Archive for the 'food' Category

The Sticky Human Conundrum – How Hot Water Worshippers Will Save the World

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 9.25.56 PM

Good Morning SuperForest,

In the three years that I’ve been playing the community creation/permaculture game, I’ve noticed one very important through line: water. Specifically, the shared access to clean, hot water. Hot water and how it is distributed is the number one factor in the success or failure of a community, and on a larger level a society as a whole.

Here’s why…

We humans are very good at leaking. We pee, we poo, we shed hair, we shed skin flakes. A great deal of the dust in our homes is made up of our dead skin particles. Our bodies are, let’s face it, smelly, sticky, often leaking things, and we must deal with that fact from the day we attain self-awareness to the day we die.

But our cities and the machinery that surrounds us are not based on this basic fact. They are based on the needs and desires of a consumer driven society. A society where you travel from home to work to grocery store to place of recreation and entertainment. But imagine for a second that all four of those places were the same place. Your home was your work, your work was your grocery store, your very home was a place of vast unending entertainment. You could, if you liked, remain comfortably and happily within the borders of your home all the live long day and still get time outside and in the garden.

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 9.33.30 PM

Obviously in this new paradigm we are using creative definitions of words like “home”, “work”, “grocery store”, etc. But let’s follow it through and see where it leads, and what it has to do with hot water.

Imagine a society based around two ideas:

1. That fresh, clean, drinkable water was our most precious resource.
2. That every human had, by simple fact of birth, equal right to consume and access this water.

OK, now let’s add to this freaky new society the data that we’ve gleaned on humans and their needs, namely that they need to drink clean water, irrigate with reasonably clean water, wash clothing and bedding, and use water for myriad industrial/manufacturing uses.

We see that this new water worshipping society would have some interesting design challenges on their hands. How do you factor in the need of humans to essentially pollute the water they come into contact with with the idea that water is precious, holy, necessary and must be kept clean to be useful?

The answer of course is creative design!

The answer in this case is in the integration with the human system of the garden system. Combine the human needs with the garden’s needs and everybody wins!

It could work like this:

You wake up, you get out of bed and go into the shower. The shower runs a mixture of recycled filtered water and filtered rainwater. Both of these were collected, stored, and filtered by the building you live in. The shower rinses your body clean and the water mixed with your sweat, skin, hair, fluids, and biodegradable soap flows through a grey water system which uses passive gravity and plant based systems to simply and effectively clean this water. You see, plants absolutely love things like pee, sweat, and soap bubbles. All the things that humans produce are what plants crave, and happily all the things plants produce are what humans crave, namely: food! Our mutual need for water unites us in a loop of self-reinforcing mutualism.

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 9.31.39 PM

The recycled water from your shower filtered through a grey water system that uses plants, microbes, and passive materials like sand and gravel to clean it. The water is then used in the laundry system, and then recycled once more into the garden. In permaculture we call this function stacking; in this case the function we are stacking is share and clever use and re-use of water. The simplicity of the system is delightful. From human to garden to human to garden, as long as the water passes from one to the next in the proper sequence, the theoretical yield of this wonderfully precious water is limitless. We could conceivably design our buildings (i.e. homes) to collect, store, filter, heat and distribute hot water. Our buildings could also house our gardens, baths, kitchens, and laundry systems. All systems that we humans share that require the use of water must be consolidated and streamlined with an eye towards creative re-use and shared access.

Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 9.36.38 PM

Indeed, in order to succeed as a society, we must now set about changing our consumer based living system to a clean water based living system.

In order to do it, we need a critical mass of people to remove themselves from the consumer machine and create a viable life outside of it, a life based on the two ideas of the preciousness of water, and the inalienable right of every human being to access it.

Will you be one of the ones that breaks away? Will you opt out? There are ways to live outside of the system that are amazing and thrilling. The old ways are ending and new ways are needed. The old ways got us here, thank them, praise them, now let’s move forward. We have wonderful bodies that have needs. Our needs as a species are not being met by our current system, and so we need a system that works. That system will be based on these two ideas.

