Why Tokyo is (Now) the best city in the world for Halloween

IMG_1223Halloween in Tokyo has exploded over the past five years with a countless number of people gathering in Shibuya all decked out in some of the most creative costumes seen anywhere. The Shibuya crossing is famous for its mad rush of people going in every direction on a normal busy day, but for Halloween it was so crowded that you couldn’t control the direction you were walking in and just had to go with the flow, literally, to make it out of the crowd. Scores of police officers lined the street to keep some sense of the order and organization that Japan has become famous for around the world. The crowds were so big that police couldn’t force everyone onto the sidewalk during an impromptu block party where Tokyo drifters with their flashy cars blasted music, and crowd goers jumped up and down in unison, all with Halloween smiles on their faces.

Start planning your 2016 Tokyo Halloween trip now because next year will be even bigger than 2015. Here are 5 reasons why Tokyo has become the biggest and best Halloween celebration in world.

  1. The People: when Japanese people decide to dress up they go all out. After all, if you’re going to do something why not do it right? And why not combine two completely unrelated cultural icons to make a fun costume like my best friend from the night Mummy T-Rex in the photo above.
  2. Shibuya: Shibuya station is one of the busiest train stations in the world and the area itself is also famous for its nightlife, shopping and having a good time. The bright lights of Center Gai, or Centa-gai, makes for a great setting where everyone can be seen walking down the street. The street itself is devoid of cars allowing for a great street party.
  3. Public Drinking: drinking in public, as opposed to in a bar, is legal in Japan. The Japanese have a storied tradition of public drinking that is often celebrated on weekends and during festivals.
  4. The girls: Or should I say women? Japanese women are masters at dressing up in large groups all wearing the same costume. From playboy bunnies to army girls there are tons of girl groups to take photos with.
  5. Play time: Japan is famous for the hard work that everyone puts into everything, but come Halloween it’s play time and everyone just lets loose and opens up. It’s easy to make Halloween friends when you’re dressed up and having a good time.

If you’re looking to come to Japan and have a good time I recommend coming for Halloween. If Halloween is on a week day make sure that you research when the big celebration will take place.

Maybe I’ll travel forever because Japan, and Singapore.

You know, I like America, it’s a nice country to live in, especially if you’re white. I’m not white. After a year and half of living in Japan, I’ve decided that I really enjoy being treated well and treating others well. It’s called the golden rule, and ‘Murica could really use a double-dose, what-goes-around-comes-around portion of golden rule ethos. Call me cray, but I like countries where everyone gets a fair shot at success and happiness. Common respect is the low bar for Japan, being Japanese is like a ticket into the VIP section of a club where everyone is VIP anyway. 

Being black in America? That’s the anti-VIP, unless you’re Jay-Z, or Beyoncé, and you’re the king and queen of blackness. Bow down bitches. 

I’m not complaining, I’ve had my fair share of privilege. Went to the best private high school in the South, and a top-ten graduate program. I’m lucky and grateful for it. Any successful black person in their late twenties or thirties will realize that it’s not good enough to be one of a few. It just isn’t healthy to have this barrier between us and our brothers and sisters who are suffering at the hands of forces we can’t control and are so often hidden from “reality”. 

I went back to the states a few weeks ago and was reminded that what I think of myself, is not what others, specifically white racist cops, think of me. Yeah, a cop tried to come into the house I was staying without having a warrant because as he put it, “I have to make sure you don’t have any guns.”

I told him, “I don’t have guns dude.” And spent the next few minutes trying get him away from my door because I was sure that he had a gun, and a taser, and an unnecessarily belligerent attitude.  With the wrong move on his part, not mine because I’m smart enough to know how his psyche works, I could have been joining Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown on the other side. 

Like I said I like America, but I’ll take it in doses. 

For black Americans traveling is a form of therapy. Who needs a psychologist when you can just reset your neurons in a place like Japan, Singapore, Thailand or anywhere that doesn’t have a history of codified racism. 

