Category Archives: magic

Love as a Strategic Weapon

In a world where everyone seems to be trying to gain ascendancy over everyone else, there seems to be a fixation on weapons and strategies. We look for the super-weapon to destroy (or disable) our enemies, seek the best strategy to ‘win’ in love, or at work, or…wherever we go.

We militarize everything – even the spiritual path. We have spiritual ‘warriors’ these days, and loudly give them acclaim. We have the ‘battle between the sexes’ as if love and interaction are some sort of M.M.A. cage fight. We have a ‘war on drugs’, as if inanimate objects could fight us (in reality, we have a war on citizens who use drugs).


Our minstrels (court jesters) sing about sapphire bullets of love, and about beating our loved ones over the head with our ‘love.’ All we need is a good weapon to do it with, right? Our politicians make war against each other, and incite us to a sort of war against each other as well.

I literally find myself feeling sick as I contemplate our monstrous separation from each other. No wonder our planet seems to be going down in flames. People stockpile rifles and pistols, as a sort of safety blanket against the scary world they perceive. Most want even better weapons than they are allowed by our (purported) laws.


We’re just as fascinated by (and fixated on) ‘winning strategies’ as we are on weapons. Whole sections of book stores are dedicated to them…strategies to find love, to manifest love better, to get the job or mate or circumstances we so desire. Just as badly as we want super-weapons to crush the people and problems that lie before us  (or gain ascendancy over them), we want strategies to ensure we ‘win’ in life.

love tactics

These attitudes are the enemies of love. When we use weapons or make ourselves warriors, we are not really on the side of peace and love, no matter how loudly we proclaim we are. When we engage in strategies to plot how to unfold our lives, we are fighting against the natural flow, trying to force the universe to do it our way.

win at love

We search high and low, seeking these weapons and strategies. We go to seminars where others tell us how to find or use them…others telling us how to use the weapons they like as our own. We never question this massive solipsism, and often applaud these warmongers as ‘spiritual guides.’

half lotus skeleton

I gotta tell ya, any spiritual guide who tries to sell me weapons and strategies is nothing more than an arms dealer to me. Although these suggested strategies seem cloaked in visions of love and happiness, I know that love and happiness cannot be achieved or experienced by using weapons and strategies.

Still, we search on, like kids looking for an imaginary Pokemon they’ll never find. We look for a ‘better way’, better techniques, better tools and methods to accomplish what we want. All the while, we are ignoring the one ‘strategic weapon’ that could actually help us. Okay, I gave away the suspense in the title…it is love.

Yes, love is the ‘weapon’ we are looking for, the ultimate strategy we continually seek. Love…real love, as action, as an open heart, as compassionate acceptance of others and their sovereignty.

lotus 2

At first glance, the concept of love seems incommensurable with the concept of weaponry. Love is at its core (if anything) a healing and uniting tool, not a weapon. Love blossoms from the heart as a natural phenomenon, and is not made manifest by planned strategies. The two seem to be contradictions in terms. So how can I have the outright gall to suggest love is the ultimate strategic weapon? Am I as confused as the rest of our planet seems to be?


Weapons obviously divide – there is one person at one end of the weapon (holding it metaphorically, as it were), and another on the receiving end. Weapons never bash us with enlightenment – they are made to hurt and harm, perhaps even kill. Even ‘humane’ weapons and ‘non lethal’ weapons share this attribute…one person is using force and the other is subjected to that force.

Love unites. So how could it be a weapon? It really can’t, if it wants to remain love. Yet love can have the end result that weapons intend (but never achieve). Weapons basically are used to get someone to do something you want them to do, or to stop them from doing something you want them to stop (such as living, or messing with your grandma, or whatever).

Weapons are all about force – a force that harms and divides. Love is about force, too – a force that unites. The two seem to be separated by a gulf, polar opposites, diametrically opposed to each other. So how could love be a weapon?

Say we want to get someone to bend to our will, or to force them to see things as we do. Why, we typically just grab a weapon (which could be simply arguments or the sharp side of our tongues) and start bashing until they comply…or run away. That has proven to be highly ineffective – yet we persist in hoping that with a new, improved weapon we might finally get us what we want.

What if instead we used love? Love implies understanding, compassion, acceptance, concern, and respect for the ‘other’. What if we used this anti-weapon as a weapon? Would we have a chance of accomplishing more with compassion, understanding, or acceptance – or will a bigger, better weapon get the job done? Would we get more bees with tasty honey than with bitter vinegar? Uh, let me ask a third grader, for they will surely know what we adults seem to have forgotten.

let love win

If we meet our enemies with understanding (or the desire to understand their issues), we might have a chance. If we meet them with acceptance of how they are (and a desire to find a solution acceptable to both of us), would we have a better chance of getting (if not what we want exactly) a mutually agreeable outcome? Will the sun rise tomorrow?

