RE: [VOID] G.S. in S.F. Also: Cobraboy's life and my dream.
Mon, 11 May 1998 01:29:41 -0400 (EDT)

On Wed, 6 May 1998, Joe Barrera wrote:

> > > Rohit's problem is a very simple one. We discussed this last night.
> Rohit
> > > just plain out and out thinks too much.
> > Yes, but how does one convince one's brain to stop thinking, when
> > thinking is what runs every aspect of one's life?
> Zen Buddhism is often described this way.
> Let me again recommend _Everyday Zen: Love and Work_ (book 26. in the joebar
> section of FoRK recommended books
> <>
> ... which I very
> much need to update!)

Okay, I've been looking for a point to jump into this mess and this point
seems to make a bit of sense for that. Let it be known, as well, that I
had read the original VOID post when I met Rohit for the first time two
days ago, but had not yet read the replies. I didn't say anything during
the afternoon because I was still thinking about the whole thing. I do
have to say, however, that my viewpoints on Rohit's situation have
changed somewhat since meeting him. Okay, I'm not sure where this post
is going exactly, but I'll start with the book recommendations and then
go from there:

If you want zen books that make you feel damn good, I *highly* recommend
_Zenarchy_ by Kerry Thornley. Tragically, according to Amazon, it is out
of print, but if you can find a copy, get it. The beginning is just the
story of his life and how he found happiness and contentment. The rest
is filled with excerpts from a newsletter he wrote and then a bunch of
modern zen-like Koans. Next on the list would be _Zen Without Zen
Masters_ by Camden Benares. This one is just zen-like koans.

I came across both of these books about 5 years ago, when I was also in
the midst of some similar form of self-loathing, of which I'll explain
more in a moment. I read both books and I began to get stuff, but what
really hit it for me was Alan Watts' _Become What You Are_, which is one
of those tiny little pocket books they sell at the counters of
bookstores, full of essays of Watts that were never published elsewhere.
I'd never read anything by him, but both Benares and Thornley recommended
him, so I picked it up. I read the very first essay and suddenly
realized "Hey, this is me. Being upset and disliking some things about
myself is totally normal." Then I started liking the fact that I
disliked myself. I wish it were actually that simple, but in some ways
it was. The paradox of liking myself because I disliked myself has in
some ways guided me since then. Honestly, what it did was make the
dislike go away. I realize (and it takes a shitload of work
continuously) that there are always things about yourself that you will
dislike, but you have to learn to accept this, and look to see whether or
not they can be changed, or even if they *should* be changed, and do what
must be done.

This has since continued on in other areas. Things certainly still do
bother me, but on the whole, I've been much happier since then. I still
get depressed. Friday morning, right before I met Rohit, I was sitting
at my friend's apartment, practically in tears because of the crappyness
of my current job search situation. But, that went away. Nothing has
changed on that front, but I'm a lot happier now. I can't explain it
other than I took the time to realize that there are a lot of other
things going on for which I should be happy. Stress at not being able to
find a job is natural, and being upset about it is completely natural as
well. It's somewhat of a paradox that realizing I should be unhappy
makes me happy again, but it works absolute wonders.

By the way, the Watts book is now out of print. Also, I ended up
carrying it around in my pocket at all times until last summer, when my
PalmPilot replaced it. I never read the essay again, and I never read
another page of the book.

I'm not claiming at all that this is a method that anyone else should
use, or that these books are valuable in triggering such an experience,
but I figure I could pass on the experience in the hopes that somehow, it
might trigger an experience that helps someone else.

As for relationships... Part of the reason I was so depressed and hated
myself so much at that point was I had recently gotten out of a 2 year
relationship that was horrible. I had made the mistake of sticking with
a bad relationship for way too long, scared to death that I would never
meet another person if I got out. That was six years ago, and I have to
admit that I *haven't* met another person. In the past six years I
haven't had a relationship with anyone else. This should bum me out
royally, and probably make me hate myself. In some sense, at times, it
does. But mostly, I just laugh at this horrible luck, and curse myself
for being a chicken in the few situations where a possible opportunity
presented itself, and move on. I realize that this is the life I'm
leading, and I have no excuse for any of what happens other than what I
do. And, even then, that's no excuse. I always do what I feel is right
at the moment, based on the information I have, and if it turns out to be
a bad decision, then obviously I didn't have the correct info. That's
not my fault either. I can make mistakes, but it is for the same
reason. Afterwards, you do your best to move on and fix any problems you
have cuased, but you cannot keep looking backwards and blaming yourself.
What's done is done, and whatever you've done, you've done for a reason.
Always look to the future, and what you *can* do, and not what you *have*
done. That's the way I try to be, and it's what I believe keeps me
happy. Even if it isn't, it's what I believe, and that's good enough for

This is a serious attitude adjustment from how I used to be, but now it's
second nature to me. Continually gathering info, as we do here, in order
to try to make a good decision is fine. However, all you need is the
correct info, and not necessarily all of the info. The trick is being
able tto make a good decision based on the info you have...

The point of all this, is that I think Rohit will come through with
flying colors. Everything that one does is tough, but he is certainly
not afraid to take a risk. He just might need to realize that there is a
bright side, and that the events of his last weekend in SF happen to
everyone at some point, and, at the same time, has never happened to
anyone else, ever. Emotions, including love and hate are totally
natural, and everyone experiences them at some point. Also, they are
totally individualized, and no one can ever experience them the way that
you have. Learn to live with that, and to take pride in that, and
rejoice in those feelings which are so natural, and yet so personal, and
life becomes much more of a game. It may not be so important what you
do, but how you do it. Or, maybe, for you, it will be completely
different. Adam mentions that it is important to love yourself. To me,
I'm happy to know myself, and have discovered that every other feeling
comes directly (or indirectly) out of that.

Okay, now I've joined the public sharing circle... I'm going to sit down
and shut up again.

-Mike, pretty damn sure through all of that he didn't even make a point.