As I fly over the clouds from a land, where the mountains talk to you and the fog cloak you only to whisk you away to yet another dimension; to a land that has been lyricized as Christmas by the Bay and that which I call home, my heart fills with immense gratitude and joy. I feel elated that I live in an age where I get to immerse myself in the endless span of the blue sky which the masters say is our true nature. Realization of this nature of mind is our innermost essence, the truth that we all search for through out our lives. Looking out the window as I contemplate on the clouds below, it becomes clear to me why metaphorically it is always the sky that describes the mind. It has been said that our minds our embodiment of perfection. It is so perfect that not even the Buddhas can improve upon it, "nor can sentient beings spoil it in their seemingly infinite confusion." The sky is our essential nature and the confusion of the ordinary mind are the hanging clouds. When we are down below, looking up, it is unbelievable that there could be anything beyond the clouds. Yet, as I fly above I experience a limitless expanse of clear blue sky.
It is often asked where is this buddha nature? And it is said: "It is in the sky-like nature of our mind. Utterly open, free, and limitless, it is fundamentally so simple and so natural that it can never be complicated, corrupted, or stained, so pure that it is beyond even the concept of purity and impurity. To talk of this nature of mind as sky-like, of course, is only a metaphor that helps us to begin to imagine its all-embracing boundlessness; for the buddha nature has a quality the sky cannot have, that of the radiant clarity of awareness." It is simply your flawless, present awareness, cognizant and empty, naked and awake.....(The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying)
Profound and tranquil, free from complexity,
Uncompounded luminous clarity,
Beyond the mind of conceptual ideas;
This is the depth of the mind of the Victorious Ones.
In this there is not a thing to be removed,
Nor anything that needs to be added.
It is merely the immaculate
Looking naturally at itself ............ Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpoche
On this enlightened note, I start the official season of sharing and singing, dancing and dodging, giving and receiving. Thank you and thank you a thousand times for being part of my odyssey!
For it's Christmas by the bay
A time to celebrate
In the San Francisco way
It's Christmas by the bay
I'm with you in my favorite place
On my favorite holiday.
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Commanding over 10 million Twitter followers and over 33 million Facebook fans, Lady Gaga, is also the creative tour-de-force and a key player of the Polaroid team. Her fame is sensational. She gracefully glides between the worlds of technology, music, artistry and marketing. She is the fearless, daring marketing scientist that we all applaud and strive for!
As [trade show] marketers, we are constantly working to leave behind a blazing trail in a crowded industry. Lady Gaga was trying to do the same thing in the over-crowded music industry. Gaga won where others lost.
Here are 3 "gaga" lessons that intrigues me.
Marketing is a Core Belief System: It is a Lifestyle: Gaga has made fame and marketing her lifestyle. Every performance or song release has marketing as a part of its DNA. It is the mindset of the "Gaga" brand. In her very own words: "I used to walk down the street like I was a f*&^ing star... I want people to walk around delusional about how great they can be - and then to fight so hard for it every day that the lie becomes the truth.”
Marketing needs to be in the DNA of your company. Employees in all departments should create content and aid in the company's goal of market domination. Integrate marketing into your business culture.
The Marketing Bedrock: Humility and Appreciation: Gaga has worked tirelessly on accumulating her fans. She drives loyalty by tweeting her fans directly (sometimes on an hourly basis). If you have watched any of her shows you will know how the pop diva keeps re-defining humility in a profound way!. [Watch the video below: you will get the drift] Treat them well and they will make you a superstar is her marketing mantra. Professional photographers are barred from her concerts but she allows her fans to record and distribute videos of her live performance on YouTube.
Appreciate customers and fans for their support. Conduct surveys to ask for input and demonstrate how that feedback is reflected in your business changes. Offer free training, education and surprise gifts for customers to show your appreciation for their business.
