Thursday, 1 September 2011

Why a Blog about "Twisted Zen"?

For one - there's no day like today to start. The Sun is brightly sitting in a blue sky scattered with the occasional cloud. I have taken a strong painkiller to alleviate some of the ache from my back and decided on a day off from work. Staying home sick is not the same as in the old days; phone calls, emails, Blackberry messages - all competing for attention. However, in between all that which grabs our daily attention, I decided to start on Twisted Zen.

Being a self-confessed reluctant workaholic, there is usually not a scrap of space in my day to let the mind "get loose". Loosening the mind usually involves some sort of numbing - like watching the box, playing on the Mac, socializing (on-line or on-life) or just ensuring that some alcohol to ensure that the wheels within the brain stops the inner cogs from churning for a while. Hoping that the perpetually squeaking Hamster wheel of the mind does, for at least a short while, become distant enough not to be intrusive - that the mind becomes “numb”.

Of course these distractions from the thought Hamster are short lived, for the interruption is temporary, and the intrusion returns - en massé. Sometimes not even waiting for dawn, interrupting our sleep, waking us up from rest and comfort of our beds and ensuring that we go round and round in circles planning, worrying, strategizing and conniving.

The problem with us, with most of us, is that the intrusion becomes the reality we live in. The intrusion of that infernally perpetual Hamster wheel of thought is what is most real to us. It is what is most in control of us.

Should it be?

Well, that’s where the blog comes in. The truth of our society is that we are all in the same boat, dealing with the same issues. Even though we live our lives in a multitude of ways, that we have many religions, career paths and social circles, that we have differing choices to make and make contrary ones, we are united by one common thread. This thread is that we have the gift, and the curse, of self-awareness.

And what that means in quite the simplest of perspectives is that we have the ability to know what we think and what we feel; that we have the ability to be aware of these, and that we have the ability to communicate these intangibles to others. It means that we have an inner World that is the reality in which we live in, and the problem is that this reality is what is most in control of us.

This is what we will explore, a common every man (and woman) issue, expressed is countless ways in the past, and a perpetual problem where that damn Hamster has more persuasion and perseverance then the Energizer Bunny.

The “Twisted” part of the title? That’s easy – this is no stuffy story about how you have to sit in posture, or do a thousand salutations, or go on retreats and be silent whilst beaten with a stick. It’s not the same kosher Zen that everyone speaks about,  the Zen that is, quite frankly, bland and boring to most. The Zen that is just a little bit flat.

Now don’t get me wrong, I don’t mean to say that the “pure” Zen is ineffective – it is extremely effective and leads to inner growth in leaps and bounds. What I mean is that we can have some fun along the way, by twisting it here and there, and by bending the rules – just a little bit at a time. The “pure” practice can be just that little bit dry, and this is intentional. It keeps one away from the usual distractions. However, it is possible to learn and grow and gather more awareness even by being with the distractions, as long as one recognizes and understands that the distractions are just that – distractions. However, these allow us to bring an interesting take on Zen, on growth, on awareness and the experience of life and learning. But we will always be mindful not to treat the distractions as our end. Hence we blog about “Twisted Zen”, but we know the practice itself is “Pure Zen” – that which is not bloggable.

So sit back, relax and enjoy. We’ll be exploring off-topic topics, looking through the very lens of existence, looking at that which creates our experience and ourselves, and we shall not call it God.

Enjoy your Zen - with a twist.

"What is the sound of one cheek farting?" - Zen Master Bulloshitto