Are You Teachable?

The predominant trend, in my culture at least, appears to be a mindless consumerism in which two thirds of energy used is simply wasted. “More stuff” is how people define their value, which just digs a deeper hole for us all to get out of.

I live rurally for a few, very simple reasons: clean air and water, the space for my extended family, peace and quiet  for meditation and study, and low cost of living. I don’t recommend it for everyone, nor do I recommend city-dwelling.

Everyone ought to have the freedom to pursue their creative individual goals. I wish their goals included health and mindfulness. Indeed, the goals of unlimited material wealth and possessions and meat at every meal are misguided and abusive – in fact are mindlessly creating the cultural nightmare that will almost certainly exhaust the earth’s resources preventing humanity’s descendants from having any comfortable standard of living. If only a brighter future could be a social priority.

My personal goals are to be a model for mindful living, an educator of health and meditation. I hope that others will be willing to listen to the ideas I present and look at my way of life, before assumptively pegging my position and attacking.

Hey, steakhouses are great! I love grass fed beef properly cooked – but anyone can cook a steak, and passing corn-fed beef as gourmet is a cop-out. I’ve encountered very few chefs who can make a vegetarian meal as satisfying and nourishing as a steak dinner – it’s possible, but requires real skill and artistry.

I don’t think of rural living as liberal and tolerant – most of my neighbors think of a shotgun as the great problem-solver. I’ve come face to face (or seed or flower or root) with the things that have to die for me to survive, and I’ve found that we have to get clear on how precious water is as a commodity – it doesn’t just come from a tap.

Is anyone who educates people – teachers, writers, journalists – merely forcing an agenda on unsuspecting heathens? The error here is obvious, I hope: what other way to learn to write or operate a car or any of the millions of nuanced skills you utilize each day other than from someone taking the time to patiently educate others?  To cite personal experience, my students have told me that my classes are enjoyable and meaningful – on subjects from critical thinking, to creative writing, to fermenting foods, to the Eight Principles of Chinese medical theory, to T’ai Chi, to Shiatsu acupressure, and more – these students typically felt that I shared views and skills and let them decide how to use them.

In the case of living lighter and more simply on the earth as a personal path to wellness and resource conservation, I’ve found that when people are educated on the harm that their lifestyle causes, or a path to superior wellness, they typically embrace it.  There is plenty of evidence that western consumer capitalist culture is a dangerous blight to the continued homeostasis of the entire planet, not to mention keep countless humans and animals in slavery just to feed a wasteful habit – and I can point you to some sources if this information comes as news to you.

As one of my teachers, who has most certainly helped many people find more meaning in their lives, has told me: some people are just uneducable.  Presented with truthful information, they reject it or simply argue, typically from a place of ignorance and/or egocentricity.  Certainly I’ve had a couple of these students as well, though I show them as much patience as they have willingness to learn.
I am certain that we are more alike than different – all beings have relatively identical needs, wants, hopes, and fears – but fascinatingly different ways of addressing them.  Humans, it seems, will suck and accumulate resources far beyond need or even comfort, and given the opportunity, will out-compete all other life-forms on earth, and so we find ourselves at the beginning again of this dialogue.

Activism vs. Capitalism as Vehicle for Social Transformation

Capitalism needn’t be destructive – when balanced with responsibility rather than greed, creativity can flourish, especially in affluent societies.  A responsible capitalism aligns closely with the ideals of Democracy: all people are offered the same opportunities to succeed, all people have an equal voice in government.

In practice, however, even a cursory look into the actions of government and big business reveals ethical indiscretions.

In the United States of America, we can see a fairly steady transition from free enterprise to oligarchy: as individuals and then corporations accumulate wealth over time, they naturally are able to have a greater influence on economics – and thus government.  A pattern emerges in which the people at the higher levels of government have extensive connections with those in power at large corporations.  Greed and simplicity has overshadowed a moral obligation to due process and the citizenry, and thus lobbyists and handshake deals more thoroughly influence our political climate than does public opinion or national elections.  These indiscretions go so far as to lead to violent conflict both at home and abroad, such as street crime, alleged terrorist attacks, and endless wars both public and secret, including economic warfare.

It is at this point that popular opinion in the country of origin begins to swing in opposition of the dominant government in protest of social inequality, and when the voices of people are not responded to, they become aggressive.

A new culture of civil disobedience has grown in North America, starting, it seems, with the Seattle Washington WTO meetings in November 1999.  These demonstrations can easily be thousands or tens of thousands of attendants; the experience is frightening, as the herd is emotionally enflamed, feel left out of significant conversation.  The expectation of the police is not to serve and protect – but apparently to defend the corporate and political privacy, and use force if necessary to do it.

Thus there is a strong negative charge at massive demonstrations and the fear is what is picked up on and reported by popular media.  A militant sense of defiance backed by righteousness  is what is expressed by these gatherings, but the egalitarian principles that underly the indignance are little extolled.  Demonstrators, seeking to express themselves and educate the populace are instead perceived as chaotic and frightening – which serves to alienate moderate people from the cause and having ultimately negative results.