I’ve spent a week in Singapore and I can tell you that this place is a great place to live. I am into cultural exchange, but after a year in Japan it’s nice to speak English in an Asian country. I get a better sense of what Asia is about by speaking with Singaporeans about the Asia Pacific region. And even though Tokyo is the largest city in Asia with major political and economic power Singapore feels more international as a city. Singapore receives 12 million visitors per year. That’s a lot for a city of 5 million. It’s also 2 million more than all visitors to Japan. The city is also easy to get around using multiple modes of transportation. Buses are faster here than in other cities I’ve been to, and the subway system is convenient and clean. I find the trains are spacious with ample seating, but not as convenient as trains in Tokyo. A few improvements to the information and communication displays, and the addition of more frequent arrivals would make the train more convenient. I haven’t driven here but I have taken taxis and Uber and I can say that the service and price of both are reasonable. 

When I imagine living here there are a few other small details that make Singapore attractive as a livable city. 

  1. Location in Asia: Places like Phuket, Bangkok Kuala Lumpur and other cities in Asia are a quick and affordable flight away. The country is small and if you want to get out and explore it’s pretty easy to hop on a plane for international flights. There are several budget airlines that have low rates to SE Asia cities. Also, Singapore Airlines provides one of the best flight experiences in the business. If I lived here I would rack up the KrysFlyer miles on longer haul flights out of Singapore.
  2. Good food at great prices: There are thousands of “uncles” and “aunties” here who work hard to make some of the best food I’ve had in any country I’ve been to. A lot of Singaporeans don’t cook much at home never it’s much easier to go the hawker centre close to your house and get a quick meal. The food here is still homemade and wholesome instead of the processed pre-cooked stuff that dominates much of the food in other industrialized countries. There’s also an abundance of tropical fruit at low prices, something I missed while living in Tokyo. 
  3. Good Weather: I’m a weather buff who enjoys perfect to near perfect weather. It’s one reason I loved living in Los Angeles. You can’t beat that Mediterranean weather. It’s been dry here in Singapore so far. I’ve read that it rains often but doesn’t always last all day long. And the temperature and (high) humidity stay pretty even throughout the year. As uncomfortable as the humidity may get I’ll take it over freezing winter weather. 

At this point in my life I don’t have a place that I can  say for sure is my real home. I identify with California the most in terms of lifestyle and outlook on life. I enjoy an easygoing life near the ocean with diverse people while being connected to the earth and the Milky Way Galaxy. I spent most of my life living in New Orleans where my family is from. I’ve outgrown NOLA, it’s not big enough or international enough. I prefer global cities. One reason I love Tokyo, also there’s a gazillion things to discover and it’s always changing. Being the largest city in the world makes it a bit too much at times. You give up a lot in terms of personal space when you live in Tokyo. What you get in return is a high degree of safety, convenience and a level of societal politeness only experienced in Japan. 

I want to experience all the benefits that the world has to offer. I’ll continue my “long wave” form of travel and take this show to Europe for a few years. Even when I’m based out of California I’ll have to travel often to keep life fresh. 

Check out a few photos of Singapore below. And subscribe to MikeFree27.com for more stories from Asia, Europe and wherever the wind takes me.


Not So Slim in Singapore: eating and talking with locals.

One of the best ways to travel is to have no expectations of the place you’re going and just go. It’s a good approach if you have time and flexibility. A creative and curious mind also helps you make the most of your trip. I had all of those qualities coming to Singapore. I just wanted to stay here as long as I could to feel what it’s like living in a South East Asian city. My travels usually take on this quality of joining the locals in their everyday lives as much as I can. I want to know what it’s like to live in a place. 

The other night a few Singaporean girls asked me what were my plans for the weekend. I replied that I was just going to walk around and make sure that I came home with great fruit at a good price. They said I sounded like a local. 

I wasn’t shooting for that response but I’ll take it as a compliment. And a guidepost towards a job well done. Tourism isn’t my thing. In fact, I don’t really know what it is. I think tourism is when you go to as many places as you can fit into your trip in order to say that you did all of the things that other tourists did. Tourism satisfies most people’s thirst to “see something different.” 

I want to feel something different. If there is a such thing as a boundary between a tourist and a local I don’t want to know about it. I’m okay seeing people for who they are and not expecting them to put on an act for me. I assume this is what tourism is about.     

