Archive for the Crazy Zen Wisdom Category

Retrospective or Requiem? Well, that just Depends. Pt VI

Posted in Buddhism, Crazy Zen Wisdom, Jantor To The Temple Of The Holy of Holies, Observations of a Recovering Buddhist, Post-Neo Dharma Bum on June 22, 2018 by dreamlanddancing

My first novel was a recapitulation of the horrors of my experiences in emergency medical rescue.

The second proved to be a semi-prophetic fantasy that grew out of my need for more understanding of the nature of Sentience, as well as a lampoon of how corporate greed and excess has permitted Benefit Managers to highjack the entire healthcare industry.

As the dramatic action of the narrative plot of the second novel began to unfold, I noticed that what seemed to follow in my personal life I now perceive to be more synchronicity than prophesy.

Similarly, the third novel continues to unfold, and I am starting to become aware that there is a distinct possibility that what I write will precede events destined to take place in my life, not so much because the writings will cause those events, but more likely that my awareness of certain truths are themselves caused by circumstances set in motion before my parents were ever born.

So in case anyone other than the one follower of my posts here that bothered to ask has noticed my seemingly inconspicuous absence from these pages, all I can say is “I’m feeling much better now….”

A baby bird fell from its nest while its parents were gathering food. It was quite bitter and cold, and a young farm boy heard the baby bird’s cries for help.

Unable to return the bird to its lofty perch, the boy spotted a very warm, gooey pile of cow shit beneath the tree, so he made a hole in the center, placed the bird in it, and pushed the shit all around the tiny bird to help keep it warm, and left.

The almost featherless baby bird was feeling much better, and began to sing out of sheer joy.

The bird’s song was eventually heard by a hungry fox, who tore it from the pile of shit by the head and ate it.

Sometimes, it is good to remember that it is not always your enemies that get you into the shit you’re in, and it’s not always your friends who get you out of it, but if you are warm and comfortable…keep your big mouth shut.

So…I guess it all just depends.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei…

Sayonara Y’all….

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

04/21/2018

Retrospective or Requiem? Well, that just Depends. Pt. V

Posted in Buddhism, Crazy Zen Wisdom, Observations of a Recovering Buddhist, Zen on June 22, 2018 by dreamlanddancing

After struggling with Zen for several decades, my paradigm regarding the Past, Present, and Future has shifted so significantly that it was as if a negative mirror image has replaced my previous misconceptions, leaving me more aware of the present moment than I would have thought possible.

And all it required was for me to end the tyranny of my thinking mind.

Now it seems so obvious that I don’t know how it took so long for me to grasp it, were it not for the addictions of the mind.

While struggling with my third novel, Once in a Blue Agave Moon, the inevitability of Cyber-Terrorism displacing our country’s economy and power as well as our complacent and lavish way of life became glaringly apparent.

A series of strange co-incidents that started with an epiphany resulted in the revelation of the title of the book before the first word was written regarding any story or plot.

During this time, my research regarding private production of ethanol related to the narrative of this third story threatened to take over my life completely, but since it was pivotal to the development one of my main characters in the novel, it was a necessary but fascinating evil.

Moonshining is not the same as Bootlegging. Small-batch craft distilling for personal use became a preoccupation that still continues to fascinate me, and I remain indebted to “my sources” who were gracious enough to share their arcane and occult world with me.

Bootlegging, on the other hand involves selling illegal, untaxed whiskey, and although the appeal of high profits are hard to resist, I have learned to avoid pursuits that unnecessarily jeopardize the freedom that my anonymity affords me; knowledge and enlightenment are far more important than money.

In fact, eventually freeing myself of the addiction to money has forced me to learn how to acquire what I really desire by either making or bartering as a direct result of my own efforts.

The farther that one’s efforts are removed from direct connection with one’s life, the greater the risk of developing a sort of spiritual tunnel-vision that isolates us from union with our very existence.   

Sometimes, in the interest of authenticity, a writer may be forced to descend into dark and dangerous waters, but it can be even more dangerous for the writer if either he, or his audience confuses the Artist with his Art.

For most of my life, when I heard references to “the road less traveled” I found myself saying “Road?…you mean there’s a road?”

Some people dance to a different drummer…I am that different drummer.

Pain, heartbreak, and suffering can be a blessing; it all just depends on what you do with the temporary circumstances into which we are thrust, or   into which we thrust ourselves.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei…

Sayonara Y’all….

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

06/21/2018

Retrospective or Requiem? Well, that just Depends. Pt. IV

Posted in Crazy Zen Wisdom, Memoires of a Post-Neo Dharma Bum, Observations of a Recovering Buddhist on June 22, 2018 by dreamlanddancing

In the course of discovering compassion, I was overcome by my recognition of how much suffering I saw everywhere I looked, yet my compassion for those who would aspire to torture me now enabled me to step away from their ability to inflict their pain onto me.

Now, my bitterness was replaced by Loving-Kindness first for myself, which allowed me to discover my ability to truly feel it for others.

I felt a euphoria previously unknown to me, but in the process, I began to become complacent and filled with a sort of false pride until I was forced once again to face my Edge…that point in all of our lives where we are presented with situations or people that challenge our ability to remain non-reactive, or unaffected by the “slings and arrows of outrageous fortune” that suddenly threaten our spiritual arrogance.

Once again, I found myself in a tailspin; a flat spiral that threatened to screw me into the ground before I could pull out of it.

Many of us who have pursued meditation or Buddhism probably believed that somehow, eventually we would discover the Peace, Love and Happiness that is so ubiquitously absent from our society, but it is only when we face our emotional edge that we are presented with real opportunities to do the work necessary to gain enlightenment.

As I continued to struggle to extricate myself from the panic caused by my perceived fall from grace, I was blessed by a calamity that distracted me from my narcissistic self-pity long enough to be given the opportunity to begin a long and arduous process that is enabling me to overcome one of my greatest afflictions.

My parents grew up during the depression, and the effect of it was that I grew up in a household dominated by hoarding, although in fairness, despite the fact that I grew up waist-deep in clutter, the house was always scrupulously clean and free of trash or garbage, unlike the norm of most hoarders as characterized on television.

Almost everything fascinates me, and there are few things I can’t just pick up and operate on some level or another, and I have a predilection for rescuing and fixing things (and sometimes people).

If it is possible to be cursed by imagination and intelligence, I fit the paradigm to an extent that has been my undoing most of my life.

When we were forced to downsize from a spacious four-three to my simple “Cabin in the woods,” my treasures…an extensive firearms collection, a world-wide amateur radio station, my fishing tackle and camping gear, almost every book I had ever read or owned, the remnants of a recording studio I had once built, guitars, amplifiers and over a ton of automotive, electrical, electronic, and woodworking tools now filled every room of my tiny home literally to the ceiling until a neighbor offered to let me use a storage area larger than I could have afforded to rent.

Although it seemed to be at least a temporary fix, it just enabled my ability to keep things I seemed unable to organize or even use effectively.

Several months ago, my friend and neighbor suffered a stroke and went to the west coast to live with family and I was now forced to face my demons again.

I ended up building a workshop and storage shed large enough to allow me to shelter my tools, but small enough to force me to make decisions I had been avoiding for most of my entire life, and in order to do so, I had to organize, utilize or give away many things to a friend who is a junk dealer and even more afflicted than I.

We are both much happier now.

The sheer amount of objects that had languished so long seemed overwhelming, but due to circumstances beyond my control, they are now an integral part of my life again.

I was, however forced to recognize that the sheer maintenance of many of my possessions. as well as the pursuits they supported demanded more time than I could devote to all of them.

I am now involved in an ongoing process of deciding what I really want and giving up some things, rather than fail at all of them.

It has been said that desire is followed by suffering, but I would maintain that all life itself is followed by suffering, as well as joy.

Desire unfulfilled is its own suffering, so there is no escape.

Time and again, I find myself forced to re-invent and improve my existence, and by facing the Gestalt of it I have found a richness and sense of belonging that had been lost for so long that I had forgotten that it even existed at all.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei…

Sayonara Y’all….

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

06/21/2018

Retrospective or Requiem? Well, that just Depends. Pt III

Posted in Crazy Zen Wisdom, Observations of a Recovering Buddhist, Zen on June 22, 2018 by dreamlanddancing

I was, and in fact still am fond of stating that I write for the same reason an alcoholic drinks.

There was a time when I was so compelled to write, that it supplanted almost everything in my life.

It was like draining a wound to let the bad blood out.

In the process I re-discovered a life I had forgotten existed.

Two years ago, a severe back injury taught me how to transform extreme pain into a form of sexual or even spiritual ecstasy, but in the process, the inactivity of prolonged hours of meditation and out-of body travel resulted in a very large blood clot that traveled to my lung.

In the course of my diagnosis and therapy, I developed pneumonia, which later revealed a tumor, which proved to be benign, but not until the biopsy caused my lung to collapse.

The ordeal seemed as if it would never end, and night after night, not knowing if I would live or die, I refused to pray to a God in which I did not believe, and so I was instead left to contemplate some meaning or direction in which to take my life if I somehow managed to survive these tests of will and spirit, and in so doing, I was transformed.

Decades of Zen meditation now seemed more theoretical than real as I reflected upon the dramatic and emotional panorama of my life thus far.

I asked myself, “What is missing?…Is it possible to ever be happy, or at peace? Is there just one thing I could change, if I was given the opportunity?”

That first night, I suddenly realized it was Compassion, and in the process, my life began to transform.

My anger and frustration were replaced with compassion.

The next day, after surgery, I discovered Gratitude in a way I had not previously known. Although previously, as much as I thought I understood gratitude, it was as if it all had been theoretical, but not so intensely personal and real.

I finally learned that I did not have to resort to intimidation to get what I thought I wanted, and that I was now naturally inclined to explore the innate persuasiveness of charm.

The angst of twenty-first century schizoid man’s existential dilemma had been replaced by Compassion and Gratitude, but I still sensed that something was missing.

A therapist I was seeing introduced me to Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now”. 

For many years, I had come to believe that the present moment was a mere theoretical construct that existed in the virtual space between the Past and the Future.

Although it had allowed to transcend great pain on numerous occasions, and introduced me to the Emptiness that Tibetan Buddhists refer to as Śūnyatā, it was now as if all my philosophical constructs had been turned inside-out, and in the process, I began my quest to free myself of the tyranny of my thinking mind.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei…

Sayonara Y’all….

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

06/21/2018

Retrospective or Requiem? Well, that just Depends. Pt. II

Posted in Bardo Thordol, Crazy Zen Wisdom, Post-Neo Dharma Bum, That was Zen, and this is Tao on June 22, 2018 by dreamlanddancing

The things we desire may turn into suffering, but the suffering itself may lead us to the Palace of Wisdom.

A life devoid of desire serves little purpose or motivation, but what we desire, and how we pursue those desires will determine the quality of our lives and our suffering so that we may rejoice in all of it.

Several years ago, I was forced to give up one of the great loves of my life in order to regain the greatest love of my life.

For more than two years, the sadness of that loss threatened to overcome me. I was forced to break the heart of another lost soul who had herself resuscitated me, as well as my marriage. 

It also propelled my drive to finish the second novel.

When it all began, I was despondent and lonely; my Eternal Beloved had proclaimed that she no longer loved me.

Seemingly out of nowhere, a disarmingly beautiful, tall, and slender young woman who sat next to me began a friendship that turned into a “work spouse” affair that grew into something much more than that.

