Monday, April 28, 2008

Bangkok: On the Road

It was 5:00 AM. I was at an underground, illegal afterhours club somewhere in sweaty Bangkok. Hard techno was pumping. Thai people, wasted and sloppy, danced and ran around the warehouse frantically, with flashing white eyes and big Thai smiles. A full bar was set up. Huge screens played movies. The entire situation reminded me of a rave that Dillon and Brandon went to during an episode of Beverly Hills 90210. The Beverly Hills 90210 rave wasn’t a rave, really, and this certainly wasn’t a rave either, but it did affect how underground clubs are generally depicted in media, which is why I assumed it was actually like this – if it’s on television and in films, then it will eventually show up in south east Asia in some form or another.

A girl danced up to me. “Are you lady boy?”


“Are you the gay?”


“You dance like lady boy.”

“You mean I dance good?”

“No, I mean you dance like lady boy.”

“In the U.S. dancing like lady boy means good dancing.”

“In Thailand dancing like lady boy means you dance like lady boy.”

“Oh. Okay. Are you a hooker?”

“What is hooker?”


“No - Hey man, you rude.”

“You just asked me if I was a lady boy. You don’t think that’s rude?”

“Okaaaaay, okaaaay. It’s cool, dude. Want to be my friend?”

* * *
And all this time Dean was tremendously excited about everything he saw, everything he talked about, every detail of every moment that passed. He was out of his mind with real belief. “And of course now no one can tell us that there is no God. We’ve passed through all forms. You can remember, Sal, when I first came to New York and I wanted Chad King to teach me about Nietzche. You see how long ago? Everything is fine, God exists, we know time. Everything since the Greeks has been predicted wrong. You can’t make it with geometry and geometrical systems of thinking. It’s all this!” He wrapped his finger in his fist; the car hugged the line straight and true.

Jack Kerouac – On the Road

* * *
A shining, silent monk just walked by with his begging bowl – gorgeous and relaxed. It was hot today: 46/115 degrees. So hot, in fact, my sandals stuck slightly to the pavement as I walked. The monk walked barefoot, begging for his food.

* * *
I didn’t know where all of this was leading; I didn’t care.

Jack Kerouac – On the Road
* * *
Old, fat, white man, with a maniac leer and empty hairline took a young girl by the hand and walked down an alley. They are not related. They do not know each other. She is 12. He is 50. She will be paid $3.50 for her services. She will do this many times today. He will do this every day. She will go home and give the money to her parents. They will drink whiskey. She will be HIV+ by the time she is 16.

* * *
Naturally, now that I look back on it, this is only death: death will overtake us before heaven. The one thing that we yearn for in our living days, that makes us sigh and groan and undergo sweet nauseas of all kinds is the remembrance of some lost bliss that was probably experienced in the womb and can only be reproduced (though we hate to admit it) in death. But who wants to die? In the rush of events I kept thinking about this in the back of my mind. I told it to Dean and he instantly recognized it as the mere simple longing for pure death; and because we’re all of us never in life again, he, rightly, would have to do with it, and I agreed with him then.

Jack Kerouac – On the Road
* * *
I had been in Bangkok for 10 hours. Arriving at my hotel at 3:00 AM, I drank two beers and went to bed. I woke-up three hours latter. I wandered the neighborhood walking nowhere. It was 11 AM. I walked in ever-widening sweeping circles.

I felt good for having traveled for 22 hours. The three hours of sleep was sufficient.

I walked along side one of Bangkok’s many canals. Waterways used to be, and still are to some extend, Bangkok’s main arteries. Tucked back in a neighborhood, I saw a muted yellow, French colonial house surrounded by gardens and gazebos, all held by a high, stone wall. I liked the house. It called me.

I walked into the neighborhood and up to the main gate. Woven into the iron and brass a metal trident and double headed drum sat sparkling in the sun; both Shiva’s accessories. Something Saivite was going on here. I looked up at the sky, you’ve got to be fucking kidding me?, I thought.

No. I’m completely serious.

I’ve only been here 10 hours.

I know. It starts now.

The gate was open, and I walked through. The property was beautiful. Gardens. Lotus pounds. Gazebos and open -air halls. The main house was a French Victorian design – muted yellow with white trim. I wondered around the property. I walked inside the house and sat down.

After ten minutes of sitting there an older, Thai woman walked by, stopped, and looked at me. “Can I help you?” she asked.

“What sort of place is this?”

“This is a healing center and ashram.”

“I saw the trident and dhamaru on the fence, so I came in.”

“Aww, you know Shiva?”


“My guru, the master of this center, is an avatar of Shiva.”


