Lystra was asked to play the KXLU fundraiser in 2002. Here is a selection of songs from that session. Hope you call and make a donation.
Lystra was asked to play the KXLU fundraiser in 2002. Here is a selection of songs from that session. Hope you call and make a donation.
Coming soon. Lystra -Three Piece Rock Trio with Chris Rady on Bass. A mastered version of the 8 track tapes which Chris Chris and Joe recorded on the Tascam reel-to-reel in LA.
In 2001 Lystra and Joe were asked to play in the studio at KXLU in Los Angeles. Here is a 3 song selection from that recording. Coming soon.
In 1999, 2000 and 2001 Chris Toms and Joe Taylor wrote and recorded an LP with Brian Paulson. During this time Joe was living in Saxapahaw which is outside Chapel Hill – and driving in to practice with Chris at Starpoint, infamous musician-centric house in Carrboro.
This recording is currently being mastered by Joe and will be available soon.
Lystra: Joe Taylor, Chris Toms.
In 2001 Joe and Chris moved from Chapel Hill, NC to Los Angeles to play as a duo and promote their music. Here is a three song demo they recorded in their practice room in N Hollywood. Pictured on the front steps are Chris Toms, Chris Rady and Joe Taylor. Chris later joined the band – he was playing the bass and this picture was taken during a practice.
Chacalaca (Pronounced “sha-ka-lah-ka”) was a three piece rock band which existed just long enough to record this 4-track demo. The band formed in 2005, and was the immediate precursor to Blag’ard . Based in Chapel Hill, it consisted of Joe Taylor on guitar and vocals, Billy Buckley on bass and backing vocals, and Saula Finau on drums.
The demo was found and mastered for the first time in the fall of 2016. ©2016 Pig Zen Space.
All songs copyright 2018 Pig Zen Space.
All songs words music by Joe Taylor
Reviewed in The Big Take-Over by Mark Suppanz
“Named after an old British slang term for “Black Guard” this Chapel Hill, NC outfit is manned by ex-Capsize 7 leader Joe Taylor who plays everything on this follow-up to 2017’s fourth LP Bitty Bop. That album found Taylor moving away from the noisy, guitar-led alt-rock of 2012’s Fresh Candy into more deliberate and atmospheric prog/space/folk rock; Luckery resumes that course with rerecorded, yet faithful renditions of three bitty songs. The mystical opener “Bitty Bop” tones down the LP version’s heavily distorted bass to accentuate its harpsichord-like, haunted house piano and Taylor’s recitative, mannered croon. On the spectral, militaristic “I the Storm,” Taylor tackles personal demons as spindly and squealy guitars, skittish programmed drums, and spooky robotic voices hover overhead, while the meditative and spiritual, slowly intensifying “Locked Into Me” finds him defiantly coming to grips with a painful death.”
Download This Song:
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Having set the scene, let’s begin. What is meditation? What are we doing when we mediate? How do we achieve what is described as the state of meditation? Why do we have so many different experiences? What is common? What is not? Is there a goal? Process – all energy experiences involve process and any process comes in stages of experience, one no more profound than the next. Each is a significant part of the journey. What we each experience and know as we walk between living in density and living in spirit is of our own coloring and your experience is as vital for you as mine is for me. All I want to do is to give you the tips to take you on your own exploration. The mind is a beautiful tool and one which is tricky to fine tune into quiet. Silence. Yes, meditation is described as entering the silence. Okay, you ask me, how do I manage to get this mind of mine, which jumps all over the place, to be still so I can, in any way, come close to entering silence. Well, the way you get there is to begin to practice.
Learning the Tool of Attention: Using a Mantra, Visual Imagery, and Breath
The first tool you use in beginning the practice of meditation is a strong one – it is the tool of attention. You learn to concentrate your mind. Concentrating your mind to a singular point of attention helps you to quiet down the ongoing mental chatter. There are many methods of learning to concentrate or to place attention. The three with which I am familiar are using a mantra, using a visual, and using breath.
