Martin Luther King the Vegan Ⓥ

mlk-peaceLike most Southerners in the United States, Martin Luther King ate a diet full of comfort foods like fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. But what if Martin Luther King lived a much longer life? Would he have decided to eat a diet based on his philosophy of non-violence?

There are three influences that could have led Doctor King to go vegan: the Vietnam war, Gandhi, and fellow civil rights advocate Dick Gregory.

Vietnam

In the days leading up to his untimely death, MLK began making connections between poverty in the ghettos of America and the country’s expanding military budget. Initially, civil rights leaders in King’s camp were hesitant to get behind him because they thought that any talk of Vietnam would detract from their efforts. However, King’s conscience could not bear remaining silent. Here’s just a small sample of what he had to say about Vietnam.

There is…a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I and others have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed that there was a real promise of hope for the poor, both black and white, through the Poverty Program. There were experiments, hopes, and new beginnings. Then came the build-up in Vietnam. And I watched the program broken as if it was some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war. And I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money, like some demonic, destructive suction tube. And you may not know it, my friends, but it is estimated that we spend $500,000 to kill each enemy soldier, while we spend only fifty-three dollars for each person classified as poor, and much of that fifty-three dollars goes for salaries to people that are not poor. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor, and attack it as such.

Dr. King did not use info graphics, but if he did we can imaging a small stack of dollar bills going to the poor sitting next to a giant stack devoted to killing enemy soldiers. Immediately, we would have to question the ethical ramifications of such a huge disparity. Not only were dollars not going to help the poor, but many of the men on the front lines in the war, and every war, were from poor families. And they were dying at a higher rate than men from middle class families. This happens because many young, poor men and women have very few options to advance their lives through jobs or education.

Just before he was shot, Dr. King was planning a poor people’s march on Washington to demand that the United States government address entrenched poverty among blacks in America. This was a new MLK who was undergoing a personal transformation at a turbulent time.

Take a look at this video where he explains the systemic injustice and hypocrisy on behalf of the United States government.

“We’re coming to get our check.”

These are serious words from a man with a lot of power.

Gandhi

Gandhi was another man who wielded a lot of power and defeated the largest empire in the history of world. The grip that Britain had on India was unyielding, taking vast amounts of resources from one of the most abundant regions in the world in terms of natural resources and human labor (I hesitate to use this dehumanized word).

Gandhi was vegan, before the word existed. He ate no animal derived foods with the exception of droning goat’s milk when he became ill. He loathed that he had to eat it to get better. I bet he was not getting enough B12, an essential nutrient, from his vegan diet. If he were alive now, he could just take a B12 supplement instead of resorting to drinking goat’s milk. Gandhi remained vegan for moral reasons. He did not want to cause suffering to animals, especially when he could eat readily from a wide variety of plants. He reasoned that if he ate cleanly and kept his heart clean through his thoughts and deeds that he could be the change he wished to see in the world.

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Doctor King with his wife Coretta in India.

Martin Luther King adopted Gandhi’s philosophy of ahimsa, nonviolence, for the civil rights movement in the United  States. He traveled to India to see Gandhi’s home and make international allies in the struggle for social justice. Surely, through all of his research he must have come across Gandhi’s views on the importance of a nonviolent diet to create a nonviolent society. King would have only needed a catalyst to get him started on a diet fueled by the power of plants.

Dick Gregory

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Dick Gregory and MLK having a chat.

That’s where King’s friend Dick Gregory comes in. Dick Gregory decided to follow a vegan diet after he witnessed a white police officer kick his pregnant wife in the stomach. Gregory did nothing to protect his wife or stand up to the officer. He reasoned that if he couldn’t lift an arm to strike a racist police officer who violently harmed his wife that he couldn’t kill an animal who caused him no harm at all.

I’m not sure of the exact year the Dick Gregory became vegan, but it was some time in the 1960’s. Meaning he could have easily influenced King to adopt a vegan diet. King would have benefitted greatly from such a diet. It certainly works for Dick Gregory who is now 82 years old and still traveling the country giving talks and interviews on various media outlets. He’s still one of the funniest people to walk the face of the earth. And he gives great advice on connecting with the universal god.
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He also wrote a book on eating a vegan diet called Dick Gregory’s Natural Diet for Folks Who Eat: Cookin’ with Mother Nature. I haven’t read his book, but it gets great reviews on Amazon.