What touched me most was how sweet and generous she was to me. I could detect no visible pretense or guile in anything she said or did, and her loving nature was as genuine as I had ever encountered. 

She loved the million-dollar words I used. She made me feel like the handsomest smartest, and funniest man she had ever met.

She made me feel loved again, and suddenly, my relationship with my wife was renewed.

I had been honest with her about my new friendship, and we were already no strangers to exploring physical sexual relationships when the opportunities presented themselves, but when she realized that my paramour and I had emotional feelings for each other, I was faced with an ultimatum I was unprepared to accept.

It was either one or the other, but not both. No compromise, no discussion. So much for Polyamory.

In one day, three hearts were broken, but in the process, my wife and I re-discovered each other, and the woman who saved us both went into rehab.

I had turned a blind eye to her alcoholism, and perhaps my love had enabled her affliction, but I suspect that the pain of rejection was enough to prompt her to seek help.

It had been the end of the happiest year of my life until I finally realized that the sweetness and joy I had been shown would always be mine; it was something that no one else could ever take from me…not even her.

I was forced to let go of everything in order to learn how to hold onto the feelings, rather than just the circumstantial situations or people, so that they should remind me what is loving, true, and beautiful.

If one is fortunate enough to recognize the arc of one’s life, and wise enough not to try to hold onto the past with excessive rumination there is potential to discover some degree of purpose, or motivation running through the narrative we somehow believe we are writing, at least until we finally come to recognize that we are mere actors, or perhaps more accurately, impostors attempting in vain to emulate the beings we aspire to become.

It is only then that we can attain any degree of authenticity.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei…

Sayonara Y’all….

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

06/21/2018

Retrospective or Requiem? Well, that just Depends.

Posted in Crazy Zen Wisdom, Post-Neo Dharma Bum, The Liberation Through Hearing on June 22, 2018 by dreamlanddancing

Some of you may have noticed my relative absence during the last two years, or perhaps not….

This started as an explanation of sorts, but now has become long enough to deserve being turned into something resembling a bi-line, much like “On Letting Go” a few years ago. 

There is an old Zen story about a man who discovers that a fine thoroughbred stallion had wandered onto his property.

His friends and neighbors remarked “How fortunate you are to have this happen.”

His reply to such matters was always the same. “Well, that just depends.”

No one seemed to really understand what he meant, until his son attempted to tame the wild stallion, and in the process broke his leg.

Everyone who came to visit remarked what a terrible calamity it was that his son had been injured, especially since the old man depended so much on his son to help him tend his farm.

Again, his only reply was, “Well that just depends.”

At this point, no one, including his son, understood the meaning behind his words. Some were even offended or angered by his seemingly callous reply. His humor was so wry that it was not unusual they did not divine many of his remarks. 

Several days later, a local warlord arrived at the village where they lived. As he went from house to house to seek able-bodied men to conscript into service for his army to prepare for a terrible war that was being waged, he came upon the old man’s injured son, who was determined to be unfit for battle.

When his neighbors came to congratulate them on his good fortune, when they again heard him say “Well, that just depends” one of the exasperated visitors shouted “On What?” 

“We’ll just have to see” was all he said.

The last two and a half years have been like a rabbit-hole down a rabbit-hole.

It has been my experience that the really valuable episodes of growth or epiphany were preceded by either significant injury or illness, or deep personal loss…and pain.

It seems that the worst brings out the best in us. It all just depends on how you look at it.

Suffice it to say that I have been blessed by a series of events that have provided me with numerous opportunities for personal growth and enlightenment. 

So I guess we’ll just have to see.

Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei…

Sayonara Y’all….

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

06/21/2018

When All Else Fails… (Listen to the voice)

Posted in Crazy Zen Wisdom, Much Too Good For Children, Observations of a Recovering Buddhist on February 17, 2018 by dreamlanddancing

 

I have practiced Zen Buddhism and meditation for over thirty years, but to this day I am quite quick to point out that I am still not a very good Buddhist.