The principles of liberty and freedom that the U.S.A. was founded on do still exist, but we cannot count on our temporary [Right-Wing Fundamentalist Christian] government to encourage or protect them.  Our freedoms are available to us, but we must take responsibility to ensure their sovereignty.

In my day to day life, I want to contribute to other’s happiness rather than make anyone’s life any harder.  I like to leave the spaces I use nicer than I found them.  I prefer not to contribute to hostility by vehemently arguing in opposition to my government’s decisions or speaking with an impolite tone when addressing those who have political opinions different from my own.  I envision a positive future, and live my life each day as though success is guaranteed.  I vote with my dollars by seeking out small business and local merchants and farmers.  I believe that each person I treat with kindness is a victory.

As I mature from a young person into an adult, I am reevaluating my ideas of success.  In the past I have tended to shun a higher salary in exchange for a preferable quality of life, but now I begin to consider how I can raise healthy children and offer them educational opportunities as my parents did for me, or how to offer my parents resources as they age.

Perhaps, if I’m using it to help others, pursuing money as part of a business sharing Dharma isn’t necessarily evil.

In my studies of energetic medicine and the patterns of consciousness that underly all of existence, I tend to prescribe to a model in which intention is the precursor to action and indeed predetermines action and outcome.  Consciousness itself has intrinsic value more important than any commodity.  As people grow and advance, accelerating learning and broadening perspective through world travel and advanced communications systems, they are more and more attracted to activities that help them develop their consciousness – an obvious example is the growth in Yoga teaching as an industry.

I posit then, that I can utilize the tools of intention and manifestation, clarity of vision and insight, to create a center of consciousness development via clean lifestyle choices – what is popularly called a “business”: we utilize the tools of commerce and money to create something truly accessible and available to people so that they can get an enjoyable experience learning about – for lack of a more accurate word – Dharma.

In the meantime, I can generate capital – something done with expert recklessness in the Silicon Valley – for myself and family, as well as employees and teachers.  Since we will use manifestation to ensure our business is successful, we can diversify, opening franchises ad facilitating social projects, generating revenue that we can use to reinvest in our community.  All the while living in comfort and luxury to support deep personal meditation practice.

Ah, activism:

  • By emphasizing the positive rather than the negative, your movement can recruit and educate people rather than frighten and alienate them.
  • When you focus on the brilliance of loving kindness, compassion, can feel love and forgiveness to your “enemies” rather than hatefulness and malaise.
  • Rather than continuing to re-articulate the obvious problems in our society in endless social dialog, emphasize cultivating a quality of consciousness that allows you to see through the problem to discern the specific techniques you can employ in your life to have an impact.
  • Help people orient towards a model of health that involves independence and quality discernment to inform their health choices – in this way, people can see beneficial results in the ways that they want to without having to prescribe to anothers’ dogmatic ideas on health.
  • Vote with your dollars!  These speak louder than ballots in todays one-world-political-industrial complex.

Rootless Cosmopolitan

On various forms exists a field for “occupation”.  This field tends to give me pause – does it refer to how I keep myself occupied, or perhaps my vocation – how I earn money?  Both of these have extensive answers – which not incidentally are dissimilar.

I’ve never been consistent with earning money, as it’s not something I prize highly and it’s not usually worth the dirty work it takes to get some.  My career has veered from working at a radio station as a production engineer, to lecturing as a visiting faculty at a university in Transilvania; I’ve worked for a major bank as a network administrator to some degree, and I’ve been a webmaster for years.  I passed through Reno with a nutrition consultation practice with some taiji teaching, and until very recently, I lived and worked at a rural residential bodywork and nutrition institute.

How I occupy my time is in organizing, packing, traveling, and unpacking again.  I find ways to live cheaply – both in California and on foreign soil – so that I can avoid earning money for months at a time.  I’ve owned and disowned various vehicles, apartments, houses, and tents.  My dearest friends scatter the globe.  I’ve spent many hours crossing miles and time zones incased in car or plane.

My occupation, then, is that of a Rootless Cosmopolitan.  My concept of home includes many places and possibilities, continually expanding, none particularly more appealing than the others.  I can survive anywhere I can find some fresh vegetables and a camp stove.  Often I have found myself in a lover’s home while in transition.

My relationship with this lifestyle has shifted in recent years as I’ve connected with a different pace of life than one measured in time-clock minutes and traffic lights.  Fleeing from a fixation on the urban, I drove off pavement to feel Earth under me.

I discovered intentional community, people rediscovering their sense of place, committing to healing work and just… not driving.  I trained in the healing arts at a secular temple miles from civilization, while my parents decided – along with my agrarian brother and I – to leave the suburbs and invest their retirement from academia into starting an ecologically-based family farm.

Today, as electricity is activated at the farm and roofing goes onto our first building, I have completed my first academic year as an educator at my beloved healing arts institute.  I travel between these frequently, though I am much more conscious of fossil fuel use (as the perils of this addiction become more clear), so my circle isn’t much larger than this for now – though it does include San Francisco and beyond.  I have a budding career with Heart and an ambitious family venture blossoming in front of me, and my desire to do the work is larger than my desire to move on.

Still, my home is wide and varied, and my heart beats faster at the thought of open road.  It’s likely that my career will expand to include joint venture urban entrepreneurship in addition to teaching and consulting.  My occupation has evolved along with my sense of place: I am a Rooted Nomad, cultivating a sense of place wherever I stand.

Chin High

I love to write, and I love to write for this journal/blog. I craft entries in my head for days, weeks even, imagining a perceived audience anticipating my update quietly. But the posts don’t get written, and my drawling mental drafts get weary and frayed. I plan to write. “Today I’ll make a blog post”, I think. I put it on my “To Do” list, which is any variety of scraps of paper, chunky felt-tipped letters on a dry erase board, note books, post-its, text on a mobile phone. But the posts don’t get written, the list is too long.

I begin to get miffed at myself, and even resent the perceived audience. I don’t get emails or personal tribe messages inquiring to my well-being, so I imagine that nobody is out there, or that nobody cares. And that’s not really important, and not really why I write. So, before I give you a bulleted story as to my excuses and perpetual priorities, I’m just going to say:

Maybe I’m taking a vacation from the ‘net for a while. Maybe I’ll not be planning to write another post, to be a blogger extraordinaire. Maybe you shouldn’t wait for another entry in my journal. Instead, you send me a personal message on tribe. Send me an email. Get on Skype and add me as your friend. Figure out what Twitter is and add mojohito as your friend. Dial 415 992 5525 and see what happens. Leave a voice mail message. I’m really easy to learn about, find, talk to. But I don’t have the time to make the time to sit down and write to you a beautifully worded entry about all the events listed below. I’m re-prioritizing, and instead of blogging, I meditate. Instead of abosrbing information, I integrate. Instead of thinking, I do. Here’s a sample:

> Tahoe Yoga and Wellness Center. I work the front desk as a receptionist, I update the website, I make fliers and you know what? I’m making print adverts that get published.
> Tahoe Yoga some more. I facilitate taiji sessions, five days a week, in addition to the desk job.
> Hito’s Homemade. The kombucha is thriving, and so is the market for my humble project. Heatherlee and I are working together on this, 50/50 and splitting profits, but it’s difficult to keep up with the work necessary. It’s probably a black market operation, but the Health Department doesn’t return my phone calls, so I don’t know.
> Great Basin Community Food Cooperative. I’m the webmaster, which means I maintain and update the website, and think a lot about how to make it better for the people who use it. I also maintain the bulletin board and the events calendar, which get a lot of spam, which takes more time to delete.
> GBCFC cont’d: I’m doing ordering, which is about five hours every week or every other week.
> GBCFC part III: I’m still on the Board of Directors. But I’ve quit the other committees, and stopped going to meetings.
> Healthy Beginnings; It’s a Lifestyle Magazine. My first professional article will be published in the May issue of this local magazine. I expect to have future articles published locally, and move up from there. I love to write.
> Canemasters: at my first ranking test, Grandmaster Mark Shuey Sr. was impressed with how quickly I’m improving, and skipped a rank. I’m in the Cane Masters International Association, and I ought to be teaching the exercise routine classes for folks with limited range of motion and recovering from injuries within a month or two. Still have a lot of work to do before I’m ready to teach self defense.
> Bodywork. I finally put in my application to take the National Certification Exam for Massage and Bodywork today. Really looking forward to practicing shiatsu legally, but I’ve got a lot of anatomy studying to do.
> Dharma. I think I’m finally beginning to learn what this means, thanks to Lama Marut of a Tibetan Buddhist tradition. I STRONGLY encourage you to check out his website and subscribe to his podcast: www.lamamarut.org I’m finally putting some things aside and taking up a daily meditation practice. Finally, I’m beginning to understand.

No doubt that I am forgetting at least one major project in my life. Like the garden, or the house, or living healthy relationships, or experimenting with computer networking, or writing for wirelessisfun.com, or…

Oh, and my parents have bought the piece of land near Chico, and them and Brother Cheetah expect to move out of Reno in June to begin the farm.

Look, go back up there, and find the part about how to reach me, and consider trying. The future is now. It’s wide open. Be alert, bring your awareness into your body, into your breath, each moment.

You might have money now, but soon enough you will find that Love is the only currency. And that’s not bullshit, so you better get your karma in order.

Like music? Listen to Roots Manuva’s “Awfully Deep” and be moved by some urban spiritual warrior hip hop dub like you’ve never heard.

Keep it real.

In Solidarity,
Mojohito

Over and Out