Monday, July 19, 2010

"... my childhood sucks ..."

Today on Designing God, I invite you through a personal journey of mine where the scope of my reality was contemplative and imaginatively ambiguous. This is a time capsule I've unearthed earlier today when I encountered a picture of a little boy in a shopping cart.

Are we satisfied with our childhood? Today, when problems occur in our personal life, we usually attribute it to our upbringing. We can't resist the urge to blame mom and dad for fucking us up the way they did. But how much left is there to blame on ourselves?

Mom and Dad could be at fault for doing things to you that they regret. Some parents divorce, others mistreat their children, sometimes there is a death that takes one or both the parents. This is obviously out of our control and it could be justified in saying that the blame cannot be upon us as an individual.

But what about that other sector of human development that contributes to our moral perception? Sure, our genetic predisposition is vital to consider, yet exterior influence hardly involves parental conditioning. Mom and Dad aren't always around to change the way you think.

The list is endless as to what affects Personality. From informal information to personal experiences. Regardless of institution or group one belongs to, Mom and Dad were not present at every single step of the way. You are what you are because of the blank canvas you were born with that later became colored by life's ubiquitous contaminations of external and internal stimuli, in other words - shit happens.

But this brings me to another important point about the furtherance of understanding our flaws. Humans are not perfect, but the subtlety of our mistakes are caused by exterior (environment) and interior (genetic) influence. What, however, do we call this "thing" that gets affected?

The "Me" in the sentence, "My parents messed me up" is evidence of a unblemished entity that witnesses these occurrences. Some say that this "me," or "I," or "ego" survives death and becomes habitable to another life form - reincarnation. But I'm not here to talk about death. The interesting thing about our consequentiality of ideas and the furtherance of absolving ourselves from blame has little to do with remaining an innocent being through means of the Lie. We inherently understand that at a deep level, our "self" is an unblemished source of light and love.

That with which we cannot touch is most certainly real because it is us.

So if you hear some jack-off yammering about his parents, his environment, and stating the ultimate cause of his complaints springs forth from his origins, please do yourself the favor of slapping the prick and remind him that he's beautiful just the way he is.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

A Day In Jupiter

I've just recently been on a three day outing with my cousin in Jupiter, Florida. Well, it's not much of an outing since we've been here at his mom's house. But once in a while we'd hit the road and check out a few spots.

Jupiter, Florida is a city where many would find it tempting to joke about it's title. Mostly anyone can't resist interrupting without referencing the 5th planet from the sun. So please, lets put that aside.

My stay here has been a bit interesting. Mostly fun when I've had the opportunity to spend more time with my cousin Chris. Times are tough and money isn't cycling through him as it once did. This family is on my mother's side. Her mother's sister currently lives here. They resided in New York for 30 years and now they're residing in South Florida. Chris is here to help take care of my grand aunt along with her husband who's now suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

Chris is one of my favorite cousins since he is very well informed of political jargon, as well as a spiritually attuned meditation practitioner.

One particular reason why I'm writing this blog is to comment on my Tia Blanca. She's now turning 68 this coming month and I've neglected to ask her all these years about my origins. So this time around, I had breakfast with her and we started talking about our family's history.

She remembers names and stories of most of my ancestry dating back to the time of the Depression. I never knew some of my family members were from Spain. I only heard that I had a great-grandfather who came from there, and that he was almost 7-feet tall. My brother, it is believed, inherited some of those traits because he too is a tall individual. This brings to mind the power of genetic inheritance. Respectfully, I have a deep appreciation for all the family members that passed on, but I cannot help but marvel at the mechanism that makes us living creatures - sexual reproduction.

It took 3 generations for my great-grandfather's gene for height to be manifested in my brother's genes. Upon seeing this picture of my great-grandfather, I couldn't think of anyone else except Ivan.