So yes, love can be a ‘weapon’…the only one that might work. The one peaceful ‘weapon’ we could possibly use.

squirrel bhakti

If this is possible, maybe love would also work as a strategy. Instead of plots and plans, what if we used love (and the open and heartfelt listening and consideration that results from real love)? Love’s strategies are simple…placing the other at the same level as the one in which we place ourselves. Granting the other the peace and understanding we desire for ourselves, could that work…or be a good first step towards communication and eventual harmony? Will the moon shine in the sky this month?

Strategies based on love (instead of the divisive self-interest they usually serve) might just work. They might just offer us a path for ‘getting to yes.’ We sure know that weapons and our ‘normal’ strategies aren’t working…just look around at our divided planet.

Tar and feather

In Nazi Germany, their endlosung (final solution) was to kill all those pesky Jews and Catholics and homosexuals, destroy all the liberals they could find. How did that work out for them? I suggest the real endlosung is to implement the strategies of love. It seems like a no-brainer, but who has tried it…really tried it on a large scale (or even a personal one)? Those who have we call the sages, the wise.

world supported

It disturbs me how insidious the power paradigm is. Today I read a meme post by a woman who is typically quite loving, a real yogi, someone who knows and practices the value of love. Her post said something like ‘a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle.’ Now that is a saying that is sure to unite us all, right? Wrong! It is as nonsensical as its idiot cousin phrase ‘you can tune a piano, but you can’t tuna fish.’

Another woman I know (knew?) was of the idea that love was simply too overwhelming, that it distracted her from her ‘inner work’, led her off her ‘path.’ Now the question pops to my mind…what inner work or path is more important than cultivating and preserving love? What good is the watered-down pseudo-love that attaches to no person, which promotes no tangibly loving actions or attitudes? That is a travesty of love, a mockery of it, as far as I can tell.

Perhaps our world is becoming divided not into ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’, or liberals and conservatives, rich and poor, but by those who persist in the Neanderthal notion that weapons and strategies will get us what we want and those who see love (and its attendant attributes and manifestations) as the only real answer.

Yes, I think the only real ‘strategic weapon’ is love. If love is the basis for our strategies, then perhaps the goals those strategies are meant to reach can be achievable. If love is the ‘weapon’ we use (not to get what we ourselves want, but to get what both want…or can accept), then maybe we have a chance.

Otherwise, one more weapon or strategy might just be the thing that puts us over the edge into planetary barbarism…people considering only what they and theirs want, and figuring the best strategy or weapon to get that (at the cost of others not getting what they want or need).

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One more stupid meme (which means ‘the same’ in French) originated by someone else and yet passed on unthinkingly by blind, sheep-like followers…that might just be the thing that sets off the conflagration – if not within the entire world, then in our own hearts and minds. Let that happen enough and the entire world will soon be running around yelling memes (ideas originated by others)…and acting on them.

old yeller

I suggest that if weapons are to be used, let’s try love as a ‘weapon.’ If strategies are to be implemented (or imagined) then let us base them on love. We might just have a chance that way.

Love. It is the only answer, the only valid response, the only hope for our fragmented and tattered planet. Love.

hearts two hearts

“All you need is love”

-Da Beatles

“This I command you, to love one another…”

-Yeshua (Jesus) the Nazarene Rebel

“Shine on the world, shine on me…love is the answer”

-England Dan and John Ford Coley

“Love is a rose but you’d better not pick it”

-Neil Young

“Love, love, love”

-Hippies and lovers everywhere (and every when)

food is love

(c) 2016 Mark Francis Mullen. All rights reserved. Not to be reproduced without permission (especially for profit). Facebook and other social media are granted no rights to this document or its contents, regardless of publication on their pages.

Une Conquerant de l’Inutile?

One of my old French climbing heroes once described himself as a conqueror of the useless. Je suis une conquerant de l’Inutile. I loved that. As a sometimes climber and former striver in the sensory, phenomenological world, I felt it aptly described me (the before yoga me).

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I was an avid explorer and adventurer in this material world, a lifelong student of it and of Life. Now I explore a more important world as well…the inner one. This quest requires as much time and discipline as any mountain expedition. It demands my innermost courage. It summons my true route-finding skills, my best efforts.

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There is no obvious route on this path, no tangible summit to ascend to. There are no signposts, maps, guides, or guidebooks. It is uncharted territory. Here there be dragons…

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There are no conquerors here. Explorers, yes. Conquerors, no – for this realm cannot be conquered, only comprehended. There is no protection on this route…no ropes or pitons. This climb is a free, solo climb.

This exploration requires boldness and fearlessness, coupled with gentleness. While there are actions to be performed, no effort is required. Complete engagement is required, though – this is not a quest that can be performed half-heartedly. This route finding requires my closest and most careful observation and orientation.

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For here I explore the depths of the body, the heights of the mind, the expanses of the soul. This oddyssey leads me to discover myself, to come face to  face with me. This task requires the best I have, the most I have, all I have. It is the most important journey I’ve ever undertaken.


A conqueror of the useful…that would be better than the useless. Oh, my hair will still blow in the wind of physical summits, my spirit soar, and my body exult. Yet it is the summits within from which I can get a better glimpse of the Divine, on which I can more fully manifest my higher self and perhaps reflect that Divine Light more clearly.





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Ten Reasons Not to Make Lists of Ten Reasons

Articles listing ten steps to anything you can imagine have blossomed on the blog and social media world. From ten steps to finding a lover to ten steps to ditching your lover, these articles by self-proclaimed experts abound. I tried to correlate the plethora of steps, see if I could reduce them into a common set of ten things. That just didn’t pan out, even using the massive super-computing power of my brain. What did become apparent is the truism that nothing can be contained in ten easy steps, and anyone who tries to tell you they can should probably come down out of their theoretical ivory towers and try that academic shit down here in the real world.

So first a recap of some common things I did find in these lists, and then on to the real list, the list of why we shouldn’t deconstruct the world into ten easy units of anything. Some of the things the lists did have in common:

a) be cool

 b) be authentic and speak/live your authentic truth

   c) the answer is inside yourself, not outside in some person or practice or belief or God


That said, let’s move on…ten reasons why you shouldn’t make lists of ten reasons:


1. It is an old trick, and no one can hope to compress the wisdom of life in ten simple              rules or steps

This looks good on Elephant Journal articles, and fits with our American penchant for           finding quicker, faster, simpler ways  to do things. Look where that got us…

2. It distorts through over-simplification

If you find the Buddha, kill him. If something looks like it is too simple, too black and               white, doubt it. Look for your own authentic truth within, not from some author’s list             (not even mine).

3. It is an exercise of ego

These lists serve more to make the author look wise than to truly distill the panorama of     human wisdom. They are exercises of the ego, which thinks that life can be reduced to           lists it contrives. Silly ego.

4. Rather than leading to common perception of truth and right action, these lists more       often serve to divide and  polarize.

Every list instills division in people, who may have ten lists of their own, lists that don’t         agree with our own. Comparing lists is like comparing anything…all it does is lead to              dissatisfaction and suffering. Even Buddha knows that.

buddha peace

5. Lists are for the absent-minded and OC. Real people live life as life occurs, not try to         force it to conform to rules

Do you really want to live life by a list? Do you really want to go through this marvelous       exhibition clinging to a list, checking if you comply? Come on, you are better than that.

6. No author can know you or what is right for you. 

Only you can know your own truth. You can know it the only way you possibly can,                 through your own experience, mindful observation, and reflection, not through my lists.

7. Lists of things are just lists of things. All meaning is imputed.

There it is. It is all things, all impermanent and illusory. That is not truth, just one                     conception of the truth.

8. Trying to encapsulate reality like this is really just trying to force my (or their) reality        down your throat, in a neatly packaged little ‘pill.’

You don’t want to live on my regurgitated ideas. Live instead on your own fresh ideas             (right or wrong). Try them out, and discover what your wisdom is.

9. Making lists simply tries to put the world and our actions in it into a nice, neat box.            Life is not that way.

Life is too large and subjective, too random and unpredictable to fit into little boxes              defined by our lists. If we try to live by     static lists in a changing and fluid world, we risk        becoming outmoded ideologues, fanatic fundamentalists, sycophants to others. No one      wants that, especially you.

10. No box can contain you or your ideas or motivations. No box can contain your truth.        No box is that big, and a box  built by only ten questions is not nearly big enough.

You are too big and beautiful to be fit in any box, boxes of expectations or                                  recommended actions. You are too big to limit yourself to ten of anything. life is counted      in the millions, the zillions, not in primary numbers. Nothing in life is black and white,            nothing is clear-cut enough to fit into a nice, neat list. Beware nice, neat lists, for they are      like clean desks – they indicate a diseased mind.

You are vast….far too vast to be put in – or stay in – a box of any type.


Author’s Note:  Of course, I peg the hypocrisy meter with this one…which is sort of the point of the article. No one can tell you with lists…yet I tried to use a list to tell you that lists are useless. LOL. Enjoy that natural dichotomy of life, the cognitive dissonance that rings in and behind our every thought, word,  and deed. Learn from it.

hypocrisy meter

The Ambrosial Hours

The hours around sunrise and sunset are magical. In those special moments right before dawn, when night is giving way, when the first hint of dawn in seen in the east – and those moments after sunset, when the day is fading slowly into night, are what is called in yogic science amrit vela, the ambrosial hours. In these hours, when the veil that separates night and day is thinnest, we find perfect moments for reflection, yogic practice/meditation, and perhaps simple togetherness.


