How to Be a Loser

“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.”

—Henry David Thoreau

This begins my master class on how best to apply philsophy. Henry spent a long time in the woods, he went a little crazy. Bodhidharma stared at a wall for years. Cold Mountain lived on a cold mountain. Diogenes lived in a wine barrel. What do most of us do?

Consume and get fat and die of rich person diseases, most without a positive balance in their checking accounts, how absolutely ironic and funny.

Give up the ghost, you are already dead.

Let’s start there, you are a goner. You are not going to win life. Your purpose isn’t to be free or have a happy life or be rich or poor, it’s to spread your DNA and die, to be consumed, to allow the next wave of being.

But let me tell you something, this is the doorway to joy, to Eden.

Failure is freedom!

I feel most folks are utterly asleep and full of 💩 There, I said it. We live in a fishbowl full of turds. I don’t want to be a winner. I don’t want fame or riches. I ain’t gonna start a YouTube channel or TikTok. I mean, I have a YouTube channel that gets 1-100 likes mostly per post. No one likes what I like really and that’s just fine by me.

“The straightforward and good person should be like a smelly goat— you know when they are in the room with you.”

—Marcus Aurelius

I’m weird, a misanthrope, a smelly 🐐 but I love life on this little blue marble, I really do. So I ain’t all bad. Hell is other people Sarte mused and he was close, what he should have said is, hell is yourself, enjoy your stay.

I was one of the walking dead 💀 how did I find my groove, I failed and failed and failed. I became a bum. I wrote my heart. I puked my guts out. I read broadly and saw I was just another bastard. Welcome to the party.

The funniest thing, once you finally embrace the above and stomp around and splash in it, a funny thing happens, people hear you and see you. Your worst fears realized. They want your freedom. Some hate you for it, others sit at your feet.

Well, I don’t have anything to offer the little birds but a kick in the ass out of my nice comfy nest.

There you go, that’s lesson one in how to be a loser.

Silly Musings on Keeping Your Hands Off

“The arising and the elimination of illusion are both illusory. Illusion is not something rooted in Reality; it exists because of your dualistic thinking.

If you will only cease to indulge in opposed concepts such as ‘ordinary’ and ‘Enlightened’, illusion will cease of itself. And then if you still want to destroy it wherever it may be, you will find that there is not a hairsbreadth left of anything on which to lay hold.

This is the meaning of: ‘I will let go with both hands, for then I shall certainly discover the Buddha in my mind’.”

‘The nature of the Mind when understood, No human speech can compass or disclose. Enlightenment is naught to be attained, And he that gains it does not say he knows.’

-Bodhidharma

—from The Zen Teaching of Huang Po

I’ve been studying the early sources of zen, which is the Japanese name and Buddhist/Indian sources. I use the lower case there because what is written is not Zen. You can’t really study Zen on anonymous social media sites. But the discussions can be interesting and revealing of our dualitic thinking.

Anyone claiming truth is making a power play.

No word can reveal this, silence enshrines it. 

Piercing sensory perception and conceptual thought brings an immediate end to illusion. This is directly seeing and perceiving with the mysterious intuition. This awareness is not exclusive to Zen. Plotinus and Eckart seemed to have come to the same place as the sages. 

Hands off, yes, indeed. 

—-

I think this is where the best art comes from.

Feeling this fire is one aspect, but walking into it is a whole other experience.

Walking into the fire is an act of self immolation, sacrifice and an overcoming of fear and is maybe the only courageous thing we can do.

No longer bound by talent or skill or lack thereof, but truly transcending these. 

I would say walking into the fire is an act of faith as well and opens a portal to nowhere and everywhere.

The raw expression of Jack Kerouac from ‘On the Road’ or the writing of his insane mad friend, Neal Cassady, being western examples.

An enlightened, if sad teacher, Harold Bloom, explored the American Sublime deeply through our literature. I like his thinking on these subjects. He’s a bit too brilliant for me though 😉

Reading Jack Kerouac again and Neal recently and Bloom’s Opus, The Daemon Knows as well as the old zen texts.

Jack and his band of merry fools were maybe Holy Barbarians.

Something in their Barbarian ways speaks deeply to me.

I spent my own wild crazy days on the road. 

Now I just enjoy sitting in the garden. 

But that fire lifts you up at key times and can consume you. 

It is too intense to live in. 

The Open Road somehow feels like a quick path to death. 

How many artists have been destructively consumed by the fire of their passions?

But our deeper passions can save us.

Compare these artistic shooting stars to the sages who lived to 120.

I can’t say one way is better than the other.

But I’m in no hurry to shuffle off this mortal coil. 

https://www.christies.com/features/neal-cassady-long-lost-letter-to-jack-kerouac-comes-to-auction-7393-1.aspx

Blow your horn!

Rage rage rage against the dying of the light.