Phil was sitting on a park bench. It was 6:30 PM on a cool June day in Dallas, TX. It was 80 degrees and just perfect for enjoying the moon.
He stared into the sky at the few stars that peeked through the light pollution. Then he looked at Jupiter, the God of the Universe shining upon him.
Phil startled. His surprise affect rebooting his emotion so he could either, fight, fly, laugh, engage – whatever.
“Huh? Oh, hello,” he said to the obviously kind and cute-in-her-own-way kind of girl.”
“Have you heard of Dianetics?,” she asked.
“Yes I have. I’m very familiar with Dianetics and Scientology even tough I have never taken a course or had any auditing.”
She braced waiting for the word “cult” or “Xenu” to come from his lips.
He smiled at her.
“I like some of your communication ideas. Would you please tell me what you think the soul is and I’ll see if I can duplicate? Afterward, I’ll tell you my mythology of the soul and see if you can duplicate.”
“Sure! The soul is your Thetan. It is seperate from the reactive mind. And if you free your reactive mind then your Thetan can rehab itself and be extremely free and powerful.”
Phil repeated back to her what she said, added some points and asked, “Have I duplicated your point of view?”
“Yes! You are good at Scientology basics like Duplication. Are you sure you haven’t had any training?”
“No, but I have some dear friends who are Scientologists. Strange though, I’ve never met a one of them.”
She looked puzzled.
“Anyway, here is my point of view. Please fetch me that piece of chalk on the ground by where kids played hop-scotch and I’ll draw it out for you and then, if you duplicate, I’ll buy your book.”
She brought him the chalk.
He wrote on the ground, “The Thetan you describe does not exist and will never exist.”
“Wait a second don’t false duplicate! I’m not done.”
Then he wrote directly over the first sentence jumbling the text the following sentence: “What you describe as a Thetan does exist and cannot be destroyed.”
He looked at the mess of letters and said both phrases to her. Then he looked at her puzzled face.
Now this is a demo of two conflicting ideas that are mutually exclusive sharing the same idea space. What do you see?
“INSANITY” she said.
“Right,” said Phil as he wrote “Insanity” below the two jumbled sentences.
“And THAT is where the soul begins and not-begins. The insanity of paradox.”
Then Phil first a long line on top of the two jumbled sentences. He next drew a long perpendicular line from the center of the baseline upward.. On top of the line, he wrote “Infinity.”
“Okay, here is a mythology for you to duplicate. Mythologies are seldom true and even more seldom false.”
She looked at him and he smirked. He tapped on the jumbled sentence.
“In this mythology, the soul’s journey starts and not-starts here – insanity. The raw unleashed power of madness – it’s like a big bang of sorts. Think Jack Nicholson in ‘The Shining.’ As this paradox manifests naturally over and over across a life, the discomfort of these mutually exclusive realities causes awareness to either drift toward accepting the idea that it is either ‘meat’ or ‘spirit’ to the exclusion of the other.”
He drew a 45 degree angle from the perpendicular structure to the right and to the left. He left the jumbled sentence as the baseline.
“In many of these manifestations, one thinks one is meat. Only meat. Just meat.”
He wrote “MEAT” on the first bisecting line to the left.
“In other natural manifestations one thinks one is spirit.”
He writes “SPIRIT” in chalk on the right 45 degree arrow.
“The longer one stays on either of these angles, the farther one strays from the true-existing-self-of-no-self. And, in this mythology, the trap is that there is no way to know with complete certainty if one is really meat or spirit.”
“Do you duplicate?”
“So our mythologies differ but we understand each other’s views. Now do we both agree that this baseline IS INSANE?
“Duh.” she said.
“Now could such a being accepting said mythology be AWARE it was crazy? And if so, could it move up the centerline to infinite sanity holding with great ferocity these two mutually exclusive ideas as one?”
He wrote “sanity” above the infinity symbol.
“Hmm,” she said, “But it would take amazing strength and energy with these two clashing postulates, how would one reach infinite sanity from the very definition of insanity?”
“How does a moving point on a number line reach the end in a way you can SEE it on paper?” asked Phil.
He continued before she could think about it.
“The trick is to keep the two clashing postulates in balance as one truth/falsehood. Now ask me this question, ‘Do you exist?'”
“Do you exist?,” she asked.
“Oh Hell no stupid. Ask me again.”
“Do you exist?,” she asked.
“WHY OF COURSE SILLY!”
She laughed at him and mocked him with flirtatious disbelief, “YOU ARE IMPOSSIBLE AND INSANE!”
“Yes. Yes, YOU GOT IT. I am. But as a living paradox, it’s amazing how sane one can choose to become. And that choice is free will. Free will ALWAYS starts with crazy,” he said pointing to the jumbled words.
“Anyway, you duplicated my position perfectly.”
Her face suddenly dropped into the affect of surprise.
“This position of yours will drive you mad.”
“That’s an evaluation not a duplication,” he reminded her.
He pulled out his wallet and gave her thirty bucks for the book while chuckling a laugh that was strangely mad AND strangely sane.
“Here, I’ll buy Hubbard’s book ONE. MORE. TIME. There’s some extra for you. Go have lunch on me.”
She took the money, and he took the book.
“Good duplication!” he yelled as he walked away.
Once out of sight of her, he walked out of the park and over to a used book store. He went to the buy counter and sold the shrink wrapped book titled “Dianetics” for fifty cents.
The used bookstore manager, it seemed, had an abundance of them and they didn’t move very well.
He went home and pulled out his zafu and singing bowl. He walked to the wall and dropped the zafu on the floor and carefully placed the singing bowl on the ground. He sat on the zafu. He brought the two conflicting postulates together in his mind, forcing them together to unleash the raging dissonance called “insanity.” Then when the dissonance was balanced, he went back to focusing on posture, transmuting idea space into posture space. He rang the bell for zazen and sat the dissonance.
He just sat. Nothing special. On the wall was a quote from an old Soto Zen teacher.
“Sit like your hair is on fire.”