Click here to go to the next issue
Highlights Home Page | Receive the Nondual Highlights each day
#1722 - Friday, March 5, 2004 - Editor: Jerry
Here is an excerpt from Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment, by Jed McKenna. Visit the following link for more information: http://wisefoolpress.com/
There is a controversy about whether or not Jed McKenna, as depicted in his books, exists. The author of the books exists. Whether events told are completely true or not, I don't know for sure. Nothing I've read is so unusual that it is unbelievable. If these books were pure fiction I would expect something a hell of a lot more off-the-wall and poorly written (because pure fiction is very hard to write) than what is delivered. These writings, in my opinion, come from plain and simple experience. But like I say, I haven't read all of Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment, so maybe someone levitates and spits out all four guilty charges against Martha Stewart. I don't know. Enchoy! --Jerry
Since one of the things I'm trying to do with these books is
awakened state up for display, I should mention one of the more
peculiar things about it, which is that I have nothing to do. I don't
have any challenges left, and I can't just make one up. I can write
this book and maybe stay involved with communicating on this subject in
some minor way, but the fact remains; I have nothing to do. I like
being alive, but I don't really have anything to do while alive. I like
to sit and be, I like to appreciate the creative accomplishments of
man, especially as they involve his attempts to get his situation
figured out, but appreciation is a pretty flat pastime. I'm not
complaining, just expressing something about this state that most
probably aren't aware of. I am content, and contentment is overrated. I
have no framework within which anything is better than anything else,
so what I do doesn't particularly matter. I have no ambition, nowhere
to go, no one to be or become. I don't need to distract myself from
anything or convince myself of anything. There's nothing that I think
isn't as it should be, and I have no interest in how others see me. I
have nothing to guide me except my own comfort and discomfort. I don't
seem to be too bored or unhappy about it, so I guess it sounds weirder
than it is.
Stinkpig bastard Henry has sandbagged me by dragging us to a friend's
house for a dinner party. There are five or six couples as well as
Christine and me, who are not a couple. It's a spacious Spanish-style
house surrounded by others like it, overloking a valley of dirt and
scrub and, if you turn the telescope on the balcony far enough to the
left, I'm told, a glimmer of the ocean.
The East Coast dinner parties of my youth were pretty formal affairs.
Everyone arrives sevenish, drinks for an hourish, seated eightish,
finished nine-ish, more drinks until two-ish. This doesn't look like
that. Less formal, less uptight; this is more like an indoor picnic.
Everyone comes and goes. Children with sitters or nannies stop in and
leave, the occasional teenager zips in, consults with a parent about
car keys or cash, and zips out. A neighbor pops in to discus on-street
parking and pops out. People are chatting in four or five different
areas including the driveway, the balcony and the kitchen. There's no
one making introductions, no proper young gents taking coats and drink
orders, no enchanting hostess gliding through the scene, no one
smoking, no dresses or ties, no cocktails -- mostly wine and some beer
-- no soft chamber music, no candles because the house is flooded with
Henry has pulled me aside and is continuing to batter me with details
of Operation Fizzle. These people we're dining with are all a part of
it, he tells me. It's something they're creating and discovering
together. The dinner party is an example of it.
"Sometimes we get together just to discuss a single topic," he informs
me. "Have you ever done that? It usually has to do with social
responsibility. Sometimes we discuss a book. There are a lot of us, not
just what you see here. It's really gaining momentum. We're creating a
whole new paradigm."
Okay, too much.
"I have no idea what you're talking about with this new paradigm stuff,
Henry," I tell him. "The paradigm I see here is denial and petty
self-interest, just like anywhere else. You might spin it differently,
but it's the same life-structure that practically everyone is living
in. Is there something I'm not seeing? It looks like you're all half a
block off Main Street living perfectly ordinary, self-gratifying lives
and going to a lot of trouble to pretend you're not. How is this
different from what anyone else is doing?"
Henry is unflappable. "Do you think we should consider a less
self-centered approach?" he asks, rubbing his chin with a judicious
air. "That's something I've been wondering about. We participate in
quite a few charitable projects. I think we're all volunteers in
various organizations. We all recycle, of coruse, and we're very
conscientious about the environment. I guess we could be more giving,
if you think..."
"I don't think anything, Henry," I interrupt. "You're the one talking
about a new paradigm. I'm just saying I don't see it."
On the one hand, these people, Henry and his friends, are clearly very
pleasant, very successful Americans living the American dream of
freedom and abundance. On the other hand, I can't help but see them all
as self-centered, self-important, self-righteous assholes; in other
words, youngsters. But they're not, not really, or, at least, not
particularly. No more or less than anyone else at any other dinner
party, certainly not those of my early years. It's just another sign
taht my good humor is wearing thin. How do mature, intelligent people
manage to go through their lives in a state of such diminished
capacity? And what do I care if they do?
In reality, there's only one thing going on. There's only one game
being played in life, and these people have arrayed their mental and
emotional forces expertly so as to convince themselves that they're on
the field in the thick of it while actually standing in line at the
snackbar. The American dream of freedom and abundance is just a child's
rendering of true freedom and abundance, and serves only to convince
people who haven't gone anywhere that they've already arrived.
To the awakened mind, the unawakened can be a source of frequent
dismay. The distance between awake and asleep is so infinitesimal that
it'shard to remember they're a universe apart. Zen parables about
instant enlightenment seem suddenly probable, as if just the right
event -- the whack of a stick, a poignant non sequitur, an overturned
bowl -- could suddenly snap someone into full awareness. The unawakened
mind sees an enourmous barrier -- the proverbial gate -- between itself
and the awakened mind.
top of page