Connecting the Dots

Both Gandhi and Dick Gregory ate a vegan diet full of raw fruits and vegetables. Eating foods packed with the power of the sun can help to elevate your mood, awareness and consciousness. Your connection to earth goes through food. Food that heals can help keep you connected to the universal source through keeping the temple that is your body clean and energetic. When you eat animals you are absorbing the entirety of their life: not only the toxic antibiotics and hormones injected into them, but also all of the pain and suffering that they endured. It all gets passed on to you and can easily result in cancer or heart disease, but also changes in mood and unnatural hormone levels.

Imagine how hard it is to create a more just and nonviolent society when we treat animals inhumanely and then take on all of that pain and suffering by eating them. It’s like having a four wheel drive car where the from and rear axles are moving in opposite directions.

I have to believe had MLK been made aware of the horrible conditions and immense suffering that farm animals suffer at the expense of human’s desire for meat that he would have connected the dots and started a big vegan movement in the African American community and beyond. His level of compassion, and ability to make the connections between seemingly disparate things like the war in Vietnam and poverty would have tugged on his conscience forcing him to choose a diet that not only reduces suffering for animals, but also the humans who eat and kill them.

As he famously said, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” It’s plain to see that this includes all living creatures on earth. That, my friends is why Martin Luther King, given the chance, would have started a large and long lasting vegan movement.

‘Til next time Light Travelers.

Mike Free

New documentary film Cowspiracy is a must see!

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I’m marking it down now: Cowspiracy will go down in history as the most influential eco-documentary of the 21st century. Yes, it’s that good, folks. The directors Kip Andersen and Keegan Kuhn have made the most complete argument for a change, and end, to animal agriculture as we know it. Anyone who calls themselves an environmentalist can no longer do so without also saying that they are a vegan.

And just in case you haven’t been paying attention, the earth is burning to death and we need to do something to reverse the destruction that we’ve caused. Most of that destruction has been caused by mega-scale animal agriculture to feed the unnecessary demand of meat eaters, primarily in developed countries.

The effects of the impacts caused by animal agriculture are so daunting that it would take a 90 minute film to explain them all. Oh wait there is one! It’s called Cowspiracy. Watch the trailer here, and then watch the documentary.

Til next time Light Travelers.

http://www.cowspiracy.com

Obesity in America: stop feeding the fat.

2ktUzO7Last week, I went on a tour around Aoyama in Tokyo to see the connections between new and old architecture. I’m joining a company called Context Travel as a docent in Tokyo, and I went along my first tour to see what to expect when I’m the one leading folks around Tokyo. The docent giving the tour, John, invited me to a restaurant to get feedback on his tour.

I mentioned that I could only eat a salad, or a smoothie because I’m (mostly) raw vegan, and he immediately started rattling off questions about what I eat. He was more interested in my diet for his own personal health reasons, and was not the slightest bit annoying or challenging of my decision to be vegan like many people can be when presented with such a stark contrast to their own eating habits. John admitted to me that he doesn’t feel very healthy and that he wanted to lose weight and get healthier.

I’ve gone vegan three or four times since 2008 and it usually lasts for about six months until I fall off the wagon. It’s only been about five weeks but this time feels different. I’m not fighting against myself to not eat meat. Rather I’m more focused on eating fruit. I’m not one of those people who gets grossed out by meat when it’s cooked. Raw and bloody is another story. Also, I’ve learned that it isn’t just meat that is unhealthy, but also processed foods and even whole grains. I just discovered that I am gluten sensitive. Gluten causes damage to my gastrointestinal tract by ripping off portions of the microvilli responsible for absorbing nutrients from food.

When I look at certain food now, I see pain. When I look at a hamburger I know what the combination of the bread with all of its gluten and refined carbs, plus the meat loaded with toxic chemicals and indigestible protein will do to my body. I see bloating, constipation, bad skin and body odor. I see myself twenty years in advance with an expanding waistline, shortness of breath, and declining energy levels.

I’ve been burned too many times before to enjoy just one more burger. Or one more piece of cheesecake. A few more salty french fries won’t make me feel better. And that’s the key. I want to feel better. I see and choose food that will make me feel amazing!

