I’ve been on a morbid kick lately of macabre podcast content. If you perused the favorites on my Tune-In app, you would find a list of shows that would make you question my moral sense. One of the podcast shows, Cults, dives deep into the minds of manipulative cult leaders and their misguided followers while untangling the unusual and the vile deeds that grew from twisted words.
I noticed, after listening to a few episodes of the podcast, that many of the cults that became well known enough to shock a nation grew from the misinterpretations of religious text and faith-based beliefs. I wondered, if the two are often found so intertwined together, what is the difference between a religion and a cult? (more…)
“Undisturbed calmness of mind is attained by cultivating friendliness toward the happy, compassion for the unhappy, delight in the virtuous, and indifference toward the wicked.” ― Patanjali, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Finding an outlet that can ease away the tough struggles and stress of the day, is key to a long happy and healthy life. And finding that outlet in a practice that can reshape the mind, body and spirit is even better. Yoga, one of the six astika schools of Hindu philosophy, incorporates these three aspects of the self and is also found in Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and in less spiritual and more popular practices of the mainstream. (more…)
I know that everyone and their brother has already seen this video, but I just wanted to put it on my blog to show how fantastic this was. Mackemore, or Ben Haggerty and formerly Professor Macklemore, is an amazing rapper who, according to Wikipedia, “began independently releasing music since 2000 and now collaborates with producer Ryan Lewis, violinist Andrew Joslyn, and trumpeter Owuor Arunga. He has gained a significant online fanbase.”
“He has released one mixtape, three EPs and two albums, although none on a major record label. His music video “Thrift Shop” has been viewed on YouTube more than 200 million times, and reached number 1 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, selling more than 2.2 million copies. Macklemore released his debut studio album The Heist on October 9, 2012, which charted at number 2 on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 78,000 copies in the first week.“
Macklemore’s support of gay rights, including same-sex marriage, is expressed in his single “Same Love”. The song also condemns homophobia in hip hop, society and mass media. He does not follow organized religion, referring in “Vipassana” to an “atheist Jesus piece,” symbolic of his spiritual and philosophical views.
Several of his singles elaborate on symbolism and a philosophy of the term “God” defining not a being, but in what and how an individual is able to realize a faith and happiness. Macklemore has said to have realized this in hip hop music. In “Church”, Macklemore contrasts established religion’s collectivism to the subjectivity of realities he would face growing up, including almost losing his life to drug-use. The ink used for his writing is described as God in place of Jesus Christ; hearing his music play out of speakers, “communion“; the South Bronx as “hip hop’s Egypt“; and his savior being hip hop music by way of referenced originator Kool Herc. In 2008, Macklemore went to rehab for drug-addiction, alcoholism and related obsessive behavior. He spent most of his twenties “trying to fight [his] way out of that (way of life)”.
“I want to be someone who is respected and not just in terms of my music. I want to be respected in terms of the way that I treat people. The way, the subjects in which I choose to .. address through my music. And not because I’m, like, trying to make records about them. It’s just that’s what’s important to me. Music is my creative outlet in terms of expressing what is important to me; what has importance, what has a value. And I wanna be respected for that.”—Macklemore, Jabari Presents