So, my most profound experience of this scientific revelation is that we cannot escape the effectiveness of nature. As complex as the genetic code is, as mysterious as the skipping of generations might be, it is a fact that these phenomenon occur in nature regardless of what species you are.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Designer's Block

The life of an artist is meant to be spent in appreciation and with the freeness of expression. But sometimes we run into little de-motivators called Blocks. This is mostly associated with writing when an author stumbles upon a "writer's block."

In this blog, and for the first time on Designing God, I'm going to provide an informative approach to the struggles of the creative process. I will describe that there are two struggles with creativity and finally I will suggest a way out of these struggles.

Leo DaVinci was a very bored man. He couldn't limit himself to just painting. He had to study science, philosophy, engineering, sculpting, pottery, literature, and music (apart from other studies he was interested in). I'm quite sure that Leo, being the first renaissance man to be as gifted as he was, suffered from the terrible struggle of Designer's Block equally as much as modern designers.

At times, we feel that the limitations of our perception persuade us to give up on a given design. Projects pile up and deadlines get closer. So in that angst, we struggle to finish something that we know for a fact looks like a turd. I too, on countless occasions, have been a victim of such artistic tragedy. Let me address the two types of Designer's Blocks that exist.

Block 1: Brainstorming
All artists need an idea to start with. You could never begin a project without processing a thought that becomes an organized idea. It's preposterous if you think you could, and plus we're not anywhere near Hogwarts to test such a proposition. Every organized idea, whether it be for a business/school project or personal expression, has an influential element of inspiration.

We need inspiration! Have you ever encountered someone who stares at their blank canvas and blatantly says, "I NEED INSPIRATION!"? Have you ever noticed that these people are usually lazy by nature? This is by no means an insult, but a mere truth about artists. Most of our artwork is mental and not physical. So the main objective is to conjure what our brains have generated and convey that mental display onto a canvas. This is not the struggle I'm addressing though.

Brainstorming is difficult and, without inspiration, we artists cannot thrive as we do. We need a little ADHD time to ourselves in order to gather our thoughts like eggs in a basket. I suggest surfing the web and copying some ideas from work that has already been created. This isn't stealing. Being original isn't an ability, it is a lens of how we see our vision apart from others. And plus, all the ideas presented throughout history have already been done. Being original is a delusion. It's safe to copy other's ideas and make it into your own. It's difficult to do, but when you get past your lack of faith in yourself, eventually the ideas start flooding in and your work will begin with a bang.

Additionally, the best ideas usually come from sources in close proximity. Opening your mind to the environment and the internal clutter of your own thoughts generates a pure creative thought completely out of spontaneity. This one technique is a little tricky because we tend to close our minds up to avoid confusing ourselves, but it really helps if done correctly.

Block 2: Production
This block is very simple to navigate around. The most obvious demonstration of this block is when we're in the middle of a project and we cannot find any more coal in our steam engine of creation, hence the term "running out of steam." As a result, we tend to half-ass our way through a project and just concentrate on the "details" instead of the overall scaffolding of our presentation.

Preplanned assignments are honestly the most important part of the overall project. When done with enough dedication and patience, the result is pure magic. Don't allow yourself to bend over backwards just to magnify a detail of your project. Every bit you do is all-inclusive.

What I do is carry a notebook with me, write notes sometimes when an additional detail comes to my attention, continue with what I'm doing (preferably, pre-planning the entire presentation) and finally look at my notes periodically to see when it is a good time to make those final touches to the piece.

And most obvious of all to this particular Designer's Block is that we sometimes lack the motivation to continue our project. Sometimes work is tedious and boring; whether we're outlining a margin or cutting a measuring multiple distances in our layout, just remember that it's part of the design process.

