Tag Archives: Esoteric

Reflection for today…Critical Reading -Henry David Thoreau & Tupac Shakur

13 Sep

* Editor’s Note: Today {September 13th, 1996} marks the 23rd anniversary of Tupac’s tragic death at the age of 25.

Rest in Peace Tupac.

We will continue to celebrate your life and your legacy.

{Things are not the same without you…}

https://2paclegacy.net/today-marks-23-years-since-tupac-was-killed/ 

In this reflection, I wanted to explore the intellectual and poetic side of Tupac that is rarely discussed {the same happens with Jim Morrison the lead singer of The Doors}.

I hope to explore other artist’s reading lists in future reflections.

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“Readers are plentiful;  

thinkers are rare.”  
Henry David Thoreau

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Tupac Shakur was always hungry for knowledge.  

He was a voracious reader and student of life. His passion for learning and social justice advocacy was a part of his essence. 

Tupac’s intellectual power came from a vast knowledge of eclectic topics. He loved to explore esoteric, the metaphysical and philosophical topics. This study became the foundation for his song lyrics and life philosophy.

His mother, Afeni Shakur, had already instilled in him a revolutionary education as she was a member of The Black Panthers. She passed on her wisdom and Tupac continued to polish the jewels.

Tupac was truly an autodidact {a self-taught person}. He would educate others through his song lyrics.

Tupac Shakur Smiling

“Before his tragic death at age of 25, Tupac rapped about poverty, violence in the black community, police brutality, black empowerment, political strategy and spirituality.” https://www.blackfaves.com/story/11-books-tupac-shakurs-bookshelf-still-relevant-today/

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In this short video, Tupac’s first manager Leila Steinberg discusses Tupac’s love of literature and critical thinking.

Tupac Shakur and Leila Steinberg

Leila Steinberg is an artist and community organizer who began working with youth twenty years ago in the San Francisco Bay area. As the daughter of a criminal defence attorney, she grew up surrounded by the workings of the justice system and took a front row seat at the personal tragedies and socio-economic pressures that turn so many at-risk youths into hardened felons. Steinberg helps them connect with their hearts and turn anger and pain into creativity.
AIM promotes artistic expression as a way to handle problems as opposed to choosing violence, drugs or other forms of escape. As the program facilitator, Steinberg sees confronting pain as the best way to move past it. She believes self-awareness is a key to making better choices.

Steinberg is committed to helping people who fall through the cracks of society. In 1995 she began a series of specialized programs for youth within the juvenile justice system and those residing in residential treatment facilities. As hip-hop music became the expression of today’s youth, Steinberg began training artists to develop voices powerful enough to reach a generation. While conducting poetry workshops in Northern California, she met Tupac Shakur and he became a regular participant in her class. They shared a vision of developing a space where each artist in attendance is encouraged, inspired and motivated to address social change in their work. Tupac referred to Leila as the “bow” and himself as the “arrow.” –http://www.pinlight.com/leila.htm

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This clip is from the movie Tupac Shakur: Thug Angel.

It is said to be a “documentary examining the politics, music and life of Tupac Shakur.”

This is the description from the Youtube video…

This is a list of books read by Tupac during his lifetime including while he was at the Baltimore School of Arts and in prison. They are presented in no particular order. The topics include Black history, the afterlife, religion including Zen, war, women’s liberation, music, and poetry. Reading these books, it is clear how they moulded Tupac’s thinking and language. This is a handy list of good reading material if you ever find yourself locked up.”