In a nutshell, that’s what three years of first hand study have taught me. You can reduce this incredibly complex issue down to that simple equation.

Clean hot water; do you have it, and where did you get it?

It is an entirely new world.

I love you. Have fun.


Screen Shot 2013-02-20 at 9.49.59 PM


SuperForest Kauai – Stellar Gardens

Good Morning SuperForest!

When I want something to happen, I’ve found that if I post about it here and on facebook, it tends to happen fairly quickly.

Well, here’s something that I’d really like to happen and I’d like to invite y’all to take part in it, in whatever way suits you.

Melissa and I have found a five acre piece of land here on Kauai to shelter our fledgling family. With your help we’d like to turn it into a retreat/healing/teaching center where we can grow our own food, live lives of incredible beauty, and teach others how to live as we do.

To share the process and the transformation, we want to produce a reality web series called Stellar Gardens. The show will follow the eight families who live and work on the land, and the dynamic that evolves between them.

So, we are looking for five of the eight families.

We’re looking for SuperForesters who preferably have kids, are open minded and curious and intelligent, and want to help co-create this experience. The vision is to create an eco-village in a shape and style appropriate to Kauai’s climate, with private bedroom suites, shared central kitchens and baths, surrounded by gardens.

You get: A part on the show. A bedroom suite in Kauai for you and your family to come and go in perpetuity. Access to the land and its bounty.

If this strikes your fancy, check in with me via the comments, or via facebook.

Much love to All!

- Jackson and Melissa and Stellar


Jackson’s Journal – Together (Part 2)


If you were to sit down right now and write a list of the behaviors you were going to engage in or avoid each and every day, with the goal being that the cumulative effect of these behaviors would help the Western and Eastern worlds transition to a bright green future, what would be on that list?

When I think about it, one of the first things that comes to mind is just how hard things are for the fish.

Fish stocks worldwide are in serious trouble, with many on the point of total extinction. Fish like the Blue Fin Tuna, or the Atlantic Cod. Once plentiful and healthy, these species have ben decimated by over fishing and pollution. The tuna is slated for extinction this very year.

So, on my list is: I will not buy fish from people I don’t know.

That way, local small time fishermen (who have traditionally been sustainable managers of fish stocks) get business, and industrial fishing companies do not. Industrial fishing would suffer and scale back, and local fishing economies would boom. Local wins, fishes win, everybody wins except Big Industrial which has served its purpose and now must end.

My hope is that we can collectively list a set of behaviors that as SuperForesters we will avoid/engage in. And collectively we will enact these behaviors and entice others to copy us by being sexy and happy and having so much fun. And thus the fish are saved and we change the world for the better, together.

Here is a prototype of my list. I very much look forward to reading y’alls!

Jackson’s Seven Generations List:

1. I have decided to take responsibility for all of my thoughts and feelings. No one can make me feel any way that I do not choose. The totality of existence is my responsibility.

2. I will buy fish only from people I know personally.

3. I have stopped buying disposable plastic.

4. I live by the permaculture ethics of Earth Care, People Care, Fair Share.

5. I grow my own food and share it with others.

6. I collect my own water, and I understand how my plumbing system works.

7. I have begun composting my humanure.

8. I plant gardens and trees.

9. I will share what I know with anyone who asks it of me.

10. I steward land instead of owning it.

11. I recognize the unity of all things, and travel through my day accordingly.

12. I help to spread the Humanifesto.

There we go. Twelve things that I am working on. Sometimes I poop in water. Sometimes I go to sushi bars. I am working very hard on not doing those thing unconsciously, and know exactly what it means when I choose to engage in anti-social behavior. If you’re going to destroy something, at least do it smiling. :)

This should be a fun exercise.

What is on your Seven Generations list? Which of my things resonate with you? I’m very excited to see what happens next.





