The author of confusion

Posted: 2014/05/03 in Uncategorized

While on my monthly journey to the Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral in Los Angeles, I stopped by the Main Branch library on Fifth Street to pick up two books I put on reserve. “The Dude And The Zen Master” and “The Storming Of The Mind”.


While waiting on a bench with several people who were going into the library to get in the library, mostly to use the bathrooms. A white man about six foot six, in his forties, who looked like he had been living on the street a with hair uncombed and ruddy face unshaven, with about two days growth looked at me and started talking.

I really could not understand what he was saying because it was confusing to me; he was going from one subject to the next with no frame of reference. I listened, giving him eye contact because I was genuinely interested in what he was saying. He went on talking about everything from politics to being stabbed in the back to being shot and robbed on the bus in a short period.

He was trying to articulate a complex world with seven and a half billion people in it and make sense out it.

He never mentioned or revealed anything about, where he came from, or where he lived.

I listened but had no answers or opinions to reply with because he asked no questions. He had internalized so much information from different sources that nothing he said had any congruency.

The facts he was stating were clear and for the most part verifiable with newspaper stories or governing bodies’ records. However, because the facts were so far removed from each other in either time or subject, what he was saying sounded crazy.

I get that way myself when I try to explain complex issues. Whenever I try to explain, anything that I have been studying for years I never lay enough foundation or frame of reference for the listener to make sense of the point I am trying to make or the conclusion I came to. What I say becomes confusing to a listener; the result is the perception that I am the confused one.

I learned a lot from my experience today. First is that I can learn from every experience in life from everyone I meet. Secondly, I live in the eternal here and now, the only power I have is in the choice I make for the next moment.

I was in front of the library by my choice, the man who was talking to me was there by his choice, it was by circumstance we were there at the same time, but it was by choice we had a conversation.

It is in those circumstances that the mystery is hidden. What forces are at work to bring people together, if any, or is it by chaos? I could have been stabbed or shot just as easily as I had a conversation. In fact, he told me he had a gun and was going to open his bag to show it to me!?!


For those who chose to read this far here is a jewel from the book, “The Dude And The Zen Master”

Upajjhatthana Sutta
The Buddhist Five Remembrances

I am of the nature to grow old. There is no way to escape growing old.

I am of the nature to have ill health. There is no way to escape ill health.

I am of the nature to die. There is no way to escape death.

All that is dear to me and everyone I love are of the nature to change. There is no way to escape being separated from them.

I am the owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir.


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