Tag Archives: Zen

LJ Interests Meme Results

Borrowed from Ed Book. After reading his results, I was intringued, but did not imagine that my own results would prove equally as insightful. I’m really quite surprised at how closely this set of ten selected interests REALLY sums up a good part of who I am.

  1. bukowski:
    Poetry, in a world that discounts art, that praises mediocrity, that devalues beauty by worshipping youth, is not pretty. That to me is the lesson of Bukowski. Combine that with his general philosophy that great writers are born, not made, and I’m hooked.
  2. dictionaries:
    Words, words and more words. For a time, I used to read the dictionary for relaxation. Words have power; to know the name of a thing is to control it. Likewise, to know the origin of a word is to understand your own history. I’ve always been fascinated with learning new words, new ideas, new facts.
  3. gil scott-heron:
    The power of the word to fuel a revolution. The tangible strength of the spoken voice to connect the earth to the sky and rumble the foundations of power. I remember the first time I listened to “Small Talk at 125th and Lenox” all the way through; it was not just the stuff of revolution, it was revelation. This was what poetry, when harnessed to will and a microphone, was capable of doing. This was slam without competition; this was performance.
  4. india:
    Apparently, my first word was “elephant”. I have always been drawn to India: her people, her languages, her diversity, her religions, her extremes, her history.

    Om namah shivaya

  5. lefty frizzell:
    Wow. So far, this interests grabber is right on the money. Lefty Frizzell represents the clarity, phrasing, intelligence, humor and lyricism of traditional country. He is one of my all-time country music idols, and paved the way for many others – Willie, Merle, George Jones, Roger Miller, and me.
  6. perennial philosophy:
    This phrase, used but probably not first coined by Aldous Huxley in his book, sums up my life’s spiritual quest: to find the common threads that run through all religious traditions; to seek the truth that does not fade although its names change from generation to generation; to learn to appreciate the journey spent along the shore communing with the ocean, rather than grasping for a single grain of sand to call the answer.
  7. revolution:
    To change the world by changing oneself; to call for a reinforcement of evolution; to participate in the world at the speed of now, moving with the spheres as they revolve. To constantly challenge the status quo; to resist the urge to stay self-satisfied; to never be satisfied with “because it’s always been that way” or “you can’t fight City Hall” or “no fish ever got caught, ‘cept it opened its mouth”.
  8. sonnets:
    So short, so simple, so compact, those fourteen little lines. Ah, you can take your Milton, Steven Vincent Benet, Longfellow, Poe, Pope and other such longwinded fellows; and give it to me sweet and intricate. To master the sonnet is to understand what it means to call poetry an art form. It is to appreciate the limitations of language, and at the same time, comprehend its infinity. That’s not an easy lesson to learn, absorb or accept.
  9. vedanta:
    Two of the most influential books in my life have been “The Gospel According to Sri Ramakrishna” and “The Complete Writings of Vivekananda”. It’s my understanding that these two sources form the basis for much of what is called “modern” Hinduism. Certainly, this was the form that reached the West, and has influenced so many of the writers and thinkers that I love and respect.
  10. zen:
    The first Eastern religion that I attempted to practice was Zen Buddhism. It represents, to me, cutting through illusion and simply living in each moment; applying the principle of Occam’s Razor to each and every act, each breath, each word.

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Zen and the Art of Arc Welding

Split ends of clock’s tick and flee
from the circle of power where union is meet
in a cooper’s wheel, hard and hot like fire
from welding’s arc and concentrated blue flame.

It’s not so much the trip, he says, 
but the fact that you are traveling together, 
down dark and musty paths that lead
to places only memory maps can ponder.

The time, she says, the time is passing by
like blades of grass — we see the green in toto,
but each separate tine we step upon 
like grains of sand on a beach.

He speaks of love and power and control. 

It’s like this: isn’t it defined as someone who is freaked out
by the fact that they might be
under the control of another?

And isn’t it so: that when you ask someone
to admit they are controlling you 
that you’re looking for a reason not to have control?

Love, she said, is not about control – 

it’s not a question, at least, of how much
you control and mold and shape another, 
but how much control you have over Self. 

I cannot, she said, taken responsibility
for the fact that your life is unfulfilling,
that you are unhappy.

That is not my business,
and by asking me why I must control, 
asking if I do want control, 
you are making it my problem 
without giving the responsibility to change it. 

Furthermore, I cannot change it, 
even if you or I wanted me to. 
Because, she added, it is not in my power
to change anything except myself.

So, he asked, is it like that? 

Then who is it that must suffer, 
if you do not allow me to pick the lice from your head, 
and yet do nothing yourself about them, 
and so if I am to be close to you I must then be infected?

You choose, she replied, to suffer, 
rather than to ask me, to command — 
the lice or me — 
or accept infestation as the price you pay
for what you want. 

For that, that is your choice, 
the only thing you can control. 

If you ask me to make the choice
between cleanliness and you, 
or dirtiness and solitude, 
you are hoping to influence my decision
by controlling me, which IS control. 

Hope, she said, is control, 
if it is by hope that you want to change me. 

Your desire for change in anyone but yourself is control,
for you have externalized upon me
your need to control yourself,
your desire to have the world conform
to a pattern you perceive yourself by,
rather than changing your perception
to admit yourself into the world as it exists.

You and I, then, he answered, cannot strike a compromise?

The only compromise you make, 
that you have the power to make, 
break or negotiate,
is with yourself,
between what you truly want and desire 
(which, when considered and balanced
 with the desires of the flow of the universe, is Truth) 
and what you are afraid to face
in yourself and for yourself,
that is,
alone and tired,
destitute and cold,
are willing to accept
as your reality.

We need each other, you see,
not as pillars or beams to support us in our weakness,
but rather as parts of the same soul and being that share,
because of their own fullness,
the journey we all make together.

01 SEP 1995

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