Part I: Dreams…When Being and Consciousness Actually Make Sense
When I dream these days, I do not find myself haunted, tormented, torn, longing, or searching. I find myself bearing witness to life around me, all the possibilities of what could have been and what will be. Earlier this month, I dreamed of Yesl giving me a power symbol t-shirt and my mother and father, in some manor in the foggy English countryside. Crashing through the hedge maze and exiting the car to enter the manor, a portrait of my father looks ogrish and sinister, and I become consciously aware that that is within me too, and I resist, because I refuse to lose who I have shaped myself into Being.
In another dream, I find Joel, the betrayer and liar who abused, corrupted, and lived parasitically off of me, in a bookstore, calling my name while I am sitting at a table reading and drinking tea. He tells me he is proud of me for what I have done and I have become, appearing slimy, old, and filthy as he always has, but only worse. I stand, approach him, and strike him in the face, scarring his eye and infuriating him. I am then reading a novel that is a series of fill-in-the-blanks, and it not only tests one’s skills, but improves them and turns into a lucrative venture, one of which happens to be written by Ellen Wong. I then find myself crossing a great, stormy ocean, and arrive in a field in front of her, and she remembers me, and I tell her that I am a Looper: one who has lived in this life many times over, again and again, improving things each time, and meeting her everywhere and every time.
Continuing into another dream, I find myself with the first and third girls from the pharmacy program from my brief dalliance with graduate school, both of them eager to (separately) copulate, but multiple times, the public view prevents it from happening, but it eventually does not stop us, and I recall how much of this is the feminine energy of the Yin and Shakti that seeks me out.
In my final dream, a lucid dream I had with the assistance of my friend and energy worker John, I saw the frost giant and snow blowing over me and taking me somewhere between the ancient mythical Norse winter lands and Japanese snow-covered plains and mountains, that magically still had cherry blossoms blooming in the snow, both places bleeding into each other under a sunless sky.
I am then standing in space, among the stars, and a door to a blue sky and clouds opens, and out of it steps a woman I know, who is also the great female Bodhisattva, Tara, naked and adorned with Tantric energy and jewelry, who approaches me and we unite in one sexual act of bliss and harmony. The storm of lightning bolts and clouds strike, rainbows appear, and pandas in the shape of the great Yin and Yang symbol of duality expand and compress before a cloaked and hooded figure appears: Master Chaos. Opening his cloak, Ellen appears in angelic form with her wings, Tara flies out, and the third pharmacy girl comes last.
It then cuts to a hotel room, and in a hooded sweater, concealing her angel wings, Ellen lifts up a small statue of me, holds it lovingly, and strokes it, and calls me her Shining Soldier. Before the lucid journey concludes, I am before the great tree Yggdrasil, preparing for unity with heaven and earth, and to receive great knowledge and wisdom.
Meanwhile, as I am having these dreams, every book I have read after them have all revealed a strange synchronicity between them, reaffirming that I am a spiritual being having a human experience, a truth universally reached by the Stoics, Taoists, Gnostics, Sufis, and many, many more. But most of my awareness is on the material plane, and despite these revelations and rapid spiritual growth over the years, it is often dismissed as trivial if it does not translate to material wealth.
Part II: Marvels, Miracles, Lotuses and Filth
There is a nettling feeling of inadequacy as I am in this strange land known as America, where I have said before upon my discoveries in social enterprise work and my own spiritual journey that one may not be a bad seed because he is unable to grow in society, but rather the soil may be sour. Yet I can not help but wonder if I am still one ear severance away from becoming Vincent Van Gogh, for the psychic noise of this land drowns many of the lessons I have and compel me at times to question and doubt myself. It’s only when I look at the letters I wrote to my grandmother and the people whom I have helped in my videos that I know I did not come out of a dream, that this land itself is a dream without heart or soul.
These thoughts are common, especially among those destined for greatness. But as this society is sour, it does breed malcontents amidst the discontent. Take for example, Elliot Rodger of the Isla Vista shootings: a boy born of privilege, but the social environment around him limited his mind’s capacity, defining his self-worth based on how many women he had sexual liaisons with and completely ignoring the privilege he was born into. In those lies, he was misled to believe that to validate his existence, he must prove his sexual prowess through his conquests as an Alpha Male (who for all intents and purposes, does not exist).
I can understand and relate to Elliot all too well. For those who know what fragments of myself I have revealed, I had (and still have) plenty of reasons to be as bitter and spiteful as he was. By the same token, I also have much, much more to be grateful for. While we have both found ourselves in the same soil, he could have chosen another path instead of turning something marvelous into filth: he could have been a lotus. He only had to ask if he wanted to do something or be someone.
For three years after my father died, I was involuntarily celibate, and I accept and embrace my sexuality, for I am a sexual being, but I do not let it control me. There were nights I would scream into my pillow in frustration and do hundreds of pushups to alleviate the rage from my body. Unlike Elliot Rodger, I saw not only the problems with the society we were both trapped in (America), but room for self-improvement–and so I worked on every issue I had, from education to health and wealth to principles and grace. I swore to myself that I would not only earn greatness, love, and respect, but deserve it.
