Saturday, 20 April 2013

The Walkabout Problem and Joe's Story

It is part of my traditional community educational culture to foster a Walkabout of sorts for the very young adult. My Walkabout ended at 3:45 AM this morning, about 25 years later, because it was time to come home. I discovered that I did not need to travel the wilderness anymore in my narcissistic preoccupation with my own suffering. I donated all of my retreat money for the year to an unknown person in Chicago.

Joe's mother asked me to watch this video with her. It was inspiring but excruciating. His father waited outside on the front porch because he was working through his remembrances with my housemate.

All of our intellectual knowledge is gained from boiling down information. That information can then be consumed by other instruments, namely our sense organs and our cognitive processes. These are just instruments and they eventually die and it can hurt like hell to have all this stuff. That is why we do the Walkabout.

The Royal We tend to encounter people who travel great distances, read a lot of books and do some nice things for other people in the midst of an unfruitful preoccupation with ordinary life predicaments.

So I traveled great distances, read a lot of books and did some nice things for other people, but it wasn't really productive from a practice standpoint. In many ways my journey was drawn on a map by a 16 year old boy named Sean who couldn't get into the best prep school in the Southeast. That journey is winding down in the best interest of a 41 year old man with the same name who does a little blogging here and there because it is therapy.

Thursday night I got a call from a priest that I knew in high school because he was a fellow student in our chess club nerd factory and we were relying on each other for something. I told him I feed the homeless and then I go home. He told me he welcomes people into his life that have done some terrible things and that he has learned a lot from them, even though his parishioners sometimes object to the background of the people he welcomes . We are meeting in Knoxville in a few months. The home town feelings from Chattanooga were stirring in me by Friday morning and shortcomings of my Walkabout were surfacing and boiling over.

Friday night, last night, I met a couple here in Charlotte that had a son that I never knew growing up, but he was part of our community educational culture in my hometown. He had his Walkabout while he was dying of cancer before he got out of college. They describe his journal entries as bizarre but his final thoughts are remarkably gifted articulations. He had to make a pit stop while in Ireland where he was cared for because he was too sick to return home in good order.

It was humbling because I attended what constitutes a "backup plan" for prospective McCallie high school students who do not gain admission, or for current students who are expelled or drop out. My brother went to their rival school for a while and I really wasn't made of the stuff that these schools want.

Joe traveled to his high school campus and gave his last speech as an alumni of his school with six oxygen tanks in the back seat of his parent's car. In addition, he had to have his lungs aspirated by a doctor before his final speech so he could talk.

The slots to give these student speeches, for students by students, are highly coveted. This broke a sacred protocol because by that time Joe was an alumni and a student gave Joe his spot to make this final speech to his friends after his Walkabout.

The things he talks about here will resonate with you on a deep level. I sense that you may have traveled great distances, read a lot of books, and have done some nice things for people.

The video preview does not render well but please watch it. I can see the traffic on this blog and I know who are. Don't be a casual tourist today.

If you want to help Joe's friends help others:

Friday, 19 April 2013

A Very Buddha Day

I am humbled by the kind nature of human beings. If I look into the mirror and I see a human being staring back at me, then I have had a good day.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

A Very Buddha Thinking Hat

Today I heard a Dharma teacher say "The world needs the fruits of our practice."

I hope this means the seeds of our practice are in the fruits of our practice.  It is a lot of hard work on a day to day basis.

My thinking hat has grown old. Maybe it is time to start blossoming instead of designing the perfect practice.


Thursday, 11 April 2013

And Then One Day I Realized X

It is quite stunning that I get excited over so many personal revelations and live off the fumes from my inner glow, then things get dull or life gets bad. Then I seem to always renew the personal revelation that I really don't know anything and carry on.

I have managed to see life from several perspectives: affluent, broke, fat, thin, smart, ignorant... and at each perspective, I always came to the conclusion that I didn't know anything all along. Seeing this pattern is my latest revelation, and today is the day that I realized X.

So what now? I just bought a bunch of books from a fellow practitioner who is taking his practice out west to find some "real teachers" because he couldn't find any to his satisfaction here in Charlotte. Maybe I'll read his books until things get dull or life gets bad. If that doesn't work, maybe I'll move west too.

I've moved North a couple of times. That was kind of cool, but I seem to alienate people no matter where I move.....

Wow! Was that a new revelation? Maybe I'll keep the books in the trunk of my car today......

With Trust,