Yoga philosophy for the female clad: “Help as many as you can”

[Last of three essays on the theme of Goddess Yoga]

Our sense of who we are in the world,
how we relate to the world,
and the way we reflect on the world’s cornucopia of desirable objects,
colors the original clarity of the soul’s desires with the mixed colors of material energy.

This creates material desires.
These desires lead to lust and longing
Longing leads inevitably to frustration and the sad/angry emotions
Angry emotions lead to poor judgment
Poor judgment requires forgetting spiritual lessons, losing sight of spiritual leanings and longings
Thus concludes the atrophying of our free will and the capitulation to matter over spirit
This extinguishes our bliss…

In the Goddess Yoga world view
We are…
Innocent victims of the matrix, that is to say our mother Maya
Awakening observers
No way to un-attach completely
In order to inhibit Maya’s manipulation
We must choose to feel without ego (identification)
Just feel
Feeling is hard
Uncomfortable
Unmoored
It’s the seemingly scary side of paradox and mystery

One goal is to stop running away from emotions. Another goal is to stop being run by emotions.
The more interesting option is to use your ability to feel emotions
Women (generally) are in a better position to feel (than men)
But women (generally) identify more strongly with their bodies
To dis-identify with the body is NOT to stop feeling
Instead feel more as an observer rather than victim
Observation takes practice
Start with looking for (i.e. aggressively self searching) emotional attachments/expectations (aka threats
to your identity or sense of self)
From these make note of the emotions that arise (the fruits are varied but the tree is anger)
Go through this laundry list of emotion in sadhana – using just the word to trigger the emotional experience and practice choosing to feel it in your body.
Practice WITHOUT images or narrative – just physical sensation
Becoming fearless in your ability to be a true and full observer of human experiences
Know that you are simply a tourist in a time joy forgot
these material emotions are just postcards for your one true love
the origin and realm of souls
Soon it will be time to go home
Before then, help as many as you can and remember to practice engaged detachment

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Yoga philosophy for the female clad: to be and not to be, that is the practice

[Second of three essays on the theme of Goddess Yoga]

Of the many obstacles in the journey of self-realization one of the most challenging is confusing the body you are riding around in as you. This challenge is often magnified for those travelling in a female body. This is partly due to the cultural pressures and biological influence that accompany identifying with the female body. These influences begin at an early age in at least three ways: 1) undue emphasis on bodily image; 2) fixation on the missing body of the future mate; 3) identification with the body that will (or could) come out of your own body.

So how do you do you? Without being you? [the body]

The solution is to come to feel the body around you as an instrument for divine intentions. Feeling like the temporary proprietor of an instrument for divine use empowers you at the soul level and brings with it a host of potential revelations. The more times throughout the day you can experience the phenomenon of sitting in a divinely inspired carrier, the more you will weaken the dark bonds of false ego that confuse you with your body.

This is the practice I talk about in the Boot Camp for the Soul, call engaged detachment. Also known as being in the world but not of the world.

In the Bhagavad Gita we find the Sanskrit instruction (ch. 5, text 11)
kayena manasa buddhya
kevalair indriyair api
yoginah karma kurvanti
sangam tyaktva atma-suddhaye

Here Krishna is instructing Arjuna:

With the body, the mind, the intelligence,
Free of materialistic intention, including even the senses
The yogis perform any and all actions
While giving up their association/identification [with the body/mind] to clarify and free the soul

Take time today to notice what it feels like to see, to taste, to smell, to touch and to hear. Deepening with each moment of ‘other-than-body-awareness’ the felt sense of being separate from your body and senses.

This is a wonderful step in unwinding the influence of the senses that in the past have imprisoned you but in the future will set you free.

Face Reading Drew Barrymore [Article]


Drew Barrymore is an extraordinary personality. Most people would agree with this. She’s lived her whole life in the media and you might think there’s little more we could learn… So what can we learn about her from a face reading?For starters we can see some of the complexity and effects of growing up in the dysfunctional remnants of a theatrical and film dynasty. We can also see the evidence of greatness traced out clearly on her cherubic countenance, which brings us to the more interesting aspects of her identity that arise in a face reading particularly when we ask, “Who was she in earlier lives?”When doing a face reading it is important to break the face into parts, as each section tells a different story about the person. It also helps to block out everything but the section you are examining. In Drew’s right mouth which tells us about how she reacted emotionally to her environment you can see the strain of feeling insecure and uncertain of being loved at an early age. (Incidentally, being able to see this is a learnable skill, one of my goals is to teach this face reading skill to others.)The lower face is where we get all the information about a person’s childhood, relationships with parents, authority figures, etc. It is also in this early time period where psychological “scripts” develop. Scripts are repetitive emotional and behavioral patterns that emerge in response to the environment. They can dog people their whole lives or in the case of those with resilience and the opportunity to grow and heal, over time these scripts can be converted into resources. Drew has several examples of this. She actually has a number of these scripts which it seems have been almost completely converted.

For example Drew has (had) scripts for Family Emblem (a guilt-ridden, compulsive succeeder). This script, when healed, makes the individual a super star and great contributor to society. She also struggled with Panella (perennial child) and to a smaller degree Smilin’ Jackie (a freaked-out, feeling avoider often hiding behind a grin or forced smile). As seen in the example of Drew’s life, when the Panella trait converts to a resource the person becomes a massive generator of abundance, and the Smilin’ Jackie trait leads to a highly sociable person able to matriculate in varying circles and circumstances.

Drew also has evidence in her face for Goodie Getter (self-destruct mode, an id skid, or taking out on one’s self the dysfunction of their surroundings). To a lesser but still impactful degree the Apple Tree (parent or authority enslaved destiny deflector) and the One and Only Heir script (living out a destiny mapped out by a parent or sometimes a circumstance). The Goodie Getter upon conversion shows up as a person able to relish and enjoy life. Apple Tree and One and Only Heir lead to successful producer (as she is a literal example) and a high achieving leader or business person.

So it is not hard to see that many of the self-defense mechanisms that Drew acquired in her developmental years have been largely healed or converted into their resource forms.

Now let’s move on to the left mouth. One of the things that is noticeable is the difference in size from left to right. The right side of her mouth is smaller. This is connected to the disappointment she experienced in her caretakers in childhood. It also gives the face reader information about difficulties she may still be enduring in parts of her life. (I won’t be going into that in this forum since it is not publicly available information and would not be fair to her.)

Let’s look at her full mouth. This can be called the “resume shot,” because it gives accurate information about how others feel about the subject. The general response to Drew is overwhelmingly positive; that is because people genuinely like her. At the same time she does keep up certain guards and it takes time to really get in with her, though those who are allowed in will say it is totally worth the patience. At least this is what her reading would infer.

Shifting up to the eyes, which are in fact windows to the soul — it is in the depth of a person’s eyes where you can surmise the so called “age” of the soul. Drew is a clear example of a very old soul. A person who has had many past lives in human forms.
Starting with the right eye which conveys a sense of them looking out at the world, or what they see…here Drew’s hope and optimism is visible. It is clear from this that she is a visionary with great creative skill. Here is where you can get a sense of her destiny and her depth as a spirit-soul.

The left eye is about how the individual sees themselves. It is them looking in. Drew’s left eye is a complex phenomena; as she is not fully prepared to see how deep and powerful she really is, there is a sense of trepidation. Some might look at the eye and see some sadness, and while that may be minutely there, what is more prevalent is the sense of potential overload, an “Am I really supposed to do all this?” kind of feeling. As Drew comes to grips with her inner depth and destiny she will realize that she has indeed only scratched the surface of what she is meant to do here. (Just imagine, considering all she has already accomplished in this life.)

Looking into the upper half of her face, one sees the surprising influence of not one but two dream animals (shamanic archetypes) both the horse and the lion. This is rare and fascinating as it sets up a range of potential personal powers as well as conflicts which would need to be carefully navigated.

The right side of the face is a person’s tool kit, or projected self: what they want you to see. Here you see the sweet and savvy aspects of Drew. She is telling us she is both charming and street wise. On the left side, however you see the extraordinary nature of her being, the regal, queenly, matronly nature. She is here to lead and to lead with love, and it is ok with her if you are or aren’t ready for that.