I conveyed these ideas to John. He agreed that being vegan is probably the healthiest way to eat. But he didn’t think that he could go vegan. He thought that he’s too weak and too addicted to meat and other food.

Here’s some of his “affirmations” surrounding food:

“I’m okay if I die fat and ugly.”

“I’m British, it’s my birthright to eat fish and chips.” (more like a death right)

“I just need a diet that I can sustain.” (this one sounds good but it’s actually limiting his potential)

“I don’t have the discipline to be vegan.”

“I eat too many carbs.” (this one is dangerous because it’s not true that carbohydrates cause weight gain)

What John doesn’t know is that he’s not doing the talking, the accumulated fat in his body is talking for him. It’s affecting his view of himself and reality.

I decided that I wanted to feel better. When I did, I stopped feeding my fat, and negative emotions. And I started feeding the real me. The lean me.

To show you that carbohydrates, sugars from fruit can make you lean and fit, here’s what I eat in a typical day in Tokyo.

4-5 kilograms (9-11 lbs) of oranges: In Japan they’re called mikan and they’re freaking delicious this time of year. Fall is mikan season in Japan and they’re pretty cheap. I scored 4 5-kilo boxes of mikan for 550 yen each. There are over 60 mikan in a box, which comes out to just over 8 yen per mikan. I bet that’s cheaper than much of the rice sold in Japan on a caloric basis.

Did you see that I eat 11 lbs of food and I’m still losing weight?

Try eating 11 lbs of beef and see what happens to you. I bet you’ll still be hungry after that if you’re still breathing. I don’t eat it all at once, but that gets me around 2,200 calories. Still not enough to sustain me. I need at least 3,000 calories per day.

4-10 bananas: that’s 320 to 1,000 calories depending on the size of the banana.

200 grams of spinach: there’s a reason Popeye ate spinach. It’s a superfood, look it up and eat it up.

I’ve been thinking about obesity in America recently since I started a high-carb-vegan diet. I get most of my calories from fruit and sometimes I will eat a cooked meal for dinner that includes a carbohydrate like potatoes, lots of vegetables and very little fat. I started eating this way because I wanted to feel better. I was not feeling great after nine months of eating the standard Japanese diet, which is becoming more processed, fatty, sugary and salty like the standard American diet.

I started about five weeks ago and I am now the lightest and slimmest I’ve been in about a decade. I’m not sure how much weight I’ve lost because I don’t check regularly, but I did weigh myself two weeks ago, and again yesterday, so I’ll just guess. I currently weigh 165 lbs fully hydrated. I stand 5′ 10″ making my BMI a healthy 23.7. BMI isn’t the best metric so I’ll give you my body fat percentage of 12.9 percent.

Two weeks ago my body fat percentage was 14-point-something percent. And I weighed roughly 171-ish.

My best guess is that I weighed around 180 pounds when I first started. A lot of the weight that I lost is excess water and digestive gunk.

I am happy that I lost a lot of weight in a short period of time, but losing weight was not my main goal. I started because I wanted to feel better emotionally, physically and mentally.

Millions of people die every year from being obese or overweight. That is unfortunate, but what is more unfortunate is not being able to feel your best when you’re alive. Food isn’t just killing people, it’s making them depressed, sad, irritated, angry and sick. Food should be our best resource for living a happy and healthy life. We have turned food into a nightmare of a carnival with flashing lights, distorted mirrors, and psycho clowns telling us what’s normal and good for us.

Here’s my offer to America and the world: instead of “treating obesity” let’s treat leanness. Stop feeding the fat and feed the muscle. Muscle, bone, organs, nerves and connective tissue make up the real you. The you that is meant to feel amazing and alive. Excess fat is just the end result of an accumulation of negative emotions and thoughts.

I have found that the best way to treat leanness is through a whole food vegan diet with most of my calories being supplied by fruit. Yet, even with that understanding I must keep in mind that it’s my thoughts, emotions and imagination that really make up my body. My decision to eat mostly fruit was preceded by my desire to feel better.

Check out this spirited away video. I think this sums up the state of food (and material consumption) in the world today.

Til next time light travelers.

Go vegan in Japan, am I nuts?

Fun Band

You know, the best part of living in a country that is not your own is that every day there’s an opportunity for adventure. And with the right mix of ingredients, any day can be epic, or yabai(やばい)as they say in Japan.