A sure way to destroy self-doubt and boredom in your production time is to constantly focus on the objective. Do not get caught up on how something looks at the beginning or near the middle. Focus your energy on your vision with full seriousness and determination. Most mature graphic designers who have dedicated their lives to this discipline love their jobs to the Nth degree. You too could be as successful and happy with what you do if nothing else exists in your world except you and your work. Building that relationship with your work is more than worth the while.
"We need solutions"
- Bush [rock band]
We have thus far looked at two Designer's Blocks that trump us in the creative process. Their problems and solutions are unique but workable. To recap, the first Block is Brainstorming and the solution to this is to seek inspiration and simultaneously open your mind to the traffic of information flowing through you. The last Block is encountered in the Production phase which can be eliminated by fully focusing on your objective and keeping that vision in your mind throughout the whole time you're in the lab. Good luck fellow designers!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

"Their Ego Again"

"It's not so hard, just forgive yourself"

Don't let the picture fool you, this blog is not going to be another rant on the ladies. I just like female figures. Seriously ... I couldn't find a good picture of a male loving his own reflection as much as this image. Go figure ...

Any who, thoughts have once again seeped into my mind and it's time for another moral lesson. For the spiritual audience who reads this blog: Aren't you tired of this nonsensical frustration we have with our own self-image? Everything we think of is in relation to our ego. It's very difficult to think of a way in which any thought or action is ego-less. We're hopelessly devoted to the motive of "me."

Who ever thought of the notion of a selfless act, was probably stupid. There is no such thing. The concept of love or empathy is always going to be related to our own experiences.

Now you might think I'm wrong in saying this, but lets first define a selfless act as an act that caters to the betterment of others in which the faith of oneself is completely absent; we are constantly selfish because everything we do is for the furtherance of understanding ourselves. We're far from the depiction of angels on earth. We are completely reliant on our ego whether we like it or not.

Ken Wilber has predicated research about the stages of moral and spiritual development. The more we grow in moral understanding the less we rely on our selfish genes and steer towards the betterment of others. Sounds good right? But the following proposition is a good example of when reality sinks it's sharp teeth into our polished butt-cheeks:

No matter how much we grow in moral/spiritual development, we still carry the previous stages of egoic moral development. This means that even a distinguished moral philosopher could behave like a reptile given the preferential conditions. Sounds good right?
We like to think we've evolved and advanced because we can build a computer, fly an airplane, travel underwater, we can write a sonnet, paint a painting, compose an opera. But you know something? We're barely out of the jungle on this planet. Barely out of the fucking jungle. What we are, is semi-civilized beasts, with baseball caps and automatic weapons.
- George Carlin (Life is Worth Losing, 2005)
Of course, not each human is identically predetermined based on one element of moral life. But, given the reality of developmental stages it's time to stop fooling ourselves in assuming that we graduated from the ego-centric ways of thinking.

Monday, April 12, 2010

You know ... the rules!

Disclaimer: The following blog is meant for entertainment purposes and does not offer any professional diagnosis for relationship advice.

Who made up all the rules
We follow them like fools
Believe them to be true
Don't care to think them through
- Jem (a female) [singer]
What are rules? Do we really follow them like fools? Who made them? Yup, I'm talking about the courting process ...

As a good friend of mine used to say:
If you're not benching 250 lbs, driving a nice car, dancing well to salsa music and operate at the CEO mentality at a yacht party then you're never going to get laid.
Unfortunately this proposition is not far from true. Some people will adopt these guidelines as true requirements to "git wit me."

If we were to absolve ourselves from Ebonic terminology, the crisis we face is indeed unsolvable. But this blog will present a therapeutic perspective on how to look at it differently and whom to blame for this chaotic structure of rules.

The Process:
What happens in the course of 3 weeks is a mating ritual. The male will offer a series of dates of progressing intimacy in order to express his reproductive abilities. Throughout the course of these 3 weeks, he demonstrates his commitments by engaging in provisional donations to the female's request whether it be materially or psychologically sacrificial gifts. The female at this point decides whether this male candidate is adequate enough to protect and provide for her and her potential offspring.