Past lives and the attributes developed in them come into focus when looking into the eyes and the structure around the eye as well as the overall feel of the face. One way of describing how past lives activities shape us is in the “soul types” or more accurately, “service personas” that develop over time. Service personas emerge over the course of lifetimes of behavior that favor service to humanity. (Lifetimes that are lived out of virtue and in service to the self lead to a de-evolution of the being, generally sending them to darker and darker experiences and then to lives as animals.) As the individual strives to use the human form of life for bettering themselves, distinct personas or ways of interacting with the world develop. These are visible as archetypes expressed by the face.

For the higher souled members of society three or four fully developed soul types are common, and a sign of advancement. Drew has a startlingly high number, ten fully developed service personas. They include; Joy Child (bringer of the good news, and operative of ‘win-win’); Trickster (disrupter for the benefit of re-orienting consciousness); Warrior ( fiercely dedicated to getting the job done for the good of all); Fountain of Love (unconditional agape love for all); Wise Old Woman (heart based, soul knowing, emotional supporter); Priestess (intuitive cosmic connection and loving guide); Sorcerer (consciousness transmutor and heart affecter); Empress (devoted and charismatic leader); Discoverer (accesses new resources, ideas and directions); and Maternal (generative nurturer and/or mentor for tomorrow)…

Wow, that is a lot. It also gives an indication that for all she has accomplished she still has not fulfilled her enormous potential.

The other tricky part of face reading requires the consideration that all human forms are not necessarily human beings. After all, everything living entity has a soul, and that would include (if you are willing to accept the possibility) aliens, angels, demons, fairies, elves, etc, etc… If you start to look around you will see the traces of these types of past lives on a percentage of the people around.

Drew’s face shows the remnants of angelic or more accurately celestial past lives. She came into this life with a mixed bag of karma but clearly demonstrating the residual benefits of coming down from a higher plane of existence. Generally when you exist on those planes you are burning through some fabulous karma (past life credits) and most come here because they either run out of high end karma or to be of service. Drew is more of the service bound type than the bankrupt.

That’s all for now, more celebrity readings to come… what do you think of Drew’s face reading?

Atma

To learn more about face reading check out How to Read Faces

If you are interested in a face reading you can sign up for one HERE (cost $175)

Photo credit: Capital M

Yoga Philosophy for the female clad

[One of three essays on the theme of Goddess Yoga]

The gender of the soul is a mysterious and transcendental subject. It is cloaked in the paradoxical and the inconceivable. 

The gender of the body is a fleeting and transient experience, neither real nor illusion, but temporary fact. Gender, in the realm of matter, flips back and forth over lifetimes, driven by karma and desire. This back and forth blurs the lines and the content between male and female so that over time we all have much of both.

Nonetheless, from life to life we generally find ourselves in one or another. Yet regardless of gender, we (the soul), continually find ourselves in an earthen vessel that is both temple and prison. This creates the ironic goal of having to both worship the temple and break free of the prison.

To further our sense of the paradoxical nature of being, consider that while we are in these clay coverings we are considered prakriti or mother nature (the feminine aspect)and the soul is considered purusua or consciousness (the male aspect). Yet in the realm of the soul the soul is called prakriti (or feminine) and the source of consciousness is call purusua. This gives a tiny hint as to the paradoxical nature of the soul’s gender.

Goddess Yoga, is meant to ask the question, “Are there differences in spiritual practice (sadhana) for you (the soul) when you are momentarily trapped in the female form versus the male form?”

The answer is yes and no; there are some differences and some similarities. The exposition of these essays will be the exploration of the differences.

The spiritual journey is different for the spirit-soul residing in a female body versus a male body. For example the female covered soul is generally much more in touch with the concept of body or form. This includes body in its various permutations: her own body, her lover or mate’s body, and her child’s body. This attunement is part of why the path of aestheticism has always been arduous and in some ways inappropriate for the feminine garb.

While the male body has the likelihood of being slightly less attached to the body they are not necessarily better off. In fact, it is this tendency towards bodily nonchalance that necessitates the austerity and submissiveness of the male-bodied path.

So while it is important that the male shaped aspirant grovel and serve the guru menially, that is not necessarily what is best for sister-spirit-soul.