Today was a very yabai day. It kind of just happened randomly. I click like on any Japanese Facebook page that is about vegetarian or vegan food despite the fact that I can’t read most of it. It’s just that you never know when something will pop up and peak your interest, which is exactly what happened last week. One of the pages called Veggie Meeting posted an event for Vege and Fork Market in Kawasaki just outside of Tokyo.

Just to back track a little, I have been on again and off again vegan since 2008. Mostly off, unfortunately, because when I am vegan I feel much better and I lose a lot of weight. It’s also cool to not kill animals for food consumption. This time I went vegan 3 weeks ago after trying to get by eating less meat for a few months. It didn’t work. My health was in decline as I was eating the Standard Japanese Diet, which looks more and more like the Standard American Diet (that’s SAD for short…life) every year.

Not only did I go vegan, but I knew that I had to go back to being a raw vegan and do it as best I could in Japan where fruit and vegetables can be pricey. Why go raw vegan you ask? Isn’t that extreme? I like sleeping at night, if I can. I often wake up because I can’t breathe. My sinuses close up shop and my nasal cavity is on lock down. I can’t breathe from my mouth because I unconsciously close it when I sleep. It feels like torture some nights.

Eating raw food helps alleviate some of the conditions that prevent me from sleeping. I have a lot less mucous and the mucous that I have is clear of any solids. I can breathe a lot better when everything is not clogged up, obviously. Also, when I lose weight I lose fat from around my neck and chest and I snore less since my insides aren’t squished together. Finally, when my body can digest food efficiently it doesn’t create a lot of discomfort from indigestion. Raw fruit that is optimally ripe is super easy to digest and creates healing effects throughout your body.

When you eat dozens of pounds of fruit every week and avoid cooked food as much as possible it limits many opportunities to socialize. I adjust by eating all raw for one or two days and then having just one cooked vegan meal with friends. Or I will go to a farmer’s market that has cooked food and fresh fruit available. It’s only been 3 weeks, but I know what the pitfalls are from doing it before: sugar, socializing, alcohol and not preparing ahead.

I’ve decided that I am going to focus on creating the healthiest me that I can create. That means sticking to a vegan, mostly raw, high-carb, and low-fat diet. It also means running nearly every day or playing a sport. Then there’s the mental and spiritual side of having positive thoughts, dreaming big, and living in the moment.

Today was a great day for living in the moment. All of the food was vegan at Vege and Fork Market. Not only was it vegan but it was delicious oishii おいしい in Japanese. I had a great burrito with spanish rice, guacamole, lettuce and what looked like some kind of hemp spread. The flavors really melded together well. Then I had a vegan burger from Mana Burgers. Mana Burgers was pumping out burgers faster than your average fast food chain. It was one of the best vegan burgers that I’ve ever had, and a real hit among market goers.

The market had such a great and über relaxing feel to it. The weather was overcast yet not dreary, and combined with the fall wind and leaves it made the day perfect for such a gathering. I always enjoy being around people who are consciously promoting healthy living whether I’m in Japan, or California, or traveling through India. The tangle of Japanese consumer culture can make it seem like healthy lifestyles are rare here, but events like Vege and Fork Market make it easier for like minded people to connect and have a good time.

PS: check out the gallery for pictures of the market and Kakio 柿生 the surrounding area. The first part of kakio is kaki meaning persimmon. So the town is persimmon-o. Makes sense, there were tons of persimmon trees there. Beautiful place!

Food loves me: why I talk to my food

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Green food warrior: I grew this awesome organic daikon!

Bananas love me. Figs love me. Mangoes love me. Spinach loves me. Avocados love me. Oranges love me. Watermelon loves me.

How many times have we all said “I love food”? And we really meant it. I mean I know that I felt a lot of love saying it. I paid a lot of money over my life to love food. Traveled great distances while dreaming of the food I would eat, savor and enjoy. I love food.

But something changed when I started talking to food. Think I’m nuts? Just try it. For everything you put in your mouth for the next few days try talking to it. Tell your food, “I love you”. Say it with all your heart. And then listen for the response.

In any loving relationship there is no doubt what the response should be, it’s always a screaming “I LOVE YOU!!!!” For eternity, ’til the end of time.

Now to shift gears a bit, I’ll reveal my motivation for this post.

