Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Vow To Awaken

Vow To Awaken


Happy New Year 2014. I am writing you this with deep intention. My son and I woke up this New Year’s Day morning, did yoga and zazen. Now he is sitting down to write at the kitchen table, and I am in my easy chair next to my meditation space.

This is the year of Vow To Awaken. Two projects of mine have been up in the air, but I think, over the course of the last couple of months, that there is a way to focus them, to make them effective, and socially beneficial, by uniting them both under the banner of Vow To Awaken.

It’s just a phrase. It’s a little bit out there. It’s a little bit too spiritual for non-spiritual people. It’s empty now, but it’s open and can be filled with energy. It is a powerful name. It has become special to me. It’s an imperative. It’s a suggestion, and a subject.  It’s spiritual, sure, if you want to call it that. It’s also universal. It is designed for the sleeping, to rouse them. Earlier, in the debate with White Collar Crime, my band, about how we were going to change our name together, I suggested “A Word That Will Rouse Them” from the quote from the Book of Isaiah. “I have been given a well-trained tongue, that I may speak to the weary, a word that will rouse them.”

My zen practice has been transformative over the course of the last two and a half years. It helps me to clarify what is essential. My life overall can seem like an asteroid burning through the friction of the Earth’s atmosphere, crashing in flames through the air. I do things all the way, and my way is a way of too much. So I had to get sober, stop smoking herb, drinking Dogfish, although I loved those things, and couldn’t imagine giving them up on my own. But I found a universal spiritual practice called the Program, and the love of God flashes on me every day I open up to it, in the words and eyes of other people. I was given a path, a word, a chance to wake up. And so I woke up. Or began to.

With Nick and Elysia, I have been talking about starting a new newspaper here in NYC. The tentative name has been “The New York Transformer” but it’s a name that has always been a kind of a placeholder for me, good but not great. The ambitions of this paper are bigger than New York. To speak the truth in a time of universal deceit, to bring spirituality to the struggle against deception, to dig out a vision of deep politics, to confront the demonic forces of abuse, to tell the stories that unite us.  Vow To Awaken. Why not make the name of the paper that name, and unite the band and newspaper and other projects under one name, making them a new form of social movement? They will feed each other this way, and both become stronger for their association with each other.

A big part of the reason the band had to have a positive, strident name, was that I want a name that will last. Other band names that we debated were too negative. Coy, ironic and clever, but we have all had an overdose of those things in this world.

I am about to help Steve Olson Crazy Monk start his music company, and contribute to it as an artist as well. I have already helped Lo Nathamundi start his Kaleidoscope Community Yoga corporation, and our weekly phone meetings have gone very well, this Fall. I was right. What I saw on tour in May was right: I CAN actually spark people off, turn them into fellow asteroids, comets of fire. A lot of people are just waiting for the push: start your company, do your mission. Capital Cooperative Corporation is my baby, my construction and contracting company, and it’s doing so much more. It’s an incubator for spiritual, world-changing companies. Vow To Awaken. 2013 was just our entrance into the world stage.

I am planning a two week conference at the Dai Bosatsu Zendo, in the Catskill Mountains, for all people of peace, truth, and Awakening. October 3-12 are our tentative dates. Save those dates!

In 2014, I want to help Lo from Kaleidoscope do a small East Coast tour in the Spring.

I want us all to tour again, as The Truth Party, this Summer. What was The Truth Party? Well, in May 2013, it was just me, Crazy Monk, and Lo Nathamundi out on the road, in an old Dodge van, doing our thing. Speaking, rapping, doing yoga with people. And it worked. And it’s going to be bigger and better in 2014.

No one summed up that experience better than a certain young spiritual chocolate maker in sacred Portlandia. Lesley Beth wrote that her favorite memory of The Truth Party was:

“The time a small group of us held hands and took an oath that we would NEVER take some mediocre job we hate….
This is what the Truth Party was about to me. It's that accountability, that pact, that on the verge of each new moment we are beaming with trust, wisdom, and courage. In the spirit of Truth, I pray that each of us continues to find purpose in every moment and action no matter how seemingly mundane, and that we continue to breath in and out that spark of inspiration as it echoes into the grand macrocosm, interlinking us all, like a playful pose of Kaleidoscope yoga!

Vow To Awaken.

Sander Hicks
East 10th Street
New York, NY