A Zen Story
The monk Zuigan used to start every day by saying out loud to himself, “Master are you there?” And he would answer, “Yes sir, I am.” Then he would say, “Better sober up.” And he would reply, “Yes sir, I’ll do that.” Then he would say, “look out now, don’t let them fool you.” And he would answer, “Oh no sir, I won’t, I won’t.”
– Osho: Love, Life, Laughter
If you ever get a chance to read this book, or at the very least this section of the book, do your life a favor and do not let it pass you by. Osho provides enlightenment in words as he breaks down what each of these statements mean and how they are applied when living from Spirit. I want to take some time to talk about the last thing Zuigan says to himself: “look out now, don’t let them fool you.”
Take a look at the bird in this picture. The first time I saw this photograph I laughed my ass off because it is just that funny. But then I started to see the bird. It is defiant and dignified, self-assured, and free. This creature is completely unaware to the idea of their being limits to its domain. Furthermore, it cannot comprehend how there may be others who would want to enforce any limits upon him.
He is not fooled.
Way too often do we allow this world to impose boundaries upon our personalities, limit our abilities, interfere in our interactions, and give unrequested input into just about everything that matters. They tell us how to dress, who we can talk to, when it’s appropriate to dance, how to love, who to vote for, and so on. We play the game according to these rules because we have been fooled into thinking that if by playing along, we’ll be left alone. We’ll be able to raise our family in peace, earn a living, and every now and then do some things that actually bring us pleasure.
The greatest consequence of giving away our power is revealed by how intensely and consistently we take everything in the world so seriously. We become frustrated with the slow cashier, angry with the traffic light, disappointed when our team loses. It’s all so important to us! How much money am I making, what kind of car am I driving, how many friends do I have. We judge ourselves and others based on what books we read, what television shows we watch, what kind of alcohol we drink for goodness sake! If things are not going our way we complain because we feel like we’re living up to our part of the deal. “I’m playing by the rules so why can’t I just be happy?!” But this social contract is an illusion; there is no real safety in living inside of the box.
That’s how they have us fooled and how we participate in fooling everyone else. I’m sure that the majority of us are aware that none of these things matter, none of it is why we are here. Looking at the world through the lenses of whatever spiritual truth you have discovered for yourself, look back on the things you have taken serious today. Whose incompetence upset you to the point of frustration? What interrupted your peace today? What happened that kept you from holding your head up with the convincing assurance that you are Divine? How did you judge yourself and judge others? These are the small ways in which we tell ourselves and the rest of the world that the everyday trivialities matter. And not only do they matter but they are important enough to keep us from meeting the moment with Love.
I suggest we vow to live like the seagull. Live with an air of not giving a single fuck. Not from a place of disconnection but from a place of faith. Having faith that everything happening around us is happening for our benefit because we are Divine. Faith that if I love the moment it will love me back. Tell them to give you their slings and their arrows, their pits and their snares. Let them throw their stones, and put up their signs, and enforce their earthly rules. Become defiant, dignified, self-assured, and free while you tell them how much of a fuck you’re not giving to their attempts to draw you into their game. Tell them that you are a Celestial Being, here for brief visit on Earth, and by George you can wear your flip-flops to work if you so please.
This is Love.