One famous Red Cap and one Moron. Seekers after eternal truth.
Our bags are packed. At the airport the green bird of Kulula is waiting to take us to the Fairest Cape, while I will be taking my moron deeper into the illusion that is life, and the sod is so happy he can wet his pants like an exited child. He does not know where he is going. He never does.
We started our little journey with Kierkegaad’s: “I stick my finger into existence – it smells of nothing. Where am I? Who am I? How did I come to be here? What is this thing called the world? What does the world mean? Who is it that has lured me into the thing, and now leaves me here?” and we intend to keep on poking at life and demand answers, (or demand to see the Director, like my obstinate, overly excitable moron usually does.)
On this journey we will have as trusted companion Roshi TZ, an honourable Zen master and expert on the writings of Adyashanti and his enlightened and enlightening wisdom. We are going to listen to “Emptiness Dancing”. Together with TZ we are going to try to wake the moron up. “Awakening,” says Adyashanti, “is the end of seeking, the end of the seeker, but it is the beginning of a life from your true nature. That’s a whole other discovery.”
But we have a problem, me and my wise companion. Our problem is that the moron, like all his fellow morons, do not know that they are asleep. They are under the illusion that they are wide awake, and the worst part is, they know it all, they know everything there is to know, or they will … one day. Sagacious as they are, the Universe can keep no secret from them, ever.
TZ pokes me in the ribs and says; “tell him”.
“Tell him what,” I ask.
“Tell him that my speaking to him on this trip is to shake him awake, not to tell him how to dream better. He knows how to dream better”.
“But I am awake,” says my moron agitated and promptly falls asleep, and stays asleep for the rest of the flight.
“How do we,” says TZ gravely, looking at my snoring companion “convince him that he is a living Buddha, the divine emptiness, the infinite nothing, in fact the human expression of oneness?”
I wake him up when we land at the airport. “Are we there yet,” he asks sleepily.
“No,” I tell him, “we haven’t even started yet, but we need you to go and organise transport for us to get to our destination in Wilderness, the starting point of our journey.”
And how appropriate is the name Wilderness, because that is exactly where the poor sod is at the moment, in the wilderness of his little mind, the dwelling place of his bloated little ego. From Wilderness we must get him into the high mountains of eternal truth. We must take him to the unknown, let him experience the unknown, let him be the unknown.
Funny thing is, the other day, out of the blue he said to me that he thinks that enlightenment must be like an infinitely extended orgasm, and he would like to go there, be enlightened because it will be so much fun. He is a strange one indeed. But misguided, very much misguided.
“The Wilderness!” he says joyously. “I love the wilderness. The truth is, I am a wild one, has always been the wild one. You could say that I am the tiger of the wilderness,” he says and growls like a tiger for effect. “I will go and get the car. The sooner we get into the wild, the better. Oh boy, I am so excited. The truth is, I am a territorial male animal and I am going to mark off my territory by pissing against the tree trunks, and I will guard my territory like a fierce lion,” he boasts and trots off to get the rented car.
“You know who you are and what the truth is sir?” TZ asks quietly after him. “The eternal truth?”
He stops and turns back slowly. “Of course I know who I am and what the truth is. I have no illusions as to what the truth is and who I am. I would never have gotten to where I am today without knowing exactly who I am and where I came from. I don’t know about you, but I am an enlightened man my friend. I have travelled the world, I have seen things. I can tell you a story or two about myself, my endeavours and about the truth if you want to know, old man,” he says and walks away, muttering under his breath, “And now I am losing my mind, I am talking to my infernal Red Cap and his imaginary fiendish friend! Do I know the truth! The hell I do!”
And then suddenly he slaps me one mighty hard slap with his open hand and shouts, “And that is the sound of one hand clapping you fool!” but he then immediately starts to rub his head, realising too late that that was a real stupid thing to do when the object of your anger is sitting right there on top of your stupid head.
TZ chuckled softly. “That could be taken as a good lesson in Oneness,” he says, “and on a very base level it is, but you will eventually learn that hurting another, is on a subtle level to hurt yourself. You see sir, the realization of eternal truth comes at the expense of all of your illusions, which is in fact all of your mundane truths accumulated over a lifetime of unconscious living. But we will get to that … slowly.
