Wednesday, December 31, 2008


It is funny how I am already imagining 2009. The turn of the year is 3 short hours away, and there is nothing I can do, or anyone can do to change the course of motion. It is not here yet. I keep forgetting that the future is not promised. I keep forgetting that my expectations are dilusions of my own mind. I welcome another year. But if it shouldn't come, I'll be ok with that too.

This was the most influencial, powerful, thought provoking year of my existence. I have never felt more alive, more real, and calm and awake. The person that I have wanted to become, has finally started to stir within my thoughts. I feel like the chains are slipping from my wrists, that my eyes are starting to glow a bit brighter - brighter, because my grasp has loosened, my hands are open, and for the first time ever, I feel freedom.

The sunset over Moab.
The icy chill of snow in my lungs.
The heat of summer walks.
The feeling of absolute nakedness in Yosemite.
The stars above my eyes in Nevada.
The intimacy between friends.
The revelation of thoughts.
The loss of love.
The click of a camera lens.
The strumming of a guitar.
The taste of wiskey on my lips.
The feel of the ocean.
The sunrise over the beach.

What is next?
What is better?
What is left?

Thank you for the this existence, this year, this experience.

I am greatful.

(Andrew Tipton)

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

I was a tiger in a past life.

There is always an initial confusion when attempting to understand a new fragment of truth. I misinterpret ideas, I draw conclusions that are misguided, I falter in shallowness while chasing the deeper concept. It is a lucid process that takes time, patience and open mindedness. In the end, if you follow through, there is knowledge (known truth that revolutionizes the mind).
I have just read Thich Nhat Hanh's writing on the teachings of Buddha. It is a powerful book, filled with ideas and truths that challenge my ignorance.
A particular part of text has taken root in my mind and will not let go. It is the truth about existence; the truth of life, death and the motion between those notions.

When you look at this sheet of paper, you think it belongs to the realm of being. there was a time that it came into existence, a moment in the factory it became a sheet of paper. but before the sheet of paper was born, was it nothing? can nothing become something? Before it was recognizable as a sheet of paper, it must have been something else - a tree, a branch, sunshine, clouds the earth. In its former life, the sheet of paper was all these things.

Thich Nhat Hanh

This is the remarkable truth, that everything is interconnected. There is nothing that exists, which has not been or will become something else. All energy has existed for all of time, so the ideas of death and of birth are simply concepts - not actual events. In truth, nothing dies, it simply becomes something else, it changes shape and consciousness - that is all. No longer is there fear of death, it is simply a process that we must all pass through to become the next shape.

The truths that apply to the paper, also apply to me. When I was born, I didn't just SUDDENLY exist from nothing - I had been growing from nutrients my mother was ingesting, from leaves she ate, from the meat of animals. I am not just a human, I am earth itself. I am a being created from the existence of thousands of beings before me. I am a cloud, I am rain, I am dirt, I am the energy of a rainbow, I am a roman emperor, I am a rose petal, I am a song, I am a tiger. The very energy that existed before me, has become me, and it is mine to use while I am conscious. When I die, I do not cease to exist, I merely transform into another form of energy. It is a perpetual, never-ending cycle of motion.
I am a wave in the ocean, a wave that is forever attached. I have my brief moment of swell, and then, in a second of astounding beauty, I become part of the ocean again.
Not lost. Reborn.

I was a tiger in a past life.

(Andrew Tipton)

Monday, December 22, 2008

For Sale

I have several items I would like to sell at a reasonable price.
A few lenses for a Canon DSLR camera, an electric guitar, some old jeans.
If you're interested give me a call.

Since I'm looking to sell a few things, lately I have become acutely aware of other people in the same predicament. We have stuff, and we don't want it anymore; we rather sell it and buy something else.
This is not an isolated event.
It appears that people everywhere, have decided the very same thing - that what they have is no longer satisfying their needs and desires. In fact, everywhere I look, I see "For Sale" signs.
On the hoods of cars parked alongside the road. On jet-boats and campers parked in yards. On houses. On businesses. On Tractors. On firewood. On food.

I take a walk.
This is very interesting.

Out of curiosity, I buy a newspaper - inside, the pages littered with the words, "For Sale, For Sale!" There are animals for sale, land for sale, sports cars for sale. A sailboat for $5900 catches my eye - "only used once", the ad reads.

