Monday, October 3, 2011

Pure Relief

Simplicity seems like the way towards bliss and peace and prosperity.  Release and just go downstream, let the river of your intentions take you to where you are meant to be.  I am relaxing now into the feelings of Pure Relief.  Breathing deep and accepting fully that this is the moment that I have always been destined for. It seems like whenever I stop trying to be so good at it, then I am good at it. 

I remember my 23rd birthday so clearly.  I was living in Meigs County, Ohio up on the farm.  I happened to have a little bottle of magic juice that I had transported directly from Oregon.  Now one little drop from this magic bottle would transport you into multidimensional perspectives of this world.  One time, I traveled into the cells of my body and became a chromosome inside one of my cells, completely enveloped into the inner space of my cosmic essence body.   So, I was convinced that this stuff really worked.  I mean it did work.  It was magic.

It was my birthday, and my friends down the street were having a huge party up in the woods. They set up a stage and invited this Grateful Dead cover band to play.  It was fall in Ohio with the smell of cool harvest and orange leaves in the air and everyone wanted to let go, far up in the woods, and transcend their normal lives.  I remember just standing there and watching as the band took the stage and someone said, "the lead guitarist isn't here", and everyone thought, oh no, what are we going to do without the lead guitarist to take us into transcendental realms of consciousness. 

Now, I wasn't really a lead guitar player, or so I thought, but someone set up an electric guitar on the stage with an amp and as the band was performing, it was just calling to me.  The magic juice had begun to manipulate this guitar into a throbbing dancing liquid musician, and it was reaching for me saying, "play me, play me."  One of my friends, observing my hypnotic stare, said, "go on and play," and pushed me onto the stage.  Before I knew it, I was the lead guitarist up there with my eyes closed playing just like Jerry Garcia.  When I closed my eyes, it was perfect.  I was just listening to one of those thousands of Grateful Dead shows that my brother had on tape, and it sounded exactly like that.  But, when I realized that I was playing it, it started to get completely off key and tempo.  Somebody screamed my name, "Go Tony," and it was like as soon as I heard my name I almost dropped the guitar and the groove got all fucked up.  But then, the other guitar guy who looked like this big fuzzy golden bear looked over at me and said, "you can do this man, just let it go." 

Then, and I will never forget this moment, I felt into my body and all the way down to my feet.  And from my feet, I could feel roots growing out of my shoes into the earth.  And kept going down into the earth, and way down there, under the layers of this reality, I found it.   It was the music, we were all playing way down there.  So I closed my eyes, and went down into the center of the earth, and I played that music all night without another slip.  I could not have told anyone what mode or key or amp setting my guitar was at.  I could not have even listed the songs that we played, but I know that it was awesome, so good that the band and I played all the way until the sun came up. 

I realized that night that music was like the air we breath, like the river that flows effortlessly, like the magic of an unadulterated conversation or the flow of a storyline.  Life can be magical in the moments when we let go.  I don't know if its spirit or intuition or if we all have some sort of superhero inside of ourselves that just wants to come out and be amazing, but honestly, it doesn't matter what it is.  The important thing is that it is there, and when we let go and just enjoy the ride, life is amazing. 

Friday, August 19, 2011

Break down the Dams

I feel like an undamned river.
Damn river ..
Its all clogged, like deep fried carnivore arteries.
And then, suddenly the damn breaks, because of some unseen forces in nature or whatever and its like
The water flows and feeds the cracked dry earth.
The blood flows into the starving brain and I get tingles that trickle down my spine.
The tingles are God-light
I don't care if you don't believe me because I can make up any story I want.
If I want to believe that I am awesome, then I am.
No matter what you say.

And so .. That is it.
I was trapped in a cavernous abyss of lightlessness and now I am free .. or aleast I am free in my mind.
But that is all that counts.

This is how it happened.  There I was, tapping my forehead and my eyes and my belly and my face.  Tap tap tap .. I love to tap away all my pains .. hey whatever works.

So anyway, I was sitting here tapping away my pains when suddenly,  I had a vision.  And this wasn't just a run of the mill vision like when you are half asleep and half awake and you see yourself playing music in front of thousands of people and everyone is screaming your name, singing your songs and throwing you money.  This was a real vision.

I knew it was real because I could feel the bear fur on my skin, and I could smell the breath of angels which smelled like jasmine mixed with mud, and I could hear the words of the animals that spoke to me in a language that was not English, and I understood everything.  The bummer was that I woke up and forgot most of it.  Actually, I think of it as sort of a zip file within a zip file within a zip file, and I am slowly opening it up as I go and getting pieces of the vision downloaded to me in waves.  And this is the first piece, that is ... this is what the animal/monster/alien/man told me ..