 One Hundred Years of Solitude
Written by: Gabriel Garcia Marquez

1984
Written by: George Orwell

Ah, This!
Written by: Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh

All God’s Children:
The Boskett Family and the American Tradition of Violence
Written by: Fox Butterfield

All You Need to Know About the Music Business
Written by: Donald Passman

And Still I Rise
Written by: Maya Angelou

Art of War
Written by: Sun Tzu

Assata: An Autobiography
Written by: Assata Shakur

At the Bottom of the River
Written by: Jamaica Kincaid

The Autobiography of Malcolm X
As told to: Alex Haley

Bhagavad-Gita As It Is
Written by: A.C. Bhaktive-danta Swami Prabhupada

Black Like Me
Written by: John Howard Griffin

Black Sister:
Poetry by Black American Women, 1746 to 1980
Edited by Earlene Stetson

Blues People
Written by: Amiri Baraka

Catcher in the Rye
Written by: J.D. Salinger

The Complete Illustrated Book of the Psychic Sciences
Written by: Walter B. Gibson and Litzka R. Gibson

The Confessions of Nat Turner
Written by: William Styron

The Destiny of the Nations
Written by: Alice A. Bailey

The Diary of Anais Nin
Edited and with a Preface by: Gunther Stuhlmann

The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy
Written by: E.D. Hirsch, Jr., Joseph F. Kett, James Trefil

The Grapes of Wrath
Written by: John Steinbeck

Great White Lie:
Slavery, Emancipation and Changing Racial Attitudes
Written by: Jack Gratus

The Harder We Run:
Black Workers Since the Civil War

Written by: William H. Harris

Here and Hereafter
Written by: Ruth Montgomery

I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings
Written by: Maya Angelou

I Shall Not Be Moved
Written by: Maya Angelou

Imitation of Christ
Written by: Thomas a Kempis

In Search of Our Mother’s Gardens
Written by: Alice Walker

Initiation
Written by: Elisabeth Haich

Interesting People:
Black American History Makers

Written by: George L. Lee

James Baldwin: The Legacy
Edited by: Quincy Troupe

Kabbalah
Written by: Gersham Scholem

Life and Words of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Written by: Ira Peck

Life as Carola
Written by: Joan Grant

Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs
Written by: Linda Goodman

Makes Me Wanna Holler
Written by: Nathan McCall

The Meaning of Masonry
Written by: W.L. Wilmshurst

Moby Dick
Written by: Herman Melville

Monster:
The Autobiography of an L.A. Gang Member

Written by: Sanyika Shakur

Music of Black Americans: A History
Written by: Eileen Southern

Mysticism
Written by: Evelyn Underhill

Native Son
Written by: Richard Wright

Nature, Man and Woman
Written by: Alan W. Watts

No Man Is an Island
Written by: Thomas Merton

Nostradamus: The Millennium & Beyond
Written by: Peter Lorie

The Phenomenon of Man
Written by: Teilhard de Chardin

Ponder on This: A Compilation
From the Writings of: Alice A Bailey & the Tibetan Master, Djwhal Khul

The Practical Encyclopedia of Natural Healing
Written by: Mark Bricklin

The Prince
Written by: Niccolo Machiavelli

The Psychedelic Experience:
A Manual Based on the Tibetan Book of the Dead
Written by: Timothy Leary, Ph.D., Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., Richard Alpert, Ph.D.

The Psychic Realm
Written by: Naomi A. Hintze and J. Gaither Pratt, Ph.D.

A Raisin in the Sun
Written by: Lorraine Hansberry

Roots
Written by: Alex Haley

Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools
Written by: Jonathan Kozol

Secret Splendor
Written by: Charles Essert

Serving Humanity
From the writings of: Alice A. Bailey

Sisterhood is Powerful:
Anthology of Writings from the Women’s Liberation Movement
Written by: Robin Morgan

The State of the World Atlas
Written by: Michael Kidron and Ronald Segal

Social Essays
Written by: LeRoi Jones

The Souls of Black Folk
Written by: W.E. Burghardt DuBois

Teachings of the Buddha
Written by: Jack Kornfield

Telepathy
Written by: Alice A Bailey

The Tibetan Book of the Dead
Written by: W.Y. Evans-Wentz

Thoughts and Meditations
Written by: Kahlil Gibran

Tropic of Cancer
Written by: Henry Miller

The Visionary Poetics of Allen Ginsberg
Written by: Paul Portuges

Wisdom of Insecurity
Written by: A.N. Watts

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
Written by: Robert M. Pirsig

Copied from: https://www.thuglifearmy.com/index.php/tupac-reading-library.html

{Goodreads also has an alternate list of books that Tupac read}.