When I was much younger, I used to hear the phrase “practice makes perfect,” but it wasn’t until much later that the more correct concept “perfect practice makes perfect” really sunk in.

My guiding principles have been Compassion, Gratitude, Loving-Kindness, and acceptance of my temporary conditions.

It has not been an easy journey.

Most of the best realizations have come as a result of unhappy circumstances and situations that forced me to reassess the paradigms that got me into those conditions, which is not really that surprising considering the fact that when we are comfortable, we have a tendency to become complacent and lazy.

The last two years have been particularly productive, due to an almost unending series of calamities, mostly involving illness, hospitalizations, and medical misadventures.

Enough of that; it’s not really my point, but rather a lead-in to set up the following paradigm shift.

No matter how diligently we try, if we are unconsciously clinging to something that is blocking our process of spiritual evolution, little progress can be made beyond a certain point.

Harsh circumstances tend to seemingly justify bitterness, self-pity, and negativity, and I was carrying more emotional baggage on that front than I had ever realized.

In retrospect, childhood abuse and trauma may have triggered the emotional predispositions toward depersonalization syndrome, low self-esteem, and my need to seek opportunities for heroism, leading to an eventual backlog of PTSD that has taken me years to only partially overcome.

But as the old saw goes, I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

And negativity can completely obfuscate and mislead everything, everywhere you look.

Last week, I went to the grocery store to pick up a few items for dinner, including two of the thickest, most beautiful steaks I had ever seen.

I was almost completely preoccupied with the seemingly endless arguments that eventually ensue within my own mind, and did not realize until I was pulling into my own driveway that I must have either left the items in the grocery cart beside my vehicle, or in the checkout lane before I had even left the store.

Now, completely consumed with self-depreciating rage, I raced back to the store, only a mile away, certain that the items would be long gone before I returned.

(I live near what can only be described as a marginal neighborhood at best, and although I had almost no hope of any pleasant outcome, certain that I would be the subject of ridicule from my spouse, since we still needed something to eat, I had to return anyway.)

As I turned into the parking lot, I thought to myself “What the fuck would it take for the Universe to give me a break for once?”

OKOKOK…(I sometimes hear a voice inside my head; that voice has literally saved my life on a number of occasions, so I would be remiss not to credit the source.)

What I heard was this: “Well, what would it take for you to give the Universe a break for once?”

As I was in no mood for enlightenment at that point, I thought “Probably more than I am likely to get any time soon” (or something to that effect).

All the spaces near where I had parked were now occupied, but I stopped to ask a teenage employee who was gathering up the carts left in the lot if she had seen the now seemingly lost items.

She said no, but suggested I go to the front of the store where the other carts are kept.

I noticed a woman leaving the area with three very rowdy, ungovernable young children in a cart going toward the store, and of course immediately suspected her, but since I could not see the other contents of the cart I found myself thinking (only slightly sympathetically) that with a brood like that, she would be better off robbing banks than purloining my steaks.

I decided it would be less than either useless or wise to ask her.

Now in a complete panic of self-pity, I parked in the blue-lined area next to an already occupied handicapped space, left the motor running and ran to the front of the store.

As I ran up, before I could even ask, another teenaged employee who was lining up the carts suddenly turned to me and  said “I’ll bet you’re looking for these” and handed me my groceries.

For the briefest of moments, she basked in the refection of my flabbergasted glow of appreciation, then quickly and cheerfully returned to her work.

Even she seemed to know that she was neither the star nor the recipient of the intended point of this lesson; even the steaks were no longer the center of my attention, (and after all, no matter how perfectly I prepared them, eventually all my best work would be turned to shit).

“All is impermanence.”

But I also got my answer.

The Universe is a two-way street.

 

 

 

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

02/17/2018

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