When people ask me where I’m from I tell them California, and then Los Angeles. I was born in Sacramento and my family moved less than two years after I was born. I grew up in New Orleans and lived there for 24 years. So why don’t I say I’m from New Orleans?

I spent two of the best years of my life in Los Angeles where I felt alive, and had a zest for life that was sometimes missing when I lived in New Orleans. I honestly never felt like myself in New Orleans.

I love team sports, so I took any chance to play football or ultimate frisbee. Even if it meant biking 3, 8, 12 miles, playing a game full on, and then biking back home. There was one month where every Sunday I would pack up 50 lbs worth of gear and supplies on a trailer hitched to my bike, host and play a flag football meetup for 3 hours on the beach and ride home with the gear.

This is the kind of food I ate daily in LA. Fresh squeezed  organic orange juice with juiced turmeric root. Super powers activated!

This is the kind of food I ate daily in LA. Fresh squeezed organic orange juice with juiced turmeric root. Super powers activated!

I was living my dream so the energy was always there. But there was one key ingredient that allowed me to sustain such high energy levels consistently for two years. The food that I ate was mostly organic, raw fruits and vegetables. It’s sounds simple but it’s not. I was eating food that was packed with the miracle that is life.

I recently received a message from my mother that one of my uncles had a massive stroke and will not make it out of the hospital. I know that he had a good life, and was committed to creating good in this world. That’s what matters most.

I send infinite love to him and his family as they go through what I can imagine is a daunting experience.

My uncle lived in a very challenging food culture. People from New Orleans famously say, “in New Orleans, we don’t eat to live, we live to eat.” In New Orleans, food, drink, music, community, culture and identity are woven together into the fabric of life.

I know that I am not going to change the world with one blog post. We live in a time where most Americans are overweight and health is declining because of the food. I face the same challenges as everyone else and I have not stuck to the perfect diet despite knowing that I should eat lots of raw, organic fruits and vegetables.

All I ask is that we all talk to our food. Tell your food, I love you.

Wait for the response. It may respond with a big “F you!” Or it may be just be a lazy “meh :/ ” When you hear your food scream “I LOVE YOU WITH ALL MY HEART” and tell you “you’re beautiful and full of energy” or maybe “your skin is glowing” or “wow look how athletic you are”, that’s when you know that your food loves you and is worth eating.

Til next time light travelers.

Japan and me: 10 thoughts on 10 months in Japan

IMG_0831It’s Wednesday October 22nd 2014 and I’ve been in Japan for ten months. I have had great times, not so great times, and everything in between. Here are ten thoughts on life, Japan and otherwise that I’ve come across over these ten months. These really are random and not cohesive so just enjoy the show.
1. I can be happy anywhere: I used to think that I needed to live in Southern California to maximize my happiness. Don’t get me wrong, the sunshine and sandy beaches help a lot. But I’ve learned that I can be just as happy on a rainy day as any other day. Happiness is a practice that begins on the inside.

2. Positive thoughts matter: Having a positive attitude goes a long way to creating success no matter where you are in the world. There were times here when I felt stuck in my thoughts and got way too down on myself about my career, or lack thereof. Those thoughts were preventing me from taking the right actions that I needed to take. My life has gotten better now that I am consciously focusing on positive thoughts, not complaining, and making the best of every day.

3. I have no choice but to eat vegan food: I have to eat vegan food for health reasons.  I have not been diagnosed with anything, but I have some kind of digestive system disorder that makes it hard for me to eat meat, dairy, processed food and wheat. That’s about half of all Japanese food. If I had my way, and I could pull it off, I would choose to be raw vegan eating only organic fruits and vegetables. That diet is super impractical and limited in Japan for mostly trade barrier reasons. I won’t get into it because I am not into complaining these days. There’s a hashtag called #rawtil4. Check it out. I think I’m going to try this diet of eating all raw food until 4 o’clock. After 4 I’ll eat a nice warm vegan meal. I’ve been high carb low fat vegan for over a week now, and I already feel great. Vegan power!

4. Globalization is not just for fortune 500 companies: I’ve met people from all over the world and I can honestly say that the world is changing faster than any of us can comprehend. There’s really not much difference between us. We are all interconnected and continue to share stories, ideas and innovate in small and large ways. Everyone has something to offer the world and no two people are just a like. The future is really unpredictable, but I can tell you that it’s awesome!

