Crazy Train

First off, tonight May 5, 2012, Zero Defex is playing at the Stone Tavern, 110 E. Main St, Kent, Ohio. There are six bands on the bill and the show starts at nine pm. So go!

Anonymous in the comments section of my previous post said:
The serious question then – does being enlightened give you any insight – from a theoretical perspective, not how to fix it – or what mental illness is? Or more broadly, do eastern spiritual leaders have something to say about this more than similar edicts about booze or sex?

This is a very good question. It’s also an important one because a lot of people assume that an “enlightened” eastern spiritual master does have that kind of insight and are willing to follow their advise on the subject.

I can’t answer for all spiritual masters. And I don’t want to get into what it might mean to “master” any given form of spirituality. Nor do I even want to poke at what the term “enlightened” means right now. But still, I can answer for myself based on my experience. And I honestly feel that my experience is universal for others in my position.

Anyway. What insight do I have into what mental illness is?

I feel like I understand what that thing we label “mental illness” is in ways that neither I nor anyone else could possibly understand without decades of meditation. But that doesn’t mean I know how to treat it or cure it or even deal with it when it confronts me on the street. That is an entirely different sort of problem.

One thing I understand is that the condition we call “normal” also probably ought to be labeled “mental illness.” And I expect that in the future this will become clear. People will look back at us in the early 21st century and marvel at the fact that almost the entire world was what they will call “mentally ill.” Though perhaps their term for it will be different.

I feel that when we call someone “mentally ill” all we’re really saying most of the time is that the person in question is unable to function in what we call “normal society.” Of course there are different degrees of this. If a person’s inability to function creates a danger to society, society has a right and duty to protect itself from that person. If that person isn’t dangerous but is unable to look after himself, that’s another matter. There are millions of degrees to the problem of mental illness. But at its core it’s still the same problem.

One important thing to bear in mind is that none of us can deal with “normal society” all the time. I know I sure can’t. Some people solve this problem by inventing sub-societies that protect them from the larger society, yet still manage to function with it. A monastery would be an example of one such place. It’s a place of shelter from the wider more pervasive mental illness, a place one hopes is a bit less mentally ill. But even the best of these still have their own sorts of dysfunctions.

When I was at Tassajara last year there was one day when I simply had to hide in my room for about 24 hours because I could not deal with the relatively sane sub-society I had voluntarily committed myself to. I told people I was sick. But I wasn’t. This sort of thing happens all the time. Nearly everyone who goes to a monastery even a good one  has this happen at some point.

The easy answer that Anonymous is looking for is that all mental illness comes from a mistaken identification of the ego as one’s true and fundamental self. But that’s such a clich I wonder if it has any value at all anymore. Be that as it may, it’s true that nearly everyone identifies her ego as her true self. But I think most people, whether they know it or not, have some basic intuition that this is not really the way it is. To the extent that they can put this false sense of identity aside, they can function with others and form a reasonable society.

An insight into the deeper origin of mental illness doesn’t help a person be able to treat mental illness. This is because even if I understand that you are stuck in believing that your ego-structure is really you, I do not know the details of the stories that you tell yourself and I do not know the extent to which you are prepared to go to defend the false reality you believe in. Some people will kill to defend theirs. I like to stay well clear of those people.

One may, in fact, believe in their own ego-self so deeply that their belief has caused the very chemical structure of their brain and body to be altered to the extent that it’s impossible to function in “normal” society without the help of chemicals. It may go so deep that one seems to have been born with this condition. Or that one seems to have had events in one’s past that forced this upon the person. This doesn’t mean their past is unreal nor the bad things that were done to them were unreal in the conventional sense.

Remember you’re reading the words of a Buddhist who believes that even normal conventional notions of what constitutes reality are false. That’s an important point. It’s the position a lot of the supposedly more enlightened spiritual masters often are too “enlightened” to really understand or convey clearly.

And I am using the word “belief” in a way most people don’t. There are aspects of life that are related to what we commonly call “belief” or “habit” that go much much deeper than the way we usually think belief and habit operate.

Also, we all have the same problem. The habit of falsely identifying with the ego self doesn’t simply vanish just because you’ve noticed you’re doing it. Noticing this habit is just the first step. But since most people don’t even get to this first step, it’s a significant one.