We talked for a bit. She told me her story. Buddhist; studied with monks. Met the avatar, and he introduced her to Saivite practice. Now she runs the center. It seems to be one of those oneness-of-all-religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Christianity, sort-of-teachings.

“Why are you in Bangkok?” she asked.

“I’m here teaching.”

“What are you teaching?”

“Yoga stuff. Enlightenment stuff. Stuff like that. It’s really not that interesting.”

“It seems very interesting. Very important. You are special. You must meet master.”

“I’m not special. I’m just a guy – The Dude.”

Master was in Chiang Mai. She wanted to show me something, so she led me outside. We walked through the garden. She talked about Buddhism, Saivism, and Christianity. She said Buddha and Siva came from same source. She talked about how badly the world needed enlightenment. I smiled and nodded. I looked up at the sky, really?


We walked onto a dock and into a small floating house. It was their shrine. Adorned with many Shiva and Buddha statues. Many Shiva and Buddha pictures. Incense. Burning ghee lamps. Small stupas with the ashes of earth-retired monks. A large lingam. Half of the small houseboat was the puja.

“Shiva brings wisdom to the ignorant.”

“Shiva is wisdom and ignorance.”


“There is no need to make the ignorant wise. Shiva is all things. All things are already, always awake and free. Believing that something needs to wake-up reinforces your own delusion.”

“I want to be enlightened.”

“How do you know you’d like it?”

“It’s oneness with God.”

“I doubt it.”

“What do you teach?”

“Nothing. I say what I need to say when I need to say it. I don’t have an agenda. I in all honesty couldn’t care less if another person becomes enlightened on this planet. Because everyone and everything is already, always enlightened. It is the nature of things. To think that there are enlightened people and non-enlightened people is a great way to remain in delusion land. That’s Maya’s tricky game, and she’s a sneaky bitch. I don’t enlighten people. I destroy them.”

“I want to study with you.”

“We’ll see, I suppose.”

* * *

“Who is this?” said Carlo. We pondered it. I proposed it was myself, wearing a shroud.

Jack Kerouac – On the Road

* * *

I had been in Bangkok for two hours. It was three AM. I walked down an alley near my hotel. Not being able to sleep, I decided to buy some Thai beer to kick back and hopefully become sleepy with. Large rats feed in piles of trash. One looked at me, darted out into the alley and ran across my foot. It was big; about the size of an opossum. It stopped just past my foot, its’ tail still touching my big tow. Thoughts of rat bites, disease and my lack of health insurance floated across my mind. “Well, how about it?” I said. The rat ran off into the night.

* * *
It made me think that everything was about to arrive – the moment when you know all and everything is decided forever.

Jack Kerouac – On the Road

* * *
The night before I left, I returned to the Saivite ashram. The guru was supposed to be in from Chaing Mai and we were supposed to meet. The gate was open and I walked in. The lazy dog that I met on my first visit was sleeping in the same spot. Another, much more hyper and unruly dog began ferociously barking and lunging at me. I walked past it towards the door. The dog made a lunge for my leg and bit into my calf. He didn’t bite hard – he didn’t break through my jeans. I bounded up the stairs and, luckily, the door to the main house was open, and I ran in, slamming the door behind me. The door was glass. The dog was outside, and I was inside. Outside, the dog barked, snarled and lunged at the door. I walked around on the main floor of the house. I called out. No one was there. Either everyone was in another building on the property, which didn’t seem likely, or they had all gone somewhere. The dog still snarled, and was now slamming itself against the door. I sat down in front of the glass door looking at it. I was not sure what to do. Spending the night inside seemed like an option. But I had to leave for the airport at 5:30 AM.

I walked around the first floor again. The lights were out, but I found another door. I ran out the door, leaving it open, for fear that stopping to shut it would give the dog time to make it around the house. I ran towards the stone wall. In one Jackie-Chan-style-running-push-off-the-wall jump, I flew over the top and landed in an alley. In front of me was an outdoor bar. There were lights, Thai music, and lots of Thai kids drinking whiskey and eating. I walked in.

“Beer, please.”
* * *
Life is life, and kind is kind.

Jack Kerouac – On the Road

Monday, April 21, 2008

Various States of Undress II

I was at X Bar in Century City last week having a drink with my friend Alex at an industry mixer. X Bar is a relaxed modern place in the Century Plaza Hotel, and has a large outdoor patio with fire pits. Inside, colored lights shine down a long wall. The cascading light morphs and churns new colors, like the cow in The Wizard of Oz, every few moments.

I had been talking to the one of the writer and producers of Weeds for a long time. He appears as the typical writer/producer: a bit over weight, jeans and a tee, unshaven, and a low baseball cap.

