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Paradigm shift: worldly and spiritual life, Nagarjuna, Dogen, and role models

excerpted from IN AND OF: memoirs of a mystic journey, by Jack Haas



Itís what you canít see coming that truly belongs to life. And life, if not a great adventure, is at least a fabulous misadventure.

                Most things that happen are much different than they appear, existing beyond the borders of conception and reason. These are the inexplicable, the immense, the evanescent doorways and portholes into the essence; the blinding core of impossible conditions, of realms and layers stacked upon each other, within each other, through and all around each other; the convulsive pandemonium of surprise and imagination; the real and implausible, the recognizable and the nebulous; the presence and absence of the unexpected conglomerations, residues, and idiosyncrasies; the outright exquisiteness and brilliance of the whole trembling edifice, held together by nothing, heading towards nowhere, beyond meaning and purpose, out and in and tossed into a heap of wriggling preposterousnesses all oozing and biting and thrashing about in the calm and tireless ubiquity.

                Given this, I was lucky during those first few years in Vancouver- a time when I was still capable of living with others, a time which did not last very long and was followed by many years in which I would either need to be out in the free and open expanse of the wilds, or furtively locked away behind four impenetrable walls in some dingy apartment, alone and in perfect silence except for the ever present cacophony of untamed voices ringing out in grand disharmony within my perplexed cranium- but I was lucky, as I said, in the beginning, when I was still somewhat of a social creature, and not yet burdened with the solitary life, in that I took up neophytic residence with a young man who would help me break a few of the chains which bound and hindered me from expanding the dimensions of my formative self. And he would do that simply by living as an example, right before me, of a way of surviving in the world without being driven mad by it.

                I was lucky- or perhaps blessed is a more accurate adjective- because prior to arriving in Vancouver, I had been acquainted with mostly beer-guzzling buffoons and thoughtless toadstools, and had not met a single soul who had prioritized the spirit over the world, and so I was on an uncertain path, barely caring for the way I lived, because somewhere deep inside I knew that something was wrong, horribly wrong, and yet I had no idea of another way to exist, and so I had been doing what everyone else did who was caught in a life which didnít belong to them- I drank and partied, chased women, and talked about nothing in particular. Oh, I was already irrevocably immersed in the esoteric and recondite texts of antiquity, but for all the effect these had on me I might as well have been reading fantasy novels, for what had eternal, cosmic truths to do with food, drink, and rent, anyways? I was born of substance and had no idea of how to live without it as my mainstay.

                And so my new roommate shifted my paradigm, as it were, for I realized soon enough that he spoke in a language which I had never heard before, and yet one which I understood instantly upon listening to it; a language which came before mankindís superfluous conventions took charge; a language which sang in my ears of another song, another rhythm, another aspect of existence which indeed I could sense beyond the inharmonious pitch of societyís discord, but which I had not isolated nor paid proper attention to until it came and laid itself before me in the living form of Glen.

                Even to this day Glen has a way of standing in the midst of the tumult, like the eye of the hurricane, and being unaffected by the hysteria and chaos all around. He is a classic adept, with all the equanimity and poise of a master such as Nagarjuna or Dogen, hovering effortlessly above the mire of endless troubles and their repair. It was from his example that I realized no one need commit themselves to a lifetime of toil and struggle simply to exist; one needed merely decide to exist in the magic and beauty of the day, and the universe would take care of its own, for this is an inalienable right of ours- which is, simply be. And that means to live without the futility of the daily grind hampering our exaltations.


excerpted from:

author Jack Haas, west coast British Columbia wilderness, ocean forest island



IN AND OF: memoirs of a mystic journey

by Jack Haas



















Mystical books, visionary art, and fine art photography by Jack Haas




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