Monday, June 29, 2009

Carlos Castanado.

"In the universe, there is an un-measurable and indescribable force. which those who live of the source call intention ...and that absolutely everything that exists in the entire cosmos is attached to intent by a connecting link.
Those in the source are not only concerned with understanding and explaining that connecting link, but they are especially concerned with cleansing it of the numbing effects brought about by all of the concerns of living at ordinary levels of consciousness."
Carlos Castanado.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Imaginary friends from far away places

I woke up this morning in the bed of a person I just met yesterday.
The pillows were soft, and the fleece sheets felt perfect tangled around my body.
I rolled over and opened my eyes, savoring the earliest bits of morning sunlight trickling in through wooden blinds.
I stretched like a tiger, and then let myself sink back into the deep, delicious softness.
its rare that I get to spend the night in an extremely comfortable place - I wasn't about to rush myself.
I let out a very content sigh, and tried to slip back into my dreams un-noticed.

Its difficult to comprehend someone letting your into their home after "just" meeting you. Much less, feeding you, caring for you, and treating you with all measures of hospitality.
And yet this keeps happening.

This morning was the first time I have thought about the craziness of these situations. Often, I find myself placed in some amazing house, or dining with complete strangers at their own dinner table. Elaborate meals, soft beds, hot baths - within moments of meeting.

Of course I have a "connection" to these awesome individuals - there is a reason they let me into their homes in the first place. Maybe they have seen a photo of mine, or they read something I wrote, perhaps they saw my picture somewhere, or a friend told them one of my sailing stories.. and yet, it is all imaginary. Truthfully they don't know me at all - They just know about me.

I lay in the that wonderful bed this morning, watching streaks of warm light sneaking in through the windows.. the room was still and quiet, but I could feel my heartbeat, and I could the wirring of my thoughts.
"How much of my own life is based purely on "knowing about"?
Untouched, and un-experienced", I wonder when I think about people, or places, or moments, am I imagining them in ways which they truely are, or are they, at most, fabrications of my naive mind. .
If I take away the things that I "KNOW" simply based on my knowledge (reading a book, seeing a picture, listening to an opinion), I am not left with much.
I might know pieces of their truth.. but I haven't experienced the richness of reality.
Is there dust on the moon, and what does it feel like?
How does the end of a marathon hurt?
What does an octopus eat?
Does Alaska even exist?
I think I know the answers to these questions.. because I have seen photos, read articles, heard descriptions, and yet I don't really know them. Only about them.
So much of my knowledge is based on unconfirmed supposition.
I Know about. I do not know.

imaginary friends from far away places. I am not satisfied with imaginary friends from far away places.
How much more incredible is it to actually meet someone you have only read about.
How do your fingers ache when you touch a friends skin for the first time, or hear soft whispers in your ears rather than just reading words from a letter?
How increible is experiencing a wonderful laugh.. honest and loud, it echos through your soul and makes you warm inside.
It makes them real, it makes them personal, and it makes you aware.

It is so so so good to "know." Really know.
It is so good to own life.
You went and saw and experienced, and hurt, and loved, and touched.
Because life is more beauitful in person.
because people are more vast in person.
because color is more astounding in person.
because fire is hotter in person.
because water is deeper in person.
because running is faster in person.

my real friends are waiting.

(Andrew Tipton)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

life behind the lens

I am fascinated with photographs.
the ability to capture the essence of a second in time.. the colors and the action and the movement - proof of days lived. Time is mysterious - ever fleeting.

I have a friend that is convinced life would be much better if we were to live in a state of obliviousness. She says, that people who are unaware of truth, live content and undisturbed lives - they have nothing heavy on their minds, nothing to keep them occupied except their daily predictable routines.
I sometimes agree with her.

I have been thinking a lot about her statement.
Honestly, part of me agrees with her. I can see the allure of being oblivious to the difficult questions and answers of life. There would be so much that I'd never have to concern myself with!
So simple! So safe and defined.
I could follow someone else's path, work my way up the corporate ladder, get a nice home, etc. Sounds like a good, comfortable life.
I think sometimes, I would like to me more unaware.

My twin brother sent me some new photos of his adventures. They are amazing pictures - full of life and energy!
Immediately though, those photos made me think about the comparison between taking photographs, and living a life.