So yes, from a theoretical perspective many eastern spiritual masters or leaders or whatever may have some insight into the origin of mental illness. But merely explaining what that insight is may be deeply problematic. Because even mental health professionals are mentally ill in the sense that they are what we falsely call “normal.” They’re not, by and large, ready to even understand what these eastern spiritual guys are talking about, let alone put it into practice. They haven’t done enough meditation to be able to grasp what’s being talked about.

But that’s OK. It’s their job to try and deal with the concrete problems of mental illness. It’s just that when these folks talk about mindfulness or even meditation many of them don’t really get what they’re dealing with. For one thing, they tend to seriously underestimate the real power of this stuff. They often seem to think it’s just a way to make you calm down a little.

Here’s a photo to show you what I had to deal with while writing this. Crum knows he’s being obnoxiously cute. I’m sure of it.

108 Responses

Page 1 of 3
  1. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 5, 2012 at 8:17 am | |

    !!!! 1 !!!!

    I AM NUTS!

  2. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 5, 2012 at 8:21 am | |

    perhaps you should be institutionalized?

  3. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 5, 2012 at 8:22 am | |

    Did you ever meet Adam "MCA" Yauch a fellow Buddhist bass player punk rocker? RIP

  4. john e mumbles
    john e mumbles May 5, 2012 at 8:28 am | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Manny Furious
    Manny Furious May 5, 2012 at 8:38 am | |

    "I do not know the extent to which you are prepared to go to defend the false reality you believe in."

    Whether you realize it or not, you touch on a couple of issues that deal with why I don't think mental illness is a "disease," per se. One, mental illness is diagnosed on behaviors and what is acceptable or "normal" behavior is always changing. Less than 50 years ago homosexuality was still a diagnosis in the DSM, for example. That quote, above, however, touches on another issue, and it's that the most mentally ill live in created realities. On a simplistic level, we can say that we all live in a reality we create for ourselves. Our mind discerns what it wants to and runs with it. This is part of why meditation helps. It helps to not diagnose the things happening around me.

    On a deeper level, though, we can see that the false realities are almost exclusively more dramatic than the reality in which the person lives, and that person almost always plays a central role in that drama. When a person hears voices, it's usually not telling them to go buy a bag of doritos or go randomly do cartwheels in a gym. The voices are usually creating a reality in which the ego that hears them has become more important and/or more powerful than he/she is in "reality" at that moment, i.e. to attack someone, or that there are people out "to get" that person (the former deals with power, the latter deals with importance).

    To me this suggests that severe mental illness seems to happen to those who have difficulty coping with their perceived lack of importance in the world. Schizophrenia tends to happen to creative types and highly intelligent people as well as people who come from prominent families. Borderline Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder tend to afflict people like housewives and those who come from impoverished backgrounds. OCD occurs within those who are insecure.

    The point is that each disorder has a tendency to attract a specific type of personality (or vice-versa), suggesting that these disorders are ways of coping for those personality types.

    Maybe I come off as smug or uncompassionate. I'm really not. I think people who are struggling deserve all the support they need. And, in many ways, I think pumping full of chemicals and in many ways dehumanizing them is a pretty discompassionate way of dealing with the issue.

  6. Mysterion
    Mysterion May 5, 2012 at 9:04 am | |

    "Normal" is a statistical label. By definition, 68% of any population is "normal." Thus, at a large mental facility, 68% of the patients are "normal" patients.

    The "normal" Zen Master knows as much about mental illness as s/he knows about investing in stocks, betting on horses, or racing sailboats.

    "Normal" psychologists with limited meditation experience know as much about Zen as they do about investing in stocks, betting on horses, or racing sailboats.

    However, you will find a psychologist that knows about racing sailboats if you look long enough. Therefore, it IS possible to find a "Zen Master" that knows about the psychology and the physiology of mental illness – but – that would not be the "normal" case.

    Cheers,

    Chas

    Yes, I happen to have a friend who IS a statistician. (And I have other friends who are 'Zen Masters'… a.k.a. masters of nothing)

    MORE

  7. Danny
    Danny May 5, 2012 at 9:12 am | |

    Hi Brad,

    do you breath slowly and deeply (abdominally) during zazen?