5. I Believe in miracles: No one can do it on their own. We all get help from unseen forces. Just believe and let go.

6. Japan is a miracle: 127 million people on a series of islands that is 70% mountains with little arable land. And they all cooperate magnificently with little to no violence. There’s high speed rail from the snowy North to the volcanic South. One of the largest middle classes in the world so that everyone can enjoy the wealth. A very high standard of living and not much to complain about.

7. Where are the overworked Japanese workers?: Sure, I see plenty of salary men in suits on Saturdays, but I often see lots of people in casual clothes walking around during normal business hours. I see families enjoying the weekends. There are more national holidays here than in the US, almost 2 per month. And Japanese workers get more vacation time than American workers. Not to mention a lot of Japanese stay-at-home mothers have it super easy it seems. I often see them shopping or hanging out in groups with fashionable kid gear.

8. Mount Fuji is the protector of Tokyo: Three major typhoons came this way and none of them lived up to the hype. Mount Fuji is huge. Any storm that passes by it will get smashed to smithereens. No wonder it gets so much respect in Japan.

9. How we treat each other matters: Politeness is woven deeply into Japanese culture starting with language. Language is made from words that are made from sound. Sound is vibration, something that we feel with every part of us. The language that we use and how we treat each other creates a huge emotional ocean that we all swim in. In Japan, the waters are pretty calm.

10. I’m grateful to be here. 

Nature Hoods

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What if we had nature-hoods instead of neighborhoods?

Just sayin’. A naturehood is a place where people live to take after nature. It’s a part of a larger urban area, just as a neighborhood is connected to the city. The naturehood is a place where migratory birds go for sanctuary. It’s a place where humans go for contemplation. Baby deer play alongside baby kids.

Imagination runs wild and free in the naturehood. Maybe each naturehood has its own god that looks after the local ecology. The gods come out at night when everyone’s asleep to perform rituals. Of course, only the young and uninitiated can see them. Is that you Totoro?

Stars beaming above reminds the residents that they live in a vast universe designed for life through light. This gives them meaning and purpose to continue to improve their naturehood.

Sounds like it’s time to make naturehoods. Not you Donald Trump, it’s our time.

-Mike Free 27

Why no sunglasses, Japan?

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Exile Atsushi, usually seen donning shades, wants to change his image. The crew of Shabekuri 007 helps him out. http://www.ntv.co.jp/007/

The ability to observe without evaluating is the highest form of intelligence. – Jiddu Krishnamurti

The desire for meaning that makes us ask “why” prevents us from practicing what J. Krishnamurti calls the highest form of intelligence, observing without evaluating. When I think about the motivation behind the “why” it often seems like a weak portion of my psyche that needs that “why” like an alcoholic needs a bottle of Jack Daniels. It’s the ego.

The ego that wants to feel significant. The ego that doesn’t care about the creative process and wants to repeat things mechanically so that it can reproduce the feeling of significance. “Why” sounds a lot like “I” and “whine”.

Let me tell you a story to show you what I mean.

Today, I met someone, let’s call him Frank, who claimed that Japanese people don’t wear sunglasses because there is a social stigma about anyone who wears sunglasses. He said that if you read comic books you’ll see that the shady characters always wear sunglasses.

Before I go on, let me just say that there is this thing that many newcomers to a country do when they’ve been in that country for more than a month. It starts with noticing all of the differences between your culture and the culture you’re living in. It ends with defining, usually incorrectly, the culture around you that you are filtering through your limited understanding of the world. It’s only human to do this, but it gets us in trouble when we open our big mouths to speak a “truth”.

I’ve been in Japan from mid-January to mid-July, which spans from the coldest winter month to the dead heat of summer. From my limited experience, Frank is mostly correct about his first assertion that sunglasses are not as commonly worn in Tokyo as in some parts of the United States. I can’t speak for the rest of Japan because I have not spent enough time outside of Tokyo.

This is where I usually go on a spiel about illusions and consumer society blurring the concept of normality. I’ll spare you that part and just get to the pragmatic basics of it. If you’ve ever been to Tokyo, then you are probably aware that fashion is a big deal here for women and men alike. People care about how they look. It’s not hard to see that for the more serious bunch each item of clothing was chosen meticulously to express the version of themselves that they wanted to express that day.