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For more information…

Henry David Thoreau…http://thoreau.library.ucsb.edu/thoreau_life.html

Tupac Shakur…http://2pac.com/

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000637/?ref_=nmbio_bio_nm

https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/23942.Books_Read_by_Tupac_Shakur_

Tupac Shakur: Thug Angel Movie…http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0314806/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1

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Peace & Poetic Love

-V.

Reflection for today…The Secret of The Universe -Rumi

9 May

“Last night, I begged the Wise One to tell me the secret of the world.

Gently, gently he whispered:

Be quiet, the secret cannot be spoken,

it is wrapped in silence.”
-Rumi

Peace & Namaste…

Reflection for today…How Art Evolves Consciousness -Alex Grey

5 Apr

“Art is an echo of the creative force that birthed the galaxies.

Creativity is a 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

Alex Grey working his artistic magic..

Alex Grey at his artistic/alchemical laboratory…

Dalai Lama by Alex Grey

I first came across Alex Grey’s art on the rock band Tool’s cd cover.

Please enjoy “Cosmic Creativity: How Art Evolves Consciousness: Alex Grey at TEDxMaui 2013″…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_YJToyOp_4

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For more information on Alex Grey, please visit his official website:

http://alexgrey.com/

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Peace & Namaste…

Japan’s Suicide Forest Teaches About Compassion & The Human Need For Real Connection…

18 Sep

Suicide is a very uncomfortable and necessary subject to discuss.

I recently came across a YouTube video that left such an impact on me that I was not able to write a blog post until now {approx. 18 days}.

The vice documentary left such a deep impression on me that I had to reflect for a while before I could decide what to write.

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Japan’s Aokigahara (青木ヶ原) forest also known as the Sea of Trees (樹海 Jukai) or the Suicide forest is a place where many people go to contemplate suicide.

Sadly, many actually commit suicide.

I feel so much compassion for people who are considering suicide as a way to end their pain.

I strongly believe that people do not actually want to die but to end their pain and they do not see another way to achieve this.

Below is an actual suicide note found in the forest.

I find it heart breaking.

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Many moons ago, I had a friend that was considering suicide.

I pray that he finds the strength to fight against his darkness.

I am still haunted by the fact that he felt this depressed but I could not do anything to heal his pain.

I know that only he can heal his pain.

I did my best to be a loving friend but I know that we cannot truly save anyone.

We can only save ourselves. 

In fact, we always had a friendly argument about saving and being saved.

It revolved around the graphic novel and film Sin City.

Here is the trailer in case you are interested

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YKFLrTYKIXk

Please click this link for more information on the movie: Sin City.

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Marv was so madly in love with Goldie and he loved her so much that he wanted to go to hell to save her.

My friend fiercely defended his thesis of loving someone so deeply that you go to hell to save them.

Art Made By Nat Wellington at http://boodoyouthinkyouare.blogspot.ca/

Conversely, I went for a different thesis. I said that you can love someone so much that you get out of hell because of your love for them and possibly their love for you. Your love for them is so powerful and/or their love for you is so strong that you pull yourself up with your own strength and get out of hell- your personal hell or the other kind. In essence, you save yourself instead of saving someone else.

No one was right or wrong. It was fun to discuss but I stand by my point of view even though I recognize his had merit. It all depends on how you look at things. It was a healthy discussion nonetheless.

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Can we actually save someone?

Dita Von Teese & Marilyn Manson in Vogue Magazine

Dita Von Teese & Marilyn Manson in Vogue Magazine Photo By Steven Klein

 Azusa Hayano makes me question my beliefs that we cannot save anyone but ourselves.

I do believe we can help someone to save themselves and this is what I think he does so brilliantly and compassionately.