Using a Mantra to Train the Mind
A mantra is a saying which you repeat over and over in your mind. Make this mantra something significant to you. I began with repeating over and over while I sat in quiet the saying, Peace and Healing. These were after all what I was seeking. So your mantra is your own to choose. It has to be language with enough power in it to draw you back to it again and again and again. That is really what it means to use a mantra. The trouble with us Westerners as we learn something Eastern is that we think we have to be Eastern. Well, I never got there using a Sanskrit mantra. There was nothing in it to hold me, regardless of the fact that the verbal vibration was supposed to be able to knock me for a loop. It just didn’t work. I listened to the Sanskrit chanting on the tape I bought from my yoga teacher over and over all to no avail. Finally I said to myself. What am I doing? What I’m looking for is healing and inner peace. It is that simple. So my mantra became Peace and Healing. That grabbed me. I could sit and be still and breathe and bring my mind again and again into the language and emotion of peace and healing. We make the simple things hard by trying to make ourselves conform to the external when the external needs to be created from our own internal.
Lesson one in meditation: Create your own mantra.
Use the repetition of the mantra to train your mind into a concentrated state of attention. We are what we think. What we think about over and over in our minds we live. Our physical state reflects our mental state and through our mental state we can change our physical state. But, you and I have learned this together already. Meditation is special for it tells you so strongly that in meditation not only do you get in touch with your mind and your body you find your essence, your inner energy, the soul through which you express all within your life. This is why meditation is so powerful. This is why so many seek to come to understand it. The spirit we are in life draws us home, says to us, single you may think you are, but no, you are a part of a larger unit, and this larger unit connects you to the heart of all. Each mystic, each faith, each spiritual movement, looks for this magic door, the way in to understand what we see in and experience in life. There is no thinking feeling person who escapes this restlessness which calls to us from our spiritual source. Life is spirit living through and within matter. I don’t want anyone to worry about how to term it, how to call it. I just want all of us to live our truths, and in living our truths express the faith we feel so strongly about. Meditation teaches us the lesson of humility. In finding our own way in to our Source, to touch the land of soul, we learn the oneness in Truth. We see the commonality in our material, the oneness in our home base. The etheric world teaches that. You and I are energy. Our vibrational levels and our cognitive expression may differ but the source from which our matter is derived is common. This, my friends, is the power in meditation. For when we meditate we work within the building blocks of life, our own and the worlds. My word, are we ready for this? I pray this to be the case. Life today is in a make it or break it funnel. The needs throughout the world are visible to us all and the solutions do not come through any singular method of fixing. What’s the message? It’s see the needs in life through the lens of working towards the good of the whole. How do we do it? We live in love. We start with where we can touch and what we can touch is our own soul. So, let us return to our tool of meditation, and how we enter this path of communion, journeying within the life of the soul and the silent oneness of spirit sub-standing all existence.
Using a Visual to Train the Mind
If you find no assistance in quieting down using the repetition of a mantra, simply acknowledge the fact that this approach is not for you and move on. Recognizing what method we need as we seek to help ourselves find a state of mental stillness teaches us about our cognitive energy make up. Being the healer, I cannot help but see it all as energy, and would explain our differences this way, but regardless of that, attend to this fact: the tool we need to bring ourselves into a state of concentrated attention so that we can experience meditation is unique unto who we are. That is the point I am making. So, if mantras do nothing for you, look elsewhere.
Gem/Synergy on Sound in Meditation: I like mantras because I respond so readily to sound. This is a part of my sentience. I even experience becoming sound and though I rebelled against a Sanskrit mantra I have found myself cognitively or energetically becoming both OM and A.U.M. during the process of mediation. It is not that I am repeatedly stating or thinking these sounds as mantras, it is that I feel these mantras within me, reverberating through me. It is internal. I am these sounds. The A.U.M. involves hearing each of these sounds (the A.U.M.) as though in three-part harmony within my cellular mental experience and becoming the OM feels deeper, for when I become the OM the three parts merge into one. Who am I to question that? I just stay there, breathing, observing. But again that is my experience.
