It's been exactly a year since 6moons first launched into orbit. There's life in outer space after all. Judging from our growing readership, it's also quite some merry colorful colony up here. Great views, too. No boundaries, no nationalities, just one round blue planet, one global community of music lovers, audiophiles and other extraterrestrials speaking the same language of passion, curiosity and camaraderie.

Who could have predicted so many favorable responses when we started our maiden voyage? Despite -- compliments of our loquacious man in the moons -- the many serpentine, tangentially verbose courses charted, you've hung in there, reread certain sentences, untied the knots, accompanied us. You, my friends, have turned a lone solo mission into a joint venture.

For make no mistake - just as there's no teaching without students (conveniently forgotten in many so-called ashrams where the resident guru accepts veneration without acknowledging that sans devotees, there would be no ashram, no guru, no teaching gushing forth in response to intelligent questions ) just the same, there can be no publication without an audience.

A Russian Proton Rocket Launches Zvezda

Whether you write in or not, the very fact that our server's software detects each unique user gives you a presence. That makes you a part. If you hadn't thought of it that way, it's perhaps not unlike the usual birthday customs. All attention is focused on the birthday party, gifts are delivered in one direction only. But what would that birthday child be without the friends and foes, the blessings and setbacks, the whole "business of life" with its myriad contributors? Nothing. None of us live in a vacuum. Isn't a birthday a good time then to look back over the year past, to give thanks to those who were its parts, helped shape it, make it what it was?

Kure Atoll Laoon, 6moons' next home
It reminds me of Osho, the controversial Indian mystic. He opened up one of his most memorable birthday discourses with the stunning words "Beloved Bodhisattvas".

Now, to appreciate its significance, take a step back. Consider the circumstance of early 80s' Westerners trekking to India in search of swamis and enlightenment. With immature ideas and gross ignorance about the business at hand, a pervasive psychic undercurrent believed "he's got it and us morons haven't". Perhaps that wasn't too different from thinking reviewer ears are more golden than your own?

In the case of gurus, this automatically set up a self-fulfilling while counterproductive cycle. Look for it outside, in the beloved teacher; when it -- a definite and whitebearded man in my case -- kept reminding us in the most heroic and creative of ways that 'twas inside. Our reactive layer beneath? Insisting how easy it was for him to claim no difference from us or anyone else. Every denial of specialness on his part, or so the pattern prompted, was really just a ploy. To not make us feel bad about our own blasted ignorance, our refusal to be okay about it, our pathetic excuses for claiming to truly and miserably suffer from it.

Some diabolical double-crossing scheme far more advanced than any Ludlum thriller's, this game of hide-and-seek was really our avoidance to true finding, our unconscious commitment to remaining seekers forever. When Osho opened his discourse with that special declaration, he addressed each and everyone of us as equals - as finders. Bodhisattvas means Buddhas in waiting after all. Gods in diapers as the Book of Mirdad would say. I still remember the unconditional love and respect flowing through these very words, the kind humor that remained fully cognizant of our reluctance to own up to it, to carry our own weight, to get on with putting the teaching into practice.

The core teaching? It very clearly and endlessly stated that there is only One. Hence you and it couldn't possibly be separate. Thus no intermediary, salvation or fundamental self-help improvements were needed. You were it, already. All you had to do was to begin to live life from this assumption of Oneness, with the trust that it was so even though experiential verification would fail you in the beginning and throughout.

You're it, baby! Our actual experience of course denied it at the time. The delicious paradox of it all. On a far lower scale than authentic mystics, audio reviewers, while perhaps blessed with more experience or a slicker gift of gab than some of their readers, are really no different from their acolytes either. In fact, many a readers' hearing is as astute or more so, their ability for verbal expression -- as occasioned in published replies or chatroom commentary on-line -- the equal to any "official" commentary if not its peer.
Venetian Mirror by Horchow

It bears repeating that what makes reviewers official is just that - repetition. Do something often enough and, lo & behold, slowly and over time, it transforms you into an expert. At least in the eye of the beholders. But honestly and staring into the mirror, you might just have to admit that you remain the same daft prick your spouse has always known you to be. You're simply a more public daft prick than ever before. Good graces, that's it? What humiliation; though accompanied by perhaps a few more grey hairs to add harmonic glow and image density to this whole festering notion of respectability?

Still, there are no proper certification channels to become an audio reviewer, no bachelors or masters, no state boards or statutes. Like real and fake evangelists, you're self-declared and self-made. And as an old proverb reminds us, the devout can benefit greatly even from belief into fake prophets. The instrument of their transformation is really their own faith. It so happens to use the object of veneration as a prop to lean against. But that's the magic. Faith translated means practical application of what you believe in. Everything else is just a hook to hang your coat on. Lip service.

That's not so dissimilar from getting something out of a review. It's not the review per se but what you do with it that gives it value. You benefitted? Give credit where due then: For your participation in it, for your intelligence and discrimination, your efforts to read, to think, to disagree, to try out, to make useful in these very activities. This by way of turning our silicon anniversary (tubes next year, they're more advanced and require more maturation) into an opportunity: To acknowledge your very important and, hopefully, ongoing part in this small enterprise called