Kris: “Hey, so I have to ask, the fires at the end of last season and the fires on the show – were they coincidence or did you guys rewrite the end of the season to make the show correlate with current events?”

Insensitive Producer: “The show had been written for months. It was just one of those great coincidences. We were really happy with it.”

Kris: “Great coincidence?”

IP: “Well, yeah. Awesome. I mean, we were sad thousands of people lost their homes, but you can’t buy better advertising than that. Awesome.”

Kris: “Yeah… Right. Okay.”

We talked for a little while longer. He was pleased that I liked the show, especially after I mentioned that I had been a serious stoner most of my life, and highly approved.

Alex: “Hey, want to go to a strip club?”

She twirled her ice.

Kris: “Yeah, I guess.”

Alex: “Really? Awesome. You don’t think Tara will care?”

She hesitated. I looked at the mutating light cascades. They were wonderfully pleasing to me.

Kris: “Neat lights.”

Alex: “Yeah. Well?”

Kris: “No, I don’t think she would care.”

Alex: “Perfect.”

I had not been to a strip club in a very long time, except for the quick Soho tour I had in London last fall. It had actually been about seven years, when I took my friend Aaron for his bachelor party, since serious strip club time.

Kris: “Why are we going to strip club?”

Alex: “My boy friend Darren is at a bachelor party in New York. It seems fair that I share his experience.”

Kris: “Bachelor parties. Right. Fair enough.”

We escaped Century City.

Alex: “Where should we go?”

Kris: “I don’t know. Crazy Girls? They have pool tables and cocktails.”

Alex: “We’re not going to play pool.”

Kris: “Right. They have cocktails.”

Alex: “Have you been to Body Shop?”

Kris: “No, but it looked cool in Entourage.”

It was 12:00 already, and the Beverly Hills streets were empty and silent. We drove north and east, moving towards Sunset and debauchery.

Alex: “Body Shop then - All for new experiences.”

We parked behind the club and walked to the entrance. The neon silhouette cut outs of dancers on the street wall blinked prophetic messages of the experience inside – naked dancing girls.

Alex: “Can you see the action inside? Does it look good?”

Kris: “No, I can’t see anything. It’s a strip club. Naked girls, creepy dudes, and awkward drunk girlfriends is what we can expect, I suppose.”

Alex: “Right. Let’s do it.”

We paid and went in. The club was almost empty when we walked in and sat down. The waitress came over and asked us for our juice order. The Body Shop is a nude club, so they don’t serve alcohol. Ginger Ale. Ginger Ale. It bubbles. We watched for a while.

Alex: “Does this turn you on?”

Kris: “No. Not really.”

Alex: “Really?”

Kris: “Yeah.”

Alex: “Why?”

Kris: “I don’t know.”

Alex: “What do you see when you watch?”

Kris: “Consciousness.”

Alex: “Are you fucking kidding me?”

Kris: “No. I am totally serious. When I look across the room, I see consciousness. I get that there’s naked dancing bodies everywhere. I understand that this should, in some way, turn me on. But it doesn’t.”

Alex: “Are you bored? Do you want to leave?”

Kris: “No. I’m never bored. I’m just not turned on, and that’s fine.”

A girl flopped down, naked, on the counter in front of us. She said, “Hi,” with a hair toss. Eyes flashing, she began to dance.

Alex: “Are you going to blog this?”

Kris: “Probably.”

Alex: “You know, I feel like I’m some pop-culture-celebrity-gossip-Hollywood-hipster character in your blogs. But I think our conversations and relationship is deeper than the surface stuff you portray.”

Kris: “Yes. It is.”

The girl, with a slap on her crotch, gets up and leaves. She frowns when neither of us unfold a dollar bill and throw it her direction.

Alex: “Well…”

Kris: “It’s not that I don’t value you, as you are. My blog is about something very specific that transcends my life and relationships. I am blogging about reality, and I am using myself, my actions, and my words as a tool to do that.”

Alex: “And me? I’m a tool for reality?”

Kris: “No. Your character is a tool for expressing the complex and simple beauty of reality. Just as my character is a tool for expressing reality.”

Alex: “Kris, we never had this conversation. You’re just making this up after the fact to make things clear.”

Kris: “Yes. But we did talk about the consciousness thing.”

Alex: “Yes. So what about that? You can’t get turned on because you view all of this as consciousness?”

Kris: “I suppose I could get turned on, if need be. But yes. I look across the room, and I see consciousness, awake and gorgeous, enacting upon itself.”

The club was getting crowded now. Twice as many dancers as when we first walked in, and now just standing room only.