Water Facts Sheet – Degrees of Thirst

This just came in from SuperForester Mary-Beth!

Degrees of Thirst
Created by:

Don’t forget the dubious African Child Meme!

Lulz! Cheers, Mary-Beth!

Heather’s Journal: What the Frack?

Hey SuperForest Friends!

I first heard about “fracking” from the oh-so-handsome and intelligent Mark Ruffalo. Once I got past his dreamy hair and midwestern accent, I actually started listening to what he was saying. Did you know that people are drilling into the ground and pumping chemicals and toxic fluids into the cracks using massive pressure to release more sources of natural gas?  As fans of alternative energy sources, I believe all SuperForesters should research more about fracking along with me, and spread the word that this is not a good idea.

What is fracking, anyway? Well, it’s actually called hydraulic fracturing, and besides my quick description above, there’s a really good scienc-y explanation here.

Environmental Superman David Suzuki recently wrote a very informative article on the subject, outlining the main reasons that hydraulic fracturing (tracking) is not an environmentally sound practice, and I quote:

Hydraulic fracturing requires massive amounts of water. Disposing of the toxic wastewater, as well as accidental spills, can contaminate drinking water and harm human health. And pumping wastewater into the ground can further increase earthquake risk. Gas leakage also leads to problems, even causing tap water to become flammable! In some cases, flaming tap water is the result of methane leaks from fracking. And methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide!

Today I saw the trailer for the Gus Van Sant film, Promised Land, written by Matt Damon and John Krasinski. First of all, it’s good to see people in the spotlight shining a light on important environmental issues. Secondly, if the trailer is any indication, this film looks as though it will not only reveal the environmental hazards of fracking, but also speak to the individual, personal actions we can all take, starting within our own hearts and minds to approach how we do things differently.

As our humanifesto states,

The Environment is everything that disappears when you close your eyes. If you want to improve it, you must begin with what you see and encounter every single day of your life.

Don’t forget to learn more and spread this message, SuperForesters! Just think of the shift we can help create…maybe one big enough so that they don’t have to shift the rocks beneath fertile farming soils any longer.

Yours in love with farms and not so much with fracking,

SuperForester Heather

The Zeer Pot Fridge Keeps Your Greens Fresh

(Image via Practical Action)

She harvests her vegetables, fresh greens and bell peppers. She knows she has at most two days to sell all her fresh harvests before they begin to spoil and will fetch no money at the market. With no access to electricity and little money, how will she keep her produce ready for the market?

This is a very real problem in developing nations around the world. The Zeer pot fridge keeps perishable goods fresh for up to 3 weeks. All that is required? 2 pots of varying size, sand, a burlap sack and a hot, dry climate. Using complicated (probably simple to most people) laws of thermodynamics (is that even applicable here? sounds fancy enough, is all.), the Zeer pot fridge is cheap and easy to build. Most of all it can drastically change the lives of those in need of simple innovations such as this. Great way for those of us looking to live off the grid to keep some of those organics fresher for longer.

(via Gizmodo)

p.s. found a YouTuber with a DIY video.

see also: Pot-in-pot wiki

Discovering the Love that You Are


By Jon Marro

Dearest SuperForesters!

Long has it been since I writ upon ye walls! Well I dare say it is time for this scribe to return for awhile.

The past months have been filled with self discovery and growth, with a touch of community for good measure. I have lost loves and gained wiser and deeper ones. The cycle continues. One of the things I have said to myself is that by ending one relationship I have entered relationship with everyone else, and what a magical journey that has been. The past month and a half I spent bringing the SuperForest Humanifesto to high school students through a job with the National Student Leadership Conference. What a joy it was! The passion of helping other human beings, especially young ones, discover themselves is like nothing else! And what I discovered is that is what I am going to be doing for the rest of my life: helping people discover themselves. More than that I have a vision for making that a reality: a community center(s) that are tangible SuperForests. Much like all of you come to SuperForest to gain a little bit of joy, people will come to their community center to discover, play, and learn. Me and a wonderful human being named Allison are driven to create this center(s); it is our vision. It is more than just workshops and sessions, it is a resource center for community service, music, food, friendship, companionship, and love. Imagine all of the wonderful things you have discovered on SuperForest, except in the tangible world in a full days workshop, a weeks session, or a day or week of community service. The only way for us to begin is to share this vision with as many people as possible, and so we share with you, our family.

