Saturday, September 28, 2013

Free your mind, and your ass will follow.

In preparation for this years United States Conference on AIDS, I met and spoke at length with some very special people who were hampered by fear about not being able to meet their perceived needs for treating their diagnosed HIV.  America has cut funding, people have outlasted the usefulness of some medications, and stigma causes some into lies or self-imposed emotional exile.  It seems that once again, the synchronicity of life has attracted a few persons and situations to me who were vessels for the information my soul longs to have answered.   Ultimately, I was being confronted with the same question Neo had to answer when Morpheus presented it - would I take the red pill or the blue pill.   Being a human diagnosed with HIV myself, like so many others, I have had to decide whether to remain lost in the distraction and illusion of the Matrix, or seek to know myself beyond the construct of the system of control

Being a seeker of truth, I have found that I am not the HIV or HEP C virus that I am told that I host, I am much more than that.  To be consumed by the diagnosis is debilatating.  Many of my brothers and sister soldiers, including other HIV advocates, case managers, scientist and medical professionals, have bought into the misconceptions or outright lie perpetuated by the system.  The illusions of hopelessness and dependency are cultivated in us from our birth, and the strategy of their perpetuation is built on a history of proven methods for maintaining mind control.  Capitalism, politics, media and religion often feed the fears that keep the masses in check, and HIV has been a prime example of how millions, no, billions of people have been operating on that information dictated by the Matrix.  We are at a time of enlightenment, though, and the "truth" has been activated, and we are moving towards critical mass.

For instance, there was a time not long ago, when the concept of a cure for HIV was rarely thought, and considered heresy to utter.  Our consciousness has evolved and we can now envision that reality.  The AIDS "denialists" and "conspiracy theorist" have had their dissent basically muted by the media's word "smiths".   The artistic world of movies (see C.A. Montague's review of Tyler Perry's "Temptation" in and song still sometimes portray the HIV experience with stigma, prejudice, and ignorance; yet, thankfully, the human spirit continues to evolve.  Not everyone will be freed from the bondage of self, but strength, hope and experience are fueling our ride on the Nebuchadnezzar.  The images and music that is used to give important information is one way to free minds from bondage.  We shall be free.

The master/slave relationship between the mind and spirit has got to continue its momentum towards spirit if we are to be free. In order for that to happen, we will have to see beyond mind and matter.  At present, and for all recorded history,  "mind" appears to have been in control.  I meet many who are diagnosed with, and consciously affected by HIV that are afraid of death. Fear of physical death, or fear of its cousin; suffering, is the power source of the Matrix.   I have literally watched people scare or worry themselves to death. Ironically, no one is gonna get out of here alive.  It is said that we have to die (or be willing to die) mentally; or still the mind, in order to climb Jacob's ladder to the light of the spirit within.  I do not claim to have escaped the Matrix, but I have seen the light.  As brother Martin said..."I may not get there with you; but I want you to know (tonight)...that we as a people will get to the promise land."  So I am blessed to go to this years US Conference on AIDS. I will go to represent those who support me from higher realms, as well as those who are seeking enlightenment and freedom.  I pray to be a vessel of light for those seeking it, and a source of courage to those souls destined to be free.  After all, it's time to resurrect inspirational spiritual experiences; or it's time to RISE!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Sometime you must leave home; in order to become king.

Fifty years ago, in 1963, I had an experience that made an indelible mark on my psyche.  At the tender age of six, you might think that the most impressionable thing in my life might have been the beginning of elementary school at P.S. 45 Queens, but for me it was any event that I had the opportunity to share with my now deceased father.  I am fuzzy about the events surrounding my dad taking me to the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom in 1963, so much so that it wasn't until this week, when I found myself standing in what I know and have always envisioned as the very same place I stood in '63.  Then in 1963, it was to be inspired by Dr. Martin Luther King to think of myself as more than Black, but as a human being that is worthy of giving and receiving love, and the dignity of freedom.  Going back this week to "commemorate" that great day was, on its surface, a way to represent the indignation of my family, community, ancestors, and I; that 50 years later we are still fighting the same battles for Jobs and Freedom.  On a deeper level, I emotionally celebrate the cherished memory of sharing one of the most historically important days the world has known with the man I loved and who brought me into this world; my father, Leroy L. Smith.

