Archive for the Observations of a Recovering Buddhist 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

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

When Will You Stop Hurting Yourself?

Posted in Crazy Zen Wisdom, Love, N o Escape, Observations of a Recovering Buddhist, Poetry on July 22, 2017 by dreamlanddancing

 

 

 

You still don’t understand…

Happiness is a choice.

 

 

 

Stop and think about it…

Do you know anyone

who gets offended

or takes exception

to your actions or words

or interprets your thoughts

with the malice

you find in others?

Do you think it works

any better for them?

 

 

 

No wonder

you defend yourself

first

before you listen.

 

 

 

If you believed that you were worthy

of Love

You would find it easier

to believe

in the Love

others extend to you.

 

 

 

Forgive yourself first.

A generous heart

beats within you,

awaiting only

your permission

to love yourself.

 

 

You have to befriend yourself

to recognize a friend.

You cannot

reject others

to prevent

the pain of rejection.

 

 

 

Oblivion

does not prevent

Loneliness;

one must  prime the pump

with good faith

to drink from the well

of happiness.

 

 

 

If you fear heartbreak

You cannot love deeply.

If you love fearlessly

and your heart

is broken,

as it opens

and you lean into the pain,

your capacity to love

increases,

as well as your appreciation

and gratitude.

 

 

 

A broken heart re-forged

in the heat of fearless love

grows stronger still.

A tiny heart of glass,

once broken

can only cut

and leave you bleeding,

afraid to love again.

 

 

 

Just because you are afraid

to open your eyes

does not mean you are blind,

but until you choose

to open them

you will never know the difference.

 

 

 

If you do not choose

happiness

you not only hurt yourself;

you break the connection

between yourself

and the entire Universe.

 

 

 

That which diminishes

the life

of any of us

injures and limits

the lives of everyone.

 

 

 

You can either choose

to love fearlessly

and joyously

embrace the suffering

inherent

to living

your life,

or live in fear

of being hurt,

which is to say

to hurt not only yourself

but also

all those

whom you deny.

 

 

 

The choice is yours.

 

 

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

07/22/2017

Change is not Hard. Change is not Easy. Change is not Slow. Change is not Fast.

Posted in Crazy Zen Wisdom, Observations of a Recovering Buddhist, Poetry, The Liberation Through Hearing, Zen on June 2, 2017 by dreamlanddancing

If you swim against the tide

you will drown.

So also,

if you try to force your will

in resisting what is,

you will fail.

You alone

are no match

for the entire universe.

It takes Wisdom to see

the ebb and flow of

what is and what

will be.

You cannot even slow

the force

of a single ocean wave

though your ego and pride

may be as large

as all the seas

combined,

but if you surf,

neither you nor the wave

are Master;

in surfing

you become one.

Change is not slow.

When your heart resists

what your thinking mind

convinces you

must be,

no change will come.

Put it down.

Put down all resistance.

Change

comes

with enlightenment,

like lightning…

Who can rush either?

Acceptance of what is

Here and Now

will show you

your Dharma action

from Nowhere

to Now Here

as we ride

the Three-Hundred

Mile-an Hour Train

that never leaves

and never arrives

because it is already

Here.

Inside the train

only your mind is moving.

If you stop fighting your mind,

in that one clear, thin moment

where all existence

dwells

in empty space

as thick as molasses,

Infinity

folds back upon itself

and all things

having returned

to the One

now

return

to

Zero.

Namasté

नमस्ते

Chazz Vincent

05/02/2017

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