I find that the influences I have in my life can be divided up into two basic categories.
The first comes from good sensible people giving me good sensible advice…which is good.
The second type comes from people who have managed to live out their own deepest dreams and seem to believe, or suggest, that I can do the same. And let me tell you, just to meet one of these such people may enhance the colours coming in through your retinae for an amount of time far greater than the average human lifespan.
This week in circus training we are learning: clowning.
And clowning is about being ‘authentically present’.
The silliness you may be more familiar with is a side effect.
I consider it very useful, given the eyes of some of the more sensible people around me, that I am learning to look ridiculous with grace.
I believe Dogen Zenji said “If you follow yourself, you follow a fool.”
The classical understanding of this is that you would do better to follow an enlightened teacher of the Zen lineage. I’d like to attempt to float an alternative interpretation…
Your ‘Self’, your true, absolute and rather elusive Self, which is as magnificent and life-expanding when we realise it does not exist as when we realise it is all that is, does certainly not operate under any kind of ‘sensible’ principles.
Perhaps, then, we may call this ‘Self’ a fool.
So, maybe old Dogen was just stating a simple fact! “If you follow your Self, you follow a fool”. “…Be warned,” he may have continued once the scribe’s writing hand became fatigued, “Do not expect to continue making good, nice, sensible decisions once you have entered the gateless gate.”