“I Reach Out from the Inside”

… but the outside is inside, too, no?

Yeah, that’s delirious Zen-speak. You guys know what I mean, right? [Wink and secret handshake go here.]

I’ve been sick and at home for a few days, away from the office, away from the dojo and zendo, even away from the coffee shops. It’s left a notable vacuum in my routine and interactions, including both the pleasant and the irritating. “Part of me misses them all,” I reminisce as I swallow another NyQuil tablet…

Suddenly, I wake up in a familiar but alien land. All other things being equal, once the shock passees, do you suppose I would instinctively seek out something like an office, a dojo, a zendo, a coffee shop, and so forth? Would you further speculate that I would seek out both those pleasant and irritating interactions I’ve come to expect?

Those things I seek never existed in this new place… So, where are all of these things I’m looking for?

There is a reasonable, self-help-ish type of answer to the question: All of that stuff is in your head–that is, your brain, the stuff between your ears, or maybe even distributed elsewhere throughout body. Your habits, your recollections, your perceptions–all of these are just a skewed overlay above the physical world, our reality. If we see through or see beyond our concepts, ideas, and so on, we can finally see reality clearly. Now it makes sense, right?

I wouldn’t be so sure if I were you…

If you go off beyond the horizons of time and space to where all the Zen masters, the gurus, the Buddhas, God Almighty and you all concur with one mind that this is truth, you have arrived in Hell’s innermost circle and surrounded yourself with the most perverse of demons feasting on your flesh…

Fortunately, from there the actual truth is within your reach.

Find the answer beyond their answer. I have faith in you.

… just don’t get stuck looking for the video with that guy holding the boombox along the way.

Disclaimer: No NyQuil was consumed in the production of this delusion.

By Joe

Puzzle Wrestler & Mountain Herder. Math & Computer Nerd since the 80s. Longtime linux (current debian, ubuntu, raspian, centos, gentoo), currently fighting feebsd. Over-complicates networks for fun, occasionally secures them for profit. Develops own tools & services (cli, web services, and lately some android). Degrees in Math, Belts in Aikido. Zen, Motorcycle, Ham Radio, Homebrew (Ale, not Radio), Coffee & Tea, some Mandolin & Fiddle, MDA Advocacy (son with Duchenne), …


  1. I don't do zazen per se. I do zhan zhuang, "standing like a stake."

    As time goes on, I haven't come up with a lot of answers, but the questions seem to fade away.

  2. I remember your mentioning the practice before, Rick–and I remember having to look it up and being fascinated! Whether sitting like a mountain or standing like a stake, I think we see the entire universe transform, discoving what we truly are. If we can actively discover doing nothing, I suspect we can ultimately accomplish anything.

    Thanks as always 🙂

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