Monthly Archives: April 2013

Zen, the Giggly smile and 42

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I have one Japanese friend, who is a sort of an enlightened far away brother to me. Our conversations frequently run like Zen mondos or like a never ending exchange of pleasantries. And, it must be said, I enjoy these kind of talks immensely. When we meet, he usually inquires into my current situation and I try my best to respond with a candid confession by stating the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. After hearing my rantings he – as a rule – bursts into a wild laughter and then immediately adds a verbal component to his performance: “Magnus, you need a woman”, he says with a giggly smile on his face. Over the course of our many conversations, he was never weary of repeating this line over and over again: “Magnus, you need a women.” Frankly, I found it quite amusing and I took it more as a joke than a friendly advice. But being familiar with Zen logic, I knew there was much more than what meets the eye or, as in this case, what meets the ear, to be exact. His tricks, his laughters and his out-of-place comments can fool any random sucker on the street but they won’t fool me. So, each time he said that I need a woman, deep down inside I knew that my Japanese friend played the classical Zen game on me. Of course, he denied it – this was expected – and when I expressed my suspicions that his comment had a certain stink of Zen, he denounced my knowledge of Zen and said that I know nothing about it. But, having never solved a koan in my life and having never meditated for more than an hour, I knew better. My friend’s reaction fitted perfectly into the repertoire of savvy Zen duels and Zen verbal attacks. His behavior matched the pattern of the old Zen masters way too good for it to be a coincidence. Only those people who deny it, have it. – an old Zen saying goes. In my mind I had no doubt about it, it was as clear as the sun on a cloudless day. And his denial only intensified my initial belief that he was pulling my leg in the prima-facie Zen style.

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My Idea of Heaven

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Now and then I find myself thinking about all the possible and impossible paths I could take and all the narrow roads I could follow to get to that unique place I want to be. But where is that place and how do I get there? Is there a map I could use? Are there signposts along the way?
There are so many life-changing options I can imagine. I could become a fireman, a cowboy or an astronaut if I really wanted to. I could become a scientist, an athlete, an actor or even a writer if I had the desire to do the necessary things for becoming one. I could build castles of stone, sand and steel, if I wanted that sort of a thing. I could walk on hot coals and dance on a tightrope. I could read books on medieval alchemy, write diatribes and compose a haiku. I could wander around aimlessly, having no thought for the morrow. I could preach a non-dual sermon about the interdependence of life on a busy street and beg for food in the marketplace, if only I wanted to. I could even steal apples and strawberries from your garden and then lie and pretend that it never happened. I could speak with strangers and ask them to join my revolutionary army whose only member was me. I could travel around the world with empty pockets, meditate in a Benedictine monastery and visit a prostitute, only if I wanted to. I could drink a German Riesling and play chess with myself. I could go into the church and interrupt the service by proclaiming that the kingdom has arrived in me. I could, in this very moment, try something I have never done before like hugging people for no reason, giving away my possessions to those in need and helping a lonely kitten to survive the harsh climate of my country. I could also look into your eyes and say that I love you. Yes, that I could do as well. I could do so many things. I could change my life forever in one split second, only if I wanted to. Continue reading

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How short our life is…

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How short our life is. A mere hundred years. Only a breath. Only a raindrop. Only so much. A tree lives a few hundred more, a rock may last millions and the most beautiful of rocks – our mother earth – may continue to spin in the darkness for billion more. But there will come a day when our cosmic spaceship will run out of gas. She will stop her wonderful dance and will explode into oblivion leaving no trace behind. As if she never even existed. Nothing happened. No one will ever know about those wild adventures, those sleepless nights and those joyful days of her childhood. How beautiful, innocent and playful she was in her teens, how she blinked her eyes, moved her lips, played with her hair and amused at our shyness and smiled at our clumsiness. Life was buzzing inside her. We were madly in love. Those romantic dates, amorous duels and midnight kisses. How elegant, energetic and passionate she was in her mature years and how wise and intelligent she became in her old age. How many hearts she broke and how many – she healed. How many dreams she fulfilled and how many – she took away. Macbeth was wrong. Her life was never a tale to be told. It was to be lived. Yes, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing, not a tale to be told, but a life to be lived. She came from nothing and to nothing she returned. From darkness to darkness. Light was a happy accident. Something worth celebrating for, but never worth remembering. Continue reading

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