I as lay the newspaper down, my mind starts to rev up. I begin wondering, "What else are people getting rid of?". Surely not everything is for sale? Right?

I am wrong.

I am sitting in front of my laptop, scrolling through a website called Ebay. On this website, you can quite literally buy anything you want.
You can buy a multi-million dollar mansion - on the coast, or in the mountains. You can buy airplanes. You can buy rare collectible coins. You can buy massaging cushions that sit in your chair; or you can buy massaging chairs that sit in your living room. You can buy baseball cards. You can buy stain-glass windows. You can buy a movie theater.
For the right price, you can have damn near anything.

As I sat in front of my laptop, (wondering which mansion to buy) I started asking the question, WHY? It is always a great question - it takes you back to truth.
I started asking myself, why all these people are selling these spectacular things?
Why are there "FOR SALE" signs at all?

(It is easy never to break down the reasons of motion. It is comfortable to sell and buy, and never investigate the purpose behind such a simple concept.)

The only reason I consider selling anything, is because I believe, somewhere out there, is something else which will satisfy me even more than what I currently possess. For some unknown reason, I feel compelled to sell that which I own, and buy something grader, better, faster, more expensive - surely that will satisfy.... Right?
Ironically, the cycle never ends. .

My conclusion: anything with a price tag has already been attempted, used, faded, and determined not to completely satisfy. Apparently, no matter what I buy, it can never offer me absolute satisfaction. I can tell.. because it is for sale. The houses, the mansions, the cars, the airplanes, the boats - do you want to know why they are all for sale?
The REASON, is because they didn't satisfy their owner.
There is something better, and the owner knows it.

We keep swimming further and further towards the light, but we never break the water's surface - always an elusive mirage tricking our stubborn minds.

Complete satisfaction is the opposite of ownership. Maybe it cannot be bought, or sold; it is beyond purchase.
The satisfaction in a sunset - completely un-diluted, un-harnessed, un-restrained, un-predictable. The satisfaction in the color of the sky. The satisfaction in the songs of birds, and the satisfaction of summer warmth.

Find these things that are not for sale. That is where satisfaction will be.

When we, ourselves, cannot be bought at any price, then we are absolutely free.

(Andrew Tipton)

Sailing Lessons

When we kill the dream within us, we kill ourselves, even though the blood continues to flow within our veins. We can see the signs of this living death about us everywhere: in shopping malls, in discount and department stores, in frantic Christmas crowds. We see people scurrying compulsively buying compulsively, as if they hoped through the expenditure of money, the acquisition of goods, to deaden a pain they don't even know they have. ...its purely an accessory, an accoutrement, to their otherwise-empty lives. ..until they discover to their astonishment that everything they thought they owned has sifted through their fingers like sand.

Richard Bode,
First You Have to Row a Little Boat

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Missing Life: Reward if Found

Who knew.
Who knew that I have been living my life in an absolute state of distraction.
I am not here.
I am not here in my head. I am not here in my thoughts, or in my words.
Where is here? Here is this moment - it is the point in time, at which we are all perpetually existing. Here is the only moment that is worth anything, because it is all that is real.

The last few weeks, I have been uncovering an elaborate construct of distractedness. It is everywhere. Ringing in our ears, blinding our eyes, manipulating our imaginations.
What a sick, twisted bastard.
Distraction is like a disease that has found its way inside our hearts - whispering lies, while we suffer.

Distraction has 1 simple cause:
Believing that there is something better that the moment in which we are presently living.
That is all. The anticipation of the next moment, a better moment.
That lie keeps life just out of reach.
We will never actually touch life - it will always be a thought, or a purchase, or a day in the distance.
We meander distractedly towards our imaginary next moment.

There is never a better moment. There is nothing in this world better than right now - nothing. In my head, I am constantly fantasizing about what is next, what is happening tomorrow, or next week, or next month - meanwhile, I miss so very much.
I miss sunsets,
I miss sips of cool water on my lips,
I miss smiles,
I miss the feel of a breeze on my face,
I miss pain,
I miss soreness,
I miss sweating,
I miss eating delicious meals,
I miss breathing.
I miss life.
I miss the beauty (aka: power, fullness, majesty, passion, freedom) that is on me, tearing at me every second.

Wake up wake up wake up! I shake myself and look around, and run my fingers across a the sharp edge of a knife. This is beautiful, this is everything that I could ever dream or imagine. I am standing in a kitchen, slicing carrots, and preparing a salad - and I feel incredible.

