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!

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!

No-Mind and Love

I’m going through a book this year which I bought long ago and never read: The Old Hermit’s Almanac by Fr. Edward Hays. It’s an unconventional book of days, full of delightful fun and deep wisdom. Here’s part of today’s entry for January 15, Non-Spectator Day:

As the Zen masters say, "When you eat, eat; when you walk, walk." Living in the present moment as fully as possible helps satisfy the itch to monitor yourself and still be yourself. As in theater, so in life — the true artists are those who are so fully possessed by what they are doing that they have no time to watch themselves.  When they forget to be possessed in this way and give into the temptation to observe their wonderful performance, then they usually stumble.

Practice today the virtue of self-forgetfulness, which is at the heart of making love — being totally engaged in what you are doing or in another person.  Those who make love daily by self-forgetfulness find ectasy in celebrating the love they have been making day by day.

 

An atheist, a monotheist, and a panentheist

An atheist, a monotheist, and a panentheist walk into a smoke-filled, crowded bar. The bartender is at the far end, but the atheist can’t see him through the haze. Finally the atheist declares to his monotheist friend, "There is no bartender." He turns away from the bar, and takes out a bottle of Dasani he brought with him.

The monotheist diligently looks for the bartender through the smoke, catches a glimpse of him, shouts and waves to get his attention, and orders a Scotch whiskey. After relishing a sip, he chides his atheist friend. "You foolish unbeliever," he says. "You don’t see the Bartender because you turned away, but just ask him, and he’ll hear you and give you anything you want. In just a moment I developed a  personal relationship with the Bartender, and this fine Scotch is proof." He turns to the panentheist for additional support and asks, "isn’t that right?"

The panentheist says, "Who cares? I’m stoned just from breathing the air in here!"

At any time…

 

Wrathful

 
 

A Zen master (I don’t remember who) once said, "at any time, it is possible for anyone to exchange the radiant mind of the Buddha, for that of a demon." This is true. Sometimes it’s a trigger: one word, one action, can "set us off." Other times it’s subtle and difficult to know just what provokes the reaction, (although personally, I like Eckhart Tolle’s explanation of "the pain-body.") It happened to me last week, by all accounts, a pretty darn good week for me. Yet by the weekend I was feeling a vast amount of anger to someone who had not wronged me in any way at all.

Anger! Eventually I asked my teacher for advice, and he had me meet him at MacArthur Mall. If any of you have seen Peaceful Warrior, what happened next had a few similarites to the scene where Socrates asks Dan to meet him on the bridge. (Yes, I did meet him on a bridge on the mall’s highest level, and no, he didn’t throw me off). What he did do, was make me look at the people. Even though I was so angry, I didn’t want to see, I saw what I described yesterday as the windsocks revealing the wind. There was just Spirit—flowing everywhere, manifest by the forms It was animating. Spirit was flowing all around me. The proof was people were walking past. Kids were laughing. Tots were thrilling with delight in attaining the status of being bipeds. Adults walked, talked, shopped, complained, smiled, frowned.

For too long I had troubled myself by the emptiness of the holodeck, in my glimpses of looking past the program. But the fact is that I’m here, and there is nothing for me to do in this except interact with the program. It’s running for me. And it’s running for you, and for everyone else. But it’s only this character that I have any control over. And with through him, I interact with the whole; a universe appearing, full of beings made of the same stuff I am, feeling the same things I feel or have felt… Myticism is a heck of lot less "mystical" than I thought.

Coming Down

 

eyes

 
 

Jan 22, 2006 was a dramatic experience for me. In a way it was freeing, but it also messed me up a bit, and I imagine the problem has to do with my constant thinking. My search for Truth (note the capital) has been largely bound up with concepts… a quest for the RIGHT thing to know. This is an error which my teacher helps me with, but old habits die hard, and perhaps old mental habits die particularly hard for intellectuals—at least that’s what I tell myself.

The "empty holodeck" that I experienced that day plainly showed me that "Truth" is empty, but my attachment to the conceptual search caused me to feel somewhat empty since then… I don’t mean that I’ve been depressed or anything, but things have been, well, different, and rather than being freed by the pure and simple emptiness of the mental answer, it’s been somewhat frustrating for me. My mind wants there to be a "there," there.

And many of my postings have reflected my attempts to make sense of what is beyond sense… While briefly comforting or mentally entertaining, the delusion has persisted… there is the Answer out there… the Experience… Enlightenment.

I may be "coming down" now… finally starting to learn that "This" is what counts, not "That." What’s important is this present moment, and this present place. God is here so we can see him… the most ardent atheist loves God if he or she loves anyone. All the human forms are moving… here, there… As windsocks give visibility to the movements of the air, so bodies give visibility to the movement of God.

More later.