1

Merry Gratitudes

Just wanted to reach out and thank everyone that supports the show through Patreon and those that contribute, comment and give suggestions. This show has changed my life.

I believe in this that we call “Completely Ordinary” and you the audience is an enormous part of it and thank you for being there. Thank you for treating us like regular people and not putting us up on a pedestal. That type of respect and equanimity is truly cherished by me.

Thank you to Joey Lott for your desire and encouragement to put this out there. At times I doubted him and had no idea that it would help me as much as it has and does every time we press record.

Thank you to my wife that encourages me to be myself and is the voice of love and reason and keeps me sane in so many ways with selflessness and kindness.

Thank you Aron for your honesty and willingness to be a part of this.

Thank you to Lisa which has encouraged me from the very beginning in so many ways and taught me that some people see something I can’t. Truly grateful to know you!

There are so many people I would like to mention but just know that all of you have affected me in ways that you may never know and those lessons live in me now.

Humbled and Grateful for this that we all do together!

Luis

1

You Talk Too Much!

I have noticed recently how much I have been talking lately and it has started to cause me to look at it in the most curious way. There is this sense of guilt that I should be different. That I should be listening all the time what people think is normal and apply it to myself.

It is important for me to listen to strangers and those I share this life with but it is also so weird seeing all the stories I make up about it. We can’t just be ourselves the way we are sometimes sold in the desire for eternal happiness. We actually have to refine ourselves and deliver a filtered version of our lives back to the world that supposedly wants the whole truth.

Many times I try and stop myself but before I know it I am excited and rambling on. My grandfather would do that too. He was the first person I could remember that could speak for hours on a multitude of subjects. But his stories were always fascinating to me. He was a boxer, a policeman and an accountant plus many more things. He lost a child when he was a young man. I loved spending the last years of his life with him. He was someone that had depth and range and not always saying the same things over and over again. I learned a lot about the possibility to live a contemplative life with his examples. He was the first person I remembered listening to me as young man. He seemed to care what this foolish teenage boy had to say and he told me that I was smart. He was the first person that in someway knew me and in a way he gifted me a path of something beyond the 2d world that most of my acquaintances and family always seemed so heavily involved in.

And yes maybe my narcissism has gotten the worst of me. But it reminded me of a story I recently heard on the radio about kids that are anti social from a very young age. Those kids according to this psychologist never get the right kind of attention because of their mode of being is not socially acceptable. Eventually the child gets older and begins to lash out more and more because the societal norms are telling him or her that these behaviors (sense of self) are unacceptable.

Maybe you can remember the first time that you felt like a separate self? It probably happened during a moment of feeling rejected?

The example child they spoke of eventually becomes violent or emotionally detached because society tells the child his or her behaviors are not wanted, causing the child to feel unlovable and a defense system or coping mechanism naturally arises. This repeated over and over again causes internal feelings of aggression in the child and inevitably children like this lash out at the world that rejected him or her.

I don’t think shaming unwanted behavior is all bad either. I actually think that it is tremendously important part of culture and beneficial to developing a society that wants to create more thoughtful and caring human beings too use discernment.

The story of the aggressive child being ostracized broke my heart. I imagined a string of children that I had met throughout my life. I felt their alienation and anger over the loss of acceptance and they still seemed to be hard wired for this acceptance into the pack that they could not find. Some were bullied, others became bullies, and others were abandoned and forgotten by the world around them.

I also thought of myself being ignored growing up never feeling heard, never feeling to be seen or truly understood. My dad use to tell me when I was little that children spoke when roosters piss. And me growing up in Miami I tried seeing roosters pee at a few of the cock fights that my dad took me to but I never remember seeing it happen and that was the joke.

When ever he repeated the joke it was my cue to shut up. And in a way those that so desperately want our attention are asking for just that– to be listened to. My father also wanted our attention and at times we just rolled our eyes and moved on. I don’t have a solution or a remedy but just a story of this that I imagine many of us feel in all varying degrees.

So what is true in all this?

Do I need more attention? I don’t think so… I feel that I have enough with the work that I create.

One thing I love about art is that the honest truth is said one piece at at time. No words just a series of moments on paper or canvas delivered to an audience and in an instant these moments become one moment. The viewer is absorbed in this moment and it is just color and shape on a wall delivering some transcendent mystery in this crude timeless object. And I see my own enthusiasm is not bad but excitement about getting to do what I love.

I could put all this bad meaning on it but I don’t believe those stories about that are true. I think my intention is honest and the technique can be polished.  It should be tempered and considerate of others. And it took decades for me to figure that out in my paintings and I am hoping I can work faster through this concept in conversation.