Instead, for you, it may be a visual which holds you. You may be a person for whom it is as natural as the day is long to paint vivid pictures with and in your mind. I’ve always respected this gift in others. If this is who you are, then visual imagery is your tool, your means to learn to place attention. Just as we are different in what physical modalities help us, we are also different in what methods speak to who we are to help us in our search for mental peace. Meditation after all gives us mental peace. When the mind can be peaceful, the mind can be quiet and we can experience deeply the calmness, the strength, the power, and peacefulness of the state of mediation.
How do you use your gift of painting scenes in your mind? You decide upon your picture. What imagery can you draw mentally that will keep your mind involved, keep your mind returning to the scene to color it, to experience it, to feel it? Decide your scene and create it. During the creative process, you bring your mind repeatedly into the imagery in which you are involved. As I become sound you become your imagery. Each tool, mantra/sound or imagery, offers the experience of becoming one within an experience. This is what it means to be attentive. The state of no thought, the state of knowing or being, comes through experiencing attention. Learn attention through your tool and you open your door. You find your path into meditation. A visual scene of peace will give you peace when you become one with it.
Gem/Synergy on using a Visual: I want to make sure you realize that even though painting a picture may not come naturally to you, you can still utilize the creation of a visual through feeling it. This is how I use the tool of visual imagery. Recognize the setting which for you is a setting of peace and image yourself in this setting. Living on the coast, for me it’s being at the beach, standing beside the ocean, feet in the water, feeling the waves, the tug of the sand slipping from me, the wind, the birds, the in and out of the feel of the water, the sound, the smell, the feel – all of it. The beach makes me feel alive. So, as I experimented with using a visual in achieving a one-pointed state of attention to enter meditation, I took myself mentally to the beach and felt all of what it means to me to be there. Visuals can work in this way as well. So if you like this thought, if creating and sensing your special setting appeals to you, run with it. It will be a good tool for you.
Using the Breath to Teach the Mind to Pay Attention
Another beautiful tool to find the way into attention is the process or method called using the breath. Using the breath is probably the easiest of them all. Why? We all breathe. Get some humor out of this now. We’re going to use a physical function that is absolutely natural to take us along the path to spirit. Sometimes in life it is the simple things that help us the most. Because breathing is part of life, something we do all day, all night, every minute we are alive, we are not asking ourselves to perform an unusual task or do something unfamiliar. This in itself makes using the breath a good tool for teaching the mind to place attention. The method here is really easy –bring your mind again and again to your process of breathing. Sitting still, eyes closed, looking down, bring your attention to your breathing. Observe your breath, watching and listening and feeling all that is happening as breath comes in, as breath leaves. When thoughts occur, just observe them too. Let them go and bring your attention back into your breathing. It’s that simple and is a very relaxing powerful way to quiet the body, quiet the mind, and quiet the emotion, and enter mediation.
The Meditative State
I don’t know that any two people would describe the meditative state in the same way. Each individual experiences meditation differently, and again, I believe that variance to be due to our uniqueness in our energy anatomy. The most innermost sense that I receive comes through opening into the experience of sound and vision. Becoming sound I watch and observe the visual, the lights and shapes and movement within the subtle energy world. It is like being present within a kaleidoscope. While this is going on I feel complete and utter peace. Yet this peace is not completely stillness. This peace is a peace which holds an incredible sense or feeling of power, movement held deeply within a center that is utterly still. Now, I know that does not seem to make sense, for I am describing a dichotomy, a combination of strong opposites, but that is what my feeling is. It feels like what you see in imagery when you observe a visual of the Milky Way. All life moves and revolves around a center. The experience of the meditative state is multileveled, the knowing of many stages of consciousness simultaneously. Multi-levelness is also a part of the healing experience. We can be quiet and still and fully active at the same time.