Alex: “Well, what about morals and stuff?”

Kris: “Morals? That’s God dancing on stage in front of us. How are there morals absent?”

Alex: “That girl on stage is God?”

Kris: “Yes. Everything is.”

Alex: “I thought you just said that in class because it sounds nice.”

Kris: “No. It’s just the way I experience things. There is nothing more Divine than this right here. And I’ve been to some of the most sacred areas of the most sacred temples in the world.”

Alex: “And what about wasted, lame, pervy guy over there, throwing his money and yelling at all the girls?”

Kris: “Yep. God too.”

Alex: “Do you realize that sounds crazy?”

Kris: “Yes.”

Alex: “Do you realize that people will interpret this as simple debauchery and blow off all the spiritual things you’re going to write about?”

Kris: “Yes. That’s why I’m here and that’s why I am going to write about it.”

Alex: “What?”

Kris: “I’m going to write about it because, really, why can’t the most sacred place in the world be the Body Shop? Why can’t God be right here, right now, as we are, as this is?”

Alex: “Yeah, but…”

Kris: “God is not divided. There is nothing more sacred than anything else. God is one. Reality is one. Anything that divides that reality must be destroyed.”

Alex: “Destroyed?”

Kris: “Destroyed. Where ever you think God doesn’t exist, go there immediately and find the Awareness, the Beauty, the Bliss, and the Freedom. It’s always, already there.”

Alex: “That’s why I like you.”

We both throw a dollar on stage.

Free God.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Starfish Migration

Starfish can travel up to 60 feet an hour. They walk using thousands of tiny tubular legs that rest on their underside. At the end of these legs, there are tiny suction cups that they use for walking up vertical surfaces and attaching to objects.

For more information:

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Various States of Undress

It might surprise you to learn that teaching satsang for donation and blogging doesn’t pay the rent. I have to occasionally pop back into the real world of work and financial exchange. I’m really hoping the organization and business development work takes off for me, as I enjoy doing it and it seems like a viable way to pay the bills until I win the lottery or inherent money from a wealthy family member I didn’t know existed, but I had huge impact on as a baby. Last week, I hopped back into yester year’s costume and produced a photo shoot. Fun!

It was not a huge production, but it did involve a motor home, two photographers, eight models, two locations, and crew. We were shooting intimate couple scenarios, which essentially means we were shooting couples in their underwear making-out 100 different ways. This was not pornography. Think: generic Cosmo article about how to drive your boy friend wild in bed, and the pictures that represent that.

In one of our pre-production style meetings, our stylist, in recapping our discussion, said, “Various states of undress, right?” Right. I immediately crossed out Intimate Couples on the top of the paper I was holding and wrote: Various States of Undress.

Obviously, in order for the shoot to work, the couples have to seem authentically interested and excited about each other, and they have to be willing to play the game a bit. Needless to say, there is some warming up to do. This is generally easier for the boys than girls. Any normal and adjusted human male is ready to get down at the first flash of the bulb, but girls generally need time, even if they are excellent professionals. This means that a huge part of the day is about developing intimacy and interest among the cast members, slowly building towards liberating nudity.

We never quite got to nudity in this shoot, and we hadn’t planned to. I noticed though, that what was unfolding was becoming a great metaphor for awakening. The process of undressing, peeling off layers, and opening one’s self to another in an intimate situation is as rushed as one’s desire for the other person. Meaning, in awakening, the layers peel as fast as the desire to peel them is present. In a serious macking situation, the clothes, generally, seem to take themselves off.

“Oh my god, we’re naked,” I’ve said many times.

In intense and spontaneous awakening, the clothes fly off, without effort. It might be an effortful and even painful experience, but it’s the only thing one can do, so it takes little effort in initiating and enacting the process. Because it’s the only thing one can do, it’s an effortless process.

In a workshop Tara and I taught in December, I likened the process of awakening to undressing to get into a hot tub. Over the course of the ten-hour workshop, I took the metaphor to all sorts of strange and surprising places, but the major point was: we are already always naked. We are born like that. Suffering and delusion is as simple as believing that we are only our clothes without recognizing that we are always already naked; our work clothes, our home clothes, our date clothes, our spiritual clothes, our parenting clothes, our exercising clothes, (it was actually tee-shirts at the workshop) etc. Awakening is taking off these clothes, recognizing that you are were always already naked, and recognizing that everyone and everything is intrinsically naked. No one is his or her outfit. Everyone is naked. Outfits are for fun.