A majority of women in Tokyo put on full makeup every time they go out. I doubt that they want sunglasses messing up their makeup and hair.

During the week most men wear business suits or dressy casual attire. The demands of corporate business overrule any desire to wear sunglasses.

You can see why many people don’t wear sunglasses given the above factors. Add in other factors like commuting by train, tall buildings that block out the sun and hours spent inside at work or school, and you get a pretty low demand for sunglasses.

Frank didn’t care to observe without evaluating. He didn’t really care about the eyes of the people walking around Tokyo. If he did, he would start a campaign to encourage the use of sunglasses. What Frank really cared about was “why”. Why didn’t everyone else wear sunglasses so that he could feel more comfortable wearing sunglasses? Why can’t they be more like him?

“Why I?”

Art for a New Humanity: Alex Grey

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Art is an echo of the creative force that birthed the galaxies. Creativity is the way that the cosmos evolves and communicates with itself. The great uplifting of humanity beyond its self destruction is the redemptive mission of art. -Alex Grey

Art has the power to elevate human consciousness by presenting the observer with a view into unseen realms of thought conjured up from the artist’s unconscious. The observer then filters the art through their perception and is either moved or disturbed by the experience. Given the chance, art can send the observer searching for meaning deep in their own unconscious mind. The artist is saying, “hey, let me show you what I’ve seen and let me know if this has meaning to you.” When that meaning strikes an invisible chord in the observer it shakes her, wakes her up to recall her purpose in the universe. A transformation of consciousness has just taken place.

This is the second installment of Art for a New Humanity. You can read last week’s post on Mear One here.

Alex Grey

I’ve never taken psychedelic drugs, but if I do it will be because of the art of Alex Grey. His work is considered transcendental art. When I look at it I yearn to have a similar experience in order to verify his findings. I know that I will likely see any truths that he speaks of subjectively; they will be presented to me in a language that is reflective of my experience. I think, I don’t really know. (I’m not advocating for drug use in order to have a transcendental experience. Be careful! Psychedelics have been used for millennia to access different states of consciousness. However, just because you take them doesn’t mean you’ll get the same experience out of it.)

What really resonates within me about his work is the desire to create a more beautiful world that is in harmony with the rest of the universe. Let’s call it the Cosmic Perspective. It is a perspective that is rapidly multiplying and growing in the hearts and minds of humanity. You have to be sleepwalking to not feel the crisis that we currently live in. Some people, not reading this blog, really are sleep walking and they don’t know that they’re suffering. It is our mission, one that Alex Grey accepted a long time ago, to bring others over to the light simultaneously as we cross over. Gray is the connection between darkness and light. (paraphrased from Alex Grey; his early piece Polar Unity, above, represents this concept that he experienced during his first LSD trip)

Gaia

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Alex Grey painted Gaia in 1989 after having a vision the day his daughter was born. It represents the power we have to make a choice between a new humanity living in harmony with a living Earth (Gaia) and the old paradigm of dominion over nature.

Liberation Upon Seeing

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Lots of imagery here. Grey seems to be saying that everything has its place and things are not always what they seem. I guess knowing this provides us with a sense of liberation from the dominant materialist mythology. The main character in this story is made of all of these images suggesting that he is part of the whole and vice versa. At the heart is Earth with a mother goddess that is watching over a child that’s coming out of the North Pole vagina.

On the light grid surrounding Earth you can see nude humans in a Christ pose. Combine that with the baby and I get the feeling that he is saying that humanity is coming into Christ consciousness where love prevails over fear. The Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa and Extra Terrestrials seem to be assisting Earth Momma birth a new humanity.

Notice that the images at the top are mostly about outer space and an already advanced society that is exploring the cosmos. Very good news from Alex Grey in this piece. Recently, I have felt that we will pull through and actually create a new humanity. I concur with Liberation Upon Seeing.

Holy Family

Alex_Grey-Holy_Family1Holy Family represents humanity’s return of honoring the sacred feminine along with the sacred masculine to give birth to a new consciousness.

Zena Lotus 

Alex_Grey-Zena_Lotus1A portrait of Zena Grey as a toddler.You may recognize the Tibetan symbol ཨ in the middle of the circle that Zena is holding. The symbol is pronounced AHH and it’s the first sound that created the universe. It’s why you’ll often see OM spelled A-U-M.

