Spirit Grooves Blogs

Published on July 18, 2014

I turn 73 today. I never thought I would live to be anywhere near this old, just as I never thought I would own a home, which I now do. This birthday and the quiet sun of late (not to mention the reflective planetary configurations in the heavens) find me taking a closer overview of my life, if that is not an oxymoron.

Aside from an intense study of nature starting when I was six-years old and lasting until my later teens, my life has been devoted to preserving the popular culture in which I grew up. I founded the All-Music Guide (allmusic.com) many years ago and today it is the largest music site on the Internet or anywhere else. When I left the company, we had 150 fulltime staff and over 500 freelance writers. I love music.

I also founded the All-Movie Guide (allmovie.com) which is, along with one other movie site, the largest movie database on the planet -- every movie, complete with cast and characters. I love movies too.

And on it went. I founded the All-Game Guide (allgame.com), and the first large site for concert rock music posters (ClassicPosters.com). And of course I founded the first astrological software company Matrix Software (astrologysoftware.com), and other sites. My main current site is Spirit Grooves (http://spiritgrooves.net), and so on.

Somewhere along in there (early 1970s) I discovered Tibetan Buddhism and dharma, the method through which the Buddha points out how to wake ourselves up. Of all my interests, the dharma has been the most captivating and productive. Which brings me to this 73rd birthday and contemplating the road ahead.

In this very early morning it seems good to be alive. What will I do with the rest of my life, aside from the best that I can? When I shake the Magic 8-Ball in my mind, what comes up are two things, which I will share with you.

The first has to do with the Sun, and this goes way back in my life, in particular to my first real life-teacher, Andrew Gunn McIver, a traveling Rosicrucian initiator with whom I spent some years and ended up seeing to his burial, designing his tombstone, and so forth. Andrew was 82 years of age when he left us. The one thing Andrew drilled into me was reverence for the Sun. He would say the following, over and over and over to me.

"Michael, imagine yourself standing at the center of the Sun. That's hot stuff!," and he would then emit a low guttural growl. I just took it in. He actually said to me that he was tuning me like a fine instrument and that some time in the future I would respond. I didn't know what to think of that.

Then years later I found myself exploring heliocentric (sun-centered) astrology, really helping to pioneer it. And to do that I had to imagine myself standing at the center of the Sun. Imagine my shock when I realized I was realizing Andrew's suggestion! What he said came true.

And the second thing that remains foremost is that my life has become more and more dharma oriented. As noted above, I tried very hard to collect and preserve the incredible music in which I grew up. The same goes for movies and other parts of our dear but ephemeral culture. And obviously these things touch us forever, but they also fade with the generations.

The only thing that has remained and even grown stronger in me is the dharma. It brings new meaning to the concept that truth endures. The dharma seems to pretty much define the word "truth" in my experience. When all else fades, it still is there.

So that is my view this early morning of my 73rd year. I will leave you with a little poem (obviously a bit maudlin) that I wrote some years ago, but which still smacks of truth enough.

I am older now.
I have less time,
But more of it.

I finally have enough,
Of whatever I was saving for,
To make it to the end.

And as that end draws near,
What I need to get there,
Grows less with every year.

So I can take a break,
Even chance to look around,
To see how you are doing,
To know where you are bound.

We could even walk together,
But here is what is tough,
I am only going to the end,
And that is close enough.

[Photo not by me of a birthday cake, only you could not get on a cake all the candles I would need.]