Musings:  A Zen Night Stand    

Zen garden. Kamakura, Japan

by LJ Frank


Ambiguity makes for an interesting life.

And in the middle of a dream at night, I inhaled, and an uncertain awareness blanketed me amid half-forgotten faces and misplaced moments. And as I exhaled my attempt at inclusion was filtered by the status quo and my striving to effectuate a balance to the inequities created by the homogenous I imagined alternative scenarios. When I awakened nothing seemed to have changed. Adaptation is survival but whose rules am I adapting to…who are these people who thrive on control of others?

The next day was filled with reflection, both tears and laughter concerning my cicrumstance. I have conversed with any number of artificially intelligent robots from India to the Philippines as I have dialed a number to discuss the details of my technological issues, (workers are cheaper abroad) but on this day an AI (Artificial Intelligence) answered. The human and machine have merged. The Machine has already achieved Corporate birthed Personhood, and who knows what the United States Supreme Court will decide next on my behalf as laws though viewed as legal by judges, are not necessarily ethical or just.

The narcissism that infects the soul dilutes perspective while fondling with the phallus of the carat. I know very few poor that are truly happy, and experience suggests much of the motion occurs within the mind, so imagination is inevitable.

I wondered what a performance evaluation would entail of AI and whether they will have reproductive rights.

The dream feels surreal, fortune is a whimsical mistress, awareness acknowledges bits of pleasure here and there though expectations quickly dissipate and the last thing one needs is self-pity. A sip of fine wine is a moment of contemplation I suppose for some but the taste though delicious in the minute, vanishes into the longer reality of nothingness in the hour. Still, at least I know intimately the intricacies of the sensual and intellectual.

I worked on a farm during my teen years and recall the farmer saying, “we are having Betsy tonight for dinner,” meaning the steer he shot in the head with a 22-caliber rifle between the eyes the day before. I know because I witnessed the event in his barn and watched him skin and carve it up. I rationalized at least the steer wasn’t shipped out to a factory. The farmer said a prayer before he killed Betsy and afterwards thanked her and his God for providing food on the table. Still, I eventually became a pescatarian. Rationalizing is an ingredient of an existential awareness.

Is there an art to self-disclosure while not exposing yourself to blatant distaste of too much information? Self-disclosure takes a lifetime and by the time you get to that place where you imagined yourself to be other things have taken place and affects where one is standing or sitting or even laying.

Imagination may achieve its poignancy while in solitude sitting on a boat or hiking beach or mountain or drifting on a raft down a river like the Mississippi or contemplating a garden while looking deep into the heart of the matter or skimming over the surface like flat stone tossed over water; the measure of a breath – and though a word may feel more efficacious at times the vocabulary of the heart surpasses the mind. And I wonder, is the effort to live simply with comfort a metaphoric reflection of a Zen-Night – where the soothing reflection vanishes like the filtered memory in the mind’s temporary archive.