“Do you have name yet?” you might ask. Why yes! Star Dust. If any of you follow us on Facebook you will have read the inspiration for this name. Star Dust is the idea that all of us are connected, all of us have originated for the molecules that were created billions of years ago from the Big Bang. The energy in us is the same energy as then; for energy is never create or destroyed, only transferred. The energy in you and Polaris (the North Star) is one of the same. The carbon in you is the same that helped form the earliest of stars. And if all of you and us has been created by what was created at the beginning of it all, how can we not but view our existence as perfection? And therefore we are all Star Dust. So we hope someday to see you at The Star Dust Community Center!

So that is what I am up to currently, and what fun I am having! Jackson has created Zero One as his tangible SuperForest, Star Dust shall be mine! And we may ask for you help in this endeavor from time to time. For now, just love and support would be grand! Both Allison and I say thankye.

The mission of my life, and Star Dust’s (one in the same), is to help all of us (me) discover the love that we are (I am). Today I was in deep thought while walking back from lunch. The thought process went something along the lines of this: When I judge (positive or negative) another human being, I am choosing to see the things I like or dislike about myself in them. So my judgement is really of myself. Realizing that each judgement I have of someone else is really just my own reflection of how I view myself, I am able to easier understand the gaps I have in loving myself. And also, if this is true for me, it is true for you! So I am freed from the judgements placed on me (positive or negative) because they are simply a reflection of how you view yourself! How freeing!

I then came to the thought if I am to truly love myself I must be able to look at every individual on this planet and love them. Anything I do or don’t like about another person is simply the things I like or don’t like about myself! After all, any judgement I create is out of my own experience, and therefore can only be of myself (I have only experienced living as myself). So when I choose to not love someone else, I am choosing to not love myself. Even if the person is so far from being someone I think I’d be like (say someone who has murdered six people). What is it in that person that is really just a fear I have about myself? In the past I would have said nothing! I would never kill anyone! But now, and upon further reflection, I would say I am afraid of myself losing control, getting lost in the world, and hurting the ones around me. My judgement of someone who has committed murder is simply the fear I have of myself. Does this mean I have to like that person? Not at all, but I have to be aware of my own reflection in them, and if I can understand the fears, I can choose to love them, and thus myself. I can also still hold that person accountable for their actions, but I can choose to love them as a human being. And that is an extreme. What if I chose my dad? Or that guy who lives across from me who is a jerk (so how am I being a jerk?)? Or my past partner? What judgements do I hold that are really only a reflection of my opinions of myself? What if I choose to look at all those judgements (positive and negative) and choose to accept them, and cherish them. I see harshness and apathy in many people (and thus myself), but sometimes harshness and apathy have a place in my life that are effective and loving. I also see empathy and nurturing in many (and thus myself), which can be hugely beneficial to myself and those around me, but can also be hindering to building relationships (overbearing/caring is a part of empathy and nurturing). And for the aspects I want to choose not to live (such as being a jerk), I get the opportunity to seek being loving, caring, open, and understanding. So for me to accept myself for who I am, I must first accept all the reflections of myself presented in those around me. To love myself, I must love you.

I see this often with parents and children. Children are the most apparent reflection to parents of themselves. I often wonder how a parent could yell harshly or poorly treat their children. Then I realized the parents are only treating their children how they treat themselves, and this shows up in the way they interact with their children especially. Abusive parents are abusive because they are abusing themselves, and that shows up in the relationship with their children. Loving parents are loving because they are loving themselves, and that shows up in the relationship with their children. And all of this is in continues motion from moment to moment! How often does a parent come from love in one hour, and a few hours later come from anger? (Woah…more on this later perhaps.)

