Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Remaining Teachable

¡Hola! Everybody...
It’s freezing out there today! Unfortunately, I have to travel to two different meetings, so imma freeze my
spic ass today.

* * *

-=[ Remaining Teachable ]=-

“In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's there are few.”

-- Suzuki Roshi, Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind

We don't look at things as much as we overlook them. When people are learning something new, for example, there is a strong temptation to try to make it into something they already know. This is a basic fallacy in how we view the world. We’re not comfortable with not knowing, so as soon as we hear something, we filter it through our personal experiences and make it into something we already know. In reflecting on this, I come to understand why so few of us ever truly make real changes in our lives.

Oh yeah… we can talk a lot about concepts and mentally masturbate, pontificate, extrapolate, but it seems to me we’re all just talking at one another, not truly listening. Have you ever tried just seeing what is without adding to it? It’s not that easy because of this habit of ruminating about everything. Right now, both you and I are engaged in this [mis]communication: I'm busy thinking about how you will twist this post, and you’re busy formulating concepts about it. None of this has anything to do with things as they are.

All of that shit going through your head? Shadows and illusions. This brings me to an ancient teaching popularized by Plato:

There were a people who lived their entire lives within a cave. After generations, they came to believe that their own shadows, cast upon the walls, were the substance of reality. To these people only myths and religious tales spoke of a higher possibility.

Obsessed with the shadow play, the people eventually became accustomed to and imprisoned by their dark reality.

We are no different from the people described above except for the fact that our shadows are in Technicolor and more dazzling than earlier shadows. However finely dressed they are, they are still shadows.

Before you can be guided into creating new possibilities of thinking, feeling, and acting for yourself and those you love, you have to become like a child in how you look at the world. We all think we’ve seen it all, and done it all, but the fact of the matter is we’re all imprisoned in our little caves, masturbating to the shadow play on the walls.

Wake the fuck up…

I was once informed that I needed to listen to learn and learn to listen. Some things are so outside your understanding that there isn’t a reference point. This will make you very uncomfortable and you will feel the tremendous pull to compare it with something you have done or experienced, but let it go – even for a little bit. If you knew that much then you wouldn’t be around here reading this crazy-assed shit because you would be out there doing shit! LOL Be stupid, even if for a little while. I promise you, your cave with its beguiling shadows will still be there when you’re finished playing out here.

Nowhere is this tendency toward reactionary thinking more evident when talking about the reality of white racism. It’s clearly evident in the majority of the responses: denial (“It doesn’t exist!”), projection (“You’re a bigot!”) displacement (“You’re an asshole”), rationalization, (justification of the situation), and intellectualization (a form of rationalization, only more intellectualized).

When I write on a subject, it usually means I’ve done an exhaustive review of the available literature. Because my work entails advocating for social justice, I have to be on top of my game when it comes to facts. This doesn’t make me an expert -- not by a long margin, but I can serve as a jumping off point for people looking to apply technologies for change. I refuse to entertain the hysteria from fools who don’t bother to read or understand. It’s a waste of time. And being “nice”? The majority of the people reacting to my writing would still react the same way no matter how “nice” I put it. Face it, if you’re denying racism, we all know where you’re coming from for the most part.

My experience has shown me that the thrust of evolution, whether personal or collective, happens with or without your participation. There’s no such thing as stagnation, dear friends -- life’s a train ride and you can’t get off. The choice, it seems to me, is whether to participate with your eyes open, or your eyes and legs wired shut.

Choose… now… this very moment.



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