September 29, 2014

The New Spiritgeek.com site is up!

Just a quick note to let you know that Spiritgeek.com has been changed and our blog will shortly be leaving the Blogger site and moving onto our own server with the new website.

This will also make adding the online store much easier and make it more of an integrated site for your ease and pleasure.

Thanks and Enjoy,

ॐ शान्ति शान्ति
Robert Signature

September 4, 2014

Decisions, Blame and Joy

So much to do, so many decisions to make and questions about it all. What to do next, what direction to take, which road is the one I want to be on and is it what it appears to be?

This is my current place in life, I expected it, I think I actually wanted it and now I have it, woo-hoo!

Do not get me wrong, I am not complaining about it, much, but one thing I realized on my trip was the answer for a question that I have been asking for many years and I often hear from friends, family and clients, "What am I supposed to be doing, what direction should I be going in?" Personally, I tend to throw in the "G" card as if it makes it a more valued question and not just the bigger excuse it really is.

On rare occasions, I find that the Universe has a specific plan set up for an individual, usually it is about following a general path of character and the one thing so many of us, myself included, seem to hate; making a decision.

Some of us like to get the opinions of others and then internally shift any responsibility or blame onto those who we listened to, God gets this one a lot I am sure...  LOL

Simply put it is all our choice and our decision to make, everything, every day.

What we forget is that, as Joseph Campbell used to say, "Follow your Bliss!" Your bliss is your Spirit passing along what is the correct answer, and only becomes problematic when we ignore it.

One thing to be aware of, bliss is not always what brings the easiest or happiest path in the short-term, in fact I find that from the short view it is often the harder and more painful of the options, at least at first. Most often it is the fear we have placed into our decision making process that causes our next step to seem so difficult.

I am in one of those places right now, I want to pursue my writing; both the Spiritgeek in general, like this blog, and the work with people in one-on-one settings, but I also need to come up with that lovely stuff called cash which seems to push toward getting a more traditional job, at least in the short-term.

So while I stall in making my final decision, not really final as I can always change it, I am working on both paths to see where they both may lead in the next week or so. I am actually open to either as one appears to be more direct, but the other may just be a way of taking care of other things that I may need before the other is quite ready.

So what am I going to do? I will know soon enough, I have been getting my personal little signs, I call them my déjà vu moments so I am reasonably comfortable with where I am and what I am doing. I find my inspiration to be a great help and am SLOWLY learning to trust it.

I know that joy is mine and that all things are perfect for their time and place and as much as I like to think otherwise; that includes me. If it includes me, it includes you as well!

ॐ शान्तिशान्ति
Robert Allen

August 11, 2014

Should Religion be Abolished?

A friend of mine posted an article on his Facebook page earlier about how the self-proclaimed caliphate Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, is beheading Christian children.

Sadly the article's source was from a "Don't Tread On Me" website, so I am not sure just how accurate the "Christian" part is as these groups often marginalize the facts to make it more offensive to their audience. Groups like ISIS are usually nondiscriminatory in which infidels, anyone who doesn't believe the same way they do, they assault and kill.

Another friend who has become quite anti-religious due to behaviors like these and others in the name of the local "god" has often asked if maybe we should abolish religion in general as it seems to be the cause of so many of these atrocities in the world today.

I say no, not because I support any of the hateful and despicable things that man is capable of doing to his fellow man, but for two basic reasons:
  1. The Truth of religious text and practices is still there, even when people manipulate and destroy the original intent for their own selfish and manipulative reasons.

  2. The problem is not Religion, it is just the tool that is being used to justify and validate the evil in the hearts of these people. Take religion away and they will just find some other way to make such atrocities "OK" in their minds.

Survival of the original "Truth"/Message

Śhruti (श्रुति), the Sanskrit name for Scripture or Holy Texts, seems to hold on to its core Truths even when people and organizations attempt to change it for their own purposes; we find it in many traditions. 

I have spoken with several Imams that are sickened and disgusted with how the Quran and the Sunnah/Hadith are manipulated by many of their brothers to become this current cesspool of hatred and violence we have seen through much of the Middle East in recent years. Yes, the documents allow for fighting and such, but have you looked at the Old Testament and some of the things that it calls for and justifies? But these are things that I find have more to do with the cultural contexts of the places and times for which they were written and never actually intended to be the laws for eternity.

