Video Interview with Lorenzo Malowane of “The New Agora” presented by “The New Now.”
In Love’s Power. Please join us today as we chat about love, power and relationships.
Out of the box, and perhaps, out of your comfort zone, the real purpose of love’s journey, could be seen as a means to clear up all the fears we have created that could be blocking our ‘Happy Destiny’.
Not the ‘sappy-happy’ kind of love but a potential life path of honest integrity and serious challenge towards the ultimate goal of living ‘In Love Unlimited.
Iam Saums has been writing articles, poetry, short stories and songs for over twenty years. He is a student of the Fourth Way School and practices Mantra Meditation and Lakota Ceremony. He uses intuition and emotion as conduits for creativity. His inspirations for writing are consciousness, ontology, self-expression, truth and transformation.
Iam is also a musical artist and multi-instrumentalist. He plays guitar, piano, bass guitar, percussion, drums and sings. He has written, performed and recorded original music in many diverse genres including blues, bluegrass, country, folk, fusion, jazz, improvisation, latin, ragtime, reggae, ska, spiritual and soul. The subject matter of his music is akin to that of his articles.
“Self-righteousness is the epitome of being wrong.”
Against the Current
Over the last few years, we have been inundated with personal opinions and mainstream media agendas, narratives, politics, virus strains and vaccinations. Yet, we have also been in a universal energetic shift providing us an extraordinary opportunity to align, connect, relate and become one with all. For some, this was a clear choice. For many, it was a defining moment on how tethered to social reality, and distant people are with themselves. The autocratic strategy worked once again. We turned against each other; our ego our sword and our self-righteousness our shield. How clever we are to destroy far more often than we create in our quest for status and validity. Nothing represents our power more than arrogance.
Conceit and deceit are the most toxic elements in contemporary society. We all have duplicity. Those who don’t believe they do have more than most! Events of the last couple years have transpired for the purpose of revealing our concealed deficiencies we all disguise from ourselves and others. We either defend our personal issues or release them and become fulfilled. Recently, I have witnessed family and friends blame, guilt and shame each other to satiate their fears, insecurities and uncertainties regarding the current climate of social reality. Lifetime relations willingly sacrificed in defense of their biased criticism, judgement, opinion and self-righteousness. All to protect their inadequacies, from which we all yearn to be free.
The last two years have not been a time to merely survive, they have been an era to thrive. While we attempted to bring normality to the authoritarian agendas of control, deception, enslavement and manipulation, our greatest fears embedded their influence deeper into our frazzled nerves. No matter how we analyze, believe, interpret or think about the events we have all endured, our understanding of them is often misinterpreted. We feed our senses with biased, agenda-laden information, customized to our desired narrative to debate, demean, discredit and prove our adversaries erroneous. This is the societal psychosis we have enabled with our apathy, denial, negligence, oblivion and self-righteousness.
Before our acumen is developed, we are conditioned to be right at all costs. This is the social standard. We close the avenues of our listening when we stake the lines of our hypocrisy. This applies to others, yet most importantly in our relation to ourselves and the universe. We are blinded by our addiction to the rush of synthetic gratification we receive when we impose our sanctimonies, be they internal or expressed. They are the idioms of our inauthenticity; in other words, “false power.” Society prospers on the adrenaline of superficiality. Those who express empowerment and inspiration are often chastised, exiled and, in extreme circumstances, murdered. Our personal and collective evolution is wagered for our egocentric quest to be right.
“Institutional intelligence is programmed ignorance.”
The Greatest Swindle Ever Sold
Six global corporations own the world’s media sources. It is apparent these outlets broadcast programmed information, thus inventing and promoting narratives to manipulate society’s existence, experience and perception. The mainstream media proliferates corporate, economic, political and social propaganda to execute and maintain its agendas for control, power and profit. To awakened individuals, the endgame is evident. Unfortunately, most of humanity invests in the engineered narratives because we are unable and/or unwilling to accept the truth. The network information we analyze, believe, interpret or think is manufactured delusion. Humanity craves to be right and refuses to admit when they are swindled. How true has this been over the last few years?
One Ego to Rule Them All
Our egos are neurological satellites, constantly receiving and projecting signals within us and ultimately influencing society. We are mired in the duality of our programmed instinct and intellect; therefore, reality exists and is enabled by our collective oblivion. The global authoritarian banks, corporations, governments and other elite organizations are aware of this. They use fear to its fullest efficacy to maintain control, power and wealth over the majority of the world’s population. Their imposed systems of rule amuse, confuse, disempower and enslave society into an elaborate web of deception. Our ego keeps us captive, engaged and tethered to a social simulation we identify, interpret and accept as reality.
The Naked Truth
We are not who we believe ourselves to be. We drift in the darkness of self-subscribed obscurity, terrified to discover, express and live our truth against the scrutiny of a cruel and violent society. Eventually, we all acquiesce to the collective fate of inauthentic belonging, reality and social obligation. Adulthood is a superficial security we “mature” into rife with excuses, failures, inadequacies, oblivion, struggle and surrender. No matter how much we attempt to make something out of the illusion of social reality, we are inevitably burdened with the gravity of our wasted opportunities to create, empower, inspire and transform. The naked truth we all seek to evade is that we live to die, instead of dying to live.
Seeing the Unseen
We are victims, servants of all we do not know that we do not know about ourselves. This statement can be confusing to those unaware of fundamental ontology (the nature of being.) All we know and do not know is often clear. It is what we do not know about what we do not know where we lose our vision, focus, intention and power. It controls us through our personal indoctrination. Institutional education, economics, religion and society programs us to enable our cooperative enslavement. Yet, our personal observation, consciousness, progression and purpose empowers our freedom. These are the essential elements of our being, inspiring our awareness, evolution and transformation.
The last few years have revealed how essential it is to establish and maintain our personal equilibrium. Existing in a social reality built and sustained by conflict, disease, duality, toxicity and war has compromised the core of our being. It is not a surprise how many people do not know who they are, let alone envision, experience and fulfill their destiny. We are multidimensional beings composed of instincts, intellect, emotions and insights. Our existence is created by who we are being. The balance of our body, mind, and heart with our intuition and soul is vital to manifesting the universal energetic shift into our experience. Our attuned equilibrium is an expression of our resonance with the universe.
