Life - Un Zen
by Eric Levy
Okay, you’ve tried that Zen thing. You lasted one day with Buddha’s moderation concept and the next day you went back to woofing up a complete box of Fig Newton’s. You believed you could relate to your suffering (“feel the pain”) but two Xanax quickly dissolved that notion. You tried meditating, but the constant thought of who would be the winner of American Idol did not permit you to quiet your mind. You, my friend, are not Zen. You are among the millions of Westerners who live the life of Un-Zen, that of the Un-Zen practitioner. Rejoice in your quest for power, abundance, and revenge. This article is for you, those who do not live in the now, but live in the wow.
Live for Tomorrow
What’s this living in the “now” all about anyway? Let’s try something. Catch the now. Oooops. Missed it. Try again. Noop…it’s gone. See? There’s no now. The Un-Zen practitioner lives only for the future. If you lived in the now, you’d be stuck as you are. And you know what I’m referring to. So you better get going and start thinking of all the ways to improve yourself. While you’re at it, think of how you can change other people too. Yeah, they’ll resent it, but resentment is good. Don’t try to feel it; just cause it.
Forget About Finding Yourself
Oooo…maybe you’re hiding in the closet. Is that you? Nooo…how about curled up like a ball in the kitchen cabinet under the sink. Nope. Wasn’t you. Finding yourself? There’s nothing to find except that second sock that got lost in the dryer. Concentrate on that. Feel the pain of wearing one sock in tight shoes. This is reality. This is good.
Immediate gratification is the meaning of life. Wow the now. Drink until you puke. Smoke until you croak. Screw until you’re blue. This will eliminate your feeling of “emptiness.” You can’t possibly feel empty with all that good stuff floating inside your body.
Desire Must be Satisfied – Now.
You’re a desire machine. You want everything electronic. You want a 7-photo screen on your cell phone. You want every nice piece of ass passing you on the sidewalk. You want Oreos. Lots of them. You should have these things. They make you feel good. They make you fat (hey, Buddha was no lightweight!).
Who the hell would choose to experience suffering? It hurts! The Un-Zen mind avoids suffering any way it can. When your credit card statements arrive in the mail, don’t open them. Tear them up and throw them away. Do not permit yourself to suffer about five months of overdue rent or that guy you see outside your window stealing your car. Remember the Four Noble Truths: spend, indulge, file for bankruptcy and repeat.
We are Not One
One with others? Ha! Ah, come on…be honest. Do you really think you’re one with…
• Meter maids?
• IRS auditors?
• Drivers who refuse to let you ahead of them in the adjacent lane?
• Subway riders who dash in front of you and take the last seat on your hour commute to work?
• Collection agency callers?
True enlightenment is separating yourself from all the people who are not exactly like you. You’re better than them. When they screw you, get even. Send anonymous insulting letters to the salesman in Macy’s who convinced you to buy that bread maker you only used once.
Let Your Ego Rule
If we’re supposed to ignore our ego, then why was there a Freud? Yes, it’s there for a reason, to guide all Un-Zen practitioners to do what the hell they want to do. If ego says go to Atlantic City and play Black Jack with your last dollar, do so. If ego says to bring your credit card to the max by purchasing a second plasma TV for the other side of the living room, then do so.
Living the Un-Zen Life
There is no need to consciously lead the un-Zen life. It comes naturally. Just be you. Continue to do what you’ve always done, but more so. You know what they are, but let’s review them anyway:
• Living in the wow (upside down rollercoaster’s, very bloody massacre movies) and living for the cow (McDonalds, Burger King)
• Pressing your car horn repeatedly anytime you are slightly irritated by another driver. Never mind that hospital zone. Honk most often when there’s an overturned truck blocking the road and there’s no way the long line of cars in front of you have any choice but to remain where they are.
• Spend the entire day shining up your car. Don’t miss the most miniscule spot. Remember: other car owners are looking at your car and will disparage you if there’s the slightest non-spiffed up area on your automobile. Shine up the parts under the hood too, just in case you stall on the highway and some other driver comes to help you out and sees what’s under there.
• Have a debate with your mother-in-law at the next family gathering. Tell her, “I knew Siddhartha, and you’re no Siddhartha.”
• (For the ladies): Put your make-up on in subway or on the bus on the way to work, for the entire 45-minute trip. Watch the delight of other Un-Zen practitioners when they see your total makeover at the conclusion of your commute.
• Become a Little League coach and scream at the six-year-olds when they don’t play exactly as you think they should. Severe competition is among the highest levels of aspiration for the Un-Zen practitioner.
• (When on vacation): Videotape every movement you and your family make. This is most important so you don’t focus on the trip itself. Constant videotaping will remove you from the now and allow you to prepare for the future instead when you get home and watch the tapes of what you missed while you were there.
• Have a lot of plastic surgery done. Looking old is not desirable. Even if you’re young, find every imperfection on your body and have it removed and smoothed out. It’s very reasonable to want to look like models on TV, in magazines, and on billboards. Heed the wise words of high Un-Zen master Goombee Pokay (32 A.D.): “Liposuction is the way, save your money so you can pay.” Think of it this way: we all wear masks in this world anyway, so yours might as well be plastic.
• Utilize as much as possible the most essential tool for the Un-Zen practitioner: the cell phone. Since man cannot possibly be alone, or else our thoughts drift to the meaning of life, the cell phone provides us with instant relief from ourselves and the opportunity to digress into distracting chatter. This is an indispensable instrument that must be carried with you at all times. Other must-haves for the Un-Zen practitioner is any clothing with status symbol emblems in bold, large type and graphics, and frozen pancakes and French toast purchased boxed in the supermarket (you shouldn’t have to prepare any meal, no matter how simple it may be).
• Regularly visit Un-Zen houses of worship, such as the mall, nail salons, tanning parlors, Club Med, and Gucci stores.
A Final Mindless Thought
If you’re still less than proud to be an Un-Zen practitioner, consider this: there’s a good reason Zen developed among Easterners. They don’t have as many Pizza Huts as we do in the West (some remote villages have none!), and they may have to even go way across town to refill their cell phone cards. They simply have less to desire. With desire all around us, the best we can do is embrace it. Quit trying to be a Buddha. Get yourself up from under that bodhi tree. There’s no lotto machine there. Don’t feel obligated to “walk a mile in someone else’s shoes” unless you intend on stealing them. Forget about enlightenment; live in the dark from an unpaid electric bill. That’s your nature, that’s your mantra, that’s Un-Zen.
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