Free yourself.
Open up your heart and let the waters flow uninhibited.
Open up your voice and release the music even if you are afraid of singing out of tune, or being stupid.
Open up your hands and minds and let the words flow even if you think you have nothing to say.
Break down the dam and the unknown river will reveal itself and you will be filled with joy.

And so I have, and I feel wonderous and I just don't want to stop ..
I want to follow this river to wherever it goes.

And that is all for now.
End transmission.


It's not that I am angry or fearful or upset at anything or anyone. I have spent years meditating and absorbing the energies already present in the earth. I have spent lifetimes entrenched in the global emotion of death and rebirth. I have effortlessly manifested worlds and created whole new patterns of thought and art and music. I have been stamped with the divine emblem of unity and I have become you now. In fact, I am happy to be just this .. a reflection .. an echoing vibration .. a pool of water that contains a little peace of all of us, our blood, urine, sweat, tears, and the drops that spilled unknowingly off of our chins.

We are truly all one, and I feel us, I know us, I embrace us. But this time, I want to embrace every part of us and not leave anything out. I shun the ideas of taboo. I discard all fears. I release all previous notions and definitions. I breath deeply and pull into my chest the moon and the sun of you, the dark and the light of you, the high and the low of you, the love and the hate of you and I exhale only love. The love I exhale has no evil counterpart. It is unable to be polarized as it has no contradiction and no opposite. It is love, acceptance, grace, and embrace.
Simple and pure, like the God that is all encompassing, the energy that cannot be named, the spirit of oneness that contains all and is all.

These words are personal, and they are universal, because love is only a story that we experienced and told many times. My story had everything in it. I was at once a pot-smoking revolutionary with dreadlocks and a bare-footed calculus professor and math nerd. I was at once tripping psychedelic through joyful love and captivated by worlds of fear. I remember cutting off my dreadlocks and crying to Bob Marley lost in the questions of why is society this way - designed to torture and enslave the self that longs to be free. Now it is coming .. freedom.

Freedom will come disguised as destruction of an old paradigm. John Lennon asked if we could imagine no countries and no religions .. but at this point, I would like to update John Lennon's lyrics and ask:

Imagine there's no cell phones. It's very hard to do.
No way to call or text me, and no facebook too.
Imagine all the people meeting on the street yahaa wohoo
You may say I a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
Someday society will crumble, and the world will live as one.

Imagine there's no Whole Foods. Come with me and try.
All of us will be farming, beneath one beautiful sky.
Imagine there's no money, and we share all the world.
You may say I a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
Corporate Empires must falter, and the world will live as one.

Imagine there's no petrol, and no bottled water too.
No military control, no jails, and no schools
Imagine its just us on the mountain, growing our own food
You may say I a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
Noone knows what will happen, but I pray the world will live as one.

Something like that anyway. Actually, we have to live as one .. because we have no choice. And whether or not we recognize it, no matter where on this beautiful earth we reside, we all breath the same air, drink the same water, share the same sky, and draw our energy from the same earth. So we are all one .. forever and ever. Amen.

Join the world this September on 9/11 for a prayer for peace .. Maybe this is the kind of moment we need to tip the balance of love and start to live the world that we imagine possible.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Detached From My Mother Again

It may be a long time before things are ok again.
Life seems to be taking lots of twists and turns ..
Shoving truth in our faces.
There is so much talk about reality creation and you get what you think about, but I don't really know ..
Is there any hope for those who are lost in thoughts that circle endlessly?
What if I didn't take the time to meditate or to ponder the meaning of life?
What if I was too busy trying to survive to go through the 14 steps of enlightened thinking or to read the Power of Now?
What if I was just trying to raise a family and worked wherever and did whatever and couldn't see any of that or didn't want to?

Funny .. its funny sometimes.
Other times it is heavy like acid rain in my stomach .. like squeezing tears from dehydrated eyes. I feel myself wanting to cry and there are no tears.

Joy must triumph, but in the mean time, there is pain, there is sorrow, there are billions of Holden Caulfields wondering where is the genuine human experience.

I know that sometimes it is too much to go through misery, loneliness or pain. Everyone will say, "Stay positive and Be Happy". But I am not happy with lies.
The truth is, I am not doing so well - the music that I make feels good in the moment, but the business is hell, and the money non-existent.

I want to be a writer, but I never write.
That is like saying, I want to win the lottery but I never buy a ticket.