We have all experienced extreme anxiety, fear, loss and trauma. Many of us are still nursing proverbial wounds that have never fully healed, current ones notwithstanding. Opportunities arise for us when we choose to lay down our fears, failures, histories, obligations, pain, self-righteousness and suffering to embrace everything available to us during this extraordinary era of being. Once we have committed to release all which does not enlighten, inspire and transform us, we can begin to heal. We are all fractured beings drifting upon the ocean of time, seeking an elusive fulfillment. Society imposes it’s will, conditioning us to survive from the outside in. Our universality empowers our soul to thrive from the inside out.
We are not taught how to have the greatest experience of life, or even how to optimally live. We are conditioned through the institutions of education, entertainment, genetics, politics, religion and society. Engagement in social reality overshadows the empowerment of the universe. Spirituality, intuition and enlightened emotion and intelligence are all extracurricular activities, chosen by the few yet abandoned by the many.
Within the egocentric, social parameters of accumulation, achievement, advancement, security and status, all things universal are forsaken, even our very souls. All of us have infinite opportunities throughout the course of our lives to create our unique path. When the direction of our course in life drifts one degree from its center, we eventually find ourselves arriving many miles removed from our intended destination. This is when social reality hacks our experience.
The Bane of Banality
For those who have read the articles I post, it is evident I am not a fan of social reality. I am mainly inspired by creativity, community, consciousness, empowerment, evolution, imagination, multidimensionality and transformation. In my observation, these are the foundations of universal experience. I choose my words wisely when representing the universality I aspire to embody. However, they pale in comparison to the essence I attempt to articulate.
It is not just the phrases and terms assembled to express what it is I experience. It is the energy between the lines that encourage diverse levels of understanding. One that has taken me decades of personal evolution, observation and transformation. I do not perceive myself as “enlightened.” When we interpret ourselves in this light, we often wager our vision, intention, purpose and destiny for artificial power, recognition, self-righteousness, significance and vanity.
Transposing the universal into the terrestrial for the sake of application, manifestation and transformation is my intention in translating the omnidimensional into the literal. This is my purpose. It is evident we live in a three-dimensional construct, existing as two-dimensional beings. What does this mean? Our reality is a domain with three dimensions, length, width and depth. This is how animate and inanimate objects appear to us as “real.”
As human beings we experience our lives through two dimensions of interpretation, our instincts and intellect. Yes, we all have emotions, and occasionally we have intuitive epiphanies and insights. However, our mind and body hold the reigns of our being. As we experience our lives through these filters, we are enslaved into duality. Therefore, conflict and division rages between us. Yet, the battle and distance within us is far more hostile and vast.
Eye of the Beholder
Our experiences are defined by our perception. However simplistic this may seem; we make it more complex. Our perspective often lacks three essentials: discernment, evolution and observation. When we observe our experience, it is an expression of consciousness. When we practice distinction, we create a transcendent vision, progression and understanding. This elevates our perception and empowers the evolution of our being.
These practices cultivate our transformation. However, experience is greater than perception. Our perspective is simply a filter. Our senses have been socially distorted, highjacked and manipulated for the purpose of diversion, preoccupation and oppression. The triviality of society is in stark contrast to the embodiment of our soul. It is the social beast we feed with our fear and engagement. If this is not evident in current events, then we are in conflict, denial or oblivion.
“Evading our soul is a crime against humanity.”
We exist in the vacuum of a virtual reality transpiring as a tragic fantasy. We are more engaged in interacting superficially in our relations with others, we have neglected our relativity with ourselves. Most of us don’t even know ourselves. Who we believe ourselves to be is almost entirely dependent on how we are perceived by others. Our inner criticism, judgement and reticence traumatizes us to the point of non-existence.
We are shadows of who we are destined to be. The truth is, we are the cause of our unfulfilled experiences. Our obsession with amusement, distraction and information is our avoidance of being present to our personal dilemmas and social crises. Whether it is our career, family, politics, religion or social life, we often evade authentic belonging to sustain artificial, conditional relations. This is most evident in how we conceal and defend our personal deficiencies.
Up on the Downstroke
We are all now challenged in ways we have never experienced. We have been driven well beyond the boundaries of our conditioned tolerance. Most of us are overwhelmed with despair, depression, isolation and sadness. It is one thing to be aware of the impacts these social elements impose. It is another matter entirely to observe their effects, focus our attention, shift our intention and expression and transform our experience.
We must transition from programmed causality to create something new amidst the antiquated patterns of our personal captivity. The common design of reality is one of enslavement, no matter what the nature of our engagement. In essence, we are anesthetized, desensitized and traumatized into the quandary of human existence, it is as water to the fish. In essence, we are unable to see the personal prison to which we sentence ourselves. Our social conditioning has condemned us to a life of death.
Circle of Life
We tend to believe the burden of personal and social transformation is solely on our shoulders. Yet, the more we stand to hold a space for others to evolve and transcend, the greater energy we generate to empower the circle of life. Breaking the chains of our conditions, entitlement, expectations, judgement, insecurities and self-righteousness inspires the awareness and freedom necessary to manifest our personal and mutual destiny.
We are all related. What happens to one of us impacts all. Not being our true self inhibits our unique expression. Our greatest opportunity is to create, empower and transform how experience exists for all. This shifts our social inclination from personal greed to community need. Understanding and practicing acceptance, empathy, encouragement, listening and sponsorship is our collective rite of passage. It is a declaration of our commitment to make a difference.
However spiritual we perceive ourselves to be, it is futile unless we apply, express, intend and manifest it into our experience. As impossible as it may seem to transform reality with our chosen practice, the fullest expression of its empowerment is best established collectively. Personally, I challenge the objectives of all who proclaim, wield and weaponize their spirituality in the wake of our present global circumstances.
As difficult as it may seem to intimate with our personal and social encounters, grounding ourselves into our experience is the only way we will transform. Beyond the fantasies we invent to escape the harsh reality in which we exist is our opportunity to inspire universality for all. Our observation, focus, balance and intention empower our potential to relate with others and ourselves. Experience becomes wisdom when we bring the universe down to earth.
“Experience is the gravity of grounded existence.”
