Achtung !

Zen students are with their masters at least ten years before they presume to teach others. Nan-in was visited by Tenno, who, having passed his apprenticeship, had become a teacher. The day happened to be rainy, so Tenno wore wooden clogs and carried an umbrella. After greeting him Nan-in remarked: “I suppose you left your wodden clogs in the vestibule. I want to know if your umbrella is on the right or left side of the clogs.” Tenno, confused, had no instant answer. He realized that he was unable to carry his Zen every minute. He became Nan-in’s pupil, and he studied six more years to accomplish his every-minute Zen.

I was driving down to the local mall to do some shopping and grab some lunch at the same time. This is on a 6 lane highway. Not limited access, mind you. As it has stop lights and places to make both right and left turns onto and off of it that have no lights. It’s a Sunday so fairly busy.

At about the halfway point I see up ahead a car about to make a left hand turn on to this highway. It’s going kind of slow,  so I slow way down. I am in the left lane as I will be turning at the next light. I see a car in the center lane come whizzing past me and the car making the left has stopped blocking both the center lane and my left lane. I am sufficiently behind and slow enough that stopping and even pulling off would not be a problem.

The car in the center lane finally sees his lane is blocked, slams on the brakes and swerves to miss the other car. The driver of the car blocking the lanes pulls out and makes his turn – totally oblivious to what has occurred. Neither driver was paying attention. Both lost in their own little worlds.  Ask any cop these day and they will tell you that 90 some percent of the accidents are caused because people are not paying attention.

Not paying attention seems to be the byword these days for most in this country. Living life in their own little worlds, not knowing or caring about anything outside their own little worlds. That is unless something disrupts this state of oblivious joy, where in they get all excited and upset and lash out. Completely unaware that it is their worlds that are unreal.  Instead of accepting the world as it is and attempting to make life a little better for themselves  and others in it, they insist on attempting to change the world to fit their fantasies. However unrealistic they maybe. This is not a left/right issue for I have seen this behavior in people from all them political spectrum, both sides convinced that their fantasy is the right one.

There is a saying in AA and other 12 Step groups that people generally do not come in and are willing to change until their lives have hit rock bottom. I fear that will be the case for this country and it’s culture as well. Until those in the upper crust are scrounging for food like the dirt poor, nothing much will change here.


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