How could I possibly have known what would happen in our lives and in the world?  Dr. King and my dad have been gone a long time.  I have healed from the drug addiction that my father tried to help me solve until his dying day.  I have been diagnosed with, and damn near died from, and now live more fruitfully with AIDS.  Still, with four children and six grandchildren, fifty years later here in America we are still fighting for jobs, justice, healthcare and freedom.  I am happy that the pain we are experiencing is motivation for so many to raise the energy of love on the planet, even for a moment.  It takes a moment to start the momentum.  I'm glad to be alive and present for both of the marches.  There are not many that can say the same, not the least of these being Dr. King and my dad.

When I stood on the same spot that I shared with my father half a century ago, this time listening to the impassioned speeches of Martin L. King III and Rev. Al Sharpton, I realized the energy of that day in '63 could never be reproduced.  Their words rang true, but they, nor anyone, could match the eloquence and soaring oratory of Dr. King.  Even at the age of 6, I remember being impressed by Dr. King's mastery of the English language. He seemed to be our energetic spiritual bridge to the next dimension.  The gateway of pure light he channeled for us that day in 1963, in the particular shade of love that we (over 250 thousand) people received it; seems un-reproducible.  How could I possibly appreciate the magnitude of the moment?  What I was able to experience again (to my surprise) was the love and hope of my father, and his desire for a better life for my sister and I.  I also had an overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the lives of those two men, (and many others) who gave their lives in order to better the lives of their children.

No one really knew at the time how prolific a speech, or a day that would turn out to be in 1963.  Dr. King had to die in order to garner sainthood. He had already been a "King" among men.  I did not know how special a father and son experience it was then, but I do now.  My dad had to leave this land in order to be king too.  Sometimes those closest to you do not appreciate you until you are gone, or until those outside your circle do. 

Who really knows what the tangible results of this years March on Washington will be.  When I was asked by MSNBC's news anchor, Craig Melvyn in an on air interview, if I had been to both marches in 1963 and 2013, all I could think about was what I could say in what I knew would be 15 seconds or less, that could help change the world for my children and grandchildren.  I wanted to hopefully add to what has to continue to become a critical mass of energy needed to shift the paradigm again, like it did in '63.  I'm so tired of fighting this battle, so I pray to be a channel for change.  It is hard to express 50 years of frustration in fifteen seconds, but I believe if we could all touch just one or two with the passion of our purpose, oppression will take another standing eight count like it did fifty years ago.  I will do what Rev. Joseph Lowery exhorted us to do; "commemorate and instigate" so my grandchildren will not have to still fight for jobs, freedom and dignity - 5, 15 or even 50 years from now.  It is time to DO SOMETHING with the motivation of this fierce urgency of now. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

If nobody moves, everybody gets hurt.

Just because I am procrastinating doesn’t mean the situations in my life stop progressing.  One of the most powerful things I have learned as a result of going through the torrential storms of addiction is that life is a one-day at a time proposition.  I learned that addictions are a disease that is set off by exposure to whatever allergic substance or behavior one is addicted to.  In my case it was nicotine, heroin and cocaine; but at the root, I was addicted to the fear of success, and to the search for love.  The drugs helped me stay stuck in a feedback loop that grew in intensity no matter what I did.  It was not until I was able to break the cycle of obsession and compulsion, and get into a program of positive action, was I able to begin living this wonderful life for the past 28 years.  Even though I am not living in active addiction to drugs, the disease is still silently progressing in the background of my psyche, like King Kong doing push ups in jail.  As long as I am in action patrolling “King Kong’s “cell to keep him imprisoned, I can keep that monkey off my back.  If I stop moving too long, or make the wrong move (like using again), everybody is going to get hurt.


