A Short Story, Quickly Unwrapped

- Rio

I am not a religious person, and never have been. Growing up, church was but a way to meet girls and smoke cigarettes in a secret room we kept up above the sanctuary. Particularly in Christianity, I have found it is not a popular ideal to question or "keep it to yourself", as I am so fond of doing. Even today, as I cruise the Christian chat rooms, it appears most of the participants are engaged in nothing more than name-calling and crude games of one-up-man-ship designed to determine who is the smartest, as well as who has the greatest "faith". I have often wondered what on earth these people would do if Jesus himself were to actually logon.

My childhood was pretty typical. I experienced all of the garden variety loses and humiliations as well as the victories.

It wasn't until my early twenties that I had become troubled. Things didn't fit. Family and friends spoke of their concern and willingness to help, yet they only added to my despair. My life was miserable and there seemed to be no answer. I drank quite heavily and years later developed into a full blown alcoholic and coke addict. The Proponents of Jesus still beckoned from the UHF channels late at night, yet I felt a resistance, inspite of my confusion, that I could not explain.

Years passed and I did the best I could, or at least knew how. I worked all over the west coast as a musician, carpenter, technician, artist, janitor, bar-swamp, salesman, maintenance man, thief. Lovers came and went, opportunities blossomed and died, monies were made and then lost. I even considered joining a cult.

Later on I found a book, "BE HERE NOW" by Baba Ram Dass.

We have all had the experience of being captivated by a book or movie, yet this volume and all of it's mysterious contents called to me in a quiet and private way. Squirrled away in my tiny hotel room in San Francisco, I read deeply and thorougly. I would then forget about the book, then find myself scrambling to suddenly dig it out again.

This eventually led to a study of Zen, which continues to fascinate, as well as frustrate, me today.

I'll cut this short, but the most fundamental aspect of Zen Buddhism and it's related proponents that so captivates me is that it doesn't seem to be interested in what I know or how fast I'm going. It doesn't challenge or judge, nor demand. It just wants me to sit and be calm.


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