RockOm, Part Deux

RockOm a social network for music and spiritualityThis is another shameless plug for RockOm.net, a site that my partners and I are continuing to develop. I’m writing this, because if you like what you read at frimmin.com, I’m certain that you’ll love what you can read (and listen to!) at RockOm.net. RockOm is not a mere blog, but a developing social network, focused on exploring the whole realm where spirituality and music intersect, with all musics and all spiritualities, questings and questionings included.

If that sounds like big territory, it is. Our premier issue included interviews with musical personalities as diverse as Grammy-winning Christian bluegrass artist Ricky Skaggs, to Hindu kirtan performer Krishna Das.
Trevor Harden and Tommy Crenshaw recently finished a coast-to-coast trip to gather more interviews with amazing performers with penetrating insights into the human condition. But, course, we don’t let national borders stop us either. We’ve Skyped across the ocean to interview Joseph Rowe, translator of dozens of books (including The Gospel of Thomas) and an exceptional musician with an emphasis on Sufi music, and we’ll do more to bring together musicians from around the world.

Some of RO’s features current features:

  • RockOm blog: Near-daily new content ranging from music and artists, to questions and musings
  • RockOm podcast: a weekly in-depth interview with some of the most interesting and insightful musicians alive
  • Featured Track of the Week: An exciting new track every week available to listen to from one of our guest artists
  • Featured Articles: Transcriptions and photographs from our interviews,
  • RockOm Forum: The heart of the RockOm community, where we discuss anything and everything.

Following RockOm is easy. Subscribe to our RSS feed to have our blog posts come right into your feed reader. And it’s easy to add the RO podcast feed to your iTunes or any other MP3 player, by following the links on RockOm’s home page. You can also follow RockOm on MySpace, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter. Very soon we’ll be adding the RockOm store, offering compilation disks of music from our guest artists, and later on, group pages and other features that will further develop the social network aspects of RockOm.

Now another reason I’m writing: We need your help to continue to grow RockOm and realize our vision. Not money, but support. If you like RO, please help us get the word out.

Do you have friends who are interested in music with a message? Tell them about RockOm. Do you have a blog or site of your own? Please consider adding a link to http://rockom.net. Also, we’d love for you to submit a post for the RockOm blog.

Do any of the songs, podcasts or posts strike a chord? Or not? Agree? Disagree? Tell us about it in the RockOm forums.

Finally, we appreciate your prayers, intentions and wishes for our continued growth and success. Thanks, and RockOm!

the (dis)appearance of God

It’s been more than two years since I had the experience that I call “the  suck” or “the empty  holodeck.” Although the experience really lasted just a moment, in some ways its consequences have been far lasting. Because of my own attachments, I’ve probably resisted describing it as honestly as I could have. 

What really changed most is that I no longer experience God as a felt Presence. This was jarring and unsettling to me, because for well over thirty years, I did. After a brief agnostic period in my youth, I had a born-again experience that left me incapable of doubt. I knew God was there, because I felt that Presence with me. I was never alone, and I knew it. It was like I had an invisible Companion who was always there.

I took me a long time to realize (in fact, it still amazes me) that most people, including most Christians and other religious people, don’t  have a continuous experience of Presence. As a consequence, for most, religious conviction is based on belief rather than a knowing based on lasting experience.

It would be an exaggeration to say that “God left.” However, for a short while, I felt utterly alone, and although it was jarring, it wasn’t entirely bad. For example, for the first time in my life, I felt like I had privacy!  And in addition, I was able to understand other people’s groping in the dark for a belief to give them a sense of the Ultimate, and I was even able to really understand the skeptics who dismissed it all out of hand.

I don’t want to go back, and earIier this year I even rejected the idea of returning to a previous view. Now I’m  beginning to realize what really happened was that I was blessed with a spiritual experience that lasted so long, I couldn’t even recognize it as an experience. Now it’s over, and I’m having a different spiritual experience. Everything changes, even experiences of the Changeless.