“In the mean time you can meditate on the principal of the butterfly effect.”
“And what, pray, is ‘the butterfly effect’ oh wise one?” he asks mockingly, and flaps his ‘wings’ like a butterfly.
“The law of sensitive dependence upon initial conditions,” TZ answers calmly. “Take that as your Koan for today.”
“But what does it mean?” our seeker asks indignantly.
“No talking, just contemplation,” TZ informs him and walks away.
We board our rented car and set off to Wilderness and our humble accommodation, a very old hotel overlooking the Indian Ocean. We settle in, but my moron, our reluctant seeker after eternal truth is restless. He goes to the balcony and stares at the waves crushing down on the beach far below us. The sea is as restless as his mind is, forever churning up dredges from his ambiguous past and smashing it on the shores of his dubious future.
He seems to be hypnotised by the movement of the waves, and TZ stealthily moves in like the master he is, to take advantage of his pensive mood. From right behind his left ear he whispers, “who are you without your story, without your script?”
The moron is momentarily bewildered and stammers incoherently: “Me? What do you mean by ‘my story, my script’?”
But TZ is relentless. “Show me your original face,” he demands.
“What do you mean by ‘my original face’?” stammers our reluctant seeker. “This ís my original face,” he counters with more confidence. And then his face brightens up and he smiles a jubilant smile. “Ah!” he says, “I know, it is like that story about the female peacock saying to the male peacock that is prancing up and down in front of her with a magnificent display of his tail feathers. Said she; ‘stop the crap and show me your willy!” and he burst out laughing as if it is the most hilarious joke he has ever heard. He jumps up and down, falls down on the bed holding his stomach. “Show me your willy, show me your willy” he laughs uncontrollably, and then he suddenly stops laughing while he first looks bewildered, and then, with the most serene expression on his face, he stares into empty space.
“He is into the crack,” I shout at TZ. “Hit him with a stick, hit him now, hit him on the head,” I shout excitedly.
“First of all,” says TZ, “I do not have a stick, and secondly I am not Huineng , I do not hit people on the head with sticks. I have a tongue, I talk to people, I tell them, no, I convince them that they are really Unborn,” he says sternly.
By that time the moron has snapped out of it, he gets up from the bed and informs us that he is going for a swim, and walks out the door.
“Show me your face before your mother and father was born,” says TZ softly to the moron’s retreating back. That stopped him in his tracks, but he did not turn around, nor did he say anything, he just stood there, and then he walked away.
We went for a swim, and when we came back, the moron started talking to a man painting door and window frames with a dark blue paint. We learn that the painter’s name was Albert, and that he hails from the Cape where there is no work, so he drifted up the coast doing the odd painting job here and there, and ended up here in Wilderness with this big paint job at the hotel.
To my surprise and utter astonishment, our reluctant seeker after eternal truth says to the painter; “You know, painting is a noble art, and an excellent way to enlightenment. All you have to do is move into the now through the act of mindfulness. By being mindful, the dualism of painter and the object being painted becomes one, everything becomes one, and you will be free …” and just when I started to get all excited about this new version of my old moron, he mumbles: “or some shit like that.”
And then, while Albert looked extremely perplexed after the short lecture on enlightenment bestowed upon his innocent mind, we went through the humiliating ritual of me being plonked onto the head of our newly enlightened friend and photographs being taken against the backdrop of an grey blue sea.
The Wilderness is, even today, a fairly wild place. Not much has changed from the time when Farmer van der Brug settled here in 1850, or later when George Bennet moved into the wilderness with his wife to appease his wild old father in law. Yes there are shops and houses and a hotel or two, even grand boutique hotels for hollow, well-to-do people, but the spirit of the place is as wild and restless as ever. No wonder my mad companion feels at home here. It stirs something deep inside of him, something very primitive, or perhaps something disturbingly divine.
Our Quest-After-Eternal-Truth is off to a shaky start. Tomorrow we will, like the man from Lamanca, storm a few more windmills, stick our fingers into existence and ask; why?
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence;
Two roads diverged in the wood, and I –
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
(Robert Frost: 1874-1963) ‘The road not taken’