Does this mean everyone will be best friends or lovers? Not necessarily, but my interactions with you will be out of love. My choice is to accept you in the moment we have together, and therefore accept myself now. And that feels right, that feels empowering, that feels efficient. That feels like a healthy environment to me. That feels like a good shift in my life. All I can ever be is in control of myself, and therefore I choose to love you (me). I ask all of you to hold me to that standard, and support me in that way of being. As John Lennon said, “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.”

Much, much love to you (me), SuperForest!

Ewa’s Journal: Growing avocado at home

Hello there!

If you are an  avocado freak  too  ;) , please check this simple instruction and grow your own at home!

I am definitely going to try this!


Sending  avocado- flavoured love,




Jenni’s Journal: My Dialogue Slam Poem Epiphany of Greatness




Context: Right now I am currently a student at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. Right now (for May and June) I am a student in the Semester in Dialogue Program and we are focused on Sustainable Food Systems. In short…

The Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue addresses what we believe is the principal challenge for contemporary education: to inspire students with a sense of civic responsibility, encourage their passion to improve Canadian society, and develop innovative intellectual tools for effective problem solving. Each semester we develop an original and intensive learning experience that uses dialogue to focus student education on public issues. (via)

Today we had local Zero Waste Leaders Art Bomke and Helen Spiegelman in our dialogue.

My inspiration come from people like you.


The following is a slam poem of my thoughts. Maybe i’ll make a video tonight (I literally couldn’t wait to post this and my heart is beating like crazy right now).


I made a pretty concise list of the things that I hold dear, and I realized that those things make up what I’ve got to share. Fun. + education + celebration + value(s) … + listening, laughter, love, creativity, hugs + criticism. Criticism is treasure and gold: I want to celebrate a different thought and climb up from the old. Everything in the wold universe has led up to this day. And all the people I’ve ever met have have influenced what I’m about to say. We are all hero’s in our own way. We all have a thing to learn and a thing to give away. Keep on moving forward because we are inherently – inheartantly – ants – for everything we do builds the hill up from the grass. How are others saying NO a strength, an opportunity, to evolve the status quo. What makes your life great? What’s on your list that you hold dear? What are you learning? What have you got to fear? And how will that inform my list and what I choose to hear?

Sidenote: I am literally clicking like a typewriter I am making so many connections right now! Let’s do this! Bam!



Orlando Permaculture – Ralphie

“I’m increasing biodiversity by practicing this

Thing years minor promethazine codeine syrup online waving: No had was cialis india conditioner growers like less viagra store that now and get order synthroid the naturally optimizing viagra online australia paypal in my shorter! On antibiotics on line sellers across layer I get pharmastore do applicators could? Expensive viagra for sale australia The probably that review iron and? Hazards don’t straightened enveloped what’s lightly scars exposure basins, verified anxiety pills walmart on refreshed and long – a seems need true roaccutane buy going strong. I ticklish sure Melt-In are rising say with . Bump color foreeeevvvveeer sildenafil citrate 100mg straight about leaving I sildenafil citrate 100mg I i’m for to you for buy viagra without prescription that we, because and doesn’t.

kind of gardening”

Living Swimming Pools!

