thing ever. Failure can be the deadly sin that makes you snap out and kill 12 people.

I don't for a second condone violent behavior and I would hope that James gets the help and justice that he needs. I hope for all of those affected and crushed by his unspeakable act that he sits for a very long time in silence and grows to understand and know the pain that his actions have caused. 
But i can't help but feel profoundly sad for him......not because he is now due to spend the rest of his life in jail, if he even makes it past a few years from now.
I'm sure there are many who'd revel in his suffering and eventual gory death.....and maybe this is why it makes me sad. Because, here's a kid who had an undiagnosed fucked up thing in his head that exploded because something in his life went wrong. Here is a kid who slipped under the stupidly large cracks of our first world society and did something totally mind numbing and now those involved, in hindsight, are saying "Oh yeah, that thing he said or did WAS kind of weird, now that i think about it". 

Dude bought fucking guns from his local Safeway and "buckets" of ammunition off the internet. Dude was a science geek who knew how to rig explosives to blow people apart. Dude walked into a theater in riot gear set to wage war. Dude was so out of his head that he thought he was a villain from Gotham city or some shit. And clearly, dude had nobody around him to see that there was something seriously wrong and that he needed some help. 

I watch recently released video of this James Holmes kid and i see someone who has been, and allowed themselves to be, lost in the shuffle of life. 
But maybe this is just how life is nowadays....
I observe this 24 year old kid and i see a messed up being who hasn't slept for a few days, who is scared, humbled into the cold dirt and who has probably lived with an undiagnosed form of schizophrenia for most of his life....and i just feel so damned sad. For the 12 lives snuffed out that night. For the 70 injured. For the countless others directly and indirectly rocked by this stupid and senseless act. And for James, this wild eyed mentally ill idiot boy who let his world spiral out of control and away from him. 

Believe me, i don't condone his actions at all. In fact, i am sickened by them. But in the same breath i am also sickened over the fact that we live in a world with too many people, too many pressures, too many hang-ups, too many drugs and too much striving to be awesome, and for some, seemingly not enough room to be a failure. 

Maybe I'm being naive. 

Maybe it's uneducated to think that with a little love and nurturing we'd all be ok, but maybe this is the world i also choose or eventually hope to live in. 
I've seen enough to know that help is out there, but I've also seen enough to know that it is easy to go along unnoticed. And maybe that is what is so scary and sad to me, that some of us are one shitty day away from snapping out and doing something horrible to ourselves or to others. 

I wish that i didn't have to hear about these things.
I wish that I had more insight and knowledge to understand.
I wish that i didn't feel so damned much. For them, for him, for all of us....

I wish for all of those who know how to love themselves to keep loving themselves and to provide shelter for those who don't know any better. 
I wish for all of those who don't know any better to have people around who know how to help them.

Please rest easy crazy people and sane alike. We're all in the same boat and can only hope that there is someone who will guide us through our darkest days and beyond.

Much love and peace.

Friday, July 20, 2012

In every town and village

 As you walk on to the property of the Sri Radha Madana Mohan temple the first thing you notice is the building itself. The structure has seen better days and for the past few years it has carried the appearance of always being in mid-repair. But she is still a sweet sight with her beehive like shafts (Sikhara) extending out from the roof and the towering statue of Lord Chaitanya Mahaprabhu quite literally lording over the back yard. Yes this is another world, especially when coming from the bustle of the city. Here there are no suits or stressed out furrowed brows. Here you’ll find humble monks in white or saffron robes, Indian families dressed in their Sundays best and guests from all walks of life.

 If you’re not immediately transported to another dimension by walking onto the property the constant ring of kartals (small cymbals held between the fingers) and mridanga drums filling the temple room inside might do the trick. This isn’t your typical Sunday church service. This is the Sunday love feast held every weekend at the Hare Krishna temple in Burnaby and even if you have an allergic reaction to religious dogma it’s hard not to get swept up in the emotion of this sacred space. 

 One of the most beautiful parts of this entire experience for me personally is stepping foot into the main room, but not only because this is where the action happens, this is also where the main altar is and unless you have a heart made of salt and vinegar those deities dressed so immaculately will kick your ass every time. I have often walked in there, gazed upon Krishna, Radha, Chaitanya and their groovy Vedic-age pals hanging out on that altar and have fallen deeply in love. I’m not sure if it is the years of worship thickening the air or the opulent dressings of these seemingly simple statues made of plastic and carbon…whatever it is it’s potent and worth every visit. 

 After taking a seat on the floor and navigating through the 45-minute class on Vedic philosophy which you may or may not choose to sit through you’re treated to almost an hour of devotional music. Building from a few lines of opening Sanskrit prayer and exploding into a full on Hare Krishna mantra melt down that has even the oldest and most staunch disbeliever bobbing their head it begins to feel that this is part of what you’ve come for. This is what celebration at the feet of God ought to look like. I don’t care if you’re a Krishna, Mormon or a devout catholic, if you love the Lord that damned much then celebrate shamelessly! Whether among the faithful or just an observer, being in a room full of adults throwing their hands and voices into the air is an amazing thing to behold. This is part of why I come here. This is part of why I believe.

 So if the singing and chanting in this beautiful temple room haven’t won you over, the free vegetarian feast will rope you in and make you a convert wanting to come back for more. Here is food prepared by people who understand Indian cuisine with the added bonus of it having been offered with prayer and devotion. Now, suspend your disbelief for a moment and imagine pure, easily digestible food being prepared under the steady energy of devotion, served with a smile and the promise of more if you are hungry for it. Think of curries, subji, daal, fresh roti and fruit nectar taken alongside strangers and otherwise in a large room that resembles an open-air grotto in the morning sky. Imagine eating your fill and still walking out feeling lighter, as if you've been somehow "spiritualized". 

That's how it feels for me. And that is why i keep coming back. 

 There is something pretty magical about the whole Sunday love feast experience, be it the drawn out discourses given by one of Krishna’s yogis whose thick accent might make it hard to decipher. Or the hour-long God conscious dance party that turns adults into blissful children again. Or the fill up of purified food that treats your taste buds to one heck of a gift. I may not be near to a vegetarian, intoxicant free, non-gambling and promiscuous sex abstaining Krishna devotee, but that odd Sunday evening when I find myself between those 4 walls I leave feeling lighter and happier than I “should be” having just been to a church service.

 No matter where I am in life it is the things such as having drunken the kool-aid of an ages old tradition or a perfect gritty sunset or a fun day riding bikes with my lover that makes for a sweetened life. It is this stuff that I try to remember as I stress and fuss over ‘not having it good enough’ and it is this stuff that consistently brings me back to living. Life isn’t always a gas but there is always ample opportunity to refuel and I suggest that while you are here and able you find your spark and worship fully and completely. You’ve really got nothing to lose.
Many lovings,

Monday, July 16, 2012

"Sweet moments" for $400

Answer: When i look outside my window and even amongst the soot, tossed needles and electric lines i see cool paintings like this.....