Saturday, October 29, 2005

My breathing meditation

As a high school student I attended a seminar on alter states of consciousness. I recall clearly the frigid motorcycle ride from where I was living in Martinez to Berkeley. At that seminar I learned how to enter a state of self-hypnosis. At the time I was also very much into lifting weights, like most young men I wanted to be big and strong. You may be asking yourself what in the world do these two things have in common. It's actually very simple. One of the keys to the techniques I learned while attending the seminar was how to breath deeply without tensing up. I actually discovered the technique on my own while lifting weights in the high school gym. After high school I entered the Marine Corps where I applied the same technique to running, with the exception that my breathing would be to a specific cadence, step-inhale-step-inhale-step-exhale-step-exhale. I was certain to always create a very low sound with each exhale, the sound would allow me to focus on the breaths and take my mind away from the exhaustion and pain I might be experiencing. Once I left active duty I started my academic career and one winter a friend and I got jobs at a ski resort, I became grossly involved in snowboarding and once again I used the same breathing technique when carving the snow. My best memories of snowboarding are when my mind, my breath and my body were moving in unison down the hill, during these experience's I would set a rhythm in my mind and move my body and breath to that rhythm. What great fun it was.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

I don't know.

The details of last night are slowly coming back to me, I spoke with my girlfriend early in the evening, cooked a dinner of mashed potatoes and green beans, did some studying and light reading, performed my bokken strikes and began my breathing mediation as I have been doing for the past several weeks before falling asleep. But something was different, something happened that was unique. As usual with my breathing meditation my physical body entered the usual state of relaxation and my consciousness began to settle. The only thoughts in my mind were of breathing in the universe and breathing out the universe and the only stimulus I encountered was the sound of the air rushing into my nostrils. The tactile feeling of my body started to fade as superfluous thoughts of the day diminished. It was at this point that my experience departed from the norm.

Before going any further let me preface this with the fact that I was most likely asleep by this point as I often do fall asleep while I mediate, the only difference is that I usually don’t have dreams that are so vivid and rich. Also this is the first time I've ever been able to clearly recall the transition from being awake to being asleep.

As I lay in my meditative state with my eyes closed I started to feel as if I was being reoriented physically, it was if I were slowly rotating and my head was the axis point. I didn’t want to break the experience by opening my eyes so I kept them closed. I may have been a little anxious of the situation because I developed a sense that someone familiar was beside me which was comforting and peculiar because I didn’t know who it was. I could still hear the air as I breathed in and I could feel the coldness in my nostrils caused by the influx, but it was more of a detached feeling than before. A transition occurred and I felt as though I was young boy on my father’s sailboat, a 34 foot sloop aptly named “Yesterday’s Dream”. I could hear, see and feel the greenish bay water gently striking against the ship’s hull while the bow cut softy through the waves. I had the feeling as though my dad was on the boat, but I don’t recall seeing him. I actually don’t recall seeing anyone, not even myself. I felt as if I were a detached observer of the solitary sailboat as it made its way across the bay. My perception gradually changed from the boat to the horizon, it was the San Francisco bay, with the exception that the coastal areas and surrounding hills were lush with greenery, absent were the bridges and buildings which are a regular feature. Although the situation was odd, I felt a familiar comfort and peacefulness through out the experience. The experience of time passing while on the boat is most perplexing, because I feel as though and have the memory of sailing across the bay for a few days, but not once did the sun set and the trip usually can be accomplished in an afternoon. What is most hard for me to reconcile about the sequence of events is that the memory of being on the boat is just as fresh and real in my mind as the hours I spent studying this afternoon at a cafĂ© in downtown Philadelphia.