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We meet an extraordinary soul, Azusa Hayano, in this vice documentary.

He is a geologist that does the most important job of suicide patrol in the forest. {I discovered from another video that the police also seem to do suicide patrol}.

Azusa also studies how people co-exist with nature because he says it is part of environmental research.

He still does not know why people kill themselves in such a beautiful forest (18:53) although he does explain that it may be because of a popular book written in the past.

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Azusa patrols the forest looking for people who are contemplating suicide in hopes of convincing them otherwise.

He even finds a man in a yellow tent that appears to have been contemplating suicide. According to the VICE website comments found at http://www.vice.com/vice-news/aokigahara-suicide-forest-v3, the man in the yellow tent had been camping in the forest for one month. He had to be taken out in an ambulance.

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The police even put up signs to try to stop people from committing suicide. They also provide the number for suicide hotlines.

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I found it fascinating that many people leave a trail of tape to find their way back in case they change their mind. This is hopeful because people who are undecided can finally decide to leave the forest.

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With his gentle and compassionate manner, one can see how Azusa could convince someone who is struggling to live.

I was struck by how much this man cares.

He really cares and that is so rare these days.

In a forest where traditional compasses do not work, Azusa uses his compassion and wisdom as his guides.

He also looks for people who have committed suicide.

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Azusa reminds me of the value of a life and how much difference one life can make in the world.

If we could find our purpose and live our potential, then we could make our contribution- our gift to the world.

We need more people like Azusa in this world.

We need more people who really care and have compassion for those who are suffering. I don’t know if he technically “saves” anyone but he does help people to save themselves and this is priceless.

Azusa is actually living the Buddha’s teachings- especially that of compassion.

I am also reminded by how the absence of one life can be a tear in the fabric of existence and humanity. I think about how that person had so much more life to live, love and wisdom to give and receive, experiences to be had and potential to be lived.

I think of the apocalyptic loss for their loved ones.

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Azusa states in the documentary that the internet and technology may be the reason why there is such a disconnection between oneself and others. It is as if a schism is caused between our waking lives and our onscreen lives. Our lack of face-to-face communication has a price. Disconnection, depression, further loneliness and numbness may develop. Azusa discusses the human need for connection in real life- not through the filter of a computer screen.

“Face-to-face communication used to be vital, but now we can live our lives being online all day. However, the truth of the matter is that we still need to see each other’s faces, read their expressions, hear their voices, so we can fully understand their emotions to coexist.”
 -Azusa Hayano

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The essence of what Azusa teaches and lives is filled with compassion and wisdom.

This documentary also reminds me of the urgent need to discuss mental health issues.

I am and continue to be a mental health advocate.

I deeply believe in the strength and resilience of the human spirit.

We can transcend our suffering and transform it into something beautiful and meaningful.

The phoenix always rises from the ashes… 

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To those of you suffering and feeling depressed…I offer you my compassion.

This post is for you.

Please speak to someone who cares- even if they are a stranger.

You will never know what a difference it could make in your life. They might have some life changing wisdom to give you or messages from the universe.

*Please reach out to someone.

I pray that the Buddha’s teachings, wisdom and compassion can alleviate your suffering. 

Conversely, you never know how you can help someone who is suffering and in need.

You never know what impact you can have on someone’s life- even a stranger.

We are all interconnected.

By helping others we are actually helping ourselves.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SuUhBuSgmik

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Here is the documentary friends.

Please be warned of the graphic subject matter of this video and of some sad and possibly disturbing video footage…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FDSdg09df8 

Here is part of the transcript:

Aokigahara: Suicide Forest

I’ve been living here for more than 30 years. My job is mainly environmental protection, I study volcanic eruptions and the plantation at the foot of Mt. Fuji. 

In the year 864, Mt. Fuji erupted, and the forest that grew over the dried lava was named “Jukai” or “Sea of Trees”. Aokigahara is the actual name of the place, but people started calling it “Jukai”, because the forest as seen from halfway up of Mt. Fuji, is green all year round, and it looks like the ocean. 