So what is best for the female shaped ones?

The simplest answer is to use all the bodily proclivities to create connection to spirit.
+ Respect and beautify the body, not as you, but as a mystical clay temple of the supreme soul living within.
+ See and treat the lover/mate as representative of the divine.
+ Raise children as ambassadors of pure consciousness.

In addition, the mind should be disciplined in the dialectics of spirit… to learn to resist polar views of black or white and instead to entertain the paradox of synthesis…

+ surrender the need for certainty in exchange for pursuit of clarity
+ stop seeking control and instead celebrate beauty in nature and spirit
+ do not be moved by illustration which is only ABOUT something, but champion art which IS something
+ do not over value knowledge, instead learn to worship mystery
+ and above all do not mistake matter for spirit

In future essays I will explore and bring together easter science and western philosophy, with the hope of expanding our understanding of hatha, pranayama, mantra, and some of the esoteric meanings of the ancient Sanskrit text. The goal of this is series is to learn about the nature of the spiritual journey for souls who are in a female body. I look forward to your feedback.

Terror in Times Square

Islamic militant terrorism is a Muslim problem. American military and diplomatic efforts, while necessary, will not succeed. Even now American forces, Nato troops and Pakistani soldiers are chasing down militant types with great determination. Most of the time, the hunted extremists disperse and disappear in a very cockroach like manner. Hiding amongst the population (or in caves) they simply wait for further opportunities to pursue their agenda. In some cases wrongheaded military action like the invasion of Iraq actually makes things worse. (In September of 2006 a combined National Intelligence Estimate by 16 US intelligence services concluded that the invasion of Iraq has led to an increase in global terrorism.) In the long run western involvement will probably make things worse. A long term significant solution must come from the ranks of the Islamic. Furthermore, this solution will have to be spiritual if not religious in scope.

The beauty of Islam is that at its heart, it is a peace loving and devotional religion. Consider this important quote from their scripture, “Whosoever kills an innocent human being, it shall be as if one has killed all humankind, and whosoever saves the life of one, it shall be as if one has saved the life of all humankind.”(Al-Ma’idah 5:32)

Islam is also a deeply ingrained culture. The nature of Islam as religion and culture dictates that the solution and leadership needed to solve this problem come from one of their own. For this a new Muslim hero is needed. One who will champion the ideals of Islam and will fearlessly denounce those would selectively abrogate the true teachings and goals of Islam. The Muslim nations need a kind and courageous hero who is willing to describe those killers of innocents as traitors and offenders to the great Mohamed.

As frustrating and scary as the recent New York near misses are if we want to see the terroristic chicanery cease and desist then we should hope and pray that some brave new hero emerges from the millions of intelligent and peace seeking true believers of Islam.

Is there anything we can do besides hope and pray? Sure! Step out of your culture and get to know the Muslims in your community. Dialoguing, sharing life experiences, just getting to know one another is a valuable step. Another important way non-Muslims can encourage an outcome-where any sign of direct involvement can be construed as a tainting influence-is by setting the example. When any one person acts with kindness and courage in their culture it will have an impact on the consciousness of others. This is the legacy of Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez, Elie Wiesel, Aung San Suu Kyi…

We have ample opportunity these days to stand up to intolerance, exploitation, and ignorance.

What ideas do you have for exemplifying courage and kindness?

QUICKY Review* Iron Man 2

Iron Man not 2 great

Director Jon Favreau seems to have lost his way here and he wasn’t helped by Justin Theroux’s very poorly written script.  While Justin should stick to acting, Jon shouldn’t give up directing, but he needs a better support team and much better writers.

The actors were good with the exception of Scarlett Johansson, who has done much better work and came off like a cut-out from a Top Cow comic book (Top Cow is the king of busty two-dimensional characters.)

With a 74% rating on Rotten Tomatoes this film is a good example of how the aggregation of reviews can be dramatically skewed up by the very subjective choice of what makes a good review. If you look at the so called “good” reviews you will see that they are faint praise indeed.

Let’s hope the franchise gets better as it appears from the after the credits sneak peek that the next avenger to be brought back to film life is Thor.