    I don't mean if you do so by intention but if you check while sitting for half an hour, do you do so?

    Thank you,

    Danny

  8. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 5, 2012 at 11:03 am | |

    you are patient ^

  9. Brad Warner
    Brad Warner May 5, 2012 at 11:03 am | |

    Danny said:

    Do you breath slowly and deeply (abdominally) during zazen?

    I've been thinking about this. I'd have to say that I do, although I don't make any specific effort to do so. It just kind of happens. I think it's an effect of the posture.

  10. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 5, 2012 at 11:42 am | |

    you are always right on time ^

    (must be a bass player ;)

  11. Seagal Rinpoche
    Seagal Rinpoche May 5, 2012 at 12:01 pm | |

    Any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee.

  12. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 5, 2012 at 12:09 pm | |

    "The easy answer that Anonymous is looking for is that all mental illness comes from a mistaken identification of the ego as one's true and fundamental self."

    How in the world do you know what Anonymous is looking for?

    Quite often, you set up your argument or statement by first setting up a straw man. Try noticing when you do this. Observe what else is rising in you. Perhaps this is a good learning point.

    Just kidding. I'm an over-caffeinated moron.

  13. katageek
    katageek May 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm | |

    The point that I see that is missing, is what is a mad person supposed to do regarding Zazen?

    I'm no "Zen master" although I have a teacher. Our tradition is a Soto/Renzai mix called Sanbo Kyodan where we have our very own war monger in our tradition's family tree.

    Anyway, people who are nuts often turn to spirituality to be less nuts. A minister tells them "Jesus can give them peace" and they buy the full meal deal to handle their issues and when it doesn't work, THEY INVEST MOAR.

    And then the religion inevitably fails to deliver after the big gospel tent leaves town. Some recognizes this, others do not.

    For such people interested in Zen, I feel that Zazen sessions should be short (one to five minutes) and that they should KEEP them short and VERY SLOWLY increase time only if their practice helps them deal with their symptoms.

    Kind of an approach that uses:

    PATIENT: "It makes me crazy when I do this!"
    DOCTOR: " Then DON'T do that!"

  14. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 5, 2012 at 1:24 pm | |

    Crum wuvs you…

  15. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 5, 2012 at 1:24 pm | |

    Katageek, I hang at a Sanbo Kyodan place too. My teacher is Ruben Habito. I doubt he could beat Brad in a fistfight, so I'm somewhat ashamed. :(

  16. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 5, 2012 at 1:40 pm | |

    I don't know anything. I don't have anything to say. Like the opposite of brad who can talk and write about everything.

  17. Mysterion
    Mysterion May 5, 2012 at 1:55 pm | |

    katageek said…
    "The point…"

    While the gospel tent is about "other control," Zazen is about "self control." (I know, there is no self… we are all manifestations of Krishna consciousness…)

    Zazen sessions, in group, usually DO start at 5 – minutes (attention span of the angst). After a few weeks, the sessions are incremented (don't use the term graduated) to 10 or 12 minutes, depending on the tolerance level of the group. At the end of six months, the Zazen period should a full thirty minutes.

    Therefore, the licensed clinical psychologist can collect $25 from each individual in group or insurance carriers thereof by doing NOTHING.

    Or so it seems to the uninformed.

    P.S. Zazen was introduced into Europe in the early 1800s. Arthur Conan Doyle was born on May 22, 1859, in Edinburgh, Scotland. The area was already familiar with Buddhism and Meditation. Doyle occasionally alluded to Buddhist themes in his first Sherlock Holmes novels.

  18. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 5, 2012 at 2:01 pm | |

    "Zazen sessions, in group, usually DO start at 5 – minutes (attention span of the angst). After a few weeks, the sessions are incremented (don't use the term graduated) to 10 or 12 minutes, depending on the tolerance level of the group. At the end of six months, the Zazen period should a full thirty minutes."

    What? Where does this happen, or is this the rule for ALL zazen group sessions? That's something I've not heard of or experienced.