Group mediation is extremely powerful. The same is true with group healing. Joining one with the other, energy strand meets energy strand and together we are more whole. Meditating as a group enhances each individual who is a part of the group. The only way I can explain this is to say that group meditation honors the science of what we are in spirit, for coming into life on this earth as what seems to be an individual soul we are in truth one fragment of a unity of source. Group meditation brings a quickening within each of our realities, strengthening, enhancing who we each are individually and teaching us, leading us in to sense our unity, the wholeness which expresses our Oneness. Lots of language to say, divine spirit we are and practicing together we meet to share the experience of Oneness. If you’ve not mediated in a group, gather some friends together and try it. You each come away, more alive, more at peace, and ready to take on the world.
The Healing Power of Meditation
Why meditation is so healing, why this practice offers our strongest venue for seeking self-healing, is indeed at this point in our journey together self-explanatory. In other worlds, you could write this one for me. I’ll keep it simple. It does not require a lot of verbiage. Meditation, the state of meditation, offers us healing for one significant reason. In meditation, when we really get there, we reach within to know our space of soul, the space from which all healing comes. It is a moment of magic. Touch the divinity you are within and you will bring it without. The healing available to you can change your life. Is there an offering to us more profound? Meditation is a practice worth your effort.
Healing Prayer is Active Creative Meditation
The beauty in any tool which helps us individually in healing or in spiritual practice is that we can use this same tool to help our fellow human beings, to help all life. Mediation can be directed. When meditation is directed towards a particular goal, it is a form of active creativity. What do I mean by that? I’m talking energy, now, folks. Get with me on this one. When we concentrate upon something we can create this something as a reality. This is how any creative process works. Have an idea. Focus upon it. Build its structure within your mental process. Infuse the structure with the ideal that is your idea: your project, the world’s projects. Create them. Build them. Bring them down. Bring this mental process into life. Make the thought have a life, be life. Make it real. This is how we create. This is how we can use the process of active creation to bring forward healing for one another and for all mankind. Active creative meditation is taking what we know or think of as prayer and using it energetically, bringing to our prayer, to a process that is usually totally emotional, the mental energy tools. Using mental energy is how we create. Mental energy is creative.
There are today on this earth many behind the scenes groups of healers gathered together in prayer. All these healing prayer circles are using is the science of active creative meditation, the science that says that if you mentally create it and then direct this mental energy outward, you direct and work within the flows of energy that create healing, create organizations, cause movements. This activity is the venue of the dreamer.
Yet within each of us is the dream and as we dream our world into the state in which we want to see it, together we help to heal this earth and all life upon it.
Dream with me.
Let us create and bring forward together
healing for all.
Know each sunrise
as a time of prayer for all upon the earth
casting healing light
to each man, each woman, and each child,
and serving each species of the kingdoms of life
within our manifested world.
Love sent out.
Know each sunset
as a time of culmination,
and each night
as a time to commune.
Love brought in.
In healing prayer
we find a synthesis
to all of the work of healing,
joining together to dream
of life lived in Love.
May you leave this reading
further along your path
to peace and healing.
Let us turn now to the modality of meditation, which is I believe to offer us our most powerful practice for healing.
Meditation – Introductory Materials
My approach to meditation is very much like unto how I approach any energy modality. There are rules to the road which have been written, offering techniques to follow and proper methods of practice. It is my humble opinion that how you should practice meditation is something again which only you will find. Each different in the energy through which we manifest, we reach out externally to have a method of practice taught to us. This is our beginning. And, rightly so. When we begin a new practice, we need the rules to the road. But what makes these rules effective is that which we observe and honor to take place within ourselves, causing us to adjust and change the external rule to fit that which we find and come to know internally.
When all is said and done, it is only through observing the experience we have within ourselves that we can find the method that is user friendly for us. In all energy modalities, we have to self-observe to find our way. Every spiritual truth is found within us, the path to spirit is within. Meditation is a method of helping us to identify within the spirit we are while residing in the flesh. Meditation offers a link between matter and spirit. Quieting the mind, we seek for the soul.