In laymen translation it would be this:
You meet a nice girl, see if she is interested in going out, ask her out, have a good time, "be yourself," pay for dinner on the first date, allow distance between her and yourself to make the attraction more indelible, go out a few more times and make the first kiss happen, allow a month to go by and begin foreplay, eventually you will have sex. Then you give her your full attention, helping her, listening to her daily worries and making yourself a bullshit-story receptacle that puts up with her drama, excuses and eventually her attempt to break every boundary you have acquired throughout your adolescence.

The Issue:
So my question is this: Who made these rules? Why does society engulf us with these meaningless traditions in which the female population is so brainwashed to believe in? I'll tell you why. And the answer is the Disney Princess Fallacy.

A long time ago, these young and innocent females sat through hours of Pavlovian conditioning watching the damsel in distress chose a man at her own expense. Knowing completely well that her shit isn't together, she will grow up attempting to attract vulnerable, naive boys to her undeveloped lifestyle filled with an oxitocin and estrogen marinated brain. Ergo: break-ups, endless hours of crying over a boy she likes that wouldn't give her the time of day, bantering towards her father's male image, gaining a selfish view of female independence, and forever hating men at the most internal level conceivable. What is the result of this? What future lies ahead of such a growing woman?


Rules that she creates to classify EVERYTHING!! Such rules that answers these question:
  • What constitutes a boyfriend?
  • What makes a good first date?
  • How should a man feel when she's upset?
  • How could I bail out on him when he behaves like a baby?
  • How much will he be willing to give me of his time/money/love?
  • Will having sex with him make him needy?
  • What makes a man Mature?
  • Preferences? Age/Income/Status/History/Career/Availability
  • etc. etc.
Of course, being a male, this list I fabricated does little justice to the truth. But aside from what is "estimated truth" regarding all females, generalizations cannot be given without a certain precaution. Not all females are the same, but the crazies are rampant and willing to agree deep down inside (though externally they will rant and squirm until their fists turn white). But to be completely honest with myself and simultaneously diplomatic about this whole fiasco we call the "gender wars," my opinion is only personal and cannot be disproved until a radical change comes about from the opposite sex. It is sad to say that even after 24 years of waking life, I'm still waiting.

What ever happened to intrinsic values? For example, "the more I think about you the more I deserve your fellowship?" ... NO! Now it's the females saying, "the more I know you're under my spell the more likely I will can you."

Men and the Female's Frailties
If it is not obvious by now, let me just say that I am a strong supporter of the men's movement. It is a shame how women expect the most intolerable, violent behavior from us men and expect us also to be sensitive to their seasonally biochemical hurricanes of drama. Can't a man be weak sometimes? Does he not also have the right to dramatize his feelings and carry out his ability to care and show compassion for a female counterpart which he might mistaken for a "good woman?"

And here's another misgiving, what the fuck is up with these women who can't appreciate something until it's gone!? As a matter of fact, why can't either of us appreciate something until it's gone? Perhaps this is a human frailty.

I'll tell you why. It's because of our consistent record of fucking up people's lives. The more we fail, the more hard-hearted and callous we are, the more hearts we break. Shouldn't this be against the law? Just a thought ...

... Well, maybe not because that'll just be another rule to follow. But who cares, we need good rules. And while I'm at it let me go ahead and state them.
Rule: Never allow a man's heart to be broken at the expense of a dumb rule you made up out of a failure you can't get over.
here are some more ...

Instead of finding love from a male provider, you are from now on obligated to observe self-reliance to be a main virtue.
Rule: Just like you expect men to be strong when you throw shit on the walls, men now have the same right.
... and finally this one:
Rule: Love everything about the person you are with especially his flaws. That's true Maturity.
[end of rant]

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Hate is ...

Designing God is a blog about what we understand and what we create.

It has become obvious that the subjects I touch upon are very general and can apply to anyone. I've already mentioned God, love, death, meditation, stupidity, drugs, sex, etc. Now I want to take some time and discuss with you, the reader, about hate.

