Thursday, October 6, 2011

Karma Kilowatts

I have returned to New York to find many of my artists friends with various ailments, neurosis, and fears. Yet, i feel more free than ever. Wisely, I keep this to myself as no one wants to hear about spiritual enlightenment in the midst of their mental breakdown. If only we call all see that the enlightenment and mental breakdown are of one in the same. They are made from the same stuff and have the same potential.

So we're living in New York as young, successful artists. We have our degrees, awards, fellowships, grants, commissions, prizes, medallions, plaques, and Boy Scout badges all in order. We have our therapists, dog walkers, cat sitters, and nannies all aligned in our astrology charts streaming from our iPhone 4S. There is nothing better, we are living at the peak condition in this form. And yet this is not good enough. It will never be good enough. Panic, fear, and doubt return. These feelings can't be destroyed by they can be diverted into more running, more moving, pushing, shoving, dying.

The question isn't the world or what is to be done in it, b/c this is all an illusion. It's the way and with what intention I interact with the illusion. If I interact in a way like something is out there that has to be won, fought, overcome, run down, then the energy I'm expending is for something that isn't really there. If I recognize it's not really there then I move differently. I dance with a shadow then I'm not trying to 'get anything from the shadow' because I can't. It's not real. But I will then pay more attention to the way I move and why.

If Plato, Buddha, Jesus, Einstein, and Lao Tzu were right, then the world is just a shadowy illusion. There is no boyfriend from his own side to win or fight, there is nothing to be run from or toward. I am playing with the illusions created by my consciousness. It takes some of the 'seriousness' out of my attitude and accomplishments as well as failures. it even takes the seriousness out of my religious practice, my vegetarianism, my so-called altruistic side. Now I'm beginning to understand why the Dalai Lama laughs so much.

 I was thinking about that last night walking down the street, taking my fancy herbs, and holistic juice drinks, and vegan this and in my head I started having a running, joking conversation with my NYC artist friends...'yeah, I'm collaborating with Yo Yo Ma on a lil thing...' 'cool, well I'm just polishing off a tiny musical or Sondheim,' 'rad, I just finished editing a book for Anne Wintour...a lil chat book' And I became aware that I have artistic friends in several different parts of the country. But NYC is the only place where my friends are all doing multitasking on top of multitasking.

I came back into this city to chill and have been handed a book revision and editing job, writing script bible for webisode series, show about blues musician, meeting with a TV producer/writer about his sitcom, doing consultation for new studio opening in Harlem. 

I've been here two weeks!!!  And I'm really not trying or pursuing these things. This is stuff people come up to me and ask me to work on. It feels like NYC magnetizes me and us, projects seem to come and stick to our skin. This is my illusion. I'm grateful for it but I know it's just a shift in consciousness. There is no need to struggle with it. Btw I owe producers 3 script revisions for 3 different plays ppl want to produce. This would have freaked me out years ago. Now I laugh. It'll get done when I feel like it, when the energy moves.

Karma popped into my thoughts. Not the mystical thing, but just the unit of energy, the wattage, the literal physics definition of a karma: a unit of energy arising out of a past action. How many kilowatts of karma does it take to live and be in this city as oppose to others. And my mind began making mysterious calculations like ' 1 week of good NYC living burns as much karma as living well on Miami Beach for 3 weeks. 1 week of NYC burns as much karma as 3 months in Iowa.' 

And maybe that's why I see the illusion of so many of my high-flying NYCers with ailments, weird knee injuries, pains, psychic pains, and other stuff that a general population in their 20s and 30s should not have. The kilowattage is extreme and it's so b/c I believe there is something to do. Out there.

But then it is possible to live like a monk in the midst of Manhattan, to keep that -as Melville wrote- 'solitary Tahiti' in us safe. It's a higher form of awareness people have been coming up to me and telling me, teaching me. It is quite amazing. Every time I feel the prod of buying into that old illusion, the pride of new things, the agitation of constant comparison to other artists, I get a little message: it's not real. How can I feel the pressure to achieve or the fear of failure? These things are nothing.

I am learning to give up on nothing in order to gain everything. And as a result I get to play with the illusions of this prosperity.But I don't buy into it. It's a dance of shadow.

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