Along the way, I realized the inherent problems of these industrial, technologically-advanced societies in the west: the death of community and the failings of a world defined by networks. This creates a great feeling of inadequacy by many, but the reward for my journey and the many lessons learned is that while I may be unwanted, I remain undaunted.
Part III: I am made of clay, but I am a being of light and darkness
There is a feeling of sadness and longing as I write this, for my lover and I have separated because my path in life at this moment does not align with hers. I look at her picture and see her name every day, and my heart breaks for hurting her, almost as it longs to compromise my path and myself to align with her dreams of a family. But the die have been cast, and I would not be who I am without continuing the journey I promised my teachers that I would see to the very end. Not long after our amicable parting, I opened a book speaking of the masters of the Way, and how men must leave their families to enter caves and meditate, or how a prince may be exiled forever from his tribe and beloved to seek his destiny and not only protect his people from himself, but save the world.
One of my masters told me that the greatest challenge sages and heroes face are their families, who do not understand their path, even long before the advent of the machine and stagnation of society as man lost his connection with nature. That is the current challenge with my mother and stepfather, who disagree with my path to help people, saying that it is merely a privilege for those who are financially stable, or rich like the Rockefeller children.
My response to that is that under that model of development, the proper name is colonialism, which has replaced empires with corporations completely, and unlike the East India Company of the British Empire, it is not a pretext for expanding empires, but for fueling collective greed in brief jaunts with no depth or understanding. How well can a wealthy youth really understand from her air conditioned hotel room in two weeks that people living in heat, dust, and malaria for years endure, without the privilege of choice or escape? These people need help now.
But while I am here in America, I practice humility by working as a server in a taco shop. I do not see this as beneath me, I see it as an exercise in dealing with people, and a chance to reflect and observe others and myself. I know I have purpose, and I am not defined by my wages and tips, the clothes I wear, or whatever disrespect a customer shows to me when ordering me around. I practice gratitude, because I have made it this far. I live with purpose, because life exists beyond the four corners of the shop I work in. However, I am still met with ridicule and dismissal by my stepfather and others, who see my life path as merely a phase or impractical. But the real issue is, the further away from Southeast Asia I am, the more I lose my knowledge and connection, for these countries there are growing fast, and within a year or two, all my knowledge will be for naught, and for what? To build a life in a country I do not want to be in, one that I feel no connection or love for, that constantly dismisses me as mediocre for its silly criteria that validates or invalidates an individual’s self-worth?
There was one day my stepfather had a rabbi come in to my workplace and try to convince me to pursue a far more practical vocation than the one I have engaged in. Obviously, it did not work. Why does one find a Buddha in Hell and not Paradise? Because he is needed there even more. I live in a generation of Ronin, where to be a freelancer is the norm rather than staying loyal to any one firm or organization, because security can no longer be placed externally in your employer for life, since you can be replaced easily, that comes from within and knowing your self-worth and value. And with my internal martial arts training and meditation, I know from generating within the means to adapt is no longer something I doubt I can do or fear I am unable to do. If I can endure the ice cold showers I subject myself to daily and still make my bed every time I know it will be messed up again, I know expanding on those metaphors that I am stronger and will always conduct my life in such a way that there is indeed a Kingdom within me, and I am its heir.
Unsurprisingly, all of us are this way too. But so long as others validate themselves through sexual prowess, graduate degrees, wealth, clothes, passport stamps, height, bulging muscles, they are further distanced from the harmony within.
I am an invisible boy, and I am not special: I am made of the same atoms of this universe; heaven shines its sun and rains thunderstorms upon good men and bad men. I exist in not even a small corner of the universe, but a pale blue dot in this universe within the multiverse. But while I am conscious, I must remain awake and help make this blue dot harmonious, for what is this ephemeral existence worth if it is merely to be born, eat, defecate, procreate, and die, with their greatest challenge that they find a way to be self-sufficient in their ability to eat and purchase their own dwellings peacefully before death? That is not my path.
My path lies beyond the stars and both starts and ends in the kingdom within. The more I travel, the further into the kingdom within I venture. The more I help others, the clearer my vision is. The more art I create, the more beauty I bring into this world. The more I learn about this world and befriend its people, the more my love grows, and so does my desire to bring forth more kindness and compassion to others. We can all be like a lotus, and I no longer remain in filth–for I come from the same soil as Elliot Rodger, but I made the choice to better myself for this world instead of destroying what was unable to accept me.
Light and darkness exist within me, but I am made of clay, and I am the artist who sculpts my own Being, not the twisted hands of others who each see the lumps of mud and earth that are our fleshy bodies and see them as ugly. For they believe these fleshy shapes must eventually form into a certain mold, but they do not understand that we must become what we are, like life that comes out of an egg knows better what it will be than what beings outside of the egg assume it must be. Without the warmth of loving kindness, the cosmic egg within all of us becomes cold and never hatches, and we are merely automatons, whose emotions and value are triggered by others pressing our buttons, pulling the switch that says “worthy” or pressing the button that says “invalid”. But as I awaken more of that within me, I remember who I am, and I am not meant to fit in, as my beloved grandmother tells me, but to shine and stand out. I take this further, though: when I shine, it is only because I am able to show everyone else how to light their own candle within.