What is hate? Hate is a type of Fear, Fear is the father of Hate. As many psychoanalytic simplifications might suggest, everything under the sun falls under the categories of either Fear or Love. This concept, Hate, is continuously used in reference to something we are familiar with and simultaneously decide to absolve ourselves from it's source of pain. We could hate people, ideas, emotions, ignorance etc. Any affiliation with the unknown and simultaneously associated with something we're familiar with provokes feelings of hatred. I'm suggesting here that hatred is a negative emotional reaction to an unexpected result.

I have a dear friend of mine that is recently over a break up. Her stories about her boyfriend were emotionally confusing and the dialog easy to misunderstand. His explanation for the break up was clear but his actions spoke differently. Throughout all this confusion, it is no wonder that she concluded the following words: I hate him.

This same friend asked me a random question about the heart.

She said, "Vincent, what is the definition of a heartache?"
After minutes of pondering the question I responded with, "It is the emotion you feel when you know someone took something away from you that you know you can't have back."

I honestly cannot say whether she agreed with me or not, but I do believe the words I spoke. What we cannot have back is what terrifies us. We, as free agents of this universe, create and innovate our environment with the gifts of love and creativity. When our ability to love or create is taken away from hurtful criticism and ambiguity of the connection, we will naturally react with negative emotions as a result of human stupidity.

We cannot hate without harboring the element of fear in our hearts. It is simply the consequences of fear that lead to our suffering and inevitably to hate.

Hate is never justifiable. If we hate it's because of fear. When we fear it is because of a lack of love. When we lack love we lose understanding.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Love is ...


As many Buddhists would say "love is an idea." It is something we attribute to many human interactions and in spite of all the trouble it may cause, love still tends to conquer all. What do we mean when we say that we love someone, or that we have love for mankind? Or that God loves us? Or that we love our neighbor? Are there different types of love? Is love the end? Can love conquer over death? Is the meaning of live to love all and to forgive many? All these speculations flow through my mind when I contemplate relationships. now the subject of today's blog would not be something I've pondered for too short a time. It goes through my mind every single day of waking life.

There are problems when I consider the concept of love to be something eternal. As many things have been described in my previous blogs and entries I have considered that all things that exist must come to an end. On many occasions I've parroted this personal opinion to people and they conclude that I have a morbid view of life.

Why should things end? Wouldn't that just be bland and tasteless? That we have nothing to look forward to for eternity? Where is life's insurance policy? Aren't we rewarded something after all our worries, sins and deposits of stress in life's emotional bank account? Where is that pension at the end of this tunnel of darkness? And so love has to be that very thing! Right? Why can't we be gifted with love. Praised and showered with such raw emotion that humans are tenderly desiring for?

So I'm here to tell you that there is a truth to this and there is a reason why I have that idea of the longevity of love.

... There is an end, and we must accept it at all costs.

Designing god is a process we all go through in life; making a personification of all our lost emotions we require to survive. The Bible says in 1 John 4:8 that "God is love". I described in my previous blog about "God" as an atheist, I would like to add that "god is everything and is nothing"; that is the very conception of our mind in which we personify based on our own preferences. Almost as if we are running our own unique software in our mind. Just like all concepts, love is just another conception. A conception of how things should be. It could be quite quaint and poetic when anyone attempts to describe love with their first two words "love is ..." and that whatever follows harbors a profound and philosophically motivating conclusion. But is it really?

My take on it is that Everything is Love and Love is Everything ... and that's a good start.

This blog is not going to touch on the depths of relationships. I can only say what reality truly is. I have said that everything has an end, and love is everything. And since love is everything, love has an end as well. The universe will always be something mysterious. To find further truth in a concept we create is truly something unattainable. You cannot solve a puzzle with an open-ended question and expect to find one absolute answer. In the clutter that is the universe, the randomness of all, the unification of all understanding ... is only conceptual. To love is to know everything ... and yet we can't.