We all have personal agendas, conflicts, crises, egos, faults and strategies. We all have afflictions and conditions which impair our perceptions, senses, instincts, thoughts and feelings. This is the daily reality we all accept, adopt and navigate in our experiences. Some of us nurture practices to keep ourselves balanced, conscious, present and transformed, while some of us front oblivion to deny, dismiss, deflect and project our inner challenges and deficiencies upon others. This happens in all communities. The ego transmits a dense, low-vibrational energy not only impacting the people engaging in deception, yet also the spiritual community with which they pray and relate.
For half of my life, I have participated in spiritual communities. I learned and earned a degree of focus, consciousness, effort, energy, intention and prayer to manage my own ego, agendas, challenges, deficiencies, instincts, thoughts and feelings detrimental to my experience. It is clear to all whom have chosen to walk a spiritual path, there is a necessity to practice observation, awareness, accountability, integrity and transformation. For me, it is a commitment of holding a space for all to have their experience, and the choice to make a positive difference in the lives of all their relations. Unfortunately for some, the “ego of spirituality” establishes a schism between perception and experience.
Best of Intentions:
When our experience begins, we are mystified by the energy and power of spirituality. As human beings, we are prone to heap our belief, hope, energy and lives onto the mystery. It seems much easier to fully sacrifice ourselves upon the altar of blind faith, than delve into the rotten soil of our personal challenges and deficiencies which brought us to it. As our awareness of our soul and the universe evolves, our ego grows in tandem. Most of us decide to abandon observation of our ego, giving it as much power over us than whatever spiritual relation we believe we are cultivating. We instinctively collapse the voice we interpret as spirit with our ego. We listen more to this inner voice than the universe because it tells us what we “want” to hear, never what we “need” to hear.
Identity of Importance:
When the ego takes root in our experience, a desire to be acknowledged and significant arises. As we deepen our spirituality, inevitably we crave importance. Our personal experiences often require the validation of others to exhibit them as being more meaningful and powerful. This is “artificial power,” which negates whatever sincere effort and energy we are investing. It is contrary to our evolution when we fall into virtual spirituality. All the focus, intention, energy, adversity, challenge and pain our experience may bring, offered intentionally and obliviously to our ego in pursuit of false power and importance. Therefore, our spirituality fails. However, it is not the tradition we practice which falters. It is our spiritual superiority which empowers our ego.
“Vulnerability is the greatest strength we can express.”
Trail of Tears:
All of us have personal woundedness. We have been hurt by circumstances and others, yet primarily by ourselves. Our suffering is self-inflicted, whether we choose to believe, observe or claim it. We conceal and covet our pain and insecurity because we believe our ego when it tells us it is weakness. We repress our deficiencies in desperation and present a “brave face” to our community, while we break down with every spiritual step we take. As we stumble down our path, our anger, anxiety, doubt and fear rise to be released from our experience. When this occurs, we have three options. 1. We continue to deny and repress its existence. 2. We project it upon others as their responsibility, thus deflecting our own. 3. We choose to be with and manage our own issues and eventually resolve them.
Spirituality is not about “our” experience. This is a selfish fantasy we devise to appease our ego and sustain our artificial power, ultimately limiting our conscious evolution. The cornerstone of our commitment to the traditions we walk is our service to the people in our communities and beyond. Occasionally, I have observed people step into spiritual experiences for the sole purpose of receiving something for themselves alone. This has been and is heartbreaking for me to witness, all their potential for making a difference, wagered for control, ego and importance. The most disturbing reality in this dynamic; most have little awareness of the impacts it has on them, and none it has on others.
Many who step into a spiritual experience often have deficiencies or lack personal power. When they see others who are developing and expressing their own, they too yearn to establish theirs. Yet, their ego emphasizes their neglected anger, anxiety, fear, insecurity, pain and woundedness. Out of their desire, desperation, entitlement and self-righteousness, they aim to steal power from others to fabricate their own. They use other people’s reactions to their behavior to distort and manipulate experience and perception. When they are exposed, they present themselves as victims of the circumstance they have caused, using their drama, trauma and tears as a weapon to divert the attention from themselves onto others to achieve their agenda.
One of the primary expressions of “artificial power” in spiritual communities happens when the “spiritualized” attempt to divide and conquer. They invent narratives about others, most often leaders, to distort and manipulate perception, compromising the image, role and trust leaders have earned with their communities. Once the seeds of speculation are planted, the provocateurs enroll others in their orchestrated plots, gathering numbers and imposing their agendas. They initiate division between members of the community to efficiently control information and outcomes. Essentially, it is a hostile takeover predicated by their belief they are better than the people who are given roles of responsibility.
For years, I have attempted to identify the behaviors of people who use spirituality as a strategy to bolster their ego, execute their agenda and obtain power. The term that best classifies this behavior is “spiritualized.” By definition, “someone who perceives themselves to be spiritually superior to others, using ageism, experience, history and self-righteousness to prove and impose their spiritual status and worth.” Being “spiritualized” is a social psychosis and metaphysical stigma running rampant throughout most if not all domains of spirituality. Yet it is not only the actions, words or behaviors of “spiritualized” individuals, it is the malicious intent in the name of spirituality which invokes the greatest harm, influence and devastation.
For the Benefit of All:
Some may be offended when reading this article. Some may believe what is written does not apply to them. Whether my observations about the ego of spirituality empowers, inspires, enrages, irritates or simply does not move the needle of recognition is telling. Whatever reaction we choose in response to these observations is a clarification of our willingness to acknowledge and accept we ALL have egos. Like it or not, its influence DOES impact our spiritual experience and those of others. Understanding this gives us all the opportunity to shift our focus and energy away from our ego and align with our soul. If we are going to give all of ourselves for our spiritual experience, it needs to be for the benefit of all.
Practicing tradition is a powerful experience. It is a humbling opportunity often mistaken as an attainment of individual advancement. When we charge into our spirituality with agenda, ego, entitlement and expectation, it will become destructive to us and others in ways we cannot begin to imagine. However, when we step into our experience with consciousness, humility and prayer, it empowers our lives and those of others. “Spiritualized” people do not like to be told what to do, and often tend to alter traditions, feign understanding or even make them up to suit their agenda. After all my experiences, one insight I would share with those at the crossroads of their soul; be present to your ego and its influence, or you will never have a spiritual experience.