The Jewish Torah has laws and rules that are designed to explain a moral life from the perspective of the tail end of the Bronze Age, about 3500 years ago, from an Egyptian/Nomadic point of view. The Christian New Testament does the same thing from the time and culture of the Roman Empire and the Quran, and particularly the Sunnah and hadith, are the Arabian culture of the Seventh century.

On a personal observation, I have always found the Abrahamic traditions to be interesting in that they all find it necessary to deify some aspect of their founder or the founder's principles and the following prophet/teacher tends to decry the deification.

TraditionDeified Aspect
JudaismThe Law of Moses
ChristianityThe Founder/Teacher
IslamThe Culture of the Prophet
No matter how much manipulation has been done, the core Truth of the documents is still there and can be gleaned by careful study and contemplation thereof.

Religion is not the problem

If I thought for just a moment that the destruction of all the world's religious documents and the disbanding of the practices would solve the world's problems for even as little as five minutes, I would jump on the bandwagon and lead the burning parties myself. The hard reality is that it would be a waste of time and energy on all fronts.

Religion is not the cause of the problem, it is the scapegoat used to justify and proselytize one man's judgment and hatred for another while attempting to authorize it by calling it the "will of God."

If there were a way to remove religion from the equation completely, you would find no change, other than the validation used. Knowing most of man, I would suspect that gender, orientation, cultural ancestry, financial status or any number of silly ways we humans find to break ourselves up into "Us'" and "Them's".

By using Religion, the manipulators convince us that "God is on OUR side" so it is not only justified, but the right thing to do. The operative word above is "manipulators"; they are not concerned with anything but their own goals and objectives and the means are only the theater by which they project them upon the masses. If you took the "God" out of the equation, do you honestly think those who want power or control would not find another way to acquire it?

August 3, 2014

leaving San Francisco - tomorrow

It has been awhile since I sat down and wrote a blog entry. It takes time and energy to write a blog entry and after you have hiked 12-17 miles with a 45 lb pack on your back, energy is something you just do not have. This trip has been exhausting, but one of the best things I think I have ever done and I am within about 100 miles of completing it.

I have seriously been blown away with some of the experiences and people that I have met while doing the hike up the state of California. I have had complete strangers open their homes to me and gave one man in Santa Barbara County his first hitchhiker he had ever picked up.

There are so many directions that this trip has gone that I am not sure exactly what will be the outcome.  I have had amazing experiences as a perceived homeless person and yet had other seek me out as such to ask about what people do when I approach.

I have had some interesting conversations on religion and philosophy, a few I would say would have made an excellent college course, I will have to see if I can rebuild them in the future.

I am a city kid, I like having a million people around, just not to close, I also like privacy...  One of the biggest surprises for me is just how much I have loved walking trails through the untouched face of California.  I have had trails that were as little as three-inches wide and meandering across fields and along the side of some pretty good hills and I just found that it amazed me that a place that could harbor Los Angeles and Orange County could have such untouched beauty so nearby.

I suspect I will likely always hike after this trip, though I may see about taking trips where I can leave the 45 lb pack at home, does anyone know a good Sherpa service in central California? Hmm...

Some of the best moments have been making it across some difficult section of the trip and finally making it over or through and knowing that you did it, definitely an experience that everyone should have at least once in their life.

No, the trip is not done, the final form of the experiences have not happened as of yet, and I am not exactly sure they ever will, that is what is so great about such an experience; given the opportunity, it touches everything for the rest of your life.

To my friends and new family members that have supported this trip and me through the good days as well as some bad ones, thank you and know that your help has been invaluable and could never be forgotten.

So what is happening after the trip? I do not really know yet. About the only thing I am reasonably sure of is that I will not likely be returning to Los Angeles, there is not really much of anything there for me.  My friends and local family have almost all deserted the city and I just have not felt at home there for a while, so likely there will be new digs in the future.