While standing here on earth, loving is an important process. If one were to idolize it, give it a name and a Facebook profile ... it's status will always read "I am".

Where is he going with this?
Is Vince high again?
Can this mean anything in my life?
Why am I wasting my time reading about how love is nothing?
Fuck this guy, he's depressing!

I'm going to wrap up this last point in the form of logic. Even your enemy is considered part of "everything". Your ex-boyfriend/girlfriend is love. Your next door neighbor is love. Your mailman with the tight shorts is love. Your dog is love. You are love!

This realization is how I walk in life. Knowing that everything is love, love is everything, and everything has an end. This is not morbid, this can only be true. With this thought in my mind, my awareness of my mortality is more vivid, real; my appreciation for the temporariness of life is so close for me to taste. With such a perspective on this one reality will allow me to love all who are part of this "everything" that will soon end.

And I will repeat again, we must accept this at all costs. Because if we don't, then our minds will drift from the importance of meditating on love.

For those of you who like these blogs, please feel free to comment on the link below. All your words of encouragement will be appreciated.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Is Death the end?

Some say that death is not the end. That somehow we live beyond the life we claim is real and graduate to a newer world. Some believe this new world contains our deepest fantasies; a place where elements of escapism engulf our neuronal pleasures and expand for eternity.

I'm not here to testify nor rectify what should be the correct view about death. In reality, nobody knows what happens after we die. My opinion does not matter. But the sad truth is that we will no longer be around. And man ... that's deep.

Death is a long trip away from home, never to return again. The absence of life is death. My question to you is are we able to face it?

When I look at life, I don't know anything else. The present moment is all we have. It is our friend - a close one at that. The problem with modern society is that we abstract our lives to make the mundane things more vivid than they actually are. Principles of reality are not printed in paper nor can someone teach you what it is. Buddha was strict about that:
“Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.”
What faces our current society, is the cause of the most ludicrous perversion of civilized conduct; how the world challenges itself with words, interpretations, concepts, philosophies, and premonitions of life; how the world lives up to it's status quo, determined to leap ahead and beat the rest of the crowd just to see another dollar appear out of reward for it's labor. The truly sick and blatant death of life. In no way am I addressing the inevitable cycle of life, in how death is inevitable, no. I'm addressing the death of living.

We don't value life anymore. Everything is a deadline, a panic, a stress, a situation, an event, a friend, a parent, a boss, the news, politics, issues, boyfriend, girlfriend, children, scandals, allegations, interpretations; irritable stimulations of the environment endlessly spiking their way through our scalp, into our minds and changing our perceptions of what is the obvious truth. And one of these truths is the reality of death.

Most recently I have had these irritable stimulations by the multiple. I felt at times when I could contemplate suicide and forget about the world or anything attached to me; to simply detach from everything, not even meditation could save me. Nothing would except one thing.

I have been drinking excessive amounts of alcohol, coffee, smoking cigars, sleeping late, staring at computer screens, reading endless articles on Law and Business, worrying about school, work, friends, family, and most the ambiguously categorized item of my priorities - my health. My panic attacks are visiting me more and more often, causing me to stop breathing and lose my control of air intake. My ADD is kicking in again when I cannot focus on my reading assignments; my brain is insisting the horrible suggestion to turn on the television for "background noise" while I study - not a good idea but habitual regardless of how smart I am. All these events make me cry and convince me that I'm slowly becoming a failure. I think I have reached a point in my life where I believe I am dying. It could be microscopic and a slow process, but I know the process of life is beginning to go in reverse. As I said before, only one thing saved me and it was that very realization.

Normally I write my blogs in a lighter note, and I'm not about to change my routine. Even though it looks bad to some, and innocuous to others, I'm still alive. As plain and stupid as that sounds, fuck everyone, I'm alive and there's nothing anyone can do to stop me from appreciate that.