“Listening is offering others the experience of being heard.” – Iam Saums
Video Interview with Lorenzo Malowane of “The New Agora” presented by “The New Now” inspired by my new article, “An Ear to Hear.”
To Transform Listening
“Changing how we hear things. Maybe a clearer way of understanding this is simply ‘learning to listen’. One of the hardest skills I’ve ever had to master is the skill of listening to others, striving to listen, to truly hear what’s being shared with me beyond my own thoughts.
As I recapitulate my time here in this life, from my childhood schooling to my adulthood, I can see, in all honesty, that I was barely ever really listening to others in a conversation.
Mostly I was thinking of my ‘agenda’, whatever that was at the time, and wondering how to get what I wanted. It started with ‘candy and toys’ as a little boy, and grew towards, well I guess you could say, adult versions of ‘candy’ and ‘toys’.
Having an agenda in a conversation, I feel, is perhaps one of the rudest things anyone can take into such interactions. If you are thinking of an outcome, no matter how loving or sweet you may feel it is, you are probably not hearing what is being shared. I was instead seeking to maneuver the moment towards what I wanted it to be, or what I wanted to get out of it, sometimes just wanting to get out of the conversation itself.
How utterly selfish and egotistical I was. if I’m not very careful in my communications I can still fall into any number of bad habits. It seems obvious now that if you are not ‘hearing’ what the other is attempting to communicate, you are not really being ‘loving’ and present in that moment. And by loving, I mean taking the other into consideration. Obvious, now, and yet it still takes a constant effort and attention, caring if you will
Not with just words, either. We all communicate in many different ways on many different levels, many we remain unaware of throughout. Body language, hidden emotions or feelings, unknown tendencies all come into play, whether we are conscious of them or not, during our day to day interactions with others.
Even alone in a room, it has become important to me to be clear with my hearing and listening. Enhancing my communication skills has been one of the best gifts I have ever given myself. Hard to beat self-knowledge.
In fact, it’s taken me years and years to determine the differences between my heart’s communication and my ‘head born’ fears. Emotions, beliefs, shadows, desires and old habits all influenced my attempts to share clearly with myself and with others. Figuring my way through these ‘traps of clarity’ have made me a much better person.
Much more to explore here. Attention and consciousness are interlinked.
In the following video, Iam Saums and I, go deeply into this topic. Perhaps it comes down to feeling something in your life that requires transformation, changing, and your instincts tell you some that parts of your life are crying out for attention, healing, change; well, a perfect place to begin would be to examine how you communicate, with yourself, with others, keeping a close ‘ear’ on your listening skills, or lack thereof.
After all, who doesn’t wish for love, abundance and happy relationships and such. Maybe if you feel any of these are somewhat lacking, an effort to ‘transform your listening’ may help you out. Couldn’t hurt. I’ve found that to honestly hear what the other is sharing can transform worlds. No matter the circumstances, becoming a better listener, for me anyways, has made me a better person.”
“Why would we want it the way it was, it wasn’t working anyway.”
Beginning in March 2020 the world was shutdown. Rolling lockdowns, restrictions, social distancing and masks littered society with the promise of protection, blended with heavy doses of fear and propaganda. Even social perception was compromised; altered and manipulated toward an apparent intention for safety, yet rife with undeniable political and social agendas emerging from the unknown. Years ago, I learned that whenever global events occur such as the pandemic, there is always more going on under the surface of reality than we choose to see or become informed. Given the common attention span often struggles to sustain awareness, it always takes time for nefarious things to be revealed, even as they go widely unseen.
Catch a Breath:
Upon reflection, my daily life did not change much over the last year and a half. I still went to work, to the store, out of town for events and family visits, gathered with community, played music, wrote articles and stayed in touch with people in my life. I did appreciate the lack of traffic on the roads and trails, at the shops and even in the streets. There was a calm and peace in the world that happened overnight. For those fleeting weeks, society was taking a breath, as was nature. Something began to break the surface through the back and forth of the medical industry, mainstream media and the political arena. In the wake of dis-, mis-, lack and no information, I felt a shift happening in the world. Consciousness was growing within the madness of social reality.
Stand and Create:
It became apparent to me global transformation was possible, and, to some extent, occurring. The current events had captivated the collective attention of humanity. This excited and inspired me. The era some of us were envisioning, intending and expressing for years was happening. Personal empowerment came to me as a rush of creativity, energy and imagination. I started writing music again. My writing style matured and shifted in a new direction. My meditations and practices were all engaging, powerful and fulfilling, providing me with a new balance, experience, insight and perception into what is possible. While much of the world was impacted and influenced by anxiety, fear, illness and uncertainty, I stood my conscious ground.
Truth and Transmission:
As Spring turned into Summer, the energy in society grew more chaotic, intense and unstable. The pensive calm and quiet turned into viral surges, gun violence, racial profiling and murder, social uprising and the US’s favorite pastime, politics. Being aware of social conditioning in all forms, and having found the eye in humanity’s recent hurricane, I found myself remarkably balanced, centered, focused and grounded. There were times when I observed and even engaged in the melee, yet soon found my breath, stepped out of the fracas and reset my connection with the universe. This became a vital practice whenever my equilibrium was challenged. It is in the stillness of the present we clarify and establish our truth.
“There are over seven billion truths in the world, and one gigantic lie.”
The Summer passed and the US Election took center stage with all its pomp and circumstance. The ass and the elephant temporarily replaced the focus from the pandemic, setting the masses ablaze. Suddenly, the flames of anxiety and fear from the virus shifted into politics. One side touted an arrogant and self-righteous attention monger. The other side dusted off an aging, yet experienced politician who had a questionable backstory of his own. I do not choose to engage in the political process simply because it is a racket. A clever and deceptive system designed to disempower the masses, encouraging a timeless exorcism of the people’s power under the false pretense their choice in the political arena makes a difference.
Ebb and Flow:
The election passed, apart from the childish tantrums of its loser. The virus charts and numbers rose and receded like an inconvenient tide. In many ways we were all separated from each other, though pre-virus comparisons would reveal we always had been. I pressed onward through the melee of social reality, bearing my personal creativity, empowerment, meditation, prayer and transformation as a guiding light against the mounting, simulated darkness. All the while enjoying the adventure, discovery and opportunity of my experience in an unparalleled, universal energetic shift. Yet, for every powerful wave of enlightenment empowering our consciousness, the social undercurrents of anxiety and fear aimed to yank us back into reality.
Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back:
In my life, I have become accustomed to standing for my belief and truth with willful abandon. This last year and a half have challenged my acceptance, tolerance and understanding of others in the wake of intensifying social criticism, judgement, opinion and prejudice. Caught somewhere between self-defense and disbelief, I shook my head and smiled my way through it. As often as possible, I express an immense empathy for humanity and society. I choose to believe we all have the potential to observe ourselves from within and transform our way of being to the best of our ability in the spirit of making a difference. Yet, fear is a social vortex devouring possibility at every turn.
Jab and Weave:
Through Winter and into Spring, I rode the social waves of ease and malaise. After a while, the pangs of emergency and urgency of the pandemic began to dull. The social focus was instinctively turning to the old-world pastimes of amusement, entertainment, politics and sports. Those beating the drum of anxiety were still thumping away on the nerve strings of society in a last-ditch effort to captivate all with their antiquated spell. The heated debate between the vaxxed and the unvaxxed expired. All who took the jab appeared to move on with their lives and all who declined followed suit. Inevitably, most are eager to forget this last agonizing year and a half, replacing its bitter memory with the pastime of their fancy.
Beyond the Choice:
Now, we move into Summer with earnest hopes to leave it all behind, anxiety, chaos, fear, illness, inequality, isolation, lockdowns, loss, lunacy and uncertainty. What remains are the ashes and embers of the world before everything went sideways. An extraordinary, universal energetic shift continues, regardless of the mundane, social regression ebbing in tandem with the flow of our ever-evolving consciousness. These last 18 months have been an affirmation of the power of our choice to either be taken under by the receding tide of social reality or ride the waves of enlightenment and transcendence into the embrace of our destiny. Beyond this choice is our opportunity to manifest our universal being. Seems quite simple to me.
“Until we discover who we are, we can never be who we need.”
Prelude to a Vision:
After 49 years on this earth, 25 I consider intentionally conscious, I felt inspired to envision what I would express to all the “usual suspects” of the assembly in a State of the Union scenario. Fully understanding the classist, elitist, superiority filters to which most of them desperately cling, my expectations, though justified, are as low as their apparent ethics, impartiality and unconditional service to the people they pledge to represent. Perhaps it is the inner child in me who looks beyond the impossibility of transforming the self-righteous instincts, thoughts and ideologies of the representatives we elect. If anything, I am certain the following address will be therapeutic in the least. Enjoy!
Members of Congress and Senate, Executive, Judicial and Legislative Branches, State and Local Representatives, honored guests of this assembly and most importantly fellow citizens. I would first like to express my appreciation and gratitude for the opportunity to observe how things are and share a vision of how things can and in time will be. I am aware of the gravity of this great privilege and the liberty I choose to express in these moments with each of you.
The intention of this address is not to dictate with unreasonable expectation, rather to share the empowerment and inspiration of what is possible considering the dire circumstances of our time. Though our beliefs, ideologies, neighborhoods, bank accounts, positions and social standings may be diverse, it is important to acknowledge the powerful similarities of our humanity.
At any moment in our life we face multiple opportunities and outcomes granting us the ability to choose to make a difference in our lives and those of others. We have all been conditioned through institutions of education, religion, heredity, reality and society. Though all of these may offer their own benefit, they do not define who we are or who we may become.
Becoming who we are meant to be is a personal path. One rife with vital challenges through which we all must navigate to establish our unique way of being. It is only as difficult as we choose to make it. And now, we are all making it nearly impossible for future generations to survive let alone thrive.
We may believe we are not a part of the existing problems causing the evident obstacles of crime, disease, hate, illness, poverty, social inequality, injustice and unrest, the genocide of cultures, the annihilation of nature and the exploitation and manipulation of humanity.
We may believe we are making a great contribution to the world as we harbor selfish lifestyles of greed, gossip, self-righteousness and vanity.
We may believe the society we enable with our participation won’t devolve into further decline, destruction and mayhem.
We may believe our intelligence, faith, heredity and the personal empires we build will somehow transform the world.
We may believe the solutions to society’s greatest problems we have invented will eventually correct humanity’s course.
We may even believe we can place the weight of the world’s future upon those who have not yet been born.
Our daily reality is rife with busy-ness; distraction, diversion, manipulation and perversion that give us little to no time to live, let alone breathe. I believe life is not a battle, rather an experience to enrich our soul, expand our hearts, inspire our minds and empower our instincts. Yet our daily social structures are honed upon the common vicious cycles of acquiescence, amusement, criticism, consumption, debate, evasion and judgement.
A sociopath is one with a personality disorder manifesting itself in extreme antisocial attitudes and behavior and a lack of conscience, otherwise termed as a maniac, psychotic, lunatic, you get the picture. It is my belief that we are a desensitized, self-centered, sociopathic society. What is most terrifying about this observation is most are either oblivious to the notion or would flat out deny it given our current climate.
The callous society we all enable with our participation has become a great beast fed by our addictions, anxieties, confusion, emptiness, fears, oblivion and rivalry. Whatever position of power we may hold within it does not diminish the truth that we all fall victim to its deceptive seductions. In this vast sea of humanity, there is always a bigger fish that may challenge our belief, ideology, understanding and truth.
There are times when we find agreement with others. There is a vital balance between establishing and sustaining relations and empowering and evolving our truth. Acknowledging and accepting the fundamental diversities that exist between us allows us to encourage others as well as ourselves. Supporting others in envisioning and manifesting their identity and purpose inspires us to express our own.
Democracy is defined as “an assembly in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections.” As I gaze around this room, I see congress people, senators, justices and executives, yet I do not see the people who elected each of you into these positions. I do not hear the visions, dreams, passions and needs of the people. Their voices are silent in this historic hall of democracy.
Equality is abolished by social evasion. Justice is blinded by judicial jargon. Liberty is shackled by contemporary law. Freedom is pawned for patriotic fantasy. War is waged for control and greed. Unity is sacrificed on the altar of conditioned social division. Consciousness is deliberately debunked as conspiracy. Health and wellbeing are forfeit for profit. And goodwill is criminalized to desensitize and segregate.