Years ago I realized that as an artist I have a very short window of people’s attention and I have to use it wisely. So I created work that was powerful and shocking from the moment you saw it, but as I got older I realized that the work that I was drawn to asked for more of me in a sense. It was a little slower paced and caused the viewer to slow down and to be drawn in. There is always a possibility for a balance and when it does it clicks true in us. In other words discernment and how we deliver our message is something that comes with time and maturity it seems for me.

I am not claiming absolution for my thoughtlessness. I also understand by having to rewatch some of these videos as I edit them that it could not be fun for the audience and even the participants at times. So I will change that, but I learned a lot as I kept making these supposed mistakes which is to pay attention. And while I think my verbiage has modest value in the market of attention spans it is only essential to those that connect and need to hear such things in the moment just like art. I don’t believe in permanent truth but I do believe in being in the right place at the right time to uncover our personal mystery of why we suffer, live and love.

I even learned a lot in awkward and painful conversations just listening to people —  they were all processing something too. They are needing to get something out and so am I, but I have to let people in as much as I can and that is the work ahead for me. So maybe I will seem quieter, maybe not. I really don’t think I have that much control of it but there is an intention there that I value — to listen.

 

I miss listening to my grandfather ramble on. But I thank him for being the first person that seem to listen. He was good to me and was never cruel.

I have not felt like a kid or young at heart in a very long time, and while the society I grew up in tells me all the time — do this, be that, grow up, I am just going to enjoy this moment of honesty. And still I will grow and change. And hopefully not throw away the wonder and vulnerability childhood gifts us with in the excitement and mystery of being alive.

 

 

4

“Cynicism and Suffering”

I have noticed recently in myself the desire to use archetypical words like god, spirit, the transcendent and other words that just a few months ago repulsed or made me cringe. I see now that I was afraid to trust, have faith and to live more openly. I was afraid like a little boy that I didn’t want to be fooled again or to be hurt by this world. I didn’t want to fall for another scam. The cynicism I felt in a sense guarded me from feeling hurt but also kept me from growing and opening to a larger dimension of being.

But what was I cringing at if they are just words or nonsensical out dated ideas? I don’t cringe at the concept of the boogie man or Santa Clause. I think I was afraid to let go because after my stint with the search for enlightenment did not pan out as I planned I shut down parts of me in a sense. And when I did shut down with nihilism a type of cynical certainty arose and that is where I truly began this spiritual journey. I am trying to no longer be afraid of words like spirit and journey. I see it all now as a type of foolish innocence that offers me now a lot of learning in this process to see beyond my scared myopic views of the mystery that is life.

This new discovery of my old fear started with me revisiting a lot of philosophical, spiritual and mystical literature and instead of dismissing it this time around I am trying to grasp some true understanding of what is this. What I mean by true is that I mean to be open to it and be vulnerable to it and to let myself feel the fear of not knowing and still entering into a kind of open dialogue with it and see if the knots of myself can be undone any further.

In the last few months I have noticed my own eye rolls and dismissiveness of a world that has sat in the background of my being. I even used the concept of no self to describe experiences that in a sense could protect me, keep me from hurting. But the more I held those concepts and adopted those modes of being without truly understanding their depth with patience and wisdom I   ultimately missed out on a lot of wisdom and gentleness with myself and especially those that I share this world with. I feel great regret for dismissing spiritual teachers that were trying to help me. In a way I felt that a decade or more of searching for something gave me the authority to take the lifetime of another individuals’ work and completely dismiss it so I could feel asserted again in myself.

Years ago when I started doing this show I at times came off as arrogant and certain of so much, for in a sense I had glimpsed the most miniscual and spectacular transcendent experiences and foolishly I held on to these glimpses as the end of the road of my spiritual path. By doing this I kept holding on to certain concepts to justify to myself that I had awakened or seen a greater reality and while I agree these glimpses had insight and wisdom for me I still did not have the humility and the maturity to be shown something beyond an opinion of the way things are. Instead I took it as mine without even knowing what was truly happening or being given.

I just received this article from Joey right after finishing this post.

https://medium.com/@bescofield/tech-bro-guru-inside-the-sedona-cult-of-bentinho-massaro-a56314f830ef

The above article talks about the dangers of spirituality and there are many! Never forget that. These stories create the very cynicism so many of us feel. There is a healthy cynicism that has to be cultivated like many other skills. This discernment takes maturity and being exposed to all sorts of horrors and beauties to keep us vigilant and aware of what is true for us. We all have to go on this supposed journey alone, and to believe someone can give you something you need to be “enlightened or saved” is the first mistake into something toxic and dangerous.

PS-

Here is a conversation with Aron I had recently that felt exciting and different. I would like to make more of the audience a regular part of the show and with your support we can do just that.

I also would like to add that after my conversation with Aron I thought about the role of suffering and I think that it may be possible for those that go very far on the spiritual path can make peace and resolve the existential suffering that haunts many of us. But for me it seems to be the beginning of my understanding of why it is there at all.