When people talk about death, it's accompanied with a tone of dread. They don't realize that it's not that we fear death itself but the dying part of death. When we are born, we never complained prior to our existence:
"I do not fear death. I had been dead for billions and billions of years before I was born, and had not suffered the slightest inconvenience from it."
Mark Twain
Time is short, but that's the best news. Just because something doesn't last long doesn't mean it isn't valuable. There really is no need to commit suicide nor panic. This is coming from a guy who's suffering from anxiety attacks. No one should procrastinate life. It's time to start controlling our breathing, appreciating the present moment, learning and improving, and finding motivation to live eternally right now instead of later.

And for those of you who still wondering what happens after death ... stop wasting your time and get a life!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Miracle Drug

Last night has got to be one of those nights in which you could only pray to have as much fun as desired. I was so embraced by pleasure in every way that it literally took control over me. Allow me to dive into my night of debauchery.

I went to a sports restaurant to see a few rock bands play to which I was invited by one of my friends, Rob, who plays in one of the local bands. He loves music, partying and something else which tickled my fancy later that evening.

Once we had beers, after we left, and after we had gorged ourselves with Denny's coffee with samplers galore, we went back to his house for a short jam session with friends.

"Do you smoke pot?" asked Rob. I said that I do but only socially. We made plans to arrange a few hits for each taker of which I was a obviously an inexperienced partaker.

My first hit was short, but then after that they passed it to me a second time. I admitted that I wasn't good at smoking weed because I can't ever inhale it right. Though I was clearly hinting at them to help me know how I should prepare for a hit, they just instructed me to simply let it into my lungs so that it rests there for at least 10 seconds.

My lungs shrank slightly blowing some air out to prepare for an bigger intake, I lit up the edge of the blunt, soaked up the grass's burnt scent and allowed the minty flavored peppers into my lungs as I gradually expanded my diaphragm. I counted ... 1 ... 2 ... 3 ...

As I counted I was pondering over the fact that I've never been high before. I've smoked weed before but I've never really felt the actual "high". Perhaps I smoked like Bill Clinton when he was in college.

... 8 ... 9 ... 10 ... uhh ... 11 ... 12 ... 13! I blew out slowly the gases of carbon dioxide from my held breath. Making clear, ghostly rings into the cold air.

At first I didn't feel anything. But I needed to cough out the weighty fragments out of my mouth. I coughed for a good minute or two to which I heard my other friend say, "You're going to get really high man. Look at your eyes!" My eyes were matching the color of my skin.

Rob wanted to tune his guitar to mine. So I played each string carefully looking down at my acoustic. I'm looking directly at it for a while trying to feel the heat come back to my cold fingers. I felt like my body was vibrating with every note I stroke. Rob was concentrating on tuning his guitar to my low E string for a minute. He's a perfectionist.

Then it was the A string. It sounded more high pitched as usual, only this time I, for some reason, forgot that I needed to ask for a pick. I usually play with one even when I tune my guitar. It didn't matter though because my hand was cold anyway ... I couldn't feel it yet. Then I was tuning the D string, and I immediately thought I was playing a song. So I rock back and forth to a rhythm that I kept for a few minutes which being consciously aware that Rob was syncing his tuning to my strings. Suddenly it became a beautiful piece of music. It was not only meditative but it captured my attention span for the entire time. I suddenly lost track of the existence of the world around me and the people in the room. Rob didn't even exist at this point. It was just me and my guitar in a heavenly ritual.

In mid-plucking of my strings, I stopped. Is it possible to be surprised where you are standing? This is the pivotal moment of my life where I finally knew that I felt different. I knew something was wrong with me, and the time it took was minimal. I knew I was high and I lost control of my inhibitions. I didn't know where I was anymore. I looked around and remembered that I was at Rob's house. George and Cedric were looking at me with smiles ... they knew I was fucked up.