I have really enjoyed visiting Santa Cruz, Monterrey and my current visiting in San Francisco. I have learned the meaning of the old statement;
The coldest winter I ever spent
was the summer I spent in San Francisco.
It gets chilly here for the last of July and start of August, but it is kind of nice actually. It would be nicer if I were sleeping in a residence, I have spent my time here living on the streets and sleeping on the side of the Mission Dolores Basilica in my sleeping bag, but it's actually kind of fun.

I think one of the biggest things I have gotten out of this is that it is "fun", it being life. I have always said, "life was meant to be an entertainment for Spirit and only in falling into the belief that it is reality do we make ourselves miserable." I have been getting many firsthand lessons in this. Trust me, if life is not about perspective, I can guarantee that this would have often been the most miserable experience of my file. I have gone through the tougher and less pleasant parts, but they are part of the tapestry, not the point of it.

Joy to all of you and think happy thoughts for me as I leave San Francisco tomorrow and head to San Rafael and then on to Sonoma and the final mission and the end of the El Camino Real.

July 5, 2014

leaving Carpinteria

I was so wiped last night when I arrived at Carpinteria State Beach. They told me that they were full on the Hike and Bike and I was just crushed, of course it was the 4th of July and EVERYONE and their brother was out. Fortunately, when we went to double check, there was plenty of space, so I got to tent and sleep for the night. See the 2014/07/04 video for just how bad I looked (not sure what the hell happened to the audio).

Yesterday was definitely California Wildlife Day... I saw enough lizards and some amazing birds, but the large snake sleeping on the path I was on and trying to get around without bothering him, that put me on edge for a bit.

I have been keeping a collection of maps of my routes for later reference, but yesterdays is totally screwed, thanks Google Maps. Some of the bike paths are not listed on Google and when it put me into "Map Editor" I could not make heads or tails out of it, so I did the best I could and made notes for myself.

There was a section of the hiking yesterday that ran on the 101 freeway, fortunately they have a line of K-Rails to separate the traffic from the bike-lanes. Even with them there, a bit unnerving to walk along.

I am trying to do some video a bit each day, I think they are going to get pretty messy, but supposedly that is what people want. Well, if I go to far, forgive me and tell me.

On leaving Buenaventura on the 3rd, I had a Park Ranger totally screw me up.  As tends to happen when I get to a beach that has camping, I end up walking from one end to the other to check in and often go back to the start to setup. Well at Emma Wood State Beach I get to the far side (it is REALLY far) and it is starting to get dark. I stopped at the kiosk and see that they do have "Hike and Bike", so I ask him about signing in. He tells me that you have to go to the group site and that is all the way at the other end, go out of the park, cross the bridge and then get on the path on the ridge and follow it.

I had just come in that way. So unless he was sending me all the way back to Buenaventura, where Main St ends at the paths, he was full of it. First, there is a kiosk there, it was not manned. I am not walking all the way back there, so I followed it back to the bridge and took the ridge route back up along the trailer camping area and found a great spot to sleep, or so I thought...

What is it with me and ants?

After about an hour, I started feeling like my skin was crawling, when I turned on the light on my phone, I was right in the middle of a swarm of ants, again! Fortunately, I have found a little trick; I have this mosquito repellant that is made from lemon eucalyptus and ants don't seem to like it either. So I sprayed a little around the edge of the tarp and they left me alone for the most part.

Next Segment concerns

I am a touch concerned about the upcoming segment from Mission Santa Barbara to Mission Santa Inez. There are a few routes I can take, but they are all going to take around three-days and I do not really have much in between them. The most direct route has San Marcos Pass Rd connecting them via Lake Cachuma but there is not much in the way of road shoulder and people FLY down that street. The other way is a bit longer, but is pretty barren from what I have heard, I will be pretty on my own for most of it.

Once I pass Mission Santa Ines, I am in uncharted territory for me. I have never been north of Solvang in California so it will be a totally new thing. I have been told that this part of the trip will be beautiful.

Oh well, I find that I am stalling, I need to get my ass in gear. The phone is charged, last nights video is uploaded and the battery unit is well along on its way to being charged. I really should get going and be ready to guerrilla camp this evening. So Ta!

Suddenly all I want to do is take a nap, talk about stalling...