Bits of zen flotsam & jetsam from the daily practice of a zen fool with shards of modern Buddhist art from my studio. Sometimes cranky, sometimes inspiring, mostly entertaining.
Monday, October 3, 2011
The Pride of Insecurity
I am thinking about insecurity this morning. I have been thinking about it for a few days, remembering a teaching by one of the Zen monks from the OBC on how that feeling of "not good enough", a lack of self confidence is really a form of pride. At first that seemed odd and confusing to me but then I got it. We hold back, protect ourselves, lack confidence in our "little", ego bound selves because somehow we think we are better, should be better than we fear we are. This whole little dance is really us wrapped up in the straightjacket of ego. If we hold back and hide from life we can live in our little fantasy of who we are. We don't have to face the uncomfortable fact that we are not superman or superwoman.
Something inside of me has decided I am tired of living in the straightjacket. I think perhaps I am ready to walk up to the desk and check myself out of this padded cell joint I've been hanging out in. Something inside of me is finally bored with my fantasy of who I should be, who I want to be. There is a famous and wonderful quote about this (but I forget who said it), something to the effect that when it becomes to painful to be bound up, we break out of our chrysalis and become free. And we become a butterfly in our willingness, our courage to really live this life, to strike out, to fall flat, to experience our shortcomings and carry on. And in a strange way, we savour the taste of failure, simply because it is a taste, a bold taste that activates our tastebuds. We forsake blandness. We are alive, fully alive. Jon Kabbat-Zin uses the phrase full-catastrophe living. Zorba the Greek showed us the truth of this way of living long before there was a name for it.
And thinking about insecurity, my western mind twirls over the balance bar and wonders about self-confidence. Not that ego based, puffed up, I'm so great kind of self-confidence. I'm thinking of a different type of self-confidence, that unshakable, centered confidence. It's like mushrooms, there are the delicious edible ones and then there are their dangerously poisonous look-a-likes. Real self confidence grows on a whole different terrain than the ego based one. The forest floor of our being is host to many weird and wonderful life-forms.
Here's what Tibetan teacher, Tarthang Tulku has to say about real self-confidence: "Once we go through a true process of self-discovery, no one can take away our self-confidence; the inspiration comes from within and we know without needing to be told."
So here's the invitation to join me, in an exploration of the inner and outer forest of our beings. Fasten on your boots, sharpen up your tastebuds and prepare to pick me up off the forest floor a gazillion times. I will do the same for you.
Buddhism & Art...if I had to pick two words that give an overview of what I get up to in this world those would be my choices. Buddhism is the ground upon which I rest all else. I like to think it brings me some sanity. It helps me think in some logical way about what I am doing and look at it as deeply as possible. What did I just do? Why ? What's that all about? ...To try and look at my life without sliding over things or fooling myself...To be present for life, not rejecting or preferring one experience over another. Buddhist practice makes my life full and rich, sometimes filled with joy and sometimes with a deep experience of the suffering present in this world.
After all those words does it seem odd to say that it is the simplicity of Zen that appeals to me? This inclination to simplicity pulls me to try and integrate my practice and work, to paint Buddhas, to observe my process as I work.
I am drawn to mixed media, integrating script and words with images and colour.