Grey is showing Zena that she has creative power that is infinitely connected to the universe through her soul. The symbol on the orb in her heart is a double vajra. A buddhist symbol that symbolizes the principle of absolute stability. I don’t quite understand what it’s used for. I’ve been told in the past that it’s used to quiet the ego. Maybe absolute stability is the soul or unconditional love?

I love this gift to Zena by her dad. We should all treat our kids like the divine beings that they are and make sure that they are aware of their divinity and capacity for unconditional love.

That’s a good note to end on. Check out more Alex Grey at AlexGrey.com and check him out on Youtube, he has great things to say about creating a New Humanity.

Transition to a New Humanity: healing on a global scale

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If we are going to transition to a new human society filled with love and equanimity then we have to heal our past traumas on individual and collective levels. Trauma is intergenerational: it is passed on from one generation to the next. This takes place through all relationships, social interactions and cultural programming. These interactions make imprints on our emotional logic and frame the world that we encounter through our five senses.

Nearly all of our systems are not serving the needs of the seven billion people on Earth. The two biggest are the economy and politics, but even systems like community, family, religion and health are also not working in our favor. It’s easy to look at the world and say, “that’s just the way it is.” But is that good enough? What is the value of living so despairingly?

Maybe you’re not like me. Maybe you can see suffering in the world and cut yourself off from it. That’s OK. I’m not mad at you. I just think that this strategy takes too many resources. Money, time, oil, trees, alcohol, drugs, diamonds you know the deal. This is resource depletion and it’s reflected in the ecosystem as much as it’s reflected in our bodies, minds and society.

We can heal ourselves and the Earth. But we have to question everything.Why does it hurt just to go into work or school? Shouldn’t we live in a world where human values take precedent over some fictitious duty to a green god we call money?

We can do much better than capitalism, the religion of our times. It’s serious heresy to even question the foundations of the economic system that is destroying our planet. Well it’s time to get angry because this has to end. I know it and you know it.

There are better options like Charles Eisentein’s concept of Sacred Economics.

As you can see, we’re headed for a train wreck but at least we have options! Things don’t have to be this way and we can change them. It’s easy to say that we need to just be better people in order to fix the world. But it’s harder to accomplish if society is designed in such a way that it tears us apart. It’s our responsibility to take on the suffering and transform it in order to stop the momentum of generations past. We can’t have these grand ideals in one moment of a new earth and humanity, and then go about our daily lives of “the real world” where we treat each other and Earth carelessly.

This is where global healing comes in. It’s a monumental task to heal the hearts and minds of seven billion people. Well if it’s monumental then we can create monuments of healing. The beginning of this is already taking place with millions of people around the world starting new practices of yoga, meditation, reiki and other forms of mindful practices. Ancient civilizations understood the importance of having monuments devoted to healing and the raising of consciousness. They built pyramids, public baths, sound chambers and celestial temples to practice healing.

A new field of archaeology called archaeoacoustics is uncovering ancient secrets of the power of sound. Archaeologists recently discovered a 5,000 year old consciousness altering sound chamber on the island of Malta. Instead of just looking at the structure, these archaeologists are testing it out. Here’s their motivation:

One of the most exciting branches of the new multi-sensory archaeology is archaeoacoustics, the archaeology of sound. Imagine being part of a ritual gathering, standing shivering on a frozen lake to hear the spirits of your ancestors communicating with you from within a cliff face. Think what it would feel like to be deep underground in a cave, listening to the reverberations of a human voice by the flickering light of a flame. The idea that our forebears had a far more intimate relationship with sound than most people do now inspires many students of archaeoacoustics. Some study auditory illusions created by the likes of echoes and acoustic interference. Others are interested in the psychology of sound and how it might influence behaviour. Still others investigate how how certain wavelengths affect our physiology by changing the way our brains work. Science, it seems is finally catching up with what shamans have always known about the consciousness-altering power of sound. -Kate Douglas, Featured Editor “New Scientist”  archaeoacoustics.org

This amazing structure has lasted 5,000 years and it still works well enough to have an effect on human consciousness. This gem from the past is a resource and a clue for our way forward: thousands of monuments and megaliths devoted to healing and the raising of human consciousness. Sounds amazing doesn’t it?