Today, a guy working in one of the markets I visited eagerly asked me, “what country are you from? What country are you from?” I said that I’m from America and he responded by saying that I couldn’t be because I didn’t look American. He then asked me what part of Africa I’m from. I think many, not all, black Americans would have taken offense to that question or at least have been confused by his inquiry. Whenever I travel and even just walking around in the U.S. I get asked where I’m from. I’ve heard everything from Egypt, to South America, and even been confused for a Hindi speaker in Delhi. I enjoy joking around with folks. My latest is to tell them I’m aboriginal Australian. I kind of look like them with my hair growing longer than I’ve had it in the past. Don’t take it the wrong way, I really respect my brothers and sisters in Austrailia. 
I made it clear to him that I’m ‘Murican in my best Texas rancher imperialist voice that I could muster. And then he said, “we don’t get many blacks in Singapore.” Then he went on about the texture of our hair, “you never know where someone is from. Sometimes the hair is curly, sometime it’s straight, sometimes it’s so thick and other times thin.” 

I was impressed by his detailed knowledge of black hair textures. I’m pretty sure he covered all the bases. I then asked, knowing the general mixture of Singaporean people, what made up his DNA. Was he Malay, Chinese or something else? 
He said, “look at my skin!” Pointing to his arm and making it clear that he wasn’t mostly Chinese but instead came from Thai roots born by his mother. “I’m only a little Chinese and mostly Thai.” I could hear that he was proud of being Thai. I guess the skin thing is something that people pay attention to in Asia as well. Maybe moreso in the Southern regions where the sun turns people’s skin a variety of colors. 

I’m only beginning to scratch the surface of what it means to live in Singapore. One thing that you’re guaranteed if you live here is access to delicious and satiating food at mind boggling prices. Singapore is a global trading hub which makes it a global food hub. And it’s not just that they have any kind of Asian food you can imagine it’s that every thing tastes amazing. By the time the food get to your mouth it’s been vetted by the discerning tastes of Singaporean locals who know a good thing when they taste it. 

Today, I had Indonesian BBQ that was so good I had to try it twice. First, I ate fried chicken with a curry sauce, sautéed okra and rice. Next, I had a curry chicken set with spinach and rice. The guy who makes it is very demanding; he wants you to know exactly what you want before you go to him to order. Don’t waste his time with hesitation over getting this thing or that. You’ll understand why once you sit down and eat your food. Eating the first bite of fried chicken dipped in the Indonesian gravy will make you want to book your next flight out of Singapore to Jakarta. He’s made a dish so good that it has you pondering how he made it, why he made it and what keeps him going at his age. 

If you aren’t satisfied with your food here you know you’re doing something wrong. In three days I’ve enjoyed everything I ate. Maybe it’s that feeling of gratification that keeps the 5 million or so Singaporeans here in this tiny country year after year. 

Check out a few pictures below and subscribe for more stories from Singapore, Japan and wherever the wind takes me next.



Major Lazer & DJ Snake – Lean On (feat. MØ)

I love this new video Lean On from Major Lazer and DJ Snake with vocals from MØ. What a great combination of cultures aesthetics and sound coming together in this video. Surrounded by beautiful Indian dancers, MØ makes a good focal point with her free spirited style attached to the choreographed dances. Diplo, DJ Snake Jillionaire and Walshy Fire round out the video in a true Indian spirit of coming together through music.


Here’s a great quote from Diplo on making the video in India: “India is special and its beauty absolutely humbled me. When we toured there as Major Lazer, it was mind blowing to see our fan-base and we wanted to incorporate the attitude and positive vibes into our video and just do something that embodies the essence of Major Lazer. Major Lazer has always been a culture mashup and to us, India feels like some kind of special creature with one foot in history and one firmly in the future. The experience is something we’ll never forget.“

®☮ PEACE IS THE MISSION ®☮ PRE-ORDER MAJOR LAZER’S NEW ALBUM OUT JUNE 1: http://smarturl.it/PITMiTunes STREAM LEAN ON: SPOTIFY – http://smarturl.it/MajorLazerHits SOUNDCLOUD – http://smarturl.it/LeanOnStream DOWNLOAD LEAN ON: ITUNES – http://smarturl.it/LeanOniTunes AMAZON – http://smarturl.it/LeanOnAmazon BEATPORT – http://smarturl.it/LeanOnBP FOLLOW MAJOR LAZER: WEBSITE – http://www.majorlazer.com FACEBOOK – http://smarturl.it/MajorLazerFB TWITTER – http://smarturl.it/MajorLazerTwitter INSTAGRAM – http://smarturl.it/MajorLazerInstagram SOUNDCLOUD – http://smarturl.it/MajorLazerSoundcloud GET MAJOR LAZER GEAR WEBSTORE – http://www.LazersNeverDie.com Director – Tim Erem Producer – Per Welén Prod. Co – Diktator DoP – Jacob Möller Editor – Leila Sarraf (Trim Editing) Colorist – Matt Osborne (The Mill) Stylist – Violetta Kassapi India Crew: Producer – Mikhail Mehra Producer – Akshay Multani Associate Director – Mikhail Mehra Assistant DOP – Zaryan Patel Assistant Stylist – NorBlack NorWhite Line Producer – Durgesh Dadich Choreographer – Paresh Shirodkar Production company: Motion Eccentricá Special thanks to VH1 Supersonic and Oji

