Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Squeegee Your Third Eye

One of my heroes, the late stand-up comedian Bill Hicks, used the phrase "Squeegee Your Third Eye" a lot in his act. Of course, he also recommended we do this through the use of psilocybin mushrooms but I believe the phrase can easily apply to non drug users. After all, I have never used drugs, with the exception of alcohol but that's no help, believe me. Bill always pointed out that the two drugs that do nothin for our Third Eye are perfectly legal while all those that do alter our minds are illegal. Coincidence? I think not. Those that know me, however, know that I understand we're all tryin to get to the same place. There is no judgment from me. The Third Eye is another way of sayin the mind's eye. A squeegee is that thing they use at the gas station to clean your windows. By squeegeein our mind's eye, we are keeping it clear so that we may perceive things better. Being mindful of things is to perceive life through our mind's eye and not just our five senses. It is through our mind's eye that we master life. If you've been woken up by Morpheus, this means you can do kung fu, dodge bullets and jump from building to building. That's fun but before any of that, Morpheus told Neo that The Matrix worked on his five senses and if that's all you use, the control works. Since we are more than the sum of our five senses, we are free. We just have to keep that area clean. We have to squeegee our third eye. We must strive for mastery. This way of perceiving the world, once switched on, does not switch off. Trust me. I've sabotaged it with alcohol and it may blur but it does not shut down.

At this moment, forces far more destructive than alcohol are at work on my mind's eye. See, as far as I know of my own third eye, it doesn't work like any other senses. It does not involve the wondrous precision of the nervous system. Too much input from the world around me slips past my five senses and clogs my mind's eye. All that refuse, all that shit becomes far too much for a mere squeegee. How do I keep it out? Most people, even those who know nothing of this mind's eye, filter their world until they're comfortable with the outlook. When the mind's eye is clogged, they feel the effects but are unaware. They do their best with their five senses and their mind's eye takes care of itself. You could say that they are trained to stay away from certain functions of the mind. If everyone was mindful and weilding a third eye, we could be on some unknown level of evolution and travelin to new realities. Instead, cases like mine tend to result in mental illness. That tends to handicap perception and cause much suffering. But that's still not the case with me. Hence these forces which I haven't explained yet. Some of us get this idea that this clouded mind might have a silver lining. If we manage to clear the hurdles and dodge the bullets our condition puts in our path, there must be a reason. My survival and the augmentation of my perception might have prepared me to assist others with their perception. The fact that I have managed to infiltrate the field of education is a key clue to my purpose lying in the future of children. The fact that I ended up with teenagers has seemed right to me. They are only just forming and that includes their mind's eye. Smaller children are perception with legs. I love them to pieces but they are relatively clear of struggle for the time being.

Adolescence is truly when the "Who am I?" directive appears and we all know that there is a line around the block and across the planet waiting to give or sell them the answer. THEY are the forces I speak of. Those voices and the noise that they smother perception with plague me. I cannot filter them as others do. Instead, I perceive them all and even amplify them a bit. Thankfully, at age 30, I may finally understand that too much time spent in the mind's eye can lead to delusions of invulnerability and the neglect of my all-too-human, all-too-ordinary life. Too much "big picture" makes the small picture inoperable. And the "small" picture is daily life. When daily life shuts down, ALL life shuts down. Sound elementary? Guess what? Now you have the kryptonite that kills those of us who try to be Superman. Plans to save the perception of students are still made under the auspices of the institution of education. The cock-eyed and polluted pool of conformity is the only pool I can conduct my mission in. That's what's getting to me, folks. I am up to my eyes in it. If I save myself, does that mean I have abandoned my mission? Have I given up? I never quit. What do I do?

Monday, September 21, 2009

Be present

Buddhists use the word 'mindful' a lot. I may devote my next blog entirely to the concept but for now I just want to share just one example and end with a related post that I placed on Facebook. Buddhists advise us to be mindful of the present moment. We should try to enjoy the experience of whatever we're doing at the moment. For example, rather than stuffing crap in our mouths while driving and talking on the cell phone would be the complete opposite of that idea. Next time you eat, try just having that experience and worry about nothing else. It's tougher than it sounds and I suck at it as much or more than anyone else. Be present:

My interest in this subject probably started at one of the last few concerts I went to and realized I was one of the only attendees in the front row that was actually experiencing the show rather than taking pic with the digital and tweeting. More recently, I was doing something as natural as hanging out on a porch with some folks but I was the only one there because the rest were completely "plugged in" to Iphones, laptops and whatever. Not doing work. Not even talking to someone live. Just somewhere else.

Actress Radha Mitchell, Bruce Willis' co-star in the new movie Surrogates, explains what I feel is a rare, relevant theme, the kind that good sci-fi movies should be based on. This is from an interview on Superherohype.com:

SHH: You mention social commentary; there seems to be a message in "Surrogates" about technology taking over and the inherent risks. Can you talk a little about how you feel the film relates to technology in the world today?

Mitchell: Definitely. I think the strength of this story is that it exaggerates a situation that we're all experiencing now in that we're talking about abstract forms of communication. You use this Surrogate body to live your life for you. A lot of us are spending much more time than we ever did before, especially on our working sites, on the internet, Googling, texting, Twittering. It's taking up a lot of our time and taking time away from actual human exchanges. Or, a lot of us are sort of playing these roles in society and not necessarily being what we are. I think that it is, on a certain level, dehumanizing us. The movie posits the question and then challenges us to take responsibility. It's actually unexpectedly challenging for a big-budget action movie."

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Certifiable? Certified? Classified? All Of The Above?

I cannot be classified.

I am not a member.

I wrote that in high school, 10th grade I believe. It's cute, I think. Lord knows, I'd be ecstatic if I received anything of that nature from my students. For me, it was the beginning.Some of my earliest memories aren't even really memories. They're figments of my imagination but figments that were being used to propel all sorts of exploration. Before I even turned three, I was having daily conversations with my sixty four year old neighbor, Sav. And I would talk about whatever was the furthest from my immediate scope. My favorite topic was the planes that flew from nearby JFK Airport and right over our house in Queens. By the time I was learning my alphabet, I had made it to the edge of the known universe, struggling with the black or white space that could only be what came before the beginning. Yet, none of that was a threat to my place in the whole mess. As I've said, I've always been able to pilot from within. No matter which direction I look, outward or inward, I can always find myself on the verge of something but never quite there. Let me pause for a moment to paraphrase something my mentor and karate instructor said in class last night.
Look through the telescope and you will see infinity.
Look through the microscope and you will see infinity.
Being on the verge of something but never quite there is merely a description of the leash we are all on. We may gaze at the infinite but our perspective is finite. Sooner or later, we classify out of the need to get a grip. We make plans.Love. Work. Living space. No matter how long I have used my creativity and imagination to address and contemplate the infinite, the present has a way of getting one's attention. Try having plans in all of those areas blasted to bits within a relatively short window of time. No longer a dreamer, you're worn. Suddenly, you become aware of the mass you're comprised of and remember how long you've been dragging it around. It's a crash course in what's actually goin on. With luck, the "While You Were Away" memo arrives long before any serious breakdown. In my experience, the road to disaster is paved by neglect for the here and now. A certain Dr. Winston O'Boogie once said "Life is what happens when you're busy making other plans."

Friday, September 11, 2009

Torrential Thoughts

It can constrict itself to a pin prick, a prick just big enough to set its sights on one idea or image without relenting. Or it can expand to such an extent that either some catastrophic stampede can trample through and wreak havoc or an aerial god-like view will reveal the insignificance of whatever that prick set its sights on. The third eye. The all-seeing eye.

How have I come so far in man's linear world? The martial artist in me would tell you that you counter straight line attacks with circular defense. In other words, use the femine Yin as cohesively with the masculine Yang as you can. But that concept of balance was something I was obsessed with for quite a long time until recent years. See, I have always managed to make it in man's world but only due to the power of my imagination. Never have I been in tune with the objective world. BUT Ive been able to use this dry/erase board, or for fellow teachers, this SmartBoard, in my mind to conceptualize and dream up responses to the everyday world. I used to excel at math not because I appreciated numbers or calculations. I could imagine the equations, using my mind's eye.

You see, since I was a kid, I found I could run my affairs from inside. Anything that threatened to pull me out was met with great annoyance. Every time the obligations I was taking on outside demanded compromise, I would negotiate always for maximum retention of my inner world. But I did tell you something changed in recent years, did I not? Well, there are no two worlds. There needn't be any interface because none exists. Interfaces exist because we create construct upon construct upon construct to navigate and make sense of this world. The idea I am building up to is more of a fusion or coalescence. The ability to bring one's inner world out in the open and take the wide open into one's heart. Tall order, right? I've got time.