How can we differentiate memories of dreams from memories of waking life? I know that I haven’t been on my dad’s boat for several years and that I will never see the San Francisco bay area in the condition I discribed above. But the experience seems too real to not take notice of. I’m sure that the memory of it will eventually fade away like all my memories do, only to be partially recalled when I look at this entry someday in the future. I don’t think I’ll ever make sense of what happened, and I’m not in a rush to either, because I when I woke up this morning I felt great and my mind was filled with beautiful thoughts.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005


If time is infinite and the number of sequential events is infinite, then wouldn't it be correct to say that every sequential event (including the absence of a sequential event) will occure, has occured, and is occuring?

If time is finite can the amount of sequential events be infinite?

If time is infinite can the number of sequential events be finite if so, would that mean that sequential events repeat themselves in the exact same manner over time.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Daily Routine

Wake up 7:00am
300 Bokken Strikes
Brush Teeth
Walk to Campus 8:00am
Attend Class
Walk home
Lunch 12:00pm
Walk to Campus
Walk Home
Dinner 5:00pm
Walk to Subway
Subway to Philadelphia 6:00pm
Subway to Home 9:00pm
Walk home
Call Girlfriend 12:00am
Brush Teeth
100 Bokken Strikes
Breathing Meditation
Sleep 1:00am

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


I spent the past weekend enjoying the company of my family and friends. On Saturday night my mother cooked dinner, a Herculean task as there was eleven people in all. We reminisced about the past and spoke of our future plans. The conversation was light and hardy and as with all of our family gatherings there were many laughs and smiles. After dinner the topic of my blog came up, a laptop was pulled out and several of my siblings read it for the first time. It appears that my memory is faulted, and that in my post "Fear Fear", I painted one of my brothers as being misguided in trying to teach me to swim. The real culprit that threw me in the pool and created my water phobia was in fact the same guy I punched in the groin in my post "My last day as a twenty something". Whether or not I was thrown in the pool after the punch in question could not be determined, but in either case I think both incidents can be chalked up to karma.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Is this me?

A friend passed me a link to a personality test ( , I think it's similar to a Meyers Briggs test. I scored as an INFJ, below is a discription of this personality type.

Beneath the quiet exterior, INFJs hold deep convictions about the weightier matters of life. Those who are activists -- INFJs gravitate toward such a role -- are there for the cause, not for personal glory or political power.

INFJs are champions of the oppressed and downtrodden. They often are found in the wake of an emergency, rescuing those who are in acute distress. INFJs may fantasize about getting revenge on those who victimize the defenseless. The concept of 'poetic justice' is appealing to the INFJ.

"There's something rotten in Denmark." Accurately suspicious about others' motives, INFJs are not easily led. These are the people that you can rarely fool any of the time. Though affable and sympathetic to most, INFJs are selective about their friends. Such a friendship is a symbiotic bond that transcends mere words.

INFJs have a knack for fluency in language and facility in communication. In addition, nonverbal sensitivity enables the INFJ to know and be known by others intimately.

Writing, counseling, public service and even politics are areas where INFJs frequently find their niche.


Monday, October 03, 2005


Last week I got a haircut down the street. It was just your regular run of the mill barbershop complete with a rotating red and white poll. I wasn't expecting much, just the standard trim. No one was in the shop except for a solitary barber and a small color TV. I sat down for my haircut and we talked a bit about the city and how it's been going through a revitalization, he would speak a few words to me in Spanish and I would answer in English. He keyed in on this and asked about my background and we started talking about our families. He told me about his thirty four year old son who had died four day's prior after a four-year battle with cancer. I was speechless. The only thing I could do was to ask what his son's name was. He told me, and then showed me a picture. His son was not much older than I, and bared an uncanny resemblance to a friend back home. He shared the details of his son's life and how he's been trying to cope with the loss. I could see the pain in his eyes, hear it in his voice and feel it in my heart. The haircut was finnished, but I stayed and listened. The helplessness was almost unbearable. I searched my soul for something to say but found nothing. The more he spoke the more I could feel the rawness of his grief. He tried to maintain his composure and I pretended not to notice the tears. It ended in silence with an exchange of money. I shook his hand and gave him a hug in an attempt to close what I had opened. Trying to maintain my own composure I walked home.