Sadly, though, most spirituality is about updating the outfit, making it appear more spiritual, developed, natural, connected, and lends to the appearance and pretension of freedom, but not the radical freedom of naked existence. Most spiritual teachers offer a few more accessories or, if you’re lucky, perhaps an outfit change, but not nudity. As you accessorize or change clothes, they tell you how wonderful you look, how good you’re doing, and how special you are. You, in turn, compliment them on how wonderful they look. Everyone goes home happy. All of this is fine, by the way. I don’t have a problem with this. It’s just not going to get the job done.

This is important. Spend a moment with this. Most spiritual teachers simply validate their students, so that their need for validation is reciprocated, and everyone goes home feeling special and validate. I’ve watched this unfold in almost every spiritual community I’ve been a part of since I was 8 years old.

It takes about two minutes of ego-less honesty to see this. If this is your teacher, and you’re serious about freedom, run away as fast as you can. If you experience this in our relationship (if we have one), run away as fast as you can.

I don’t do the validation thing. I do the destruction thing. If you’re serious about waking-up and you come to me, I am going to rip your clothes off faster than intoxicated high schoolers on prom night.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Dude Abides

The Standard, Hollywood, Circa 2008

Monday, April 7, 2008

Humming Birds & Strawberry Soda

A humming bird couple has over the last week built a nest outside of our kitchen window. In between building sessions they seem to be dancing, macking, or communicating to each other in a manner that mimics what I imagine Helen Keller to have done with her hands.

A humming bird nest is small.

These humming birds have brought joy to my kitchen time, so I decided to buy them a feeder and some other humming bird gear. As it turns out, there isn't any other humming bird gear, so I bought them two feeders. Now they both get their own.

The first trip to the hardware store did not produce humming bird feeders, but I did pick-up potting material to re-pot all of our indoor plants, and I got some new lighting fixtures so my friends Rachael and Robert will stop complaining about our lighting, which I admit was horrible and is now rapidly improving. I didn't realize that I forgot what I originally set out for until I returned home and saw the humming birds outside. It is not surprising that I forgot. I often arrive places and forget why I am there, and then just wonder around to see what happens.

It was too late to go back to Home Depot, and I now needed to get into some re-potting and light experiments.

I went to Laurel Hardware this afternoon. I like Laurel Hardware. It's like one of those old school hardware stores from the 80's, before we came up with the idea of super-hardware stores. Laurel is cute, small, strangely stocked, and hosts clerks that have worked there since it opened in the 60's.

Humming bird feeders were in the back. As I mentioned, I bought two, and they both look like strawberries. There was one that looked like a rocket ship and another that looked like a hot air balloon (These were the Art Stylish models. Begging to differ.). Between the rocket ship, hot air balloon, and strawberries, the strawberries were the obvious choice.

"Hey, do you guys have humming bird food too?" I asked the ancient clerk (think knight from India Jones and The Last Crusade), Terry.

"Nope, all out."

"What am I suppose to feed them? All of the Helen Keller action has to have made them hungry."

"Helen Keller? Never mind. Strawberry Soda. It's great. They love it."

"Strawberry Soda? No shit?"

"Yeah, they love it."

"Lindsey loves blow and Xanax, but that doesn't mean it's good for her."

"Who's Lindsey? Never mind. It's about the glucose. Soda has great glucose. And they like the strawberry flavor."

"That doesn't seem healthy. What about maple syrup?"

"Nope. That will straight kill them."

"Hmmm. Juice?"

"Too acidic. Strawberry Soda,"

"Look, Strawberry Soda has only existed for 80 years max. That doesn't seem biologically sound. What did they eat before that?"

"Flower nectar like they do in the wild."

"Do you guys sell that?"

"No. You can't buy that. That's what they eat in the wild."

"Oh. Strawberry soda, huh?"



It seemed strange. Perhaps this was because the clerk was 70 and had no teeth? Strawberry soda seemed off. I decided to give it a try anyway. What the hell, right? But between Laurel Hardware and home, I forgot to stop and get it. Again, not surprising. I decided to make my own glucose mixture with 1 part raw sugar and 4 parts water, like it said to online.

I just hung them up outside, with the two upstairs, young, twenty-something, gay neighbors watching.

"What are you going to feed them?" one asked.

"This is a mixture of water and sugar. Apparently, though, it's all about strawberry soda."

"Strawberry soda? No shit?"

"That's what I said. Terry assured me it was the way to go."

"Well why didn't you get that?"

"I forgot."

"I love this shit. You're all spiritual and shit, and into mother nature. Taking care of the wild life and the like. Bring the animal friends to our building. Awesome!"

"Are you stoned?"

"Yeah, totally. Going to work."

"Awesome. Have fun."

"You too. Have fun."

Indeed, have fun.