Vedic view point –  I’m sure there is something to say here but this movie has not inspired me to look to hard.

Rating: 5/10

Recommendation: this will probably make a good blu-ray DVD for your home theater no need to rush out and see it

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* Quicky Reviews are when I saw the film but didn’t write a full length review….

Kick Ass, Kicks Ass

Kick Ass the movie,  based on Mark Millar’s graphic novel, is not the most important film in the genre of comic book movies, it does not have the weighty social commentary of V for Vendetta, or the literary depth of Watchmen. It certainly is not as beautifully adapted as Sin City. Kick Ass is, however, a fun and even thought provoking movie experience.  The writing does rely a little too heavily on the revenge fantasy scenario so dear to the undemanding comic fans. It has the feel of the Punisher meets Paper Moon (a great father-daughter film by a Mr. Bogdanavich from 1973-netflix it if you are too young to remember.)

Kick Ass’s father-daughter team offer their own version of “punishment, not revenge”, with the young actress, Chloe Grace Moretz, stealing every scene she is in, and some she is not in, as the eleven year old vigilante, Hit-Girl. Nic Cage does a surprisingly in depth job of playing the ethically, if not morally questionable Dad bent on destroying his nemesis, even at the cost of destroying his daughter’s childhood.

The theme of the film attempts to address the issue of civic responsibility, through the adolescent and not too deep question,” if so many guys (and some gals) fantasize about being super heroes, how come nobody does it?”

The initial answer is, “that with no power comes no responsibility.” But the deeper insight is provided by the film’s protagonist, Dave Lizewski who sets out to become a real life superhero, only to discover the real meaning of hero is in the heart and not in the costume, and that even though we as individuals have little responsibility, we certainly do have some responsibility.  I can attest to this.

As somebody who has been in a position to risk injury in order to help or protect a disadvantaged or innocent victim, I can honestly say it is far worse to live with the shame of turning one’s back on the needs of others.  I say this even though my own crime fighting has not always ended well for me.

Once in the 80’s I was working in music promotions at a downtown Minneapolis night club when in the middle of the business day someone called into the office that there was some disturbance in the parking lot. I was sent to investigate.  In those days I wore all black leather and had a mohawk, looing a bit like an extra from the film Road Warrior. When I came into the garage I saw two goons mugging some accountant looking guy. I yelled at the two guys and ripped one of the chains decorating my leather off and began to run straight for them. They looked up, literally dropped their victim and took off running.  True story, happy ending.

Another incident didn’t end as well. I was coming out of a night club after closing hour and came across two young mods wearing skinny ties and 60’s suits who were being threatened by a trio of drunken-polo-shirt-wearing jocks. All of whom were considerably bigger than the two new wavers (and me for that matter.) Still it was my responsibility to say something, which I did. Probably something like, “shouldn’t you pick on somebody your own size?” Which, they decided they would. Unfortunately, to them, that meant me.  So they all jumped on me, knocked me to the ground and proceeded to kick the shit out of me.  They eventually tired and I was able to walk away a bloody mess with busted ribs and broken nose. Not so happy ending.  But I remained convinced that I did the right thing. The short term pain of bruised ribs and a busted nose is inconsequential to the never ending shame of walking away from someone who needed help.

This moral is consistent with the moral of the movie. It is also (here comes the connection to Eastern Philosphy) consistent with the expectation of a yogi. Although the yogi’s first tenet is non-violence (ahimsa), this also includes preventing harm.  A yogi would gladly sacrifice their own life to safe that of anothers.  Like the great Maharaja Shibi, who saved the life of a pigeon by supplying flesh from his own body.  A true yogi does not occupy any specific post but is always available to fill any post in service to God and humanity. Sometimes a yogi must fill the post of a kshatriya. Kshatriya means one who gives protection.  It is never that the yogi thinks, “now I am renounced from worldly concerns so I do not need to help my fellow spirit souls.” No, it is the opposite; the yogi is always concerned about the welfare of others, spiritually and materially.