Song of the New Earth

Song of the New Earth:Tom Kenyon and the Power of Sound is a new documentary about one man’s quest to integrate modern science and ancient mysticism through sound. -SNE

Watching Tom Kenyon’s experience in Song of the New Earth will open your mind to new ways of experiencing life. Tom Kenyon undergoes a personal transformation through sound, and he shares his experience with audiences around the world. Now we are fortunate to have a full length documentary that is eye opening but also funny and heart warming.

Click the link to watch Song of the New Earth.

My Mother’s Unborn Fetus in Technicolor


2001: A Space Odyssey

What was that?!

Waking up from a luminous dream. Is this what really goes on in my psyche? 

With my vision clear and bright I saw a fetus spinning in mid air. A pink fetus spinning in mid air unattached, no umbilical cord, no placenta. Actually, it looked more like a pink hippopotamus than a tiny baby. But I clearly understood that he came from my mother.  Can you see it? I wish I could talk in


Behind him in the distance was my nude mother, the image blurry. I’m sure there’s a technical term for this cinematic effect – I’m not a director, Spielberg.

And then the words from a non-local source, “he was miscarried.”

Anyone have a clue what this means?

My best guess is that the soul contacted me through the dream. You know, just to say hi. “What’s up it’s me. I just called to say hi and I miss you. No worries, I’ll see you when you cross over to the other side. Maybe we can hang out on earth the next time we reincarnate.”

Or maybe the same soul did reincarnate on earth and it’s a sign that he or she is in my life.

Today, I remembered this dream that occurred a month ago after I came across a local shrine here in Tokyo where families place stone dolls on an alter to ensure the safety of miscarried babies. The ritual is meant to protect them so they don’t get lost between worlds. Here’s a picture.


Before there were psychiatrists we had each other and we had spirituality. I imagine that this ritual is really helpful to women and men who recently lost their babies. The ritual called Mizuko Kuyo reemerged in Japan in the 1970’s. As you can see, the statues are dressed up like babies in a kawaii (cute) manner. Playfulness and affection have their place in ritual.

My mother told me that she had a miscarriage so the information from the dream wasn’t as surprising as the content and imagery. It happened some time after I was born. I wonder how my mother felt about her miscarriage. She was a spiritual woman at the time. She must have sent love and affection to the soul that didn’t make it to earth at the time. My sixth sense tells me that whoever that soul was is doing just fine now.

Love and Light,

Mike Free

You can read more about Mizuko Kuyo with this article from The Embryo Project Encyclopedia at Arizona State University.

by Katherine Brind’Amour, Benjamin Garcia

Mizuko Kuyo is a Japanese Buddhist ceremony that focuses on a deceased fetus or stillborn child. This ceremony was originally developed to honor Jizo, a god believed to be responsible for transporting dead fetuses or children to the other world. The practice has become more popular in the last half century due to the growing number of abortions taking place and the particular views that Japanese Buddhists have about fetuses and abortion. Japanese Buddhists believe that honoring Jizo will ensure that their abortedfetus successfully makes it to the other world, where it can be reborn in the future. In a religious context, Mizuko Kuyo provides an example of one of the many ways that fetuses are viewed and treated both in natural death and in abortion.

Literally, Mizuko Kuyo is the “water child memorial service” and the ceremony is deeply meaningful for those who practice it. Traditionally, the mizuko were buried underneath the parents’ house since it was believed that the natural water would wash the mizuko to the natural springs under the earth’s surface. It was believed that these springs were part of the beginning of life. The mizuko, or water child, is said to go from the water of the womb to its original liquid state upon its death. Water is important in Japanese Buddhism, as it represents both death and a faithful acknowledgment that the child will be reborn. Mizuko Kuyo is traditionally practiced on three main holidays. These are the spring equinox, the summer solstice, and a day referred to as “bon,” which is a summer day typically used to honor ancestors.

