Monday, August 07, 2006


August 7, 2006

The psychologist Erickson wrote at great length about the stages of human development sighting the changes that people transition through as they move from infancy to childhood to adolescence to young adult etc. Inherent in all the stages are realities about that developmental stage that must be accepted and internalized in order for the transition to be complete and beneficial for the individual. Without these acceptances and interalizations the individual can suffer from faulty perceptions and their development becomes retarded or stunted. The changes happen all through your lifetime not stopping at adulthood but progressing through many stages of adulthood into old age. The science is well founded and illuminating... I prefer a more poetic tact.

Several years ago, I'm not entirely certain how long ago but closing in on a decade, I happened upon the basic tenants of Buddhism. While studying the teachings of the masters, I became most at peace with Soto Zen's school of the teachings. This was not entirely surprising to my friends who knew my love of and study of the martial arts of Japan and China (especially Aikido and Kung Fu from the Shaolin Temple and the Tai Mantis school). The martial arts, after all, are suffused with the teachings of Zen from almost a millennium ago to the present day. I knew the basic physical demands of these teachings. But now the teachings took on an everyday and practical aspect to my life's breath and way of walking through the world. The teachings have become manifest this summer... A metamorphosis has begun.

I am by nature a pack-rat; I never seem to throw out anything (trinkets, pictures, newspaper articles, magazines, old clothes and shoes, and way way too many 'knick-knacks'). This may be OK for the job that I'm in but not for my living and my living space. Being unmarried, it is often a good to get ideas from other people... ones you know you can trust. The women in my life are especially good to listen to. I did so this last month and have begun to redesign the inside of my house (painting walls, purchasing new furniture, clearing out clutter, rearranging the physical space, utilizing space more cleanly and effectively) to make it much more zen. I have only just begun... but a beginning is necessary for change to happen. Change for change's sake is of course folly... but change in a focused, transformative, encouraged, uplifting and simplifying manner is definitely a good thing... "Listen to the masters" I have told my self; find the essence of the object or the act and the space it is in. I see such transitions or transformations as coming in three stages like that of the Lepidoptera:

Step one - Larva (or Caterpillar) 'Recognition'
Step two - Pupa (or Chrysalis) 'Simplification toward the Essence"
Step three - Adult (or Butterfly) 'Find the Center' - the Zen

I began step one about 6 months ago as a larval idea or recognition. Like the caterpillar inching along a branch eating my fill of leaves and other foliage. I gorged myself on ideas and meditation and images of what was to be. I needed some help from friends to start step two - they have helped me to spin the cocoon and hang the chrysalis. I have started the breakdown of the old caterpillar's cellular structure (my old habits and way of looking at space and objects) and am buidling my structures toward their new essence. Though it will take time to remove the old and purchase what I need, the process is now well underway..................