Impersonating Jed McKenna

Written by Jed McKenna

Continued from page 1

"Sounds like you do."

"I was speaking lightly."

I'm trying to skip playfully alongrepparttar surface of this conversation. I don't want to sink down intorepparttar 122163 kind of answer I'd give a serious student. The truth is that I don't possess any mechanism that would allow me to be curious or concerned aboutrepparttar 122