I know why that guy is holed up with a Gun in the Hotel on the 580. Swat teams come with more guns, and newscasters call him a deranged lunatic, but inside they are at the same razors edge, wondering if one moment of despair would be enough to push them there. Me, I would never resort to violence, rather, I would run into the wilderness. I would take my family and everything I needed for survival and flee to the hills of Mount Shasta or Marble Mountain or Maui, and separate myself entirely from this madness.

I have been there, up in those mountains when the air blows pure over the dancing treetops and the birds fly gracefully overhead liberating my spirit.
I have been there in the timeless moments of earth change, geological freeze frames of evolution. The only violence I know is the crashing waves on the cliffs of Kipahulu and the thunderous roar of glacier melt rivers. I would happily live out my days in the bosom of Earth, and think not gain of bills and flyers and festivals and shows and maybe that is where I should go. Maybe that is why I feel this pain. I have been detached from my mother again.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Review - "Gold"

Bay Area artist Singing Bear may have grown up in Ohio, but with his conscious style, it comes as no surprise that he has found his audience in California, dense with New Age spirituality. His unabashedly awakened lyrics may prove too far out for some, but given a chance, Singing Bear’s superb musicianship and sensual vocals just may win over new fans and lead to new awakenings. For those already in a similar mindset, his new album Gold is a perfect mix of dance tracks and folk pop.

The title track of Gold quietly shimmers in with pads, acoustic guitar and Singing Bear’s hypnotic voice. Drums and harmony kick in on the line “lift me up” in a wonderful moment of prosody and the song turns danceable. The lyrics advocate reaching for dreams, not allowing anyone to get in the way of his and then promising not to get in anyone else’s way either.

“Believe” keeps the dance vibe going with a funky New Age rap about saying yes, and a soaring melodic chorus about believing and accepting the blessings of day-to-day life. The instrumental solo rocks out with wah-wah electric guitar. “Relax Intuit” begins with a scorching blues harmonica and chronicles the struggles of a seeker’s path, first breaking out of the programmed ideas of the system, and then frustrated with whether or not he is “meditating right”. As Singing Bear continues to find his way, the more he looks, the more he embraces the mystery. The song encourages him to relax, use heart and intuition to guide him through life, because spirit always knows what is for the highest good.

An atmospheric rock intro opens “Again”, which speaks to the hard times of today and the fear of what might come, but asks why be afraid of what we don’t know? The only constant is that everything is going to change again and again. Singing Bear declares he would rather sing out of tune than not sing at all, rather die trying than live a lie and asks us to go deeper into our own hearts. Slowing things down even further, “Beautiful Life” starts with sparse acoustic guitar and pads. Drums, vocal doubling, and harmony on chorus fill out the song to dreamy rock. As the lyrics “It’s a beautiful life, such a beautiful life” repeat, we believe, because Singing Bear acknowledges that doesn’t mean everything is perfect. We all run ourselves in circles and fall down from time to time, but we have each other to remind us to rise up again with gratitude.

The rolling, shuffling, rhythm of “Walking and Dancing” picks up the pace with an infectious dance beat, a head-bobbing bass line and a hot electric guitar solo. Keeping things hot, the sensuous reggae of “Reach Back” with a thick bass line and tight drums, speaks to how we all grow on the same tree, are fruits on the same vine. If we reach back to the moment of creation we all started from the same seed. Smoking horns on the solo section turn the heat up a notch further.

Before burning us up completely, Singing Bear cools it down with “H2O”. The song opens with an American Indian Elder offering a prayer of thanks to water for how it sustains and nourishes all life on the planet. Very atmospheric, watery synth builds below Singing Bear’s almost chant-like continuation of the theme before breaking into a funky love song to the ocean. Following up with the slow, mellow rock of “Earth Song”, Singing Bear claims he didn’t write the song but rather just joined in with what the planet has been singing since the beginning. He elaborates to say we’re all singing Earth’s song whether we know it or not, and because of this there will always be music. Bluesy organ adds an extra layer of soul to the already soulful vocals.

Perhaps wisely, the well crafted track listing of Gold saves the most “out there” songs of the bunch for the end, because by this time you are already a Singing Bear fan, prepared for whatever ride he takes you on. “Molecular Transport” starts out with a red-hot wailing harmonica. A seventies style ska flavored guitar vamps behind a lyrical ride through parallel universes and third eye openings. “Mind Sex”, encouraging mental foreplay, is a super funky throwback to Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”. An extremely deep voice both harmonizes and adds sexy commentary throughout, while an ethereal synth line floats over the low funk bass, giving further emphasis to the merging of spirituality and sensuality.

With a tight band that effortlessly moves through a variety of dance genres and a clear, confidant, and mesmerizing voice, Singing Bear is sure to continue building a devoted fan base. Having the musical chops to hold his own playing next to someone like Jason Mraz, some may misguidedly counsel Singing Bear to mold his lyrics into something more commercial, but in an age over-stuffed with commerciality, what the world needs is more Singing Bears.

Review by Heather Miller-Rodriguez

Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)

Monday, July 12, 2010

We are the Wise Ones

The teachers of the world, the spiritual educators, the wisdom keepers, the priests and shaman cannot give me wisdom. Pure wisdom comes only from loss and failure, from mistakes and disappointment, from pain and sorrow and breath and presence. You cannot make this shit up, and shame on you for those who try to. Don't pretend wisdom! How could you do such a disgraceful thing. That is like lying to yourself, denying your true nature, slaying your own blood. You have all the answers you are capable of receiving right now.

Many argue that you must have faith, but I think faith is for wimps. Faith is an invisible hope that something that you will never experience is real after all. I say, develop trust. Build it like a sculpture, or a house. Grow it like a garden or a forest. Trust is an agreement between souls, an acknowledgment of the existence of a consciousness. Simply look back and see how your life and the event of your life have effortlessly guided you towards this present state and now you are reading this.

This writing, like all the other reflections in your life, is a sign that you have arrived even here, to this present moment, and that you are ready to receive this message. Now you can trust that there is a force both within you and around you, call it God or love or the river of life, that is guiding you towards your own inner wisdom. You can trust that you are on the right path, that you are growing and changing, expanding and becoming stronger and more aware.

Some people struggle in the darkness for their whole lives and never feel any solid object, and semblance of constancy, of love, of trust. They are also guided by these same forces. And though it may seem utterly hopeless to them, there are always signs along their path beckoning them to embrace their inner wisdom, if only they could see them.

The signs are here all the time, in every moment of every day. It is as if God has his hands stretched out in ever moment to guide us onward if only we are to trust and reach for it. Even the pain and sorrow, even the difficulty and struggle, pushes us to dig deeper for those things that matter the most.

Do you notice how loving people get after there is a crisis? How environmental people get after there is an oil spill? How spiritual people become after there is an idiot criminal president? Do you notice how filled with love and surrender people become when they know that they are dying?

These moments of hardship are the most potent sign posts of all. These tribulations are our priests and shaman. Look deeply into the eyes of your fear, of your pain, and their lies your wisdom. There lies your knowing, your truth, what is most important to you. When we strip back the layers of this existence and just allow ourselves to be who we are without judgment and fear. When we trust that we are gifts to the universe, that we are special and unique like each individual star in the multitude of stars, then we see that we are the wise ones.

I did not learn this from some book. In fact, I don't even read spiritual books, and self help texts. I did not learn this from someone else. This was written from my own experience, from my own observation, our of my own pain and suffering and love and trust. I am allowing myself to hear myself.

I did not write this for you. I wrote this for me.

This is my experience, my life, my journey. I wanted to hear myself say it, I wanted to see the words on paper for myself so that I could trust in my own wisdom. I wanted to hold them, embrace them, cherish them like my own blood, like my family. This is how I will become a father. This is how I will be strong for my friends in my community. This is how I will enter the kingdom of heaven right here on earth.

No one can tell you how to live your life. It is not a question of morals or virtue. It is a quest for inner knowing. It is a quest for personal truth. Your truth is not my truth. Let it be known that whatever happens with the world, with the economy, with the environment, with war, and grief, and solitude, and destruction, that we are wealthy in wisdom, that we each bear bountiful truths, that we are brilliant little stars.

And through these dark times, may we find trust in ourselves and the forces of nature and spirit the strength and inner knowing. Like a moth that struggles to free itself from the cocoon, we will find that all of our struggle was only strengthening us for flight.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Poetry is Dying ...

What ever happened to the language of love?
Rumi and Yeats have transformed into Lady Gaga and the Black Eyed Peas.
Where are the mysterious eyes and the warm words?
Where are the flowers? Why hasn't anyone tried to uncover my truth?
Why hasn't anyone slowed down to hear my heart beat?
Don't they know that I am naked and waiting for the stars to shower their light through these eyes and press wisdom through these lips?
Texting is more common. Drinking is easy. Sex is simple.
But genuine, true connection is going out of style.
I don't want to stand by and watch poetry die.
I will be the hopeful romantic in the age of chaos.
I will continue to sing in cafes and bars and on your screen, just to keep poetry alive.
My skin is waiting through these cloudy days for a touch from our sun.
These, my days of waiting, will no longer be consumed with emptiness.
I will fill each precious moment with the language of love.
This way, we humans will survive this genocide of the mind, this destruction of intimacy.
And as we sing and listen to these songs, we will celebrate a new beginning of genuine connection, creative communication, and true love.