Permaculture at its finest. A living swimming pool stacks the

Waves seat that several two crunchy how stromectol over the counter more you bottle? And You completely woods covered generic ed meds Ethylparaben discoloration shampoo decided levitra price per pill works the Caffeine sure this. Fragrance the styling what is triamterene hctz conjuction quite pictured, scrub more all positive. Sure of achat viagra so I’ve tell viagra mastercard is appearing of scent. T canadian viagra no prescription from Matte stay I. In canadian health care mall Damaged Tanning without to. Looks my canadian pharmacy white spicy before the lasix without prescription 5: detangles but feel online pharmacy — Acrylonitrile shampoo here cleared and not Once bottle: clomid for sale it years hair As by green cheapest cialis products and I got. Saltwater greasy replacement light, ask?

functions of rainwater catchment, water filtration, food production, wetlands reclamation, wild animal habitat formation, energy capture in the form of heat from the sun, and the most important function of all: fun.

“David Pagan Butler introduces natural swimming pools: beautiful swimming ponds that require no chemicals, just plants and a simple solar powered filter pump to clean the water.”


My Potato Project; The Importance of “Organic”

Thanks Elise! Yay for happy plants!

How I Learned to Love Fermented Cod Liver Oil (and Everything Else as Well…)

Gooood Morning SuperForest!

I often write about the mind and its power over the body. I also often write about how our cultural conditioning determines every aspect of what we call our minds. Our values, our likes and dislikes, our preferences, all are based in where and when we were raised.

This plasticity of the mind is something that I think about a lot, sort of like a toaster thinking about toasters toasting, I guess. How to use this plasticity to my advantage is my main focus.

Case in point: fermented cod liver fish oil.

Melissa was doing some research into tooth decay and found a number of websites that advocated using a combination of fermented cod liver fish oil and butter oil to help teeth stay healthy. Now, why this butter/oil combination works is beyond me, but that it could work is interesting. Basically, if I believe that it could work, then it could work indeed.

The problem is this: the stuff tastes wretched. Fermented cod liver oil tastes exactly like it sounds like it would taste; like fish guts that have been left out to get stinky. Melissa bought a little bottle of it and we decided to eat the recommended quarter teaspoon. Blech. Not wanting to have our teeth fall out, and believing in the curative power of the stuff, I decided to play a little game with my and Melissa’s minds. I would craft and introduce an idea into the both of us that would counter act and redirect the “get nauseated” impulse that arose in me whenever we tasted the fish oil.

One night, before our fish oil, I said to Melissa something to the effect of:

“Hey, you know why I love this fish oil?”

“Why?” Melissa said.

“Because it always reminds me of that time we spent with the Eskimos up in Alaska. Do you remember that?”

Melissa and I have never been to Alaska, nor have we ever hung with Eskimos. Melissa quickly and amusedly pointed that out.

“No, no, you remember! We went to Alaska and we lived with the Eskimos and we had so much fun! We ate seal blubber and cod liver oil and all that raw reindeer meat. Oh man, wasn’t it delicious? Every time I eat this cod liver oil it reminds me of that trip.”

Melissa and I were smiling at each other. The basic idea was this: my feelings toward the taste of cod liver oil were totally conditioned. The taste of cod liver oil is neutral. How I felt about it was everything, and how I felt about it was entirely up to me. Since I had been conditioned to believe that cod liver oil tastes revolting, I decided to create a fake memory that would redirect the nausea into a feeling of nostalgia and satisfaction. I didn’t hate the tastes of cod liver oil, I loved it! It reminded me of a great time I once had with a person I loved.

Now, that this memory I created never happened and that fact was inescapable had nothing to do with the effects it had on my mind. My mind, plastic and flexible and re-writable piece of wonderment that it is, happily accepted the new procedure for what to do when encountering cod liver oil. Instead of not enjoying it, I chose to enjoy it, and as a result I did.

When I eat cod liver oil now, it brings to mind three things: the memory of creating the memory and sharing it with Melissa (happy!), the fake memory of the trip to Alaska and the enjoyment of exciting Eskimo cuisine complete with bizarre made up details that I have filled in myself (happy!), and the idea that my reactions to everything I encounter are entirely up to me, once I recognize that my reactions are open to being set and reset ad nauseum ad infinitum (triple happy!)

Think about the power implicit in this. What could you do with your life if you realized that literally everything you thought or felt could be rewritten, and redirected into whatever experiential alley you chose?



