Contemplative Wednesday: One Day Early and Thirty Days Late

Let’s consider a reevalution of the situation in which we assume that the stuckness now occurring, the zero of consciousness, isn’t the worst of all possible situations, but the best possible situation you could be in. After all, it’s exactly this stuckness that Zen Buddhists do to so much trouble to induce; through koans, deep breathing, sitting still and the like. Your mind is empty, you have a “hollow-flexible” attitude of “beginner’s mind.” You’re right at the front end of the train of knowledge, a the track of reality itself. Consider, for a change, that this is a moment to be not feared but cultivated. If your mind is truly, profoundly stuck, then you may be much better off than when it was loaded with ideas.

The solution to the problem often at first seems unimportant or undesirable, but the state of stuckness allows it, in time, to assume its true importance. It seemed small because your previous rigid evaluation which led to the stuckness made it small.

But now consider the fact that no matter how hard you try to hang on to it, this stuckness is bound to disappear. You mind will naturally and freely move toward a solution. Unless you are a real master at staying stuck you can’t prevent this. The fear of stuckness is needless because the longer you stay stuck the more you see the Quality-reality that gets you unstuck every time. What really been getting you stuck is the running from the stuckness through the cars of your train of knowledge looking for a solution that is out in front of the train.

– Rober M. Pirsig, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

[Ed. Note: I have twelve, that’s right 12, posts that are sitting in my draft folder. Out, damn spot, and I will post them, however imperfect, in the coming couple of weeks.]

[Ed. Note: That all quoted, I’m still not sure I can recommend this book completely yet because the whimpering about the Meaning of Quality. While it’s amusing in that the narration is driven by *spoiler* a teacher of rhetoric speaking in third person of himself after he’s gone mad examining the Meaning of Quality and undergoes shock therapy, and it does give some comical depth to my just recently fabricated degree, I’m not sure if repetition gives theories validity and doesn’t just make them…well, monotonous.]

[Ed. Note: I worry that I am a master at stuckness. Not the perfect Judo chop, nor a elephant felling mind blow, but I’m a reincarnated zen master of stuckness back for brutal living in this plane to have my subconscious antagonize my consciousness with the flickering temptation of Next Great American Novel. ]

[Ed. Note: Or maybe they slid stuckness in with the MA in English. I wouldn’t put it past them.]


10 Responses to Contemplative Wednesday: One Day Early and Thirty Days Late

  1. The Rebuker says:

    Blaargh. The concept of zen (or my probably incorrect understanding of zen) is appealing and reasonable yet it spawns some of the most gawd-awful prose ramblings. I got annoyed just reading this quote. But am I correct in understanding “stuckness” as our current cultural interpretation of a state of detachment? I got annoyed writing that question. Just post your own stuff, F. It’s far better.

  2. E says:

    I will pitch you a script…

    *Opening Title Sequence (Anime)*: Camera pans over urban landscape to our protagonist, who is walking a lonesome, determined walk with a large sword slung over a shoulder and windswept blonde hair. Japanese rock music plays in background. Fast cut to:
    1. Heroine swinging sword, 2. handing fruit to giggling children, 3. jumping air with sword ready to strike, 4. wincing at anamorphic cat’s antics (Heroine’s sidekick/best friend)
    *music kicks into high gear with catchy chorus*
    Group shot of Heroine’s friends together and individually: anamorphic cat, man with purple hair, woman with spiky blue hair and blowing bubblegum.
    Cuts back to Heroine landing disabling Judo chop to hideous monster, and protecting friends with mind blast on charging elephant.
    *Music reaches crescendo*
    Final view of Heroine in full battle gear biting into a juicy peach, smiling in bliss. Title flashes in background: “FIREWINGS: ZEN MASTER” End with group shot of all our heroes, Heroine in front, in determined pose and final loud guitar riff that lingers for a few seconds.

    I’d buy that. Of course, I say that because it’s my idea. 😛

  3. firewings says:

    Did you want the purple hair?

  4. E says:

    I forgot myself! I am in the last moments before the music crescendo: the shadowy, shifty, and possibly villainous character who has his own agenda. (But usually seems to be helpful, especially when directly dealing with the main villain.) My shots are intercut with the shots of our main villain: a fat pirate eating a banana with vile intent.

  5. firewings says:

    Ooooh, I _hate_ pirates.

  6. strangerandstranger says:

    It kind of make sense. We all have over active, over stimulated minds therefore we get stuck in ruts our way of thinking is distracted. When we reach a problem or a delema in our lives we cannot reach the best possible solution because our minds our so busy.

    Is that a sensible conclusion or is it way off?

    Nice idea e.
    (I know the spelling is horrible.)

  7. firewings says:

    Thank you for the nice summary S. ^_^

  8. A Lee says:

    I had to read this book in school back in the dark ages, and write an analysis of it. The result was the prof thought I was an ignorant, smug little kid. Which, to be fair, I was. But I did like this one part enough that I’ve saved it all these years. And I can’t say I can blame the guy for wanting to explain to the world why he cracked. I’d do the same, if I knew how ; )

    “If all of human knowledge, everything that’s known, is believed to be an enormous hierarchic structure, then the high country of the mind is found at the uppermost reaches of this structure in the most general, the most abstract considerations of all.

    Few people travel here. There’s no real profit to be made from wandering through it, yet like this high country of the material world all around us, it has it’s own austere beauty that to some make the hardships of traveling through it seem worthwhile.

    In the high country of the mind one has to become adjusted to the thinner air of uncertainty, and to the enormous magnitude of questions asked, and to the answers proposed to these questions. The sweep goes on and on and on so obviously much further than the mind can grasp one hesitates even to go near for fear of getting lost in them and never finding one’s way out.”

  9. PastaQueen says:

    Well, with a name like Indecisive Peach I suppose it’s not surprising your stuck (or sticky).

  10. Lisa says:

    Oh, thank you! thank you! for writing this excerpt here. What a timely blessing and reminder for me. My monkey mind (aka: ego) HATES said stuck-ness – and yet the blissed out yogi/hippie/wild woman inside me (who gets glimpses of light much too infrequently it seems) wishes we could stay there forever!!!

    I recently told a dear friend that I wished I could just stop time so that we could exist in that state of Oneness together – experiencing all that our soul needs, no CRAVES – and get filled up – and them come back to pick up where time was stopped – and resume our quite otherwise satisfactory lives from a much different perspective.

    Angst, big time, for sure. On a daily, hourly, moment-by-moment basis. These days, especially, as the soul repair garage and excavation site are in full-blown overtime.

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