In my experience, there are two types of photographers.
The first, and most common, are people who use the camera's "auto" settings. No matter how intricate or sophisticated a camera may be, you will always find people who are happy to just click a button.
There is one thing on these people's minds - getting a photograph.
This type of photographer could defiantly be compared to the "oblivious" group of individuals that I envy so often - people who are not at all interested in the depths of thought and discovery. Much like an amateur photographer, there is no thought as to how life happens, or why the photograph comes out the way it does - they are content with not knowing.
If they want to photograph an amazing "sunset", they will simply set their camera's mode to "sunset".
If they want to photograph waves crashing on a beach, they will set the camera for "movement".
If they want to take a photograph of fireworks, they will obviously choose that setting.
The interaction and intimacy with their camera is very limited; they know how to follow the guidelines, but not how to create. for these photographers, the camera is only a means to get the shot they desire.
This is mirrored in the actions of oblivious people. We follow the rules, we work our lives away, we accept what is handed to us... and we never take the chance to create our own unique life. Like the camera in the hands of an amateur, our days become only the means to an end - routines that get us ever closer to comfortable retirement, nicer stuff, and "happier endings". The beauty of life slips by, because we are so focused on the final product, instead of the moments that comprise life.

The second type of photographer is much rarer.
This photographer has studied and researched, they have practiced and listened, they are aware of what they are doing. They know truths about their camera and they are interested in learning more.
When I think of this photographer, I think of a person that is climbing though the branches of existence - looking at the beautiful leaves, playing with monkeys, eating the fruit. Life for them is mysterious - they want to explore it, find answers, ask questions. These people MUST ask "why?" - Why will I get old? Why is suffering bad? Why do we all wear clothes? Why do we experience pleasure? They want to understand the beautiful complexities of this world.
These people question everything because they don't want a pre-set on their life.
They want to create their own photos.
Advanced photographers are people that want to know everything about their camera; they want to know how it works, how it is built, and how to make it work correctly.
Instead of just snapping a photo, they consider elements - they take into account the f-stop, the ISO, the color balance, the aperture.. To them, just taking a photograph is not the point; it is the entire process that brings fulfillment.
I really love the similarities!
The photographer who is excited about learning, is like a person excited about discovering truth. They don't want to be bound by the camera's settings and modes, just like a person who doesn't want to fit into a mundane existence or be limited by standard choices. Their photographs might look different, their lives might challenge the ordinary - but these photographers and these individuals are able to choose, because they have a deeper understanding of the flow of life.

I will be the first to admit, it still sounds good just to remain blissfully ignorant of life; to not have to pursue thoughts, or ask why.. just to accept things the way they are.
Knowing, seems like a lot of work; it seems confusing, and it seems hard.
And it is.

So, why even try? Why look for answers, and travel to desolate places; why pursue truth at all?

When a photographer knows how his camera works.. he can do things with it that an amateur could never dream of.
If we understand how this world functions on a intimate level, how life is strung together, if we understand "How" and "Why" we do the things we do - then we can do things that other people could never dream.
Limitations disappear.
For every piece of truth that we discover, we have given ourselves more power, and more freedom. Every photo we take.. we created. Life is no longer just a "click", it is a series of deliberate choices based on truth.
That is infinitely cool.
How far are we willing to take our questions?
How many, "why"s will we ask before it gets to uncomfortable?
What would I trade in order to know a few more answers?
In the end, are we concerned with the pretty photo.. or the process of taking our own?
Would you be blissfully ignorant, or exhausted, aware, and completely free?

(Andrew Tipton)

Pieces of Truth

You make me smile bro. I am so glad to know you.
Ryan, you see life through eyes that are open to the amazement of each day. I wish I could be better at that. You see these beautiful moments, buried beneath ordinary experiences - and you find the extrordinary, hidden behind the simplest things. I love these photos brother, I love the simpleness and the honesty, and the facinaction all wrapped around them. You are talented. You are real. This world is more beautiful for you being in it. I am so proud to know you!

your friend, your brother

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


1 step towards Awareness.
Close your eyes and let every thought, every memory, every dream, every evocation sigh out of your lungs and disappear into the evening sky. Everything except the color blue.
Breathe out, and with that breathe, lose yourself, lose your mind, lose your intelligence, lose your sovereignty, lose your ambitions and hesitations, lose your fear, and your knowledge..
lose everything except the color blue.
Let everything leave your mind... except the color blue.
The color blue.
The color blue.