Take a Marketing Stand. Drive Your Purpose. Be Fearless. We all target and segment our markets. We do so, because we simply cannot be everything to everybody. Lady Gaga takes it a step further. She does not mind annoying people that she knows she cannot please. It might not be politically correct but being a people-pleaser is just plain boring. Again in her own words, “If you don't have any shadows you're not in the light”
In your business, being controversial isn't about taking risks. It is about doing something unexpected and out of character for your industry. Take a different stand on a topic than most others in your industry would take. Imagine dialogues. Imagine talking with a role model to gain new perspective and insight. Or you can imagine how some role models would discuss your problem. Think about how things originate. Take an object and think about what elements are involved in its creation and how. This will open doors to thinking differently.
Above all, face fear.
What Gautama Buddha preached more than 2500 years ago, Lady Gaga undertakes a contemporary evaluation of the same precept. The whole secret of existence is to have no fear. Never fear what will become of you, depend on no one. Only the moment you reject all help are you freed........Gautama Buddha
“All that ever holds somebody back, I think, is fear. For a minute I had fear. [Then] I went into the [dressing] room and shot my fear in the face..........” Lady Gaga
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"The infinite! No other question has ever moved so profoundly the spirit of man; no other idea has so fruitfully stimulated his intellect; yet no other concept stands in greater need of clarification than that of the infinite . . ." David Hilbert (1862-1943)
The very title "Return on Infinity" is in itself ridden with self-contradiction. How do you even begin to harness the infinite concept of "Infinity". Given that the concept has been contemplated by artists, philosophers, mathematicians and common man since before the beginning of written history, it is infinitely pompous of me even to delve into it. However I do have to acknowledge: unconsciously, I use it as a design crutch every single day. Consciously, I might as well give it proper credence.
Famed intellectuals have presented varied concepts about their understanding of infinity. It is as though infinity upholds different meaning for different appeals. As the underground, Russian poet, Joseph Brodsky so rightfully said, "The poetic notion of infinity is far greater than that which is sponsored by any creed." Rudy Rucker in his book, Infinity and the Mind, undertakes a captivating journey to that frontier of the universe he calls the "Mindscape," where he explores infinity in all its forms: potential and actual, mathematical and physical, theological and mundane. Rucker clues us on Kurt Friedrich Gödel's rotating universe, in which he postulates possibility to travel into the past and spells out an interpretation of quantum mechanics in which billions of parallel worlds are produced every microsecond. In the kingdom of infinity, mathematics, science, and logic merge with the marvelous. It is a continuous ebb and flow of hard logic and fluid mysticism. The conundrum that arise from this merging, explains the illusive human mind: its potential, its powers, and its frailty.
In their temples, the Egyptians from antiquity followed a simple layout that mirrored the concept of infinity: the creation of the universe: both metaphorically and structurally. In their usual customary creations, architects, industrial designers and 3D trade show designers are known to play with the flow. The flow of the infinite curve that is. However, architect Serge Salat, takes a giant leap beyond. In 'Beyond Infinity', he brings the abstraction of infinite into finite. It is a multisensory voyage painting “the possibility in the contemporary world to create new beauty and dream through a fusion of classical culture and innovation”. Perhaps, this is the first time in known history one gets to delight on the stark theory that space and time is immersed in an unending subdivision! Enjoy!
[Paradoxes of the infinite arise] only when we attempt, with our finite minds, to discuss the infinite, assigning to it those properties which we give to the finite and limited; but this I think is wrong, for we cannot speak of infinite quantities as being the one greater or less than or equal to another. Galileo Galilei, quoted in Infinity and the Mind by Rudy Rucker.
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A metaphor is an image or a story to represent an idea that is abstract or intangible.
The classic metaphor "The Melting Pot" and its message holds a tremendous power on the national imagination – the promise that all immigrants can be transformed into Americans and be part of the American democratic wheel of freedom and civil liberty. Another overused contemporary metaphor that comes to mind is “war”. It is one of the dominating visuals of our current mass psyche....The war on cancer, the war on drugs, the war on terrorism, the war on middle class...We are devoted to war games and ponder about the violence in our society.
