Anti- Zen Enlightenment from the Sewers


To say my life is frustrating does not convey the daily restraint required to not commit acts which would require some friends, shovels, and a six foot hole.

I can feel a breakdown coming soon. It might involve Mojitos and there will be crying. But then I hope to achieve a moment of anti-Zen.

“But what is anti-Zen?” you ask. Let me ‘splain.
Zen is about detachment, things are what they are, and about being in the moment. You seek, and so I’ve heard, gain these qualities in quiet contemplation and meditation. What is the sound of one hand clapping?

Anti- Zen is when I have a hissy fit. I scream, cry, rant at the world, and the unfairness of everything. And near the end of this epic emotional purging I give up (not letting go as in Zen) but give the bleep up. I can’t change this. I can’t fix this. I simply can’t. In that moment I give up my desires for things to be different because what is, is, even when it sucks bleep. I give my hopes of it changing or controlling it.

Then I collapse on the floor in in heap, making those pitiful gasping hiccups people do when they’ve been crying. And I feel better. I’ve let it go, and I can go on with my life and my routine. I know it sounds really bad, but I have no time or space for quiet meditation and I couldn’t get my mind to shut-up even if I wanted too. You creative types out there know what I’m talking about.

Have you even had a moment of anti-Zen? Have you ever reach a space of enlightenment through the sewer instead of the temple?

18 responses »

  1. Some of the best advice I’ve ever received was to understand if my actions could control the outcome of the event is some way. If they could not, then step back, and add that to the list of things I didn’t worry about. It was really sound advice.

    My response was to tell her to bleep off.

    • Knowing what you can and can’t control is huge! I need to remember to go through things one at a time and figure out if it’s something I can control- usually it’s not LOL! Thanks for the reminder Bill!

  2. Dude. I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about (although my hissy fit usually comes before the mojitos and jammies). They’re much more rare than they used to be, but I still have an epic tantrum every couple of months, and they’re super cathartic. I think it’s good to get all the rage out in one solid go – much more healthy than trying to keep it under control and “acceptable” for days or weeks.

  3. Sometimes, LIKE TODAY, when I’m so stressed out I could flipping scream, I’ll be in the car and turn up the stereo to BLASTING and drive around listening to my favorite music. It helps. Might not be able to hear when I reach 90, but whatever…

  4. I love the concept of anti-Zen! We all need those moments. I do suggest no operating heavy machinery, interacting with in-laws, or ranting on Twitter about any specific person during this hissy fit moment. (Some things you can’t easily take back.) I loved that movie Broadcast News where Holly Hunter induces a good cry just to get it out of her system and relieve the stress.

  5. I’m with you on the anti-Zen mojito-drinking sewer slog. Sometimes down and dirty is better than light and airy, and that’s not slamming light and airy. Over the years I’ve had several Buddhist monks in my classroom, one of them I got to be chatty with and he commented that while I was not light and airy, I often had insight.

    I’m still puzzling that one out but I figure it must be good. If not, then being insulted by a Buddhist monk puts me in rare company.

    Remember: friends help you move but “good” friends help you move bodies.

    • I haven’t been isulted by a Buddhist monk. I think I feel left out. LOL I don’t see myself as light and airy, I’m very grounded, but I have my moments of awareness and insight. At least I think I do.
      And yes a good friend will totally help you move a body.

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