Giving Away All That I Know

From Terrence Keenan’s  book “Zen Encounters With Loneliness”. It is autobiographical, about an alcoholic Irish, American poet and Zen  monk. I enjoyed his reflections. One  can almost envision his maturing as the story  goes on. I found his self fixation annoying at times as I guess I find my own equally annoying.  This  self fixation appears on occasion and as well,  it seems that he is quite attached to his use of poetry as  a way of capturing meaning at times. Rather then poetry being an expression and  reflection of a truth of where ever one might be  on life’s journey. Obviously,  until we see with clarity all else that has been accumulated interferes with that.

His story seems to be a more realistic and honest portrayal of the struggle with life and death. I can see myself in him, a lesser ideal of what a Buddhist monk might be and succumbing to the ego and old habits and then seeing again. There is a point that we are awkwardly and mistakenly  looking for the mystical meaningful experience of Buddhism and then realizing that we have to let go of what we think we know before we can enter the truth of nothingness. It has its own rewards,

This is a quote by Terrence near the end of the book that has much relevance for me. “I had to start over by giving away all that I knew. It was the strength of the discipline and meditation and the real knowledge I had gained through years of giving myself to the practice that stood me in good stead. It allowed me to be strong enough to heal, change, and begin to grow again.”

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