We were drinking wine a few nights ago.
My brothers and I, on the porch of a small cabin, nestled in the mountains of Ben Lomand. Ben Lomand is a tiny town outside of Santa Cruz, CA - it is in a valley of spectacular redwoods, and is truly an amazing place.
The air was chilly and fresh, and we were keeping warm by conversing about the origins of reality, and the mystery of perception.
A glass of $1.99 Merlot from Trader Joe's loosening up our mouths, letting truth and bullshit flow freely.
As we spoke and debated, and theorized about life.. the idea of Suffering became the topic of the night. In all its forms - physical, mental, universal. We started talking about "why" suffering exists. We started discussing, the reasons, the torment, the pain - we tossed god into the mix: if there is a god, why does he allow suffering? Is suffering good? Is suffering necessary?
"If only we were able to live without suffering!", we would shout! A life without the burden of anguish. Suffering is decidedly not good.. and especially when it happens to "good" people.
After several hours of debate, and reasoning and loudness.. we finished off our wine, got drowsy, and went to bed. Nothing resolved - except the conclusions in our own minds.
I crawled into my sleeping bag.. zipped myself up, and waited to fall asleep.
I couldn't.
I waited.
I turned over, and twisted, and sighed. Everything was quiet, and I could hear my heartbeat thumping.
I couldn't sleep because.. there was a color slowly filling up my imagination.

It was the color BLUE.

I want to consider for a moment the awesomeness of blue.
Void of context, void of reason or place.
Simply consider "blue".
I immediately think about the sky, the oceans, waterfalls.. but even beyond that, there is just the color blue.
Why? Why do I see it?
My eyes see it every single day of my life.. and I take it for granted! I treat "blue", like I am supposed to see it.
I am oblivious to how beautiful - how much depth and sensuality, how much life it contains.
Just one color. And yet it is absolutely, inexplicably marvelous.
What would life be like without the color blue?

There is no reason I should see blue. And yet I do.
There is no defining guideline to existence that says I get to experience blue. And yet I am able to.
I have no right, no born qualification, no talent, no innate gift - nothing about me deserves to see the color blue. And yet, I see it.

Take suffering. Take pain. Take agony, take anything that feels undeserved, that feels wrong or unfair, or unjust. Take all that hate for god, for letting those things happen to people. Take it, and place it against the color blue.
All that pain, all that suffering, against a color that I have no right to see.

I have to grasp how incredible 1 simple color is.
I have to understand how beautiful 1 single breath of life is.
I have to realize how sacred and awesome it is just to touch dirt.
Just to smell redwood trees, just to move my finger, just to taste a drop of water on my tongue.
I have to know how entirely undeserving of those things I am.
ONLY THEN - I can look at "suffering". only then I can decide how much pain I should have to endure.

My question becomes.. "Why, since I have been given so much undeserved awesomeness, should I not have to suffer?"

The point of this madness.
Suffering is only unjust in my mind, because I have not yet realized how incredibly undeserved are each of life's seconds.
It is true, suffering is agony, and makes our hearts and bodies bleed - but what is suffering, compared to life?
Maybe, if I understand the limitless awesomeness of the color blue - just that single color; maybe, I will see that suffering is nothing compared to the brilliance that I take for granted every single day.

Give me blue.

(Andrew Tipton)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Driving With Vagabonds

I wonder if we forgot to behave for once,
if anyone would notice the smile on our faces?
I wonder if we are dangerous when we sleep?
Do you dream of revolutions?
The revolutions of planets,
and the motion of starlight,
I wonder if you know the color red,
like I know the color red,
The flames of sunrises in Kailua,
the color of both our hearts,
the color of painted horses in Arizona at sunset.
My door swings open, and you climb into my life.
Your dirty duffel bag filled with stories and whiskey.
My friend Christian; I want to call you Charles,
because I do believe in evolution.
The evolution of our minds; and of our perceptions.
I sail across waves.
You have a son named "Ocean".
You have a dog named "Sister".
I have a sister.
We are the same.
Do you know where we are going?
It doesn't matter; getting there is the point.
Where were you and I before we met on the side of this highway?
How many days were we looking for each other?
How long did you wait on me underneath that bridge?
Destiny unfolds in my mind;
like a paper tiger, it climbs through the branches of my thoughts.

You tell me that everyone has answers,
everyone except us, because we know too much to have answers anymore.

I look into your bright blue eyes and see myself years ago,
I look into your weathered face and see myself years from now,
182 miles.
Your eyes are bright yet tired.
Your beard is full and gray.
Your hands are worn and strong.
I think we are most beautiful when were are well used.

For 182 miles we are brothers.
For 182 miles we are everything.
Being human to one another; not because we have to be,
because we can
I was grateful for the chance to drive with each one of you.
Peace to you guys on your travels.


(Andrew Tipton)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

UGLY MUG Diaries

I'm sitting here in a coffee shop called "UGLY MUG"
It is on the corner of Soquel Dr, and Porter St, in Santa Cruz, CA.