Thus the lesson for the Modern Yogi: meditate on compassion, and the nature of the absolute, but always be prepared to kick ass if needed. 🙂

Rating: 7/10

Recommendation:  better than most of what’s out there…

Face Reading for Relationships… Tiger vs Jesse

Women, do you know what to look for to avoid getting dogged by your choice of soul mate?

Men, do you know how to check your own psych profile to find out if you have the tell-tale signs of a womanizer? (Hint: your ongoing behavior and deepest desires are recorded on your face.)

What we have in these two men are classic but distinctly different womanizers. A womanizer is someone who can’t stop flirting with, obsessing with, and getting in bed with women. It is not a sex addiction (although sometimes that can be a simultaneous problem). Womanizing, also known as being a selfish-callous-dick when it comes to women, is a compulsion to prove and to experience your own ability to attract the opposite sex. The womanizer has a powerful psychological need for emotional conquest. He is driven by an insatiable urge to be needed and to feel worthy by being needed.

While this problem is common to many men, what is of greater concern is the degree of the problem. Some man may have the inclination toward womanizing but have enough internal resources to override those impulses. Others will succumb; as in the case of our two subjects of discussion, Messrs. Woods and James.
Most of the information about behavior towards women is located in the lower parts of the face. But to fully understand the implications of any such evidence it has to be evaluated based on what is going on in and around the eyes.
Much of what drives this heart breaking behavior is a combination anger and self loathing, in Jesse’s case he never developed a trusting and fulfilling bond with his mother and always felt like he wasn’t good enough to satisfy or impress her.

Tiger on the other has all the marks of the “family emblem”, a guilt ridden compulsive succeeder, combined with the “peck’s bad boy” persona – slow self destructor addict.

While I am sure both of their wives would have liked to know this before they started down that road, based on the women’s readings only Ms. Bullock might have listened. Ms. Elin Woods might have had an inkling but probably would have thought she had what it took to “save” or “fix” him. Sadly she is programmed to choose fatalistic relationships. For Ms. Bullock there would have been hope had she known how to see what is so obvious to the face reader.

This is why I teach face reading to people. It is in part to arm both men and women in the battle with the unconscious mind which has the capacity to sabotage so much of what we are trying to get right. I strongly believe that everyone can develop this skill and learn to use it to improve the way one navigates through life. It is a wonderful and healing thing to see the world as it is and not how we wish it to be.

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Learn more about face reading at How to Read Faces

Avatar – the descent of the bad filmmaker

The spiritual strength of stories is in their ability to touch the soul. If we capitulate to poor storytelling we become the cheated instead of the uplifted. Stories matter because they connect us, enliven us, and are means of transmitting important information about who we are.

Art and spirituality share an important partnership in the telling of stories and their ability to touch and even awaken the soul. But this ability to use a story to hint at the inexpressible mystery of life does not come easily. This is why great directors, are known to say, “It’s not the story; it’s how you tell it.”  This of course assumes that you are starting with an actual story worth telling – a story that has in it the types of personalities that we can connect with and care about. As well as circumstances that, no matter how fantastic, provide us with meaningful struggles that when overcome teach us about ourselves.

Avatar, sadly, has none of these qualities. It is an arguably insane use of human and material resources, to satisfy the technological whims of an effete filmmaker. It is hundreds of millions of dollars of cinematic geek-dom with no redeeming spiritual or artistic value. Avatar is the ironic equivalent of a four-hundred-million dollar PSA by the Sierra Club. (So you cannot excuse this film by saying it engenders discussion on the environment – that could have been accomplished with 1 percent of the budget in a superbowl ad.)  It is a mind numbing display of hour after hour of digital fireworks. Like most fireworks displays after ten or fifteen minutes of oohs and ahhhs, it becomes quite boring.

Avatar is a two-dimensional and utterly un-profound movie shot in high-end 3D-CGI. This total lack of story should prompt outrage. It is important for members of society to raise the standard for our art and culture. We need stories, good ones. We should not settle for the threadbare recycling of mediocre stories, as Avatar is of the Disney movie, Pocahontas (see graphic at bottom for the plot summary of Avatar and a funny comparison.) The story Avatar – the space age Pocahontas, is a weak and sentimental approach to the condescending notion of the noble savage. People are not necessarily noble or dharmic just because they reside in nature. Virtue or dharma is a quality found in varying quadrants of life. The tendency to look at a setting like the film’s mystically beautiful Pandora and compare it to earth and lament the difference is a form of sentimentalism. In the Vedic model of reality majestically opulent planets exist in the universe, but even they pale next to the realm of pure consciousness, the spiritual goal of the yogi.

