Chris Grosso – Ep. 2 – Miguel Chen

Miguel Chen

Miguel Chen is the bassist for punk rock band Teenage Bottlerocket, as well as a Buddhist practitioner and a yoga-teacher in training at Blossom Yoga Studio in Laramie, Wyoming. He also has a degree in Business Administration from the University of Wyoming, which he someday hopes to use for something, seriously anything!

Episode Outline:

  • Punk In Wyoming – Fueled by a deep dissatisfaction with what life offers at face value—from music to movies, television, politics, ethics and more—many people in the punk and hardcore music scene also set out on a spiritual exploration as well. Miguel discusses his own introduction to punk rock, playing in his first few bands as a young teenager and joining his current band Teenage Bottlerocket, which he’s been playing with for roughly ten years now.
  • Meditate And Destroy – Miguel shares about the tragic passing of his mother from cancer when he was just sixteen years old, but how it also served as a catalyst for his own spiritual search thanks to his mothers inspiration. Miguel also recounts how seven months after his mothers passing, his sister was killed in a card accident, which led him to spending the next few years immersed in a downward spiral of drugs and alcohol to mask the pain. While on tour, Miguel’s friend Roxy Epoxy of The Expoxies gave him a copy of Noah Levine’s Dharma Punx, which as he discusses, helped pull him out of his darkened state.
  • Dude, Yoga – From meditation to yoga, Miguel discusses falling in love with all aspects of Yoga, which he’d been strongly encouraged to try by friends for quite some time until finally deciding to take their advice. Miguel also talks about bringing yoga to punk rockers while on the road touring with Teenage Bottlerocket and finishing up his own teacher training with Blossom Yoga Studio.
  • Use Your Illusions – In a recent article for Lion’s Roar Magazine Miguel wrote, “I’m a musician, a punk rocker, a Buddhist of sorts, a yogi. Most of all, I consider myself an individual. But the further I come along on my path, I realize that while that’s true—I am an individual—I am also the same as everyone else. The more time I spend on a meditation cushion, or turning inward during yoga, the more I realize that this “self” I have held onto so tightly for my entire existence, isn’t really what it appears to be at all. The self is an illusion, yet also very real.” Miguel and I discuss this illusory self, as well as how many of the great wisdom tradition’s agree that it, along with it’s subsequent grasping and aversion, become a central cause of the suffering we experience in life.
  • Spiritual “It” Girl? Not if Andrew Harvey Has Anything to Say About It! – Later in the same Lion’s Roar article, Miguel also writes, “There are many readings and teachings about non-duality, about emptiness, non-attachment and so on, and while they are very valuable, they will never give us a true understanding of the teachings. That can only be truly understood by diving inward, quieting the mind long enough for our deeper self to present itself. There is a part of every single human being that knows more than our ego or logical brain can interpret. In this part there is a basic goodness, a part of us that truly knows what is right or wrong for our lives, and what our true way forward is. No matter how different we may seem on the outside, our paths are all connected, all essential. My path isn’t any more or less valuable than your path; we are all equal pieces of something bigger. If that’s true, the best thing we can do is to live according to our own truth, and allow others the support or space they need to do the same.” Miguel and I discuss honoring our own truths on the spiritual path and not trying to “imitate someone else’s trip” as Ram Dass has said.
  • It’s So Free, This Kind Of Feeling – Facebook, we all use it (or at least most of us do anyways). One of my favorite things about logging on from time to time is seeing the good things going on in others lives and their various forms of shared inspiration. Amongst that shared inspiration are posts I often see from Miguel in which he expresses gratitude for simple, everyday things, which he elaborates on.

 

Recommendations:

Miguel’s Website

Miguel’s Lions Roar Article

Miguel’s Albums With Teenage Bottle Rocket: Tales From Wyoming, Freak Out, They Came From The Shadows, Another Way

Books: Dharma Punx, Hardcore Zen, Indie Spiritualist

Movies: Meditate And Destroy, NOFX: Ten Years of Fuckin’ Up