  19. Khru
    Khru May 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  20. katageek
    katageek May 5, 2012 at 2:07 pm | |

    Me too Anon, but I think Ruben is pretty scrappy. Unless Brad dons a monster suit, I would have to go with the old man.

  21. Khru
    Khru May 5, 2012 at 2:09 pm | |

    Does anything on this blog relieve suffering for anyone?

    This isn't a rhetorical question, I'd like to know.

    Perhaps that isn't the purpose.(?)

  22. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 5, 2012 at 2:13 pm | |

    Does anything on this blog relieve suffering for anyone?

    This isn't a rhetorical question, I'd like to know.

    Perhaps that isn't the purpose.(?)

    The lessons conveyed herein are subject to BROAD interpretation. Take from them what you will.

    I, a very serious practitioner, had a verbal altercation earlier today. My wife and I were walking and nearly got run over by some guy in a big vehicle. I said something like "are you in a hurry?" and the guy slammed on his breaks and asked me what I "hollered" at him. The guy was itching for a fight. (He was very old and looked quite infirm, but that's not really the point.) I tried to apologize but he squealed off when I was mid-sentence.

    There is probably a lesson in there somewhere. It's not apparent to me just yet, but it'll emerge when it emerges.

  23. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 5, 2012 at 2:14 pm | |

    Oh, and I'm more earnest than I am serious. Don't know why I chose "serious" to describe myself.

  24. Mysterion
    Mysterion May 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm | |

    I am speaking ONLY of Zazen as practiced within a group setting under the umbrella of CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGY.

    also HERE

    and HERE

    Meditation is called "typical" by the NIMH HERE

    Regular Zendos often do regular sessions – 30 minutes (or more) regardless of the skill or tolerance levels of the 'students.'

    This insensitivity to new students is, no doubt, part of the reason that the drop-out rate remains high. (e.g. this is too hard, does not apply, etc.) The lack of Instant Gratification is often the second reason students drop.

    Question: Why do I bother to respond?

    Don't give up so easily!

  25. Mysterion
    Mysterion May 5, 2012 at 2:48 pm | |

    "Does anything on this blog relieve suffering for anyone?"

    Suffering, like happiness, comes from within.

    It is very easy to say "I want relief from YOU."

    It is difficult to accept that "Relief from suffering is my responsibility."

    and

    "Relief from an exuberance of happiness (mania) is my responsibility."

    Buddhism teaches that each person is responsible for the next breath that they take.

    From the 'world of passion',
    to 'the world of passion'.
    There is one pause —
    if it rains, let it,
    If the wind blows let it.

    – (1424) IKKYU

  26. Cidercat
    Cidercat May 5, 2012 at 4:09 pm | |

    Crum knows a great many things!

  27. Jinzang
    Jinzang May 5, 2012 at 5:00 pm | |

    Putting on my homeopathic hat, there's no such thing as mental illness and there's no such thing as physical illness. The WHOLE PERSON is ill not not just one particular organ. Though, obviously, symptoms of one type may predominate in a case. What makes something an illness? When someone walks through the doctor's door and asks for treatment. From the homeopathic perspective, treatment is matching the symptoms of the case to those produced by the medicine.

    Putting on my Buddhist hat, I don't promise meditation will solve anyone's problems. What meditation does instead is show you that what you took to be a problem is really not one. Or if it really is (your roof is leaking) maybe you need some other type of help. There are many non-problems surrounding the real problem of illness, such as fear and anxiety over the illness, that can be helped by meditation. And conventional medicine has medicalized many non-problems (sadness becomes depression and fidgityness becomes ADHD) that can be helped by meditation.

  28. hAtman
    hAtman May 5, 2012 at 5:23 pm | |

    Is a "homeopathic hat" simply the echo of a hat, like a breeze blowing through your hair?

    Is a "buddhist hat" wearing your begging bowl like a hat?

  29. Mysterion
    Mysterion May 5, 2012 at 6:20 pm | |

    Blogger Jinzang said…
    "Putting on my homeopathic hat…"

    Putting on my skeptical (critical thinking) hat, just where did you complete your advanced studies on the subject of medicine?

    I have NOT studied medicine. But I have been the recipient of some medical advances – something this side of 1840.