The mizuko are also celebrated at the Buddhist temples. At the temple the parents may buy a stone tomb and place a statue of Jizo on top of it. This statue usually has a red bib and Jizo is holding a stick with bells on top of it to help the mizuko walk. The stone also has the word “kaimyo” written on it, a traditional name given to someone after they pass away. Jizo statues may be placed in a park outside the temple. These parks are designed specifically for the mizuko and often contain swings, slides, and other playground equipment that children usually play on.

Although these tombs and playgrounds may seem like places to grieve, it is often exactly the opposite. In fact, they are quite happy places. Families of the aborted fetuses or deceased children come to these playgrounds to clean their statues and observe a moment of silence for their mizuko. They put seasonal clothing on Jizo and even set up umbrellas to cover them from the rain. While their other children play, the mothers, and sometimes the fathers, take a bow to honor their mizuko. They also bring toys and flowers and light candles to honor them.

Japanese Buddhism does not regard abortion as harshly as many religions and societies do. Abortion is becoming a common practice in Japan due to its cultural acceptance as a social necessity to protect family values. Mizuko Kuyo is practiced in order to prevent people from feeling that abortion is becoming trivialized and to provide the parents with a therapy for understanding their emotions and dealing with their loss.


  1. Green, Ronald. “The Mizuko Kuyo Debate: An Ethical Assessment.” Journal of the American Academy of Religion 67 (1999): 809–23.
  2. Keown, Damien. Contemporary Buddhist Ethics. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, 2000.


Fetal propitiatory rites–Buddhism;; Abortion;; Fetus;; Stillbirth;; Buddhism; Fetal propitiatory rites–Buddhism;; Abortion;; Fetus;; Stillbirth;; Buddhism; Concept

How to Cite:

Brind’Amour, Katherine,, Garcia, Benjamin, “Mizuko Kuyo”. Embryo Project Encyclopedia (2007-10-30). ISSN: 1940-5030 http://embryo.asu.edu/handle/10776/1716.

Last Modified:

Friday, November 7, 2014 – 12:33


Arizona State University. School of Life Sciences. Center for Biology and Society. Embryo Project Encyclopedia.


© Arizona Board of Regents Licensed as Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0) http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/

– See more at: http://embryo.asu.edu/pages/mizuko-kuyo#sthash.8UMBoPCA.dpuf

33 trips around the sun. Happy Birthday to Me!


I’ve been on this beautiful blue planet since 1982. One of the best years to enter through the portal, I would say. That means I graduated high school and turned 18 at the turn of the millennium in 2000. It’s also the same year E.T. came out. If you know anything about me you’ll know I love E.T. You can check out my blog about it here.

Oh yeah 33 trips, let’s calculate that in miles if it’s possible.

Earth travels 584 million miles in one year. Good god that’s a lot. That’s pretty fast if you ask me. That’s 66,648 miles per hour. In 33 years I’ve been on this awesome ride for 19.3 billion miles!

I’ve traveled pretty far through the universe and I didn’t have to lift a finger.

I’m going to make this a quick post so I can get back to celebrating.

I’m making 3 wishes for my birthday this year. They’re really simple.

1. More love: love is the most powerful force in the universe. If I can harness as much loving energy as possible then I can experience a life without limitations, full of awe and wonder.

2. More creativity: Michael Jackson once said, “I’m happiest when I’m creating.” The same goes for me. Creativity is the greatest joy. Also, I realize now that I’m artist in habit and spirit. Can’t sleep at night. Sometimes I’ll just start imagining myself flying across the world (without an airplane) or jumping across a field of giant mushrooms. I’m not on drugs, I just have an imagination that will take me places. You have to be a little crazy to think that you’re going to move to Tokyo and start a food forest and then act on it.

3. More money ^ That’s why I wish for (and will receive) more money. To fund my crazy ideas that will not seem so crazy in 50 years when the world is completely different from what we see now. I also like Apple products, Tesla cars and international travel.

One last thing, watch these cool videos from Little Dragon.

Peace, love, freedom and Happy Birthday!