We’re entering the forest now. There’s a car that’s been abandoned for a few months, let’s take a look. I’m assuming the owner of the car went in from here and never came out. I guess they went into the forest with troubled thoughts. 

In the old days in Japan, suicide was mainly known as the samarai’s act, as in “Seppuku” (harakari). In other cases poor families would abandon their elders in the mountains. That’s how it was back then, they weren’t killing themselves cause they couldn’t adapt to society. That didn’t happen like it does now, it’s a modern phenomenon.

This is a sign to stop suicidal people.

“Your life is a precious gift from your parents,
Please think about your parents, siblings, and children.
Don’t keep it to yourself. Talk about your troubles.”

Then it says to contact the Suicide Prevention Association. 

Locals don’t commt suicide here. As children they’re told not to come near here, that it’s a scary forest. This path is open for the public, but you can’t follow the trail beyond this point. It says not to enter because you can easily get lost. In the Jukai, I think I’ve found more than… 100 suicide corpses in the last 20 years or so. 

I found something strange, I’ll show you. People who are indecisive about dying, wrap this tape on trees along their way, so they can find their way out. There’s something that looks like a tent. I’m going to see if anyone’s inside, please wait here.” -Azusa Hayano, geologist

The forest is a popular place for suicides, reportedly the world’s second most popular suicide location after San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. This popularity is often attributed to the 1960 novel Nami no To  by Seicho Matsumoto, which ends with two lovers committing suicide in the forest. However, the history of suicide in Aokigahara dates from before the novel’s publication, and the place has long been associated with death: ubasute was allegedly practiced there into the 19th century, and the forest is reputedly haunted by the ghosts of those left to die…”

Copied and pasted from: http://ponury.tumblr.com/post/15293840018/aokigahara-suicide-forest-ive-been-living-here

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Here is a short video about the Aokigahara forest and the plague of suicide in Japan (2:34). There is thought to be one suicide every fifteen minutes in Japan.

An expert postulates that societal pressures and culture is to blame for the high suicide rate in Japan (1:55). He notes that even from a young age weakness is not allowed to be displayed.

“Whether it is within the family, at work or in society, it is very hard to show weakness. From a very young age, from primary school on, dynamic and happy kids are held up as examples to follow. If you don’t live up to that, other people treat you harshly and that’s is why people don’t ask for help.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Mq1-0FvME8U&feature=player_embedded

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This video offers a different perspective of the Aokiagahara forest (4:57).

It attempts to answer the question of why people come to die there.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PD2cJlx-caQ&feature=player_embedded#!

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It is intriguing to note that Dante wrote about a suicide forest.

His writing was also translated into art.

Dante Alighieri’s Inferno from the Original by Dante Alighieri and Illustrated with the Designs of Gustave Doré (New York: Cassell Publishing Company, 1890).

Dante Alighieri’s Inferno from the Original by Dante Alighieri and Illustrated with the Designs of Gustave Doré (New York: Cassell Publishing Company, 1890).

Dali’s depiction of the ‘Wood of Suicides’ from ‘Inferno’ 13
©2006 Salvador Dalí, Gala–Salvador Dali Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

I would love to hear your thoughts about this post.

Peace & Namaste…

Reflection for today…What is The Key To Untie The Knot of Your Mind’s Suffering? -Hafiz

9 Aug
What is the key
To untie the knot of your mind’s suffering?
 
“What
Is the esoteric secret
To slay the crazed one whom each of us
Did wed
 
And who can ruin
Our heart’s and eye’s exquisite tender
Landscape?
 
Hafiz has found
Two emerald words that
Restored
Me
 
That I now cling to as I would sacred
Tresses of my Beloved’s 
Hair:
 
Act great.
My dear, always act great.
 
What is the key
To untie the knot of the mind’s suffering?
 
Benevolent thought, sound
And movement.”
 -Hafiz
crown & coat of arms key hole