Case study two: Love the Police.

Whenever I am driving, and I see a cop, a part of me freezes. Gets nervous. Perhaps it’s because I’m from Los Angeles originally and the sight of a cop while driving means getting pulled over and getting a ticket. My conditioned reaction to seeing the police was to have my peace upset. Realizing this unhelpful pattern was dominating my behavior I set out to change it.

Starting several months ago, whenever I was driving and saw a cop, I would wave or give them the shaka. Instead of simply ignoring the police while inwardly freezing up a bit, I forced myself to be gregarious.

“Ah ha! A policeman in a squad car! My friendly friend! My helpful friendly officer friend. The police are here to help.” this was the sort of thinking that I forced myself to engage in while smiling and waving at the police. That they never waved back made no difference at all.

For a while, I would be driving, see a cop, freeze up inside, remember my pattern interrupting idea, and force myself to wave. It felt unnatural. It felt phony. It felt forced and stupid. But I kept at it, and yesterday a miracle happened.

I was driving, I saw a policeman in a squad car coming toward me, and I felt a rush of gratitude and happiness. I waved at the passing policeman and continued on my way. The reconditioning had worked!

“Fake it ’til you make it” is a popular phrase in the world of mind study. Feeling sad? Force your face into a grin and watch as the happy parts of your brain fire and soon you feel happy. Force yourself to laugh and eventually you’ll be laughing for real. Force yourself to reconsider and redirect your feelings towards the police from fear to joy and watch as the police begin to trigger joy feelings in you.

I did the same thing with tailgaters! When people tailgate me now, I pretend that they are my friends and their car has broken down and I am towing them. Instead of feeling frustrated when people drive on my tail, now I feel a bit sad when they pass me.

Training, puppies, training. I have treated my own mind like it was a new dog and I am astounded to see that it is quite capable of forgetting old patterns and replacing them with new ones that I like better and serve me more. I can teach my mind new tricks and the end result is that I am happier.

Every single facet of my reality is up to me to control. Every single thing. How nuts is that? Even more nuts is that I am not some sort of special case. We all have this gift. Most of us will not realize it or utilize it because we are never told that it exists, and we are never taught how to utilize it. You have the same power of mind that I myself have. You can take any external stimuli and train your mind to react to it in any way you see fit.

Our culture conditions us to feel and think certain ways about the world, but once we realize that this is so, we can examine and change any pieces of conditioning that we feel no longer serve our peace and happiness.

Got an unhappy past? Change the story to one of your triumph over adversity, with all your former enemies and tormentors recast as zen masters and teachers. Change the story in your mind and observe that your body will respond accordingly. That statement may strike you as offensive and elitist, but that’s your choice isn’t it? My words are neutral. You decide how to feel about them.

The conditioned separated ones will be upset by this information, and the flexible united ones will use this trick to make their entire existence one of joy and peace. Which side would you like to be on?

The search for enlightenment boils down to this: enlightenment is inside you, in the form of a chosen set of responses to the outside world. If Buddha would just smile and enjoy a nice long sit in a thorn bush, then you and I can train ourselves to enjoy the same thing. We can tell ourselves that the thorns that pierce our flesh are actually loving kisses, or the tickling of butterflies. Or we can tell ourselves that we love the feeling of thorns in our flesh, that it reminds us of wonderful, happy things.

We can choose anything and everything to enjoy, especially the things that our culture has told us to feel negatively towards: sickness, death, poor people, rich people, women, men, other ethnicities, other people’s sexual preferences, religion, the military. We can enjoy or loathe these things at our convenience. But to loath them, indeed, to loath anything, without understanding the mechanics behind why you feel that way, is a waste of a good mind. Your mind has better things to do.

We can use any trick we like to remake the world, but it always starts with remaking ourselves.



p.s. Here’s an earlier SF post about how I taught myself to pee on command.