(Andrew Tipton)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

State of Awareness

This month I have written of eating meat.
Ok, not entirely, but I have decided not to eat any meat unless there has been substantial, personal effort in preparation. I want to consume animals that I, personally, have been in contact with it prior to eating: killed, skinned, grilled, chopped, touched, smelled. In essence, I want the blood of the animal on my hands and in my thoughts.
I am aware that, at first, this seems like an tedious and unnecessary effort. "Why the hell would you do that?", has been the majority of responses. I feel the same way occasionally. But, a step like this is crucial. It is absolutely crucial in breaking down this cycle of perpetual distraction.

I don't think. I don't think about the preciousness of everyday consumption. I grab whatever I want, whenever I want, and stuff it into my mouth - absurdly indifferent to its origins and its journey to my palate. I can go anywhere, and buy anything I desire; pre-cooked, pre-heated, pre-warmed, entirely easy. The problem with easy, is that it has stolen the sacred soul of food.
A meal is no longer a valued, treasured gift.. it becomes just another random distraction in our hectic days. "What do I want to eat, and how fast can I get?" - that is the question that comes to mind most often.

I am so distracted, that I forgot what I am eating.

I ate a meal by myself last week. It was the best meal I have ever eaten. It took nearly 2 hours to finish (just eating). It was intentional.
I prepared a plate with rice, grilled salmon, vegetables, water. I cooked everything myself. I felt the raw fish in my hands, I felt the scales, I imagined the way it must have swum through a river somewhere - alive and free. I let sting of an onion wet my eyes. I tried not using a knife - it was hard. The entire preparation was hard. Nothing easy, nothing fast, nothing simple. Finally I finished cooking everything. As I sat in front of my meal, I began to consider every element - the rice, the water, the fish - where did it come from? What was its story? It was more than just "fish", it was a living animal that had died just so I could eat this one meal, this one damn meal. After months of growing, these vegetables had been plucked by someone in a field - maybe they had been shipped all the way across the globe. The water that filled my glass, how easy it had fallen from my faucet - but it had been used and re-used and recycled, and piped all the way to my home. Amazing.

I picked of a piece of fish flesh in my bare hand... I held it in front of my eyes, staring at it, smelling it. I slowly placed into my mouth, making myself savor everything about it: the texture, the taste. It was beautiful.
I repeated that step about 70 times. Closing my eyes I concentrated on the experience of eating. The meal took a very long time; that was the point.

This entire month of not eating meat, is about treating myself and the world with honor. It is about giving meat its right name - considering the real living animal; remembering the blood, and the bones, and the skin - realizing the magnitude of forgotten effort. This month is about being aware of life, of the origins of life and thankfulness.

(Andrew Tipton)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Theories on the Revolutions of Lost Planets

Freedom and the price to maintain.
Isn't that a perverted, ironic statement.
How does one acquire freedom?
Can it be purchased or stolen or shared or sold?
Where does it come from?
When is it lost?
What does freedom have to do with peace?

I would ask myself what real freedom is. Not the freedom that we read about, or talk about, or the freedom to rights or the freedom to own anything. The real freedom, the freedom that knows the perfection of water in rivers.
I don't think we even know freedom. I don't think we are aware of how insanely deep and interwoven it already is in our lives. Not even close.

Born into freedom we were - as tiny helpless babies. We were naked, bloody, uneducated, weak and owned nothing - and we were free. We had nothing. Nothing tethering us to a false existence. Nothing burdening our minds or souls. Nothing keeping us from dying, or from living. Nothing covering our bodies, nothing hiding us from the world. Nothing, is an enviable pursuit.

I listen to ideas.
The distraction of comfort, the distractions of wealth, and of security.. paint shades of gray over our beautiful sunrise - it grows dimmer.
Chris McCandless, where did you get lost brother?
Absolute freedom: Being able to abandon all but peace.
Can you give up everything owned?
A man who will not put down his rights, is not a free man.
A man who will not give up his wealth, is not a free man.
A man who will not take off his clothes, is not a free man.
A man who will not endure, is not a free man.
A man who will not be still, is not a free man.
A man who will not die, is not a free man.

Freedom comes when there is nothing left that I am afraid of losing.
A naked child, that is what I become. A child that can do anything - because all there is to live for, is life itself.

(Andrew Tipton)