    As for meditation, it is one of those RARE cases where an approach to therapy pioneered in 585 B.C.E. has remained somewhat beneficial into the 21st century.

    Do homeopathic remedies work?
    *****************************
    CONCLUSIONS: Statements and methods of alternative medicine–as far as they concern observable clinical phenomena–can be tested by scientific methods. When such tests yield negative results, as in the studies presented herein the particular method or statement should be abandoned. Otherwise one would run the risk of supporting superstition and quackery.

    **************************
    The Bible of Homeopathy says it.

    I believe it.

    No more need be said.*
    **************************

    *Not.

    Beliefs and science do not mix. Where believing starts, science stops.

    Once you have built a belief into your brain, it is resilient to change – it is literally a crystallized structure. Like crystal, some beliefs can be 'shattered.' Many, like tumors, only die with the host.

  30. Soft Troll
    Soft Troll May 5, 2012 at 7:16 pm | |

    Manny Furious wrote:

    Maybe I come off as smug or uncompassionate.

    Maybe that too.

    When I read stuff I've written, I often realize what a stupid fuck I am.

    We're all in this together.

  31. gniz
    gniz May 5, 2012 at 7:50 pm | |

    I'm not sure what's gotten into me lately–or what's gotten into Mysterion. Except that I now find his posts to be fairly insightful and exceptional.

    No, I'm not being remotely sarcastic or ironic, etc.

    Carry on.

  32. gniz
    gniz May 5, 2012 at 7:51 pm | |

    Also, excellent blog post Brad. great stuff, I have nothing to add except my appreciation for the subtlety of what you've written here.

    I've accepted that I'm insane about 95 % of the time.

    Some people seem to be insane about 100 % of the time. That 5% can make a big difference.

  33. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote May 5, 2012 at 8:49 pm | |

    So now that we've all agreed that the jhanas involve coffin-cases unstaked…

    Western medical science is king where intervention is the order of the day. I agree. Chronic conditions, western medicos look to me like quacks in white coats with board certificates- what are they practicing!

    Houdini knew something about being a coffin-case; could be useful, but not at Harvard, I think.

    So how's this for an instruction of zazen: let the length of the inhalation or exhalation engender the activity in the sartorious and gluteous muscles that rotates the pelvis and extends the hips, and through the extension of the hips let the inhalation or exhalation simultaneously cause the piriformis muscles to act to rotate the sacrum opposite to the pelvis. Consciousness takes place; flexion, extension, and rotation at the location in space act to open the ability to feel. Relinquishment of activity to the point of falling can sometimes bring forward the sense of location in space, through which the ability to feel necessary to perceive the activity in the movement of breath is opened.

    Sealed and buried over an hour, Houdini survived. He developed an ability to feel things related to the activity of breath that most people don't feel, that would be my guess.

    I believe the cross-legged posture can be a teacher, and can teach me the truths about suffering in particular. The teacher's teacher, was it not so?

  34. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 5, 2012 at 9:24 pm | |

    Zen Master get neurosis because of zen:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/26/magazine/26zen-t.html

  35. Mysterion
    Mysterion May 5, 2012 at 9:31 pm | |

    Well, I never met Krishnamurti but I did meet Khuda Bux "the Man with the X-Ray Eyes" in 1973.

    Brief BIO

    Sometimes, Indians exaggerate.

    And I thought it was only the writers of "sacred" scriptures.

    "In the summer of 1949 Lowell Thomas set out on his most thrilling and unusual trip across the Himalayas to the remote country of Tibet, granted access to visit by the Dalai Lama, ruler of Tibet at that time. In Tibet, the Dalai Lama was considered the living Buddha and worshipped as the spiritual leader. Lowell Thomas writes at the time of his visit only six Americans had ever previously seen him."

    I wonder if the Dalai Lama I met was the same one??? And Lowell Thomas the radio guy, was he the same one? Was I the same one? (bubble pops!) Oh… it was all a dream! Nevermind.

    Perhaps one day I will meet John E. Mumbles.

    Wait and see.

  36. Mysterion
    Mysterion May 5, 2012 at 9:59 pm | |

    Zen Master get neurosis because of zen.

