Getting on about nine years ago now, one of my best friends was, I guess, seeing this one little Pagan angel with electric blues eyes. Actually, seeing each other might not be the best description, given my friend. It would be more honest to say they were just fucking one another, quite athletically, from what I was told. But that's another story.
Still, the little Pagan angel and I got along. At the time she was in charge of a once a month event called Pagan Night Out. She thought it would be just corking if I came along.
"Um, you know I'm Buddhist, right?" I said. It was possible my philosophical and heretical theological leanings had not come up in conversation.
"So?" She said. "Come along anyway."
Well, my friend, the one she was fucking, offered to give me a ride, and I found myself curious. And it wasn't as horrible as I dreaded. Although, that one observation oracle that was cast in my direction was creepy enough to get me to growl and want to go for my dagger. But that's another story. I decided I might check out the next month's.
Hey, it was something to do...
That something to do lasted around three years, give or take. It wasn't too terrible a time. I would hang out, sometimes rather briefly, with the little Pagan angel, who had long since stopped fucking my friend and gotten involved with someone else. There were a few other cats that went I got along with. I did learn a thing or two, like the fact I could only handle being around that many Pagans for about two or three hours-at most-before I started entertaining murder thoughts.
Sometime during my acquaintance with the little Pagan angel, she took to calling me Zen Rob. I found it an amusing moniker, due to the fact the Buddhism I practiced, however heretically, was Tibetan, not Zen. Still, that's what she called me, and I dismissed it as just being in reference to being the token Buddhist that showed up at the odd Pagan Night Out and ate shrimp fajitas.
One of the last oracles that was cast for me was by the little Pagan angel the night before my grandmother's memorial. I was more than a little depressed. Aside from the fact my grandmother had just walked on, there was a girl, who I was wondering for what was not the first or last time if I really needed to be involved with. When I was greeted with Zen Rob, I could barely force a smile, because zen was not something I was really feeling.
"You know why I call you Zen Rob?" The little Pagan angel asked me after she laid down the cards for my oracle.
"The whole Buddhist thing," I said plainly, if not a little mockingly. "Never mind I'm a Tibetan Buddhist."
"No," she said. "It's because that's how you are. Nothing gets to you. It's all water down a duck's back. Zen."
...Oh, bullshit!...I remember thinking...I just lost my grandmother. There's this fucking spittail I can't decide if I want to stick it out with or just shoot her and have done with it. I'm broke. If that's zen you need your head examined...
But I didn't say that. And, the zen accusation actually kind of help me maintain a level of sanity and equilibrium during that period with putting my grandmother in the ground. Even if I found myself being affected by feelings of grief and loss, and I didn't rightly feel it doing like water down a duck's back.
It wasn't too long ago I was sitting out back with my tea and a book when I caught myself thinking about the little Pagan angel who used to call me Zen Rob. I was caught up in a moment of zen, what with the tea and the book. It was a clear day and hummingbirds were trilling through the air and I kept gazing at the twelve thousand foot peak that runs behind the House of Owls and Bats, making part of the valley's southern wall. In that moment of simple, but sheer bliss, I caught myself smiling as I sipped my tea, knowing it was a indeed pure moment, which could not be taken away.
My very last oracle was from the bruja of my acquaintance. She said I would achieve enlightenment. I thought that was quite ballsy to try to divine for anyone other than a sangha or bohdisattva. That one friend who was once fucking the little Pagan angel recently told me I was enlightened, by virtue of where I live, how I choose to live my life, and who I choose to spend my life with. The only way I could pretend to agree with him would be if being enlightened meant the realization that I don't know every fucking thing and the acceptance of the fact, appreciating the beauty of a mystery.
Sort of like being called Zen so long ago. If by zen you mean the realization of both positive and the negative. Feeling happy, sad, angry, euphoric, apathetic, but also acknowledging the facts, and not being driven to madness by the if onlys. I might be able to agree then, perhaps even softly say I'm deserving of that moniker.
To tell the truth, I do not know if I really am either zen or enlightened. But maybe it doesn't matter. When I think I have an answer, another question arises, and, I suppose, there's symmetry in that.