Friday, April 23, 2010

Zen and the Art of Lost and Found

For Suffering is a State of Mind, Not a Condition of Existence.

I had the idea that there was supposed to be a rhyme or reason or rhythm to this thing called RR#3 the Milky Way. The place where I lived … not by choice mind you … just the place where I was dropped off for a period of time … and over time I came to suspect that I was supposed to do something with the experience of my existence.

But what?

A friend of mine lent me some audio tapes a number of years ago … it was Ram Dass at Helena Montana … talking to a crowd of dedicated groupies about his then new book “How Can I Help ” … I have since learned that it has gone out of print … which is really a pity …

My wife and I were driving from Regina to Calgary and we decided that we could actually listen to these tapes and hear them and discuss what we heard … We had 10 hours on our hands, and for anyone who has not driven across the Canadian prairies from Regina to Calgary … let me tell you it is stark … you can count the number of trees that you will see on the fingers on one hand … it is beautiful … and it can be monotonous …

So, we set ourselves into listening to the tapes (actually it was two tapes … about an hour and 50 minutes each). It was here on this trip that I heard A Truth … one that I had never ever considered as a possibility before in my life … I heard one of the great secrets of life be revealed.

What I heard was this: That life had a curriculum, and that I, like Ram Dass and many others had never ever considered the curriculum to be what it was. I had always considered it to be my curse. Something to be overcome, something to be improved upon … something to be repaired and something to be ashamed of …

The Curriculum is the Personality.

Then I heard a second great truth … this curriculum of life was not for the personality because the personality was the curriculum … It Was A Curriculum For The Soul …

When I coupled this new information … eventually being the keyword here … with the thought that my own best thinking was standing in my way … my predetermined understanding and strategy of using two polar opposites …special or non special … as being the defining forces of life … all of that thinking and predetermining polarization of life and all it contained … all the polar opposites had to be tossed out the window.

What became apparent very quickly was these two opposing forces were simply a creation of my mind … were devices for my own resistance to life’s curriculum … one that had been laid out for me … not designed by me …and as I was to discover that … not designed by me … was an important aspect in the composition of the curriculum … It was just laid out for me … to follow … If and When I Choose.

This insight … sort of … came down and filtered over me … like a very slow cool shower that touched me one drop of water at a time … in ultra ultra slow motion … I responded as quickly as I could to its touch, but it seemed to take forever for me to make anything that even closely or remotely resembled a move in response to this understanding or … its touch … I was going as fast as I could … but …

That just maybe I was my own worst enemy at times … that my mind working in conjunction with my Ego … that this combined process set into motion within me things and thoughts that were not necessarily in my own best interests … the mind and the ego … in fact … held me prisoner to (and by) my own thought processes.

Made A Discovery: I was both prisoner and keeper of the keys … my own keys. Now that was interesting …

I had found a starting point.

Not the one that I expected by the way … but a starting point nonetheless.

NDT:Extracted from Zen and the Art of Lost and Found ... Bright Star Press ... available on


  1. If I am standing in the doorway special and not special are the same thing. They look like opposites but by standing in the doorway they are simply the opposite sides of the same coin. If I walk one way through the door there is my life. If I walk the other way through the door there is my life. Both sides are special and not special. They are the same thing.

  2. Special is not all it is cracked up to be ...