I know the street names, because I am sitting by a window looking out on the day.
It is warm. Slightly sunny, and I am starting to sweat in the North Face jacket that I'm wearing.

I am watching traffic.
Cars. Trucks. Bikes. People.

The bike traffic is interesting. People have a tendency to look like their bikes; or is it the other way around?

There is an incredibly large Hispanic guy on a low rider motorcycle. His stomach is almost touching the gas tank. He still looks cool.

A girl on a pink beach-cruiser bicycle just came by, she was wearing a pink jacket, and fuzzy pink boots. I am guessing it is her favorite color. She was pretending to be in a fashion show; every stride contained calculated sex appeal.

There is a lady with a really old Saab that just drove by.. the entire interior of her car was leopard print! Seats, dash, doors, EVERYTHING. She looked like a cougar.

There is a rack of postcards beside me.. and one of the cards is a "supernova". Coincidence?

I am thinking about agendas today. Mine. Yours.
Wondering whose is more important.
Wondering if any are more important.
Wondering why cars are driving South on Porter Street.
Wondering why cards are driving North of Porter Street.
Wondering why I'm here.

A very very old woman with a baby carriage is standing outside my window. The baby carriage is filled with packages for the post-office. She has a very very old dog with her, he looks like the sort of animal you would get if you crossed a Zebra with a Squirrel.

I ordered a glass of milk. Whole milk. It was delicious and cold.

The UGLY MUG is out of Apple Juice.

(Andrew Tipton)

Monday, June 1, 2009

June 1st, Human

If you ever want to learn about humans, come to Hawaii.
We are a crazy, beautiful, dangerous, wild, confused, ignorant, passionate, domesticated race.

Hawaii is like a giant pot of soup.. I have heard it called a "melting pot", but that isn't true; no one melts.
In fact, we do the opposite of melt.
But thats ok. I have to keep reminding myself.
We don't have to melt, we don't have to exist in the same thought, or do the same things, or speak the same langauge. Its frustrating at times.. when we are all banging into each other, and grinding against each other's routines. But it should be that way. Because those moments are made by our differences. I have had so many experiences here, but they were directly created from each of us doing our own "thing".
I hate us for that. But I have to laugh at the same time. And I have to love the jumbled, gorgeous confusion of it all.

Maybe you're the little baby on the bus that kept grabbing my arm with your chubby baby fingers; you made me laugh so hard, people thought I was crazy!
Maybe you're the arrogant punk who I fought with in Big Kahuna's last weekend; I thought you were an ass-hole, but I know you were trying to show off.
Maybe you're the tiny little grandpa who smiled when we shook hands after you gave me a towel; It was good to meet you Tiago.
Maybe you're the girl that bought me a drink the other night and then ran your hand through my hair; I thought you smelled so good - like really expensive soap.
Maybe you're the guy on the bicycle that screamed at me in traffic, even though you were going the wrong way; its cool man, I go the wrong way too sometimes.
Maybe you're the hiker that I met on the Hahaione trail; did you ever make it down?
Maybe you're the dude in the speedo that lays out every single day; you grossed me out for awhile, but now I just laugh when I see you.
Maybe you're the surfer guys that rode with me to Kailua; did you guys get your board fixed?
Maybe you are the Australian girls that shared my room in the hostel; that was such an insane night! I did not sleep.
Maybe you're the Asian tourist group that stampeded me in the elevator yesterday, and the day before; I love how you guys are always "running" in little groups, to places that are 20ft away.
Maybe you are the surfers that I caught that giant wave with; that was so fast and so awesome! I'm glad all three of us rode that beast together.
Maybe you are the homeless guys that shared your spot on the park with me; you guys were actually off your rockers, but it was interesting talking to you.
Maybe you're the yoga teacher from Kailua that freaked me out when you did that shakra ritual; I liked you accent though, you knew your truth.
Maybe you are Brian the pilot, who took me up in your homemade airplane and flew us around the island; that was incredible, I couldn't stop smiling!
Maybe you are the sailboat captain.
Maybe you are the taxi drivers.
Maybe you are the scuba instructor.
Maybe you are the girl who bags my groceries at Safeway.

Maybe you are me.
Some days I am thrilled that I be a human;
I am thrilled to be just 1 story in a million stories.
Stories about adventure, and suffering, and joy and amazement and beauty and creativity and complacency. Stories that are dangerous and stories that are mundane.
Stories of motion.

Lets keep grinding into each other; lets keep being ourselves, lets never melt.
Thanks Hawaii.

(Andrew Tipton)