That was the moment I lost interest in college football. I'd been a football fan all my life, and I understood that jeering and mocking the opposition before the game -- and a certain amount of gloating afterward from partisans of the victor -- were to be expected. Yet I was unprepared for the delight I saw being taken in another's pain: the evident pleasure in cruelty for its own sake. The brief shot of those celebrating Gator fans haunted me. As I processed my horror, a more extreme example of the same phenomenon rose to mind: the photos I'd seen from the 1920s of smiling, celebratory white faces at the lynching of a black person.
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Your Moment of Zen: Follow Your Bliss / "Follow your bliss" is Joseph Campbell's phrase. Campbell explained:
"If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Wherever you are — if you are following your bliss, you are enjoying that refreshment, that life within you, all the time."To discern your bliss requires sacred space,
"a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you. This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen."Your true "employers" -- the true bosses of your life, in whose service lies your authentic vocation -- is that which is alive in you, simultaneously universal and unique.
Think of something you do -- something that is both as ordinary and as magnificently special as a robin singing in an oak tree. That's it. That's your bliss. It might not have seemed like much, but that's it. Follow it.
Grandma was chatting with Turkey at Vinecot, when Granddaughter made a surprise visit. That evening after supper, when they had caught up with each other's news, Granddaughter said, "Now that I've finished school, I don't know what I will do next."Verse
Grandma said, "Follow your bliss."
Granddaughter said, "That sounds selfish."
Grandma said, "Your employers don't all have desks and files."
Next evening, Turkey asked Raven about Grandma's advice.
Raven said, "It's like Brown Bear said: 'The Robin sings in the oak tree; the finch sings in the madrone.'" [See Raven 5]
Turkey did not respond.
Woodpecker asked, "Aren't they distractions?"
Raven asked, "From what?"
Turkey seemed to come to herself, and gobbled.
Raven said, "Like that."
What makes a distraction?
The brain doing something,
Then thinking it shouldn't have?
I'm not saying your inner moralizer
Might not have a point,
just that maybe there's
What the brain did,
It did pursuing
its need and bliss.
Distraction isn't following
the wrong thing
At a distance.
Case by Robert Aitken, adapted; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
Zen at CUUC: Oct 5-11