Mike Free

Klapp Klapp (part 1)

Pretty Girls (part 2)

Kriya Yoga: divine technology

I am a mystic. So naturally I am attracted to various spiritual practices. Recently, I’ve been studying the life of Steve Jobs who spent time in India in his early adult years. When he returned to Silicon Valley from India he was transformed in such a way that he disturbed the people around him. In his biography Walter Isaacson describes how Steve Jobs would not wear deodorant, went weeks without showering, and soaked his feet in the toilet at the office. He didn’t seem to be bothered by outside influences like the criticsm of his colleagues. He stuck to his ideals like eating a vegan diet.

Jobs wanted everyone who attended his funeral to receive a gift. He gave all attendees a copy of Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. A book that he said changed his life. Steve Jobs practiced Kriya Yoga the technique popularized by Paramahansa Yogananda. According to Paramahansa Yogananda, Kriya yoga is the best yoga to achieve union with the divine.

What better way to have supreme creative abilities than to unite one’s self with the divine? I’m pretty sure that’s what Steve Jobs did, quite often. Perhaps I should call him Steve Baba because he was much more of a guru than anything else. If you look at Apple now, you’ll see that he passed on his methods to his inner circle who now runs the company quite well. Even further afield in Silicon Valley, many CEOs and top talent practice some form of meditation because of Steve Baba.

What would be so compelling and powerful about Paramahansa Yogananda and Kriya Yoga to influence one of the greatest cultural (and technological) revolutions in human history? Here I present a video that I recently came across with words spoken by Paramahansa Yogananda.

This light that he speaks of, “how a million suns do not describe the light of my father,” is the light within that we all seek. The light within that heals us and illuminates our souls and ultimately returns us to the source of all being. We can try to get there lifetime after lifetime through our deeds, this is called karma yoga. Or we can use a powerful technique like Kriya yoga to realize our God-potential on earth.

Either way, I find it quite beautiful that ancient wisdom from India and beyond still has a role in our materialistic and technology driven society. A role that I suspect will only increase as our computing and technological power increases.

Love and Light

-Mike Free

Mantras for Manifestation


Recently, I have been putting too much energy into my own self chatter as I try to make sense of my life, climate change and other crises that the world faces at this critical stage in the earth’s history. I have been able to understand different aspects of my life and my personality as I exist in this historical fragment. However, sometimes my thoughts become too much to handle, and I need to turn down the volume.

Thoughts are physical manifestations of the mind. Just as a guitar uses strings to produce sound waves, the brain uses nerves to produce thoughts. However, the mind and the brain (they are separate) can either play harmonious melodies if they are in tune or a raucous cacophony when out of tune.

One method that I use to condition my mind is to chant a mantra using vowel sounds. Vowel sounds are universal human sounds that are embedded in our space-time reality as harmonious constants. We can harmonize with these constants and condition our minds and bodies by chanting them out loud or even in our heads if necessary. When you chant vowel sounds the sound waves reverberate throughout your body. The cells in your body begin to adhere to the harmonious sounds individually and collectively in systems such as your central nervous system. Once your cells are vibrating harmoniously it sends a positive feedback loop to your brain that then sends more positive thoughts to your cells.

These are the objective effects of chanting. The subjective and unconscious effects of chanting mantras are noticeable in the conditions of your life and the quality of your perceptions. You may perceive more beauty in your daily life. Or have a better experience at work. Your personal relationships may experience more harmony. Or you may have more vivid dreams. The possibilities are infinite.

I titled this post “Mantras for Manifestation,” mostly to get your attention. However, I hope that I made it clear how a vibrational sound wave from your vocal cords actually manifests a new condition in your awareness. It is possible that harmonious mental and physical states will lead to greater prosperity, but there is a lot more to life than material goods. When we can focus on getting our emotional needs met without the use of material objects we feel more fulfilled and happy than we would if we attempt to satisfy those needs by buying something new.

I want to share with you one mantra that I use to harmonize myself on four levels. Before I chant, I remind myself to subdue my ego in order to stay connected to the universe. If it’s a sunny day and I’m outside I like to chant with the sun hitting my third-eye. This really amplifies the effects of chanting.

The mantra goes, Om Maat Ra Ma Om.