"Vince are you okay?" asked Rob.
"I'm good, I'm really good." I said, but I didn't speak ... at least I didn't remember speaking but I knew I said that. One thing about being high is that you're aware that you're contradicting yourself but you still go with the flow and pray that you start shutting up before you fuck up your grammar again.

As a scientist (a lifestyle I chose to live by), I began to notice that when you're high you have a disassociation with reality even though your senses may feel empowered. But some moment of the night I felt so stupid and useless. ... and thirsty!

"I need some water, can I have a glass?" I took a sip and I didn't need water anymore. I kinda felt obligated to "save" some water for Rob. But that's illogical because water is free. I was so out of it.

There were other moments throughout the night that I needed to slowly count up to 5 to test to see how high I was. I started laughing by number 3. Another time I kept imagining that it was daytime or nighttime and inconsistent moments of the time I was at Rob's place. Once I kept apologizing for being high. That laughter was contagious, more contagious than when sober and it kept getting more funny as soon as the initial chuckle takes place. It was very bad, but I will admit that the hilarity was irreplaceable.

At one point Rob and the group wanted to see a movie so we popped in a dark-comedy classic Sean of the Dead. I remember seeing it but I kept telling everyone repeatedly that I really like the movie as if I believed that as soon as I said it I didn't want others to forget that I favored the movie. "My favorite thing about this movie is the first part." I didn't know why I said that.

After watching the movie for 20 minutes I said something weird but then I laughed so fucking hard I wanted to fall down on the floor. I said, "OMG I thought we were watching Ghost Busters!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!" My stomach was so cringed and soar from laughing but I kept going.

"WHAAAT!?" shouted both George and Nick sitting on the couch across the room. I laughed until my tears gave up on me. Everyone knew I was fucked up. But we all laughed at the hilarity of the situation. It was very very funny. But this is the only part of the night that made it all magical. I just loved the fact that I was with friends laughing at a comedy flick at scene where it's not meant to be funny, eating salted crackers and tasting the sensation of salt so much that it made my eyes water up even more, and asking deeply philosophical questions to the group. "Hey guys do you think it's okay to distrust people?" I don't know, but when I was high I felt it harder to trust people around me even after knowing Rob and George for so long.

So what do I think of MJ? I think it was ... interesting, I think I'd like to get high some other day but I don't think it would be good to have such annoying stimulations around me like I did last night. There are some bad things to getting high and there definitely are some awesome experiences one can draw from them.

For one, I don't like having no control over a situation and while I was stoned, I couldn't tell the difference if I was playing the guitar or if my fingers were. At some moments I felt so helpless that my value of life decreased to a stage of contemplation of suicide. I didn't value my life as much when I'm was high. And I consider myself a deeply humane person.

But the value of being high is the awareness level. Self-awareness is very high. I was able to dig inside my head because the outside world was clearly an illusion, like a dream, nothing was real except my consciousness. I felt as if I died and yet I was still awake. It was the deepest philosophical lens I could peer through alongside my regular meditation practices. I still value Meditation above marijuana for it's loyalty to the Buddhist values of simplicity and absence of drug-use. I strongly encourage everyone to peer into your own mind through an active practice of meditation and always question what is real and unreal - but of course without the use of substance.

Marijuana might not be a performance enhancing drug but it certainly can give you a lens in how to see reality and I support looking at the world through different interpretations.

As I mentioned in the last blog post about God, consciousness is the only thing that exists in our universe. Atoms, molecules and matter cannot really exist without our minds first seeing these wonders of nature. But our own minds create the world around us. Without minds, the universe would be blind and unnoticed. That is why I call MJ a miracle drug, because in order to see reality for what it truly is, you must first accept that the death of your ego doesn't mean your urge to discover reality dies with it. Reality is inside of us and it cannot ever be from the outside world. If you are under the influence of drugs, the outside world might change, but the inside world ... reality cannot.

Thank you for your time friends. Please let me know what you think of the artwork above. :)