As usual, in my life the microcosm reflects the macrocosm.  I mean, when I look at my life like it’s a movie I’m starring in, I observe the twists and turns in the plot.  I see that the story is sometimes a comedy, sometimes a drama, tragedy, or thriller, but it is always an adventure.  There is always a conversation going on in my head between my ego (mind) and my spirit (God).  It seems like the same is happening in the world.  There appears to be a battle between the good and evil.  It is happening locally, nationally, and all around the world, and it has been going on since the beginning of time.  In America, evil is manifesting as voter suppression, denial of women’s reproductive rights, and the perpetuation of poverty; disproportionate incarceration of minorities, and so many other obviously unfair practices.  The political obstinacy that supports the devaluation of the human existence is behaving like King Kong unchained, and we have to find a way to get it back in the cage.


The good thing is that pain is often the greatest motivation for action and change.  When we get sick and tired of being sick and tired, we are most liable to take the action steps necessary to change.  Racism and classism are like addictions.  Those outwardly ugly behaviors have been generally suppressed and “in recovery” for some time, but the election of President Obama has reignited the radical behavior of the insurgents (Conservatives).  They are a minority, but their irrational actions are affecting the energy of the country and the world.  In the balance of things, there is more good than evil in this world.  Like addictive behavior, evil does not stop, even after it has been contained.  Evil just continues to grow while waiting for its release.  It does as much destruction as possible until it is subdued.  It is easier to stay free than it is to get free.  We should be vigilant personally and socially, and willing to do whatever necessary to keep the monkey in its cage and off of our backs. 


We thought we had done all the marching necessary to realize the dream of equality for all, but obviously not.  Sometimes it seems that marches are not enough, and in Syria, Egypt and so many other places in the world, that is tragically true.  In Texas, North Carolina, Wisconsin, Michigan and so many states in America, King Kong is loose and wreaking havoc.  HIV services for my brothers and sisters are being cut by virtue of inaction.  As a result, everybody, except the greedy, are being hurt.  On a personal level, I will take the positive action necessary to stay clean, on a social level, I am going to Washington D.C. on August 24th for the 50th anniversary of the March for Jobs and Freedom.  Evil (King Kong) never dies, it just multiplies; but love heals all.  So, I have to be vigilant in an effort to put that insurgent ape back in its cage before it destroys everything.  I hope to see you there.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed person rules.

There are a few things that I have learned as a result of having survived drug addiction, AIDS hospice, the verge of death, and parenthood.  I’ve learned that good and bad are relative to the time, place, and perspective I might be in.  What I mean is, what may seem “bad” today or yesterday may prove to be “good” in a future time and place (or vice versa).  Many of those learned experiences have taken on a different flavor based on what my attitude has been.  The feelings I experienced while going through those situations in my life were both very high, and very low, but I have learned to develop an attitude of gratitude about them, and try to pass on those wisdoms learned.  My attitude is that sharing those experiences is our opportunity to be of service to humankind.

Recently, I have had the opportunity to test whether or not a positive outlook, and a meditative look within, could actually prove to be a healing force in the physical world.  I have been challenged by a condition diagnosed as extreme dry eyes since October of last year.  It has mainly plagued my left eye, causing me to have sand-like grit covering my cornea, causing irritation and making it very hard to focus in that eye.  It has affected my quality of life, and ability to work and play, so it would be easy to be frustrated (and I have been at times).  My experience, though, is that everything happens for a reason, so I have been forced to look inwards – figuratively and literally.  As a result, meditation, or a third-eye focus, is what “life” is forcing me to do.  Doing so has helped my frustration about my eyes, helped me to improve my attitude, and seemingly put me in a better position for healing.

Developing an “attitude of gratitude”, or what we will consider to be a positive attitude, has been a process.  It has obviously, in retrospect, been one of my life lessons to do so.  That epiphany is based on the pain that motivated my decision to try practicing a positive outlook how life was treating me.  Earlier in my life, even before my trials and tribulations, I thought I was a positive person, but it seemed like every time I tried to do the right thing, two bad things would happen to me.  I found it easy to blame life and others for my troubles, but nothing truly changed until I took responsibility for the part I was playing in my circumstance.  There is evidence that using affirmations has a positive effect on healing.  Many people, myself included, can attest to the fact that how we filter our minds thoughts affects our physical and emotional wellness.  Our attitudes are one of the things we can actually control.

