the thing itself...

I went back and re-read some of the things I wrote. Oh the horror! It is not just how much simple editing is required, it is the embarrassment of writing these sorts of things altogether. There are some things I want to say about this, even though the saying of such things is probably even less interesting than what I have been trying to write.

You will have divined by now that I am not a particularly good writer. It is not only that I lack the craft internal to a sentence, much less a piece, but contextually I often start out writing about one thing and end up having written about something altogether different. I am certain it is happening even now. If I were painter, not only would I not have the craft to create a simple shadow, but my efforts to paint a tree would come out looking like a park bench or an ocean liner, if they were recognizable at all.

My writing could leave the impression that I actually imagine I am thinking these things up in some original way. This is a fine line, really. I do not imagine that. I do not even imagine thought to function in a way that this statement makes sense entirely. I am not an academic, nor trying to be an academic in any way, so I am not referencing and cross referencing everything I write. I have read and re-read the western canon. I have read and re-read 'core' texts from other canons. I have been exposed to a fair variety of teachings, various masters, practices, teaching stories, etc. I continue to study and 'internalize' these things. I am more or less not authorized by anyone in any of these pursuits to do, say or represent anything. I am not authorized by any form of academia to do anything. Though I have some interest in simply understanding things, it is not my primary interest. My primary interest has always been to do with taking these things and applying them in a lived way... and I am not very good at that! My speaking and writing could create another impression, it seems to me. I cannot speak for you and I am not saying something about how you should read or interact with something I might write. I am simply saying how it is for me, at the moment.

I have noticed a tendency for some people to seek authorization in various forms. Where it is not ethically given (in the sense of handed down by some habituated tradition), some people self authorize. This can take all sorts of forms. They might minimize themselves and aggrandize the tradition from and for which they claim to be speaking. This has never really made sense to me. They might experience a legitimate conetxt of service or necessity that informs their sense of authorization. Perhaps they create hierarchies of esoteric and exoteric distinction, or go about it in some other way entirely. Often these things seem to be done in order to monetize, capitalize or otherwise gain value from what they are saying and doing. I understand that. I even understand the appeal and rhetorical arguments associated with it, I think. Then of course there are many, many people who are legitimately authorized and have given much of their lives to obtain such authorization, perhaps with some view of return, perhaps due to some passion or commitment. When someone like me talks about something apparently related to that in which they themselves have spent so much time becoming authorized, it can be extremely offensive. Of course, I have no right to talk about such things. I do not mean to be offensive in this way. There is also social authorization based on agreement or consensus. This does not seem interesting to me either, even if it were in the scope of my capabilities. There are some people who seem to me genuinely self-authorized. I do not consider myself among them. Occasionally in such conversations I will point out that I have gone to a great deal of trouble to not be authorized within a paradigm of assumed authorization. I am mostly being facetious in such instances.

All of this raises a question about the basis for any speaking and acting. It raises the question of one's expectation of return in conjunction with speaking and acting. These are things I have been trying to write about, though admittedly that may not be clear.

As I re-read anything I have written I think of seemingly endless references for those things. Sometimes I am paralyzed by this, because I am not authorized to write, say, do, or even think anything. In particular I think of people like Adi Da Samraj, or a Ch'an Master I have met, Nan Huai-Chin. I think of many TaiJi, martial and esoteric practitioners, including a fascinating teacher named Jim Keenan. I think of the Western Canon. I think of Indian and Chinese classics. I think of teaching stories from 10,000 years of human tradition. I think of modern integrators of such things; people who have built bridges or translated a traditional teaching or practice to the historical and social milieu of a moment. I think of modern geniuses such as Dr. Yunus and Humberto Maturana. I think of the people who exposed me to such things. I think of all my close friends and the people with whom I have experienced various conflicts, heartbreak, crises and ordeals. I think of all the collective dialogues with all the clients and colleagues. Should they become a footnote to some abysmal thing I am writing? That seems horrid to me. I cannot claim to represent anything about what they have seen and are saying. How should I footnote my family? At the same time I feel like it is important to recognize this sufficiently to allow people to explore those things themselves. I think we often do not do this out of fear or desire for return, just as we might often authorize out of fear or desire for return. As I said, it seems a fine line, the edge of a blade to me. Both activities can also be a form of right respect.

I have studied a lot of things, relatively speaking. I have studied fragments of a lot of things, some themselves fragmented, some more or less whole. I am a professional dilettante. This is an interesting word that used to mean 'one who delights in beauty', but with the distinction between amateur and professional (a primarily commercial distinction in the late 1700's) came to mean someone who had a passing or superficial interest. What to do?

I simply do not feel it is of any service to various teachers, to whom I am genuinely grateful, to either falsely claim some authorization, expressly or by critique, nor to deny affiliation and influence. If you have some specific interest about what I am saying and the source is in some way unclear, please ask and I will do my best to turn you toward what I feel might be the source or sources of some idea, expression or feeling. If I think I made it up, which is highly unlikely, I will tell you that. Sometimes such sources are for me multifaceted and take a bit to unfold. In some cases they seem singular. If this is offensive to you in some way, I would be open to hearing that as well.

I do have some sense of at least considering the context for my speaking and acting, no matter how muddled that might become in the manifestation. I do imagine the reflection on this moment in history and the collective enactment of human being in and as this moment to be a kind of context which informs my writing and action. I do not claim to understand anything about that or even how to practice with that. I am considering such things however, and considering how to consider them, even in a way that manifests as action and non-action. I am considering what that would mean in and as a disposition of service. I have been engaged in some form of this most of my life as far as I can tell, though the specifics have morphed over time, sometimes seeming altogether lost. In retrospect, as with most things I turn my hand to, I am not actually very good at it. Writing here is part of that, for the time being.

Now I will post this, more or less unedited, before I can stop myself, have to wait the sufficient amount of time to remember how unimportant it is one way or another, or become overwhelmed by the sense of embarrassment at having written this in this way.