Yet, our seeking needs to recognize a very vital point: this process is not a seeking for something we are not or do not have, but is a seeking for that which we ARE WITHIN – Spirit we are, expressed through matter. Meditation is a tool we use to immerse ourselves within the energy space we call our soul. Meditation is a process of identification, honoring the spiritually stated truth that the kingdom of God is within. In meditation East and West converge.
As with my entire journey into this differently lived life, my introduction to meditation began with the practice of yoga. Experiencing yoga classes introduces you to a lot of different thinking. I had never before thought about energy, matter, and space, mind body and spirit. I was a good Westerner, from a Christian background and religion was one aspect and regular life another. Yoga brought me full face in my journey to knowing spirit within my body, opening my sensory system to see and feel and hear differently. What is one to do with this very unusual living? Finding healing I offered it out, wanting to put my hands on everyone and everything in need. Yet, this world is not open to the person who is so different. It’s like we all live in a vacuum, awaiting a time when the mainstream catches up with the unusual, yet even as I say this I know that the unusual one is always the one on the cusp within times of mankind’s changing consciousness. That is indeed what is happening today. There are more and more like me out there, closet experiencers, closet scientists. The world of energy is our venue, our space of experimenting.
Yet, funny enough, even within this unusual world there is division. My way is better than your way. I can teach you the right way to heal, to find the psychic world, to experience the subtle ethers. It’s a giant circus and a show, yet within this show there is the Truth. Having lived and worked as the owner/operator of an independent bookshop, I can attest to how hungry the world is to know inner peace, to find healing. We all need it. Mankind needs it. I believe the answers to be so simple. We help one another. Helping one another we help ourselves. Turning our vision away from our own personal problems we lessen their impact upon us. Healer, turn those downward focused eyes unto the soul, the healer within the form.
A soul on earth, what an incredible thought, yet you know what, my friends, this is reality. We are each souls on earth. There’s a whole world of us running around living in bodies expressing differing levels of consciousness. It’s beautiful and humorous at the time. When we think about it, and come to recognize that we each build our matter and construct our own temples with the same raw materials, we should be able to live compassionately. If we were to all live compassionately we would change the world in which we live, the bodies through which we live, the space we inhabit within this entire earth. What we think and do is that powerful. What saves us as a race of people is that we don’t know it. Most of us cannot even manage ourselves, myself included. A yo-yo on a string in the autumn of life, I’m watching those I love, and myself, age and face all that goes along with life’s culminating time. This writing is I hope a contribution and will help you to come to grips with all you face in life. I have challenges. You do too. Let us work together to create life together and build this world anew.
Why do I tell you all this when we’re getting ready to work with meditation? Because I believe meditation and active creative meditation to be that significant, to ring loud and clear with a bell so strong that if we were to use the power within this tool and use it positively together we could in fact change this earth.
So, let’s get practical. Let me give you some of the rules to the road, as I have found them, on meditation. We should be clear on what my teaching is. I’ve not been externally taught in meditation where I have those worldly credentials that say yes I can say I’m an expert here. What you and I will do together is from the lens of my experience. I’ve walked within the realms of beginning, the traveling through the many steps one takes, in learning to practice meditation, starting with reading and listening to others tell me how. Graduating from that stage, I saw in my experience what I’ve told you previously. Sitting alone in quiet down on my knees on my floor, eyes closed, breathing and listening and going within, I opened into transcendental life. I found the subtle world using my body in yoga. I found the subtle world using my mind, fine tuning it within the process of meditation. Each experience can take you to the same space. The tools are different but the end result is the same.
As I teach you, I am only teaching what I know through my life experience, and I say to you, loud and clear from the outset, recognize this to be the case. See my pattern. Experiment with my venue. But, more importantly, reach beyond what I teach you to springboard from it. Go find your own. You and I each need the same credentials when it comes to the topic and practice of meditation and these credentials are a living within. The way we get there is, of course, practice, practice, practice. If we want to fine tune any instrument, be it our body or our mind, we have to use it, we have to practice. Meditation is a process wherein we learn the power of what it means to live from within.