In spiritual texts like the bible it says; “The light of the body is the (third) eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light.”  I have noticed that the endocrine system mirrors the chakra system, and the third eye is the pineal gland.  I am told that the toxic parts of medications, like the one’s most of take, as well as processed foods, aluminum in toothpaste and deodorant, chemicals, and other environmental factors, are adding to the calcification of our pineal gland.  The pineal gland produces serotonin, the hormone that regulates sleep.  Could it be that there is so much more Alzheimer’s and other mental illness because we are both sleep deprived and cut off from the spiritual realm at the third eye?  How have you been sleeping lately?  How is your memory?  These are the questions I am asking myself in search of the cause of what doctors have yet been able to heal.  

So, my attitude is I’d rather have sight in one eye than none, especially if that is my inner vision.  My eyes are healing perfectly, and I’m learning the lessons that I created this experience for.  The doctors cannot find the cause of my physical illness.  I think I will try to cleanse my body, mind and spirit.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

When our ship comes in, we will be on it.

I recently bought a new road bicycle with the intention of paying a lot more attention to getting in shape. I had been envisioning taking my first long ride to the barbershop, which is about 5 miles away from my home. Once I finally got out on the road, there were some very steep downhill roads involved on the way to the barbershop. When I got to the top of the largest hill where it was the point of no return, I started to think about what it was going to take for me to get home. I wasn't sure that I had what it took to make it back up the hill, but I decided that if I had no guts, I would get no glory.  My mind was generating fear and self-doubt, but my spirit encouraged me to have faith.  I did not want to have a “should have; would have” story, so I listened to my spirit and went for it.

As it turned out, I found another way home that was much better then coming back up the hills. Accepting the personal challenge was a very satisfying accomplishment, and I'm glad I did not punk out.  I enjoy watching the adventure of life unfold.  So often I am amazed at what happens when I listen to, and act on my spirit and intuition.  My mind will filter my feelings with fear and judgment in order to color my thoughts and actions.  I've come to know that I'm responsible for putting energy into life, but the outcome is never guaranteed.  I have learned to accept that everything happens for a reason, and it is up to me to make the best out of everything that I manifest each moment.

For instance, I went to see the movie "Fruitvale Station" recently and was touched by the movie on many levels.  I saw myself, and then more profoundly, I saw my son in the life of Oscar Grant.  He is the young man that was shot to death by an Oakland police officer at the aforementioned Fruitvale train station.  Seeing the re-enactment of how that happened was painful enough, but the confluence of events that led up to his shooting was so easily identifiable that I felt like I had lost my own child when it was said and done.  I am emotionally affected even now as I write.  As parents, my wife and I were devastated by the reality that Oscar’s mother, in a well intentioned, fact based attempt to save her son from hurt, harm or danger, suggested that he and his friends take the train instead of drive on New Years eve.  In trying to evade a predictable, potentially negative outcome, Oscar ended up irrationally losing his life.

I’m sure Trayvon Martin’s parents, and the parents of so many of our youth who have been tragically harmed or killed in spite of our attempts as parents to protect them, constantly question what thing they could have said or done to create a reality different from the one the are living.  My wife and I immediately thought about how we are constantly trying to protect our kids and grandkids.  We are responsible for that effort, but as a father who has lost a child at birth, and a father to murder, I know that when the ship comes in, we will be on it.  Our task in life is to work towards the kind of emotional maturity that will allow us to have faith in the still small voice within, and acceptance of the infallibility of the law of karma, in spite of what we may think.  Apprehension based on facts is wise.  Fear is the source of much that ails us.  Love and faith can heal all.  We are all stars in the movie that is our lives.  Let’s play our roles as best we can, just for today.