This is not a society we would be a part of even in our nightmares. This is not a reality we would have accepted when we were young and evolving, when making a difference still meant something. Ours is not a life we would have chosen to live with our truest self. This is not a world we would have committed to with our soul, heart, mind and person for the benefit of all.
The definition of insanity is “doing the same things and being the same person over and over again expecting different outcomes.” Yet, we continue to gravitate into social malaises of compliance, denial, desperation, indifference and futility. All the while presenting an inauthentic brave face to covet our egos, fears, insecurities, malevolence and above all truth. Even at the cost of our lives.
All is not lost. There is still time to awaken to the stark realities we have enabled. There is still time to pick ourselves up and dust ourselves off. There is still time to accept the opportunity that has always been there for each of us since the moment we were born. There is still time to rise to the occasion of our personal vision, mission and purpose. Both the creation of our own and the empowerment of others.
It begins by letting go. Of everything and everyone that and who no longer empower or inspire us. It begins by taking a breath and encouraging ourselves to be present in the present to the best of our ability. It begins by being with the silence that comes and extending that into our listening of others, especially if they do not share our beliefs, ideology, understanding and truth. It begins by being the greatest expression of a human being.
No matter what may come, good, bad or indifferent, it is not only our responsibility, yet our opportunity to personally participate in the ever evolving expression of human consciousness, equality, freedom, health, justice, liberty and unity for all. Only we can be all we are destined. Only we can express all that empowers us. Only we can cause the difference we inspire. Only we can transform our life and in so being, society, reality and the world.
It is with the greatest appreciation I thank you for your interest, listening and presence all of you have given as I have shared my vision of what is and what is possible in the days to come. I earnestly believe and have faith in the vision and spirit of amity, democracy, purpose, realization and unity. And until my final breath it is my intention to become who I am to make a difference for one and all.
Humanity is smart. At least we think we are. The collective intelligence of society is debatable. How we measure our perception, understanding and wisdom of the world usually requires a sacrifice of our creativity, consciousness, intuition and soul. In our constant quest to belong and relate with civilization and social reality, we exchange our possibility for programmed intellect and reactionary instinct. Anyone at any time can surf the internet to debunk, discredit, dismiss and falsify any article of information being transmitted. When we do, we tend to pat ourselves on the back and go about our lives rarely considering there may be truth between the lines. Society is an analytical, judgmental and suspicious machine afraid of its own shadow.
Oftentimes we buy into the “official narrative” promoted by corporations, the mainstream media, politicians, religious leaders and other notable figures. We do so with blind devotion and righteous opinion to conceal and defend our fear and insecurities at the cost of our awareness, evolution and freedom. We voluntarily tether ourselves to the peripheral world, isolating ourselves from our heart and soul. Our emotions and intuition are the very elements of our being that provide us with insight, fulfillment, transcendence and transformation. The institutional conditioning of education, peer pressure, religion, reality and society spurs us toward corruption, desensitization, exploitation and oblivion.
Reality of Duality:
Humanity lives primarily in the mind and body. Impulse and knowledge are the main components of our common, dualistic reality. These fundamentals keep us confined in a narrow experience, perception and understanding. It is easy for authoritarian entities to gain and maintain control and power over the masses, especially when we are more than willing to give our personal power over to them. We are born, live and die in a three-dimensional bubble perceiving life through two-dimensional lenses. A universe of possibilities exists beyond the boundaries of our engineered social existence. In every moment we have an opportunity to shed our linear skin and become multidimensional beings.
World of Words:
Perception is altered and influenced every day in multiple ways to push agendas, establish control, pass laws, manufacture outcomes, gain profits and manage power. The use of language and its verbalization is the common tool to invent and destroy realities. Those who know this often exercise the ability to use and abuse it by whatever means necessary to further their objective and strategy. The words we choose possess a power greater than nature. We need to acknowledge they are an expression of our mentality and are prone to the persuasion of our bias and ego. They represent our mind, not our heart and soul. Words are a way for us to relate with each other, yet there are many other extraordinary ways to connect.
“Silence is the gateway to the universe.”
Beyond the Veil:
Every year my wife and I head west to visit people who have become our family. We are not blood relatives, yet the extraordinary nature of our relatedness transcends origin. The place we visit is one steeped in centuries of powerful tradition. Humility, perseverance, sacrifice and truth are just some of the virtues born there. It is a long journey, yet one that always yields awareness, insight, modesty and understanding. There is no anger, criticism, judgement or politics, only acceptance, belonging, humor and prayer. We do not seek to escape from the mania of contemporary reality and society, we simply intend to experience and relate with something far beyond the personalities we portray to remember who we truly are.
Tryst with Transcendence:
The chaotic and intense busyness of social reality distorts and disrupts our ability to align with the universe. In time, we focus our engagement on honing our instincts and intellect while neglecting our emotions and intuition. We sacrifice our heart and soul to conform to and engage in the linear mechanics of society. Yet through it all, extraordinary and mysterious events occasionally occur to stir us from our self-induced slumber. Epiphanies, insights, revelations and visions bring clarity, guidance, transcendence and transformation. We begin to experience ourselves beyond the known parameters of human existence. A natural shift transpires elevating and expanding our focus, intention and perception.
Era of Empowerment:
If there was ever a greater opportunity to shift our experience, energy and existence, it is now. Reality and society are as ripe for transformation as they have ever been. Social consciousness, curiosity, observance and willingness are peaking at great heights. New and diverse concepts, insights and modalities are being discovered, explored and embraced. Our current circumstances are encouraging and inspiring us to see beyond the real into the great mystery. Life as we have known it will never be the same. This is not a terrnifying moment in history. It is an amazing era of empowerment to envision, create and express all our imaginations content. The first step is to leave behind all that tethers and enslaves us to social reality.
Humanity has bided its time with a plethora of amusement, desire, intellect, instinct and fear. Every moment of every day we have the choice to step out of the drama in which we engage. Now is the time to take a breath, or as many as necessary to observe that our circumstances are not our experience and our personalities are not who we are in our heart and soul. The social hurricanes raging around us are illusions designed to diminish our true selves and divert us from our universal purpose to become an expression of its infinite energy. Our quantum destiny is to be in the present, focus our intent, ground into the earth, center into our intuition, align with the universe and share our unique creativity with all.
