I finally got around to watching Alejandro Jodorowsky‘s The Holy Mountain. It is a visually rich film replete with occult symbolism that rewards viewers who have studied western occult systems. Many of the reviews I have read have basically described The Holy Mountain as a feature length eye fuck, but really, it is quite a straightforward film that should feel very familiar to students of tarot, meditation, etc. It is a highly stylized  fool’s journey in which the ultimate goal is a genuine zen-like connection with reality. I will warn you that despite the film’s surreal beauty, the imagery can be violent and there is a fair amount of violence directed toward animals. Otherwise, the film is well worth watching.

What was most interesting to me was how The Holy Mountain represents two contrasting spiritual paths. The Western magical tradition relies heavily upon a multilayered network of corresponding intrasystemic symbols that Israel Regardie has described as a mnemonic system that trains the imaginative faculties, heightens the vision of the soul that peers directly into the divine astral in order to transcend the normal plane of consciousness. Grossly speaking, the Eastern traditions of zen and yoga take the opposite approach by stripping away attachments and by stilling the imaginary faculties of the mind.

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I finished reading David Lynch’s Catching the Big Fish in which he writes a series of brief, blog sized entries about his creative projects and his decades-long practice in Transcendental Meditation. It’s definitely a fascinating read, especially with insights into a creative process. However, there was something off about the way he wrote about meditation that put me off, that struck me as inflationary.

I’ll reserve judgment, considering the lack of detail Lynch provided in his book. But my immediate impression was that Transcendental Meditation, as Mr. Lynch described it, is unbalanced. The practice was described in a purely positive manner in which life becomes like a “fantastic game” and as if everything should be completely peaceful. I’m not saying that one can’t have positive and powerful benefits from an unbalanced practice. But it’s a bit like having an unbalanced diet with only healthy foods – certain important nutrients are missing. Maybe I am misunderstanding him, but nevertheless, that made me think about inflation and flow.

In last week’s sangha, we talked about that deep feeling of connectedness that you experience where everything falls perfectly into place and you hit this sweet spot called flow. The beginner’s mistake is to inflate along with this experience. This is especially common when someone has been severely deprived of connecting experiences for a long time. All of a sudden, they’ll believe they have all the answers and they’re imbued with a certain flavour of specialness.

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Attractive things that once repelled me:

blue cheese
chubby men
travelling without plans
cold winters
monogamy

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Original Title: more TOOL artwork, Joshua Davis and a tangent
Original Post Date: June 26, 2006 @ 1:42pm

frieda

Frieda Kahlo

Joshua Davis of praystation, once-upon-a-forest, dreamless.org and k10k fame posts some unused artwork for the toolband.com revamp that was never used on his blog.

I once attended a lecture by Davis and to be honest, I can only vaguely remember what he talked about save one thing. When most artists and designers talk about inspiration, they’re going to talk about who they admire. They’re going to tell you about the art that resonated with them. They’re going to give you a list of who they think are great and who you need to check out. But Davis said something different – he said it was the art that he hated that he would absorb himself in. When he came across Pollack, he hated him and then promptly tried to find as much material on Pollack as he could. And I thought, ah yes, we could all do this. When faced with irrational aversion, what if we pressed forward?

Now I should make it clear that I don’t think everything you dislike need be explored. Only what is irrational, only that which holds the charge of a psychological complex if you want to be Jungian about it. For example, I know perfectly well why I dislike listening to Shakira or say, reading something by Prof JP Rushton, or eating fast food slop. I doubt there would be much to gain exploring that which I already understand. However. When I first looked at the Thoth deck, I hated it. When I first learned about ritual magic, I thought: how ridiculous.

Now look at me.

When you irrationally hate or fear something, it has power over you. It seizes you, posesses you, grips you. Now, what do you think would happen if you learned to grip back?