I love the ancient philosophies and spiritual traditions. They embraced the notions of reason, the feeling of deep connectedness, and inner peace as guides to living the best life possible. These ideas were prominent in the ancient East and West. They placed primary importance on mental states rather than the results of actions. Of course, actions are the outcome of character traits, but the value was on the traits first since they were thought to be the genesis of actions. In essence: happier, calmer individuals create happier, calmer circumstances.
I am not a philosopher in the sense that many associate with that word. No academic philosophy program is lurking behind the ideas I offer. I am fascinated with that most basic desire of most people: how to live fulfilled lives and enjoy a happy inner experience. I’ve become convinced that the ideas we hold about reality, morality, knowledge, etc. are crucial to what I’ve noticed everyone seems to be striving for – a good life of fulfillment, satisfaction, happiness.
I make no claim to knowing “the truth”. I just share the ideas and perspectives I’ve found worthwhile, and some which I did not. You will be the judge of what is valuable to you.
All my views about social issues, politics etc. are informed by these concepts. I have no interest in proving, defending, or debating these. It has taken me a long time to identify these as core values and the order in which they are shown as one following upon the other. I try to live with the implications of these 3 ideas, although not without difficulty sometimes:
I own myself and am responsible for my actions. No other person, group, country etc. has a claim on my life, nor can I blame anyone for my choices.
Due to self-ownership, I consider it morally wrong to initiate violence, force, coercion, aggression against another individual. The operative word in this principle is ‘initiate’. We’ve known this since kindergarten when the first question asked to resolve a dispute between children is “who started it?”
I believe only individuals can act or be acted upon. Groups do not exist as separate entities, but rather as a conceptual aggregate of individuals.
In 1989 I began formal training in martial arts, and was particularly intrigued with the internal methods of Baguazhang, Taijiquan, and Qigong. Baguazhang (Bagua) in particular appealed to me because I had been told by a karate teacher that “Bagua artists are the longest living martial artists” Click here to see my Bagua teacher’s site.
Today, I’m in my early 60s. It has been over 25 years since I set foot inside my first internal arts class and there have been many twists and turns along the way. It would not be an understatement to say this has been and continues to be an adventure in possibilities.
Meditation here takes on two forms. The introspective consideration of ideas as found in the west, along with the silence of mind practiced in the east. I was raised in the West. So I’ve always asked questions and sought reasoned clarity.
I have come to respect Eastern methods used to explore the mind and understand how much trouble it can cause us when not clearly observed. So very early in my life (age 18) I became interested in the inner life in general and meditation in particular. My approach to meditation is a combination of methods and ideas from a variety of traditions.
Creating music has been part of my life since childhood. As a teenager and young adult I played in a variety of bands. In the 1970s it was pop/rock/fusion that had my attention, having been influenced especially by the progressive rock groups such as Genesis, Yes, Santana, Jethro Tull etc.
All through this period I was quietly fascinated with classical and experimental electronic music. Artists like Tangerine Dream, Klaus Shultz, Vangelis, Larry Fast, and Wendy Carlos fascinated me. Synthesizers and computer technology were becoming more affordable and I was enthralled with being able to create those lush orchestral sounds.
As I matured (somewhat) into the 1980s my tastes turned towards the jazz side of things, especially jazz/rock fusion. The complex harmonies, melodies, and rhythms of pioneers like Miles Davis, Chick Corea, Weather Report, John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock etc. moved me away from pop sounds. But once again, the attraction was the experimental sonic explorations these artists represented.
All through these years I played with tape recorders, synthesizers, sequencers, and various effects. I was constantly combining sounds to answer the question that always lurked “what would it sound like if….?”
As computer technology has advanced exponentially over the years, I have tried to keep up. Now that a single artist can express virtually any musical ambiance, the adventure of creating personal music calls me in a way that was not possible before. So I now can answer that lurking question no matter how often it appears. Some of my pieces will be enjoyable, others not. But all of them are a part of me and I hope some will offer some enjoyment for you.