Thursday, February 22, 2007

Why I Never Became A Zen Master

I’ve already had a few incarnations on this board. First, as a loudmouthed troll, next as a…shit…still a loudmouthed troll.

Whatever, I think full disclosure (as much as possible) is actually important when discussing the realm of the so-called spiritual.

So now you know that I’m full of shit. Not just a little bit, but utterly and entirely full of it.

And of course, I like you to know that I’m full of shit ‘cuz it helps keep me honest.

You think it’s difficult to write some smarmy, half-baked zen parable and make it sound like I’ve been enlightened since birth? Believe me, acting like some blissed-out Buddhist teacher isn’t really all that hard. Once you’ve read a few books and studied the patter, it’s fairly easy. Mind-boggling, really, how easy it is.

A little anecdote along these lines for your reading pleasure:

A couple of years ago, I was talking with a good friend of mine, Jack, who is a little younger than me. We started discussing spiritual stuff and I basically parroted to him what my Guru had been telling me for years. Jack dug the spiritual stuff I told him, most of which I probably butchered, by the way.

Next thing I knew, Jack told me he wanted to have sessions with me and pay me to “teach” him what I knew. I was really flattered and of course I’ve always secretly wanted to be a teacher, to impress others with just how goshdarn smart I am. I’ve wanted to be a famous writer, musician and then I wanted enlightenment. Guess which ranks number one as the MOST full of crap thing you could ever be?

(I’ll give you a hint: Bono aint nearly as full of it as certain people carousing through the spiritual marketplace.)

Anyway, I never took money from Jack and told him I was too crazy to be his teacher, but we still did a “session.” We sat across from one another as I’d done with my Guru in the past, paying attention to the moment and breathing. Jack was getting visibly uncomfortable and so I began telling him a few things, guiding him. It was the weirdest feeling because I have NEVER felt like such a complete turd in all of my life.


Because I KNEW that I had absolutely NO right telling Jack these things. The truth was, I didn’t really understand the practice and was very confused myself. I still am.

Eventually, as we hung out together more, I opened up about things in my own life—times when I was anxious and depressed and frequently I'd ask for Jack’s advise. Sometimes he would ask me stuff too. It was a mutual exchange and over the years, he became more than well aware how much I am consumed by the same problems as him. He no longer asks me to teach him anything.

But believe me, it wouldn’t have been hard to take his money, tell him more stuff I’d read off the internet, and carefully keep all my own doubts and fears and insecurities bottled up inside. And maybe, eventually, he would have told a couple of friends about me…

I believe the only difference between me and 99.9% of these other fake and fraudulent teachers is that I ADMIT how full of crap I am (leaving room for the .1% who might be genuine). Yes, I say it often, but not nearly often enough. And I need to remind myself of it even more.

There’s nothing at all wrong with being a crazy, wacky, insecure, fearful human trying to understand consciousness and the human experience. What’s wrong is lying to yourself and others because you can’t deal with NOT KNOWING ANYTHING.

So, hope everyone has a good day and if you have a session with your esteemed Kung Fu Zen Master tonight, kick him in the balls once for me!



At February 22, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aaron has posted some very good stuff on his blog GangstaZen. You can still see the inner troll trying to surface at times but he is a lot less full of shit than he wishes. I have been enjoying the recent activity over there.

I don't normally cross-link like this but since I have been quite tough on him in the past it feels balanced to take note when he writes some really interesting stuff.

Of the many approaches I think it is healthier to claim that you are more full of shit than may actually be the case rather than you have greater spiritual depth than is actually the case.

At February 22, 2007, Blogger Anatman said...

I fully agree, Mike. I've really been enjoying his writing more and more lately. Although his advice is getting me into trouble.

I took his advice and kicked my Kung Fu master in the nuts, and now find myself confined to a wheelchair as I write this.

At February 22, 2007, Blogger muddy elephant said...

Gniz, the malevolent, reeking of excrement troll.

At least he has got the will to question things in a coherent way while not being a wise exalted master scholar politician whatever. Shakes up the mix a bit. Here are a few thoughts that might relate to this but alas lead to nowhere.

There are so many unanswered questions: "What is the way?"

For all of our history we have leaders: "THIS is the way!" There seems to be a lot of this-is-the-way incest and inbreeding going on.

For all of our history we have anti-leaders:"THIS is not the way!" There seems to be a lot of this-is-not-the-way incest and inbreeding going on here as well.

So now what? Nihilism, Fatalism, Determinism, ism….

Maybe this all seems stupid. It does to me. But nevertheless, THIS is what is there.

At February 22, 2007, Blogger A. said...

That was great! I enjoyed that post incredibly!

At February 23, 2007, Blogger gniz said...

I still practice, I still try to experience reality directly, to pay attention.

Other than that, I could probably stop talking about it.

But I probably wont

At February 24, 2007, Blogger Justin said...

Thanks Gniz, I enjoyed that.

At February 26, 2007, Blogger me said...

I bet you know more than you know you know. Good post.


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