Of course all moments contain the source of this ambrosia, all 86,400 seconds each day. All moments of now (approximately 100 per second, as the brain ‘re-boots itself -not updates – itself every 10 milliseconds or so, thus making almost a million possible, perceivable ‘nows’ in a day) contain this nectar…in potentiality. Yet those relatively few moments are unarguably special. Nature itself tells us so, as the skies turn an array of colors, as the visible world softens in evidence. These physical causes of refraction and varied light spectral length are not the only things that make these moments magic. We all know it, all sense it – if we allow ourselves to.

In these special moments, we are most vulnerable, most open, most human. In these moments our ‘ordinary’ attitudes and filters soften, and we have a chance to glimpse for a second, to see more clearly, the innate and effulgent beauty of every moment. 

I love the ‘pink’ hours, when the light is soft and everything takes a pinkish/golden glow. Perhaps this unique spectral density of light activates our pineal glands which then emit DMT (the spirit molecule associated with religious experiences and overwhelming senses of peace and unity) into our bodies, causing the sensation of bliss. Perhaps then our minds still enough to hear the whispering of the Goddess, the singing of angels, the turning of the universe on its axis. Regardless of the reason or source, these moments can be proven (by our own experience, the only way anything can be truly proven to us) to be times when we can not only sense but experience this magic. These moments offer opportunities (in potential) for increased depth of meditation, fuller expression of yogic asana and practice, and a closer perception of and unity with the Divine.


Yet the ambrosial hours are more than just these in-between hours, or the more obvious dawn and slow growth into full day. They also contain those moments just after the darkest depths of night, those moments when the first glimmer and hope of dawn occur. They are moments right as dawn becomes a hint in our minds and hearts – as well as on the horizon. They are the moments when night has finally fallen…yet a barely detectable glimmer of day still lingers, before it finally fades, and night truly descends.

I love to be awake for these times. I love to see each dawn and each sunset, to see the glory of the painted clouds or the simple dimming or growing of light through cloud cover. I love to be there. In this moment of ostensible alone-ness, when I seem to be the only one awake (or when only other yogis and early birds are), in these moments I find a sense of connection with all beings, a sense of togetherness at the levels that count – at the deep soul levels, mostly hidden from our conscious perception.

In these magical moments my ego relaxes a bit, allowing my mind to still a bit, allowing my heart and soul to come to the foreground and shine. In these moments I am more likely to experience (not achieve) yoga or union, experience samadhi or enlightenment. In these moments, the full potential of change and growth and transformation manifest, amplified beyond more ordinary moments of day and night.

I find each to be a gift.

Being there for these moments dictates (to a degree) that I wake up early (before the dawn) and go to bed fairly early (so I get more than a couple hours of sleep before waking). That indicates a lifestyle, to a degree, but it is worth it. I am not dogmatic, and will change my schedule as need or desire dictate…but in the end, what is normal is this type of lifestyle.

That is why it is odd that I am awake in the wee hours, those couple hours before us early birds rise. In the deep, dark, depths of the night, when only crackheads, meth-heads, and cops are awake – or insomniacs and those in deep pain that causes sleepless nights – there is also a sort of peace, a different type of magic. It is rare to experience it for me, and the cost of experiencing it is high: I will miss my normal ambrosial hours sleeping, I will miss my morning meditation at this powerful time and my morning yoga as the sun finally rises and the day dawns. I will set and start my day in a slightly different tone. Sleeping late so as to be rested for the day ahead, I will get up late and thus pedal out late – missing that special early autumn morning pedal and replacing it with a late morning pedal.

The cost is high, but I pay it gladly. I can sacrifice a day or two of ambrosial hours missed, as long as I make most of them. Most people never even see the sun rise, or if they do it is as they are commuting, or getting ready for work and they have no time to fully experience it, to take a moment to live these most special and magical moments of the day. Some people never see sunrises or sunsets in their day; they are ‘busy’ working inside a box, or driving in a box, or sitting in a box while the beauty and magic blaze outside the windows of their boxes, unnoticed. So I am lucky, among the rare and lucky ones who accept this daily magical gift life bestows on those who care to accept it. And my gratitude magnifies the power of this gift.

Life is indeed good if every day I sip this ambrosia, during the ambrosial hours. It is good to experience the wee hours for a treat, at times not related to making late-night love or parties or emergencies. That is also a gift, and with gratitude, I finally lay my head down to sleep.


…and I leave you with this one final thought: dawn and dusk, the ambrosial hours, are indeed magic – and it is always dawn nor dusk somewhere.


AUM, Shanti  : )

Good night

Sleep with the angels

:  )