    1) there is no cause and effect shown.

    2) self-alienation isn't neurosis, it's a pathological modality. Only an errant (delusional) MODE of thinking – like thinking you are one of god's chosen few.

    3) "he scraped by on teaching gigs at half a dozen schools" [rejection is a hard thing to take]

    4) He faced financial and/or professional insecurity, the infirmities of growing old, and the aftermath of a broken marriage his fourth.

    Where's the detachment here?

    it should read:

    Would be half-time Zen Master and adjunct professor becomes delusional because of financial insecurity, growing old, and a broken marriage.

    Out of embarrassment, he became the "invisible man" in his own mind.

    We are fortunate to have met a number of delusional people in this comments section.

    Should I recall a few? Seeking mitigation for their delusions, they came here.

  37. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 5, 2012 at 11:49 pm | |

    anonymous saidTo me this suggests that severe mental illness seems to happen to those who have difficulty coping with their perceived lack of importance in the world. Schizophrenia tends to happen to creative types and highly intelligent people as well as people who come from prominent families. Borderline Personality Disorder and Histrionic Personality Disorder tend to afflict people like housewives and those who come from impoverished backgrounds. OCD occurs within those who are insecure.

    The point is that each disorder has a tendency to attract a specific type of personality (or vice-versa), suggesting that these disorders are ways of coping for those personality types

    Unfortunately this is simpley not true. Very atractive but not true. People suffering from mental illness are people—as complex different and individual as the rest of us. Like the rest of us when they are ill there are aspects of their illness, physical or otherwise that some of us share with them.

    Modern medicine/psychiatry is also complex. Some of it is good. Some of it is difficult much like chemotherapy for cancer. No doubt it will continue to change.

    Mindfulness has entered the portfolio of treatments of late for both mental and physical disease. This i thick is generaly a good thing though I agree that most 'teachers' are not aware of the potential power of this treatment. In medical terms the side effect profile has not been appropriatly aknowleged.

    what am i trying to say—I suspect 'life is complicated'. any simple solution is neat attractive and wrong.

    ben.silvna@virgin.net

  38. proulx michel
    proulx michel May 6, 2012 at 12:49 am | |

    I'm not really into homeopathy. I rarely seek medical advice and medication, and when is the case, I'm content with allopathy.
    But I heard stock breeders make ironic remarks about homeopathy, since they did apply it to their cattle and it worked…

  39. anon #108
    anon #108 May 6, 2012 at 3:08 am | |

    This comment has been removed by the author.

  40. Just Kidding
    Just Kidding May 6, 2012 at 4:24 am | |

    hAtman said…
    Is a "homeopathic hat" simply the echo of a hat, like a breeze blowing through your hair?

    I seem to remember reading somewhere that homeopathic hats are made out of tinfoil. Aluminum foil would probably be just as effective.

  41. Thich nHAT Kidding
    Thich nHAT Kidding May 6, 2012 at 4:56 am | |

    hAtman said…
    Is a "buddhist hat" wearing your begging bowl like a hat?

    A Buddhist hat is worn inside your head.

  42. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 6, 2012 at 5:27 am | |

    don't be silly.

    HERE is a buddhist hat.

    and ANOTHER

    and ANOTHER

    and ONE MORE

  43. katageek
    katageek May 6, 2012 at 7:15 am | |

    i read the article on the Zen master who went to psychoanalysis.

    He had the classic "satori" experience and as a human being is still all fucked up. He did Zen for 30 years. He had a HORRIBLE childhood, four marriages, and wasn't better after 30 years of staring at a wall.

    In fact, he was worse.

    Yup. That's Satori for you.

    Zen (including Renzai's "Satori") really doesn't FIX anything. If you drive to a Zendo in a bad car, you will leave the Zendo in a bad car.

    And "Crazy" is more like a car then people want to admit. Even among the comments here, people are denying that mental illness is "real."

    Really? Okay. Good luck with that.

    In that article, I think the Zen Master was trying to "fix his crazy car" with Zen. Deep emotional wounds need professional help or wise ears that listen four times before a tongue speaks.

    Zen won't fix the crazy car. And Zen is an easy way to "avoid" dealing with the crazy car. And that is just what this guy did.

    What do you call a crazy man who becomes a Zen master?

    Easy. A crazy Zen master.

  44. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote May 6, 2012 at 7:21 am | |

    With the activity of breath underground in the cross-hairs of the stake, the voice of the place echoes, "comb hair!"

    The candle-flame flickers in the wind; waking up, falling asleep?- like a zombie, the body rises and walks!

    Tune in again for the next exciting episode of "Zazen Walks", or "Only Zazen Can Sit Zazen"- brought to you by the good folks at Deep-Endz-en.

  45. Mysterion
    Mysterion May 6, 2012 at 8:26 am | |

    Schizophrenia is a developmental dis-ease that is structural in nature and has nothing to do with creativity, intelligence, Feng Shui, VooDoo, OuiJa, MoJo, or spirituality. It tends to run in families – which might help explain Leviticus (the code of the tribe of Levi).

  46. Mysterion
    Mysterion May 6, 2012 at 8:30 am | |

    "Recent studies have indicated that children who born to mothers who suffer from flu, viruses and other infections during the pregnancy are at significantly increased risk of schizophrenia – up to 700% higher than children who are not exposed to flu/viruses during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy." source

    schizophrenia – it's a gift from mom.

  47. Anonymous
    Anonymous May 6, 2012 at 8:30 am | |

    ^ what do you mean by 'developmental' and 'structural'?

  48. john e mumbles
    john e mumbles May 6, 2012 at 8:34 am | |

    (On meeting Mysterion…)

    'There is nobody else but me or my consciousness' -this
    is Advaita Bhakti (non-dual devotion)- I Am: This is
    the highest devotion – to vanish and be lost or
    submerged in this vast unknown. -Nisargadatta Maharaj

    THE STORIES
    He wrote the stories when he was a young man, not understanding that what he wrote amounted to prophecy, that the fictional character would turn out to be him later on, that the tragedies he foretold would actually come true. Unconsciously, the pattern of his life raveled out of him in the form of allegory, a poem, a short story, a long descriptive narrative. Or perhaps this map of the future was simply an outline of possible futures, and really, anything could have happened. But it didn't, it happened exactly as he had written it down, years before.

    The stories lived within him from the beginning, as far back, in fact, as he could remember. Almost as if it had all already happened, or he were in the very heart of the heart of time, erasing concepts like past, present, and future, standing somewhere inside and outside of it, looking in all directions at once.

    The stories demanded to be told, to be lived and breathed. They were his life itself.

    He thought in terms of them, translating simple reality into the language of storytelling, until both were inseparable. Everything was symbolic of something else, interconnected, a bridge of metaphors that he crossed, and turning around, crossed again, and again.

  49. Mysterion
    Mysterion May 6, 2012 at 8:39 am | |

    speaking of the NY Times

    and
    "A number of abnormalities have been identified and confirmed by meta-analysis, including ventricular enlargement and decreased cerebral (cortical and hippocampal) volume. These are characteristic of schizophrenia as a whole, rather than being restricted to a subtype, and are present in first-episode, unmedicated patients. There is considerable evidence for preferential involvement of the temporal lobe and moderate evidence for an alteration in normal cerebral asymmetries. " source

  50. john e mumbles
    john e mumbles May 6, 2012 at 8:42 am | |

    (I was there when he said it, so it must be true, or not, at least acc. to Hassan-i-Sabbah, Old Man of the Mountain…-JEM)

    People often ask me if I have any words of advice for young people.
    Well here are a few simple admonitions for young and old.
    Never interfere in a boy-and-girl fight.
    Beware of whores who say they don't want money.
    The hell they don't.
    What they mean is they want more money. Much more.
    If you're doing business with a religious son-of-a-bitch,
    Get it in writing.
    His word isn't worth shit.
    Not with the good lord telling him how to fuck you on the deal.

    Avoid fuck-ups.
    We all know the type.
    Anything they have anything to do with,
    No matter how good it sounds,
    Turns into a disaster.
    Do not offer sympathy to the mentally ill.
    Tell them firmly:
    I am not paid to listen to this drivel.
    You are a terminal boob.

    -William S. Burroughs

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