What Should We Focus On?
“Wonder and amazement are the beginning of serious thought and discovery; jadedness is their opposite malady.” —Fr. Thomas Dubay
“Life is beautiful.”—how can I say such a thing while trapped in this wretched Orwellian Hell, surrounded by death, destruction and oppression? It’s all about perception. That may sound like a rather mundane thing to say but there is much Truth to this. Of course, there are times when things get hard and I’m pushed to the edge of the abyss, but I generally stay very centered and pretty Zenned out.
People always ask me how this is so, and more than anything I’m able to do all I do because of psychology and Yoga. The study of psychology allowed (and allows) me to delve off into the depths of my psyche and Yoga allowed (and allows) me to do so as well, but it has also changed my brain and nervous system. Studies have shown that regularly practicing Yoga/meditation actually changes the brain—it makes the “happy” centers of the brain more active, continuously more active. This is really quite fascinating. My Consciousness has been uplifted considerably and…
Ah, this is a long discussion, a hundred-page discussion and one I won’t get into now. I really just wanted to scribe out a few lines to say this to you: Are you sad? Depressed? Stop and take a little time to think about the beauty around you. I don’t really have much time to be depressed or sad or time to spend whining and complaining about insignificant, petty and trite problems that are really inconsequential in the larger scheme of things. (This seems to be one of the absolute favorite pastimes of a mass amount of people in our society.)
“Wait, aren’t you on Death Row with all of your main appeals denied so you essentially have an execution date, and aren’t you in conditions that literally constitute torture?” you ask. Well, yes, but we are relentlessly working to get me out of here and that’s what I focus on. And, yes, this place is horrible, but I work to change it as I can, and I really live Life inside this little cage.
Earlier, I finished writing a letter to a compañera about important organizing things and then I engaged in a strong workout while listening to the beautiful music on the Soular Grooves show on KPFT. They played some Erykah Badu and My God! how can anyone be depressed while listening to Erykah Badu?! Then I did some nice asanas (Yoga Poses) and stayed in Scorpion Pose for an extremely long time and surprisingly remained very steadied and centered when doing the Scorpion Pose variation where my legs are straight up in the air. Then I did pranayama (Yogic breathing and meditation) along with some Kirtan (chanting) and re-reminded my whole Being that I exist only as a small part of Humanity and, yes, there are problems in our world but there is much beauty, too.
What should we focus on? Work to fix the problems but always consistently re-remind yourself to focus on the beauty of things. I don’t have time for nihilistic jaded pouting and idle whining. I’m constantly exploring, discovering, creating. I have two posters on my bunk from the benefit concert held in Belgium earlier this month. The backs of the posters are all tagged up with messages of solidarity. These posters are just emanating vibes of Love and Solidarity and they’re leaping around my cell like crazy!
I just paused for a few minutes to eat breakfast and I savored every bite (True Tantric Yoga causes this to be a naturally occurring thing.) Applesauce: A little blessing from the goddess of the groves, Pomona. Bran flakes and Shredded Wheat cereal: Blessings from Pachamama, Gaia, Mother Earth. While brushing my teeth I listened to some old late 1950s recordings of a Texas blues man named Roy Gaines. Now, an actual interview with him is on and it’s extremely interesting. Roy Gaines is from Houston and he’s talking about some very insightful history. (The history of Blues is in many ways a political history.)
Do you know what neutrinos are? Google it. They’re these insanely cool subatomic particles. I’ve always been more heavily interested in the Humanities—psychology, Art, History, philosophy, literature, etc., but lately I’ve been studying a bit on some of the wonders of science. Astrophysics, quantum physics, this stuff is absolutely amazing and surely more so because of the foundation of insight I have from other studies. Some Coltrane was just on and now Jimmy Smith is going crazy on this Hammond B3 organ. On my desk in my book stack I have two Tolstoy books that I recently got in and they’re begging to be read. I’m about to get some rest and when I wake up I’ll surely make some new and interesting discovery. Even when I do the probably 12 hours of legal work I must do tomorrow. I’ll engage in this tedious endeavor with focus and determination. And perhaps most importantly, the fire of my determination will remain fueled by the Solidarity of my friends and colleagues on the outside…
In The Spirit Of the Harmony Of Free Thought and Action: