Saturday, January 16, 2021

The Real Real Estate

I was happily going to write a post called “June in January.” It’s a sweet little song by Leo Robin and also how I felt walking through the park and suddenly finding myself enveloped in fog. Fog in San Francisco is a summer thing, not something that usually happens in January!


But then I came home and made the mistake of looking at the AOL Headlines and reading about the upsurge of far right loonies who are now even denouncing Trump—just as they chanted to “hang Mike Pence” and just as Trump decided not to pay Guiliani. No loyalty with these people, just one person after another thrown under the bus while the psychopaths—those with college degrees who were elected to Congress and those fooled by the former to think they were in the club— want to get rid of anyone who isn’t useful to them or blindly agree with whatever they want to believe. I apparently had 8 people read my last blog on the difficult path of learning how to be yourself, while these extremists seem to be attracting thousands of new recruits each day. It’s enough to make a hopeful person feel just a tad despondent. 


But I soldier forward—well, “music teacher” forward— with the idea that real education and reflective thought and the intention to try to understand things make a difference. And so I offer the Indian chakra system as a lens through which to see what’s going on, what has always gone on and what might someday go own just a little bit less. 


A Hindu expert might find my explanations simplistic and off-base, so I’ll excuse myself from the start to say that even if they’re wrong in not capturing the nuances, the basic ideas are useful to me and just might be to you. I’m less interested in whether they’re “true” or not or more interested if they illuminate something close to the truth about what it means to be human. 


The lowest chakra at the base of the spine is simply the survival instinct, the need for food and such. The second at the genitals is about—you guessed it—sex and our instinct to propagate the species and have a good time in the process. The third in the stomach area is about power—our desire to bend the world to our wants and needs. These first three, in a different point of reference, are like the brain stem, or the reptilian brain. They come for free and little effort is needed to access them. Human beings stuck in these three levels are people who have not fully owned their human incarnation and simply throw their animal selves around helter-skelter. 


But even the most “enlightened” amongst us is still somewhat at the mercy of the essential impulses. (Look at all the sex scandals amongst priests, yogis, Zen masters, etc!). And popular culture thrives on them. That’s why despite our intellectual understanding that it is demeaning and counter-evolutionary to use sexy women images to sell cars, cigarettes, what have you, we simply haven’t stopped. Even jazz record producers still seem to want Diana Krall and Jane Monheit to pose in alluring postures on the covers of their CD's. Sex sells. 


And so does violence. And what young boy— and more and more girls these days—can resist the war movies and super-heroes and Terminators and constant explosions? Very few. And that counts for adult men—and a few women—as well. Madison Avenue has known this for a long time and now with 500 channels competing for attention, they know that a sex scene and/or explosion will grab your attention. And notice how often those two are often combined. Throw in alluring food in the advertisements— the Pepsi’s and Big Macs and Coors beer— and you got yourself a culture fed on the bottom three chakras. And then the news jumps in with their "if it bleeds, it leads" mission statement and our entire national discourse is reduced to food, sex, power. Are you with me?


The Heart Chakra is where the human experiment begins, where the reptilian brain stem moves to the mammalian cortex and the need to nurse the young and care for them awakens emotion, warmth and eventually, love. Though instinctive in nursing mothers, this level requires more conscious effort and it is here that the simple sensation of sex can be married (literally) with the emotion of love. 


The 5thchakra is at the level of the throat and I associate this with Buddha’s Right Speech, with the maxim “use your words,” with the proverb “the pen is mightier than the sword.” Again, the raw power of Chakra 3 is transposed through education and human effort to feel a sense of inner power and to relate through civil discourse rather that punching each other out. 


The 6thchakra is in the middle of the forehead and is known as “the third eye,” that awakened wisdom to see clearly, to transform the physical food of Chakra 1 into the wisdom food for the Soul of Chakra 6. Nurtured through attention, insight, dedication to detaching from the grip of the instinctual levels, we are ascending to the higher levels of a human incarnation. 


And finally the 7thchakra is at the top of the head, where we are crowned with the experience of being wholly a part of everything and everyone else, no duality, just the bliss of an awakened consciousness. We have moved from “I against Thou” in the three lower chakras up through “I and Thou” of the next three and finally to the “We” of the final one. 


Is this interesting? Can we see how many people are in the grip of the first three, spread by leaders who should know better to stay there under the mantra of “their ignorance is as good as your education,” who have been steadily indoctrinated (thanks, Fox News and Right Wing radio) into the doctrine that the world is a dangerous place and only the strong survive and you better get yours before someone else takes it and by the way, the people who are coming to take it are black, brown, women, gay, trans and Democratics, so sure, go ahead and bring your guns into the Capitol because that’s the sensible thing to do in our world view. Preferably while we’re out playing golf. 


So let’s move the national dialogue from the red state/ blue state, rural/urban, working class/ educated spin and figure out—and it better be soon—how we all can live in the 4th, 5thand 6thchakras. And elect leaders close to the 7th. That’s the real estate deal of the future. 


And remember the three rules of Real Estate?






So pick the neighborhoods of 4, 5, 6, or 7 and welcome neighbor!

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