Keeps it interesting, nicht wahr?

 

Announcing RockOm.net

RockOm.net(Time for absolutely shameless plug!) Well, after months of work, it’s here… RockOm.net is now live! I’m proud to be a part of the RockOm team. RockOm is an online music community with a spiritual focus… but inclusive of all musics, and all spiritualities, from rock, Gospel and bluegrass, to Hindu kirtans, and Sufi chants, and all the yearning, questing, and questioning in-between.

The bottom line is that if you have any love of music, or any interest in the spiritual aspects of life, you are who we built RockOm for. So check it out, listen to our podcast, download our featured track, read and comment on the articles, and join in the discussions that are beginning or start a new one… And oh yeah, it’s OK to tell your friends and help us get the word out, too!

BTW… RockOm is in “Beta,” which in English roughly means “you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!” We have big plans for it and really would love for you to be a part of it!

Demiurge

Sometimes I think I really must be mad for keeping this blog. Not just because I’m trying to write about what can’t be written, but to do it publicly! Yet, when I feel that no one can possibly understand what I’m saying, seems to be when people understand me best. It’s strange, but freeing. So here’s a teensy story about something I did recently and what I learned from it.

On New Year’s Eve, I happily cursed "God." (And happily told him I loved him too, but that’s another story.) What was interesting was the rightness I immediately felt about it. For I while, I considered this the union of opposites, yin and yang, action and rest, blessing and blasphemy. God encompasses all, nicht wahr? But the word Demiurge came to mind soon after.

What was the "God" I lost when I had the "empty holodeck" experience?

What was the "God" I wanted to be free of?

What was the "God" Meister Eckhart prayed God to destroy?

If there’s one useful concept from Gnosticism that applies to those on the path today, it might be the Demiurge, though not in a literalistic way as many of the Gnostics apparently did. Gnostics believed there was a false God, the Demiurge, who erroneously thought himself the Source of all, and who demanded worship and sacrifice. Christ came to show us the way to the Father and escape the Demiurge. There’s something to that… False gods are the greatest bane to humanity. All concepts of God tend to be Demiurge.

Cast off concepts of God, and what is left? Nothing that can be imagined, nothing that can be named, but only what is always there, all the time.

It’s easy to show (facetiously, at least) that atheists and monotheists and Zennists believe in exactly same true Creator.

Atheist: God doesn’t exist. (Nothing created the Universe)
Theist: What came before God? Nothing. (Nothing is the ultimate Source).
Zennist: Emptiness is the true nature of everything. (Nothing is ultimate reality.)

There something about that Nothing. Even atheists, monotheists, and Zen practitioners can see that Nothing or No-thing is the real Power, the real One, ever-present, and with all the power to make Everything appear. Images and forms, mental or physical, are not that.

The God who can be cursed
Is not the eternal God
(with apologies to Lao Tzu)

One Word

 

1word screenshot

 
 

Proving reincarnation among human beings is challenging and controversial. However, proving reincarnation (redigitalization?) among blogs is much simpler. Case in point: Eternal Awareness, one of the wisest and most beautiful blogs (or even websites) that I’ve ever come across, is now deceased. Its recorded bits and bytes are slowly going the way of all data, to fragmentation and decay as the server endlessly spins, satisfying the incessant requests for information to manifest in the blogosphere.

But… a new blog has appeared on the spinning wheel of the world-wide Web! It’s called One Word, and carries the same spirit, written by the same author. One Word is unique though, just as every person is unique. Where Eternal Awareness was sublime and serious, One Word is playful and funny, but no less insightful. It’s a cyberspace Shiva enjoying his divinity and merrily dancing on the demons of ignorance.

In this incarnation, Shiva answers to the moniker of my friend Mark Warner, whom many of you know from reading Eternal Awarness. Mark decided to revitalize his blogging through a digital death and rebirth, and revitalized it is. One Word will blitz you with blasts of creativity, humor, art, insight, and joy at brisk intervals. Enjoy!