As It Seems:
Social reality is an intricate tapestry of chaos, duality and oblivion. It is a human invention we enable and sustain into existence with our participation. A paradigm imposed upon us to provide a societal orientation, standard and structure. We live it into being with our apathy, dependence, doubt and indifference. Yet, it doesn’t benefit or serve us. It only maintains a routine status quo to give the impression of empowering opportunity, though delivering a fraction of the potential it promises. Reality is a slight-of-perception con that preoccupies us with perpetual distraction. It is a security blanket we use to avoid our purpose.
So It Is:
We are all captive to linear existence. Duality reigns with a strong arm of constant opposition. The burden of surviving far overshadows the freedom of thriving. Our pursuit to carve out a paltry role for ourselves within society diminishes our vision and passion to create and fulfill our destiny. Social regulation and restriction stymy our ability to transcend all we know of life to embrace all that is possible. Familiarity and predictability are anchors that tether us to our artificial comfort, security and understanding. Our lives are only as abundant and expansive as we choose to live.
Social reality is pulled over our eyes from an early age. The ruse is more apparent to us in our youth. Our curious observation allows us to see things as they truly are before we are methodically indoctrinated into its deception. As we grow accustomed to the illusion, we invest our lives into it. Eventually, we divert our energy and focus away from our awareness, creativity, destiny and truth. We replace our purpose with desire, chasing a life that is not our own. As we mature into adulthood, our intent becomes one of satisfying the desires of our ego instead of cultivating the fulfillment of our soul.
Against the Grain:
We must disengage from our personal dramas, judgements, opinions and vices to escape the enslavement of reality. What makes our freedom seemingly impossible is our addiction and oblivion to our behaviors, habits and thoughts. Our pursuit for advantage, control and self-righteousness diminishes our ability to express our personal power. We lose it only when we surrender it to others or our circumstances. Our fear of claiming and living our power prevents our potential to become it. Far too often we obstruct our own way and negate our possibilities well before they appear.
When things in our life are not working or as well as they could, we have an opportunity to transform them in ways that transcend our expectations. What we need most is a necessity for centering, grounding and living. Breathing instantly shifts our awareness. Focusing on our breath as we inhale and exhale gives us the ability to become present to much more than ourselves and our environments. It allows us to shift from an existence of doing to an experience of being. When we are conscious of our breath, we reclaim our balance, expression and power. Our breath is our fountain of youth.
“Our power is in the stillness beyond its strength.”
The Journey Within:
The greatest dilemma humanity will ever encounter is seeking outside of itself for what can only be found within. Social reality is teeming with billions of actions and thoughts all ricocheting off our collective cognizance. The universe within is far more beneficial than the one around us. Simply closing our eyes to the visual world and becoming an observer of society and our self transforms our experience. We awaken to all that is possible by synching our body, mind and heart with our soul. When we free ourselves from the encompassing imposition of reality, we begin to embrace our true power.
Present in the Present:
When we disengage from the reality around us through our breath and observation, our being shifts into a multi-dimensional experience. Everything that preoccupied our instincts, thoughts and feelings disappears. All we are aware of is now. How we are present in the present establishes the relationship we have with our essence. The moment in which we are conscious expands into eternity. We become a universal expression through which we empower ourselves and others. We coexist with all that was, is and ever will be. Every imaginable possibility is available for us to intend and embody.
We are creators. Whether we are artists, musicians or writers in any form of medium, we all have the capacity to envision and manifest our spirit into our reality. This is the foundation of who we become and how we exist. The purpose of our creativity defines the power we personify. It is up to us to choose how, why and who we are in our life. Our intuition conveys the energy and purpose of our soul to inspire our imagination. Our heart feels and our mind articulates the insights we encounter. We are all messengers of the universe, destined to be an expression of the source.
The Power of Purpose:
Power is not a force we impose on others to gain an advantage or supplement our fear and insecurity. Nor is it a means to an end. It is the pathway that guides our destiny. The focus of our intent is what manifests all we imagine. Our purpose is what inspires our vision and mission. Our daily practice of it fulfills our calling. Though everything that is not our destiny will arise to challenge our intention, all we encounter further defines and strengthens our commitment. All we become originates and empowers our intent. Our personal power is the manifestation of our purpose.
The Art of Being:
We are not the sum of our ability, belief, education or wisdom. These are all reflective features that merely complement our identity. Our instinct, thought, emotion and intuition define our experience. The balance between the four dimensions of our being sustains our relationship with our spirit. Our commitment to express our soul into reality is who we are in the present. This is the key that opens us to everything beyond what our body can perform, our mind can think, our heart can feel and our intuition can envision. Our ability to create our life is a blessing beyond our imagination. Who we are being is our power to transform ourselves and the world.
“The only power that will ever fulfill us is our own.”
“The bus came by and I got on, that’s when it all began…” – Garcia, Weir, Kreutzmann
Wake of the Flood:
When I was sixteen years old I was walking down the hallway to my bedroom and I heard what sounded like an old blues singer belting out a song and picking on a guitar. I remember walking up to my brother Mark’s open bedroom door and saying, “what is this garbage?” Half joking and half genuinely interested. He responded, “it’s the Dead man.” in a tone as if I should have known. At the time I was headlong into the Beatles, Pink Floyd, Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkel and Van Morrison, among others. I later found out the singer was Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, the song “Katie Mae” from “Bear’s Choice.”
The Golden Road:
I don’t remember when, where or how it happened, but I would quickly become a Dead Head. My first Grateful Dead shows were fresh out of high school in the Summer of my eighteenth birthday. I caught the last two shows of the 1990 Summer Tour in Chicago. It just so happened to be the last two shows of who would become my favorite Dead keyboardist Brent Mydland. There is nothing I could have done to prepare myself for this extraordinary, enlightening and revolutionary time in my life. The experience of the music, sense of belonging, camaraderie and feeling of euphoria would transform me forever. I was home.
“Inch your way through dead dreams to another land…” – Hunter
The Music Never Stopped:
The Grateful Dead personifies imagination. It is so much more than the music. I found the more I listened, the greater the benefit to my creativity, happiness and understanding. A world for which I had always yearned became possible. Beyond the music, it was the experience of family and community. I had always been into music and musically inclined since childhood. Soon after I picked up the guitar in my teens, it wasn’t long before I became mystified by the exploratory, improvisational and traditional styles of the Dead. It was then I first realized the band doesn’t play the music, the music plays the band.
