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!