Nothing rivals the human body when it comes to metaphors. Since the time of Aristotle architectural metaphor attributed to human anatomy and vice versa. "What walls and beams provide in houses, poles in tents, and keels and ribs in ships, the substance of bones provides in the fabric of man." In our modern techno-machinist society, the computers are described in bodily metaphors. In athletic interplay or in armed conflict human body is nothing less than a high performing machine. In creative expression of ballet, human body is an art form. In fashion, human body is a display. In metaphysics, human body is a vehicle for the spirit and in the skilled hands of Richard Macdonald human body becomes the celebration of spirit.
Metaphors are powerful aid to our imagination. Metaphors shape and define the boundaries of how we think about problems and how to solve them. Metaphors capture our imagination by speaking the language of the brain. It is the language of experiences, attitudes and influences. Metaphors appeals to all our senses and makes dry business messaging a common play ground that is shared by Visuals, Kinesthetics and Auditories. Metaphors make communications easier, richer and quicker to understand. Capture the imagination and you Capture the heart.
Come up with a metaphor to represent your personality or your marketing message. When you are presenting at a company meeting or special venues like trade shows use the magic of metaphors to direct your audience to their senses and transport excitement, imagination and dimension. Your audience will thank you.
As I draw an end, the perennial metaphor about human body comes to mind. In the Katha Upanishad 1:3:3., it has been said “Know that the Self is the rider, and the body the chariot; that the intellect is the charioteer, the mind the reins and the five senses the horses.”........ I will let the richness of this metaphor feast your brain. Good Luck!
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The avant-garde movement in art and literature of the 20th-century that sought to release the creative potential of the unconscious mind, for example by the irrational juxtaposition of images is often termed as surrealism. Science says that the human nervous system is bombarded with roughly 2 million bits of information. To maintain sanity, our conscious mind filters out most of the stimuli. In 1956 George A. Miller discovered that the number of objects an average human can hold in working memory is 7 ± 2. The rest, that 2 million - 7(± 2) bits are dealt by the unconscious. Such is the glory of our unconscious mind. The unconscious mind is the store house of immense creative potential. It is 90% of our total mind power as opposed to the 10% of the mind that we usually use in our normal waking state. Another way to look at it is 90% of our total mind power is not normally accessed while sleep. We spend 1/3 of our life asleep. It is the inscapable law of life. However, the subconscious mind never rests or sleeps. It is always active, controlling all our vital forces.
Dr. John Bigelow, a famous research authority on sleep, demonstrated that at night while asleep you receive impressions showing that the nerves of the eyes, ears, nose, and taste buds are active during sleep, meaning our brain is at work. He says that the main reason we sleep is because “the nobler part of the soul is united by abstraction to our higher nature and becomes a participant in the wisdom and foreknowledge of the gods.” Often, we have experienced the creative intelligence of our subconscious at work in our dreams. A consistent way to tap into your dreams is to sleep with a dream journal. When you are at the edge of half-sleep and half wakefulnes, write down the dream in one sentence. You will be amazed the doors that will be opened in that surreal state of mind. As Brad Holland so skillfully pits it: "Surrealism: An archaic term. Formerly an art movement. No longer distinguishable from everyday life."
Surrealism surfaced in the 1920s as a literary movement responding to the illogical mass killings and social turmoil after World War I. Surrealist writers, including former Dadaist Andre Breton, were motivated by Sigmund Freud’s work in exploring the unconscious and sought direct access to the deepest levels of the human mind, unfiltered by logic or reason. By the early 1920s, graphic design and visual art expressed dream-like imagery, ideas mined directly from the unconscious and Salvador Dali became the leader of the Surrealist Movement. The melting watches became the marquee surrealist works of all times.
“Deep within, there is something profoundly known, not consciously, but subconsciously. A quiet truth, that is not a version of something, but an original knowing. What this, absolute, truth [identity] is may be none of our business…but it is there, guiding us along the path of greater becoming; a true awareness. It is so self-sustaining that our recognition of it is not required. We are offspring’s of such a powerfully divine force – Creator of all things known and unknown.” ― T.F. Hodge, From Within I Rise: Spiritual Triumph Over Death and Conscious Encounters with "The Divine Presence"
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In my writings I am often an explorer, a map maker, sometimes a voyager of the human mind and other times: a creator who is tormented by the inner longing to expand, express and delight !