Ma'atMaat was an Ancient Egyptian principle that represented harmony between human society and natural laws. The Egyptians deified the principle through the goddess Maat. I believe that their devotion to Maat was a major reason that their civilization lasted thousands of years in prosperity. Maat held their society together by promoting moral behavior by villagers and pharaohs alike. I don’t have a source to show you now, but they must have extended this philosophy to nature. They could have suffered a calamitous event such as a famine, outbreak of disease, or enemy invasion on mere chance alone. Yet they persisted for 4,000 years or more. They must have known that they had to give more to nature than they took from her in order to continue to reap her rewards. Knowing this fact is why I use Maat in my mantra.

magnetosphereRa is the sound of the sun god in Ancient Egypt. It is the masculine creative force represented by the sun.

Ma is the sound of the earth, and it’s also why we call our mother “mama”. It represents the feminine creative force.

Both of these sounds contain a long Ah sound, which was the first sound of creation at the moment of the Big Bang according to several traditions such as the Yogis, Tibetans, and Egyptians.

Om is the sound nature (the universe) makes when it is in harmony with itself. Om actually consists of the sounds Ah-Ooh-Ma, which is why you will also see it written as AUM. The first sound being Ah.

As I chant, I consciously and subconsciously know that I am harmonizing my mind, body and soul with human wellbeing, the sun, the earth and the universe as a whole. The mantra reminds me that the best way to create is not from my ego’s desires but from the higher awareness that I am a small part of a larger whole that is continuously evolving.

The Power of Om, Carl Jung, Dalai Lama


Do you know what Om means? It doesn’t have meaning as much as it has feeling. Maybe a better question is do you know how Om feels?

Over the past six months, after talking intensely with one of my friends about spirituality and the nature of reality, Carl Jung has had an increasingly significant influence on me. She was really into the psychology of Jung from a more let’s say academic perspective. My perspective on most things gets filtered through a spiritual lens: spirit creates matter after all. I never really paid psychology any attention in undergrad. Psychology as it’s taught today is pretty much dominated by Freudian analysis. Freud, I think didn’t get the whole picture because he was stuck on sex. Jung was different, not by choice but by unseen forces that changed the course of Western thought.

When I began to look at Jung’s life I became more and more interested in his spiritual life. His experiences include a Near Death Experience (NDE) during a heart attack where he found himself floating above the Earth and then approaching a temple that was guarded by a “black yogi”. During this NDE he saw his doctor in “primal form” as he put it, and correctly predicted that his doctor would die soon after. He also had dreams that predicted World War I, which led him to study the collective unconscious. His experiences were outside of the realm of acceptable phenomena at the time, and even now. Yet had he remained unaware of his own unconscious and other ways of perceiving the world, he would have remained in a state of psychological distress for his entire life. His work was healing as much as it was revealing.

I recently came across a youtube video describing a conversation between Jung and the author Joseph Campbell. Check the video out before I go further. I’m not sure what the deal is with the naked Egyptian god mock-ups but keep going.

Here, Jung in two places has a transformative experience with the sound Om, the sound nature makes when its in harmony with itself. The spontaneous Om of the scientists sounds as if they were captured by the overflowing love of the universe. As if they instantly became one with nature outside of the control of their ego, a type of instant samadhi. Om, and other sounds, are likely embedded in the fabric of the universe. A type of om field that we can all tune into either knowingly or unconsciously.

The Himalayas really are a special place. I traveled to Ladakh in northern India and stayed there for two weeks. I went to a monastery for children practicing to become the next monks and nuns in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. The love and joy that emanated from these kids was really amazing. They told us that they do prayers and meditation for all of humanity to live in peace and harmony. It’s really special for them to live with that kind of meaning, and practice such discipline at a young age.

I still remember the face of one young nun standing across from me in the temple. The lead monk had us westerners stand up and face the children. They started singing “om mani padme hum” and encouraged us to sing along. I put my hands in a prayer position and after around the third om mani padme hum I hesitatingly started to join the singing. I made eye contact with the little girl and her face lit up as she saw me join in. It was kind of hard for me to look at her as I felt a little weird saying om mani padme hum yet she just radiated infinite love. After a few minutes of singing om mani padme hum, my mood was transformed into one of openness and togetherness as all of prayed for peace and harmony in the world.

I didn’t know what om mani padme hum meant at the time, but I knew how it felt, and that made an impression in my heart chakra that lasts to this day.

If you’d like to know what om mani padme hum means, and how it can be a way to transform your mind, then watch this cool video from His Holiness the Dalai Lama.