For a filmmaker to copy the story arc of another film is not always bad. It happens all the time. What is bitterly disappointing is to hear that after someone has worked on a movie for over 10 years the best they could come up with was a script that just rehashes someone else’s insipid and poorly thought out script. And trying to call the story in Avatar “the hero’s journey” is a poor characterization. The story of an unwitting dupe thrust into a new environment where he meets a cute girl, gets the cute girl, loses the cute girl, comes back with a bigger phallic symbol, (car, jet, dragon…) and gets the girl back, hardly qualifies for the dramatic and spiritual depth that constitutes the hero’s journey (which, by the way, is not even that great of mythic story arc to begin with.)

The two dimensional characters and implausible plotting of Avatar remind one of skimpiest of comic book stories.  (The guy who played the big mean army colonel looked and acted like a cardboard cutout.) It was as if Cameron and crew purposely decided that the only thing that mattered was the visual effects and that the story was of no particular importance. But technology is supposed to serve the story and not the other way around. It appears that with this film James Cameron’s filmmaking career has come full circle. He peaked with the original Terminator and Aliens and he has returned to the quality of his first film, Piranha II: the Spawning.

Avatar should be seen as an insult to the film viewer who is expected to shell out hard earned money to watch what amounts to an autoerotic techno-fest. Viewers who waste their money on this film have a right to feeling duped. A better use of entertainment dollars would be to buy the DVD set of Lord of the Rings -great movies, great stories, and great effects.

Sadly the hyped-up Hollywood fan boy awards system has already begun to give statuette accolades to this bit of techno-treacle. But that does not make it a good or important movie. It just means we are once again settling for mediocrity.

Rating: Looks 8, Dance 2

Synopsis: This film is all form and no content. See it if you are a geeky fan boy with a World of Warcraft screen-saver, and nothing better to do than waste your mom’s money.

New Yogi’s Resolution

Set a Spiritual Goal for 2010

The modern yogi understands that change begins with ambition… But material ambition is a slow lurching fall into the barbed-wire-heart-tearing-clutches of the false ego. Only spiritual ambition differentiates the hero from the prisoner.

The trick to setting powerful spiritual goals is three-fold: size, secrecy, and spirit-based.

Here’s how it works:

Size – this means the goal should be big enough and compelling enough that the thought of it makes you shudder (with giddy-delight.) You should wake up in the morning thinking of your spiritual goal and feel excited about making progress towards it. In other words craft a goal that is VERY enticing.

Secrecy – your spiritual goal should be your secret from the world. Things kept secret grow more powerful. Keeping it secret also makes it easier to come up with a ridiculously huge goal (after all it has to charge you up every time you wake up).

Spirit-based – this means the goal has no basis in material advancement or sense gratification. So, for example, getting more money is a material goal, helping others make money is a material goal, helping others feel better about themselves and become less selfish is a spiritual goal. One way to gauge if a goal is spiritual is by asking, “could I carry out this goal even if destiny took away everything I had, leaving me destitute?” Spiritual goals are about things like, realizing God, inspiring others, creating compassion, harvesting harmony…. Be creative. If you have questions about whether a goal is materialist feel free to write me. (Just express the nature of the goal without giving away its grandeur.)

So is there a place for material goals? I would not make anything materialistic a goal. Rather I would think of material needs as earthly duties. Food, shelter, healthcare, retirement… these are our responsibilities. The modern yogi cannot evade his or her responsibilities. Nonetheless these duties should be organized under the principle of, “what is the least I can do for myself so that I can do the most for others”. This stops us from thinking about material goals and more along the lines of fulfilling our duties.

In 2010 let your ambition soar above and beyond the realm of angels. Walk around with a smile in your heart where you are guarding the spiritual secret of your ambition. Others will look at you and know something is different, and exciting about you, but not be able to put their finger on it.

Happy New Year!

 

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