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March 24, 2006


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Hey Bri, I like Herrigel's words of wisdom about "knowing". I think that was part of my dilemma with RSSB. I was not convinced that I could know completely about the Ultimate reality, when in the end it was still ME (in my body) doing the knowing. Even though you supposedly shed the body during meditation, you only completely detach after death.

I will have to give some thought to my personal koan. I find it amazing that you were so self-aware at age 19! It took me much longer to get to that state.

All the best, Cyn

Well, Cyn, I wish I was truly self-aware at 19 . I don't know. Maybe I was. Maybe I've gone downhill on the self-awareness mountain since then. But I doubt it.

I was intensely introspective then, as I am now. I was more into "dark" existentialism in my late teens, probably because I was in a decidedly schizoid state of mind.

For about a year I felt like I was standing outside of myself watching me do things. Quite disconcerting. It was hard to be spontaneous or feel relaxed when I was looking upon myself as an object, rather than subjectively.

On the plus side, perhaps, I was able to look upon myself in a decidedly detached fashion. I could disassemble my thoughts and emotions, examine them disinterestedly, and comment on my findings.

So I was "self-aware" in the sense that I could stand back from myself and analyze what was happening in my head. However, now I don't consider that to be true self-awareness.

My goal now is to be simply aware. Not a duplicate awareness: aware of being aware. Just aware. Simpler. Sweeter. A lot more genuinely Zen-ish. And also, harder.

How very interesting !.... I had the exact same semi-OOB experience during that time myself, and it was disconcerting especially since people around me were not having that at all. It generally lasted quite a long time and I guess I eventually integrated somehow. I wonder if there is any connection? Mine occured around 1967 thru 1968 approximately. I also can definitely relate to the Zen-ness of being simply "just aware". And true, it is hard, especially when one has been down/up such a long and winding road.

may I point out the blank in your picture? how many years between writing and reading? Check in with the "knowing" occasionally and go back to spider/fly living. Empty somewhere so that it can be full, not so much that time passed, just the not-cognizant Brian being.

Talking about zen too much is like looking for fish tracks in the mud.

Hello Brian and Cyn, Was googling "personal koan" when I found this page. Hi Brian your recollections have a very familiar "ring". I found my personal koan in the last 2-3 years yet I first asked it to myself around 40 years ago, thats 1967. Its been governing my life, without my realizing for all that time. Now I know this, it is just a start, where I go from here is still a big question, but I am finding that when I am ready the teacher arrives. And by teacher I don't just mean a person. It can easily be a thing, an event or an opportunity, like finding this site.

Regards Pete


Since Pete brought it up again, I would like to add that I don't really agree with your quasi-koan: “There will be light when there is no darkness and through darkness we cannot find the light.”

I myself would tend to say that... Only through the darkness, can the light be truly known. The light and the dark are both faces of the ineffable.

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