Grateful Dead Summer Tour 1990
Death Don’t Have No Mercy:
After Jerry Garcia died in August of 1995, I suddenly felt dissociated from the Grateful Dead. Though I had been drifting from going to shows due to his declining health, the impact of his passing was undeniable. I will always remember the first time I heard the music as much as I will recall the day of his passing. At the time I didn’t know if I would ever see them play again. The years sped by as I invested my listening into many other diverse genres of music. I explored Bluegrass to Traditional Irish, Latin and Afro Cuban to Jazz, Delta Blues to early Country. No matter how many styles I encountered, I always found my way back to The Dead.
“Sometimes the songs that we hear are just songs of our own.” – Hunter
While I was going to Dead shows in the early 1990’s, something amazing happened in my life. Their music empowered me to join a couple of bands that covered their songs. During this time, I began writing my own songs. There is something unique about the energy and experience of the Grateful Dead’s music that encourages creativity unlike any other musical group I have heard. In the advent of my own musical expression, I began to hear their music in an entirely different way. Beyond the notes, chord structures, vocal harmonies, jams and rhythms, there was a massive energetic presence, like the soul of a sun.
The Grateful Dead’s music is experimentally, multi-dimensional opening gateways on an intuitive and emotional level very difficult to describe to someone who hasn’t heard the music. The personal experience is interpretive like an abstract painting continually, organically and seamlessly morphing from one note into another enchanting the listener audibly so absolutely, the sound is almost visual. There are distinctive streams of consciousness conveyed by the energetic vibrations of the music transforming the very dynamic of the environment. Imagination blooms like a red rose in the bosom of Spring.
“Reason tatters, the forces tear loose from their axis…” – Hunter
There has always been an enigmatic movement of mystery woven into every Grateful Dead concert. A controlled chaos of anarchic notes and rhythms playing off each other in an obscure symphony of pioneering discovery akin to a space exploration. Thought, sense, emotion and spirit-invoking free-form jams guide the listener through “dead” dreams to another land. The mirror of contemporary reality shatters in formless reflections of matter. Where outside observers may see an elaborately concocted escape from everyday life, the “Deadicated” experience a personal and communal expansion of awareness, belonging and being.
Saint of Circumstance:
It had been several years since I had seen any current assembly of surviving Grateful Dead members perform together. With options a plenty, I found myself passing on them as they arose. Until I heard rhythm guitarist and vocalist Bob Weir and bass guitarist Phil Lesh were doing six limited, theater engagements in New York, Boston and Chicago. I was ecstatic at the prospect, until I found out both shows in Chicago were sold out. Accepting defeat, I resigned myself to the cold rain and snow. My friend Miko suggested submitting our names through a community connection. If notified via email, we would have the opportunity to purchase tickets. We were both selected!
“In the secret space of dreams, where I dreaming lay amazed.” – Hunter
Attics of My Life:
The days between purchasing the tickets and the shows flew by. Soon Miko and I were truckin’ down to Chicago for a couple of dates with destiny. Every mile we travelled intensified the excitement of once again being in the energy of musical fellowship. Eventually, like many other Deadheads, we began tossing out possible songs Bob and Phil may dust off and perform. Upon arrival, the marquee of the Chicago Theater illuminated N. State Street with “Bob and Phil Duo. SOLD OUT.” A growing collection of the faithful braved the chilly winds that blew through the city corridors. Several crashing the scene with fingers in the air looking for a miracle.
Ceiling of the Chicago Theater
Playing in the Band:
Crossing the threshold of a venue at a Grateful Dead show is uniquely special. The excitement of simply being there is unparalleled. The 97-year-old theater offered the perfect atmosphere for history to be made. An antiquated red curtain hung at the front of the stage holding back the eager crowd’s anticipation. The sound of a distant bass and random notes from an acoustic guitar signaled the curtain to rise revealing Bob, Phil and Wally Ingram on percussion. “Box of Rain” met our adulation. It was the first song I had seen the Grateful Dead perform in Chicago at my first show almost 28 years ago.
“Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right.” – Hunter
The first night held many hallowed treasures. Intimate acoustic renditions of “Cosmic Charlie,” “Looks Like Rain,” “Estimated Prophet,” and “Operator,” among others with the trio of Bob, Phil and Wally. The second set yielded classics such as stripped-down versions of “Playing in the Band,” “Scarlet Begonias>Fire on the Mountain,” “Dark Star>St. Stephen,” Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” and “Sugar Magnolia” with Bob, Phil, Wally, Jeff Chimenti, Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams. “U.S. Blues” closed the night as the 3,600-strong spilled onto N. State St. reveling in the afterglow of a momentous evening.
The red curtain rose on the second night to the familiar rhythms of “Cumberland Blues.” Bob, Phil and Wally served up acoustic selections of “Tennessee Jed,” “Alabama Getaway,” “Loose Lucy,” “Lazy River Road,” “Cassidy” and other rarities. The full group guided the second set with a beautiful rendering of “Crazy Fingers.” They played classics such as “New Speedway Boogie,” “Mountains of the Moon,” “Cryptical Envelopment>Let It Grow>The Other One” then back into the last verse of “Cryptical.” A stunning and emotional “Days Between” ended the seamless second set as the train pulled away from the last station on the tour.
“Fare you well, fare you well, I love you more than words can tell.” – Hunter
That’s It for The Other One:
We emerged from the Chicago Theater onto N. State Street, found our way to the car and were heading home from two unforgettable nights with Bob, Phil and friends. The Grateful Dead Channel on Sirius Radio carried us into the early morning as we drove through the night with the melodies and memories still ringing in our ears and hearts. Seeing the music in a historical theater with a modest audience was truly special. I was flooded with emotional reminiscence of my 32-year experience with the Dead. Reflections of adoration and gratitude sustained my bliss till the morning came.
What I may remember most fondly about the Grateful Dead is the community and goodwill shared with family, friends and others who experienced the inspiration and passion of excellent music and extraordinary company. Any musical group can bring people together. Few can keep them together for decades singing sweet songs to rock our souls. It has been almost 23 years since Jerry Garcia passed from this world. The music he made and influence he had upon millions of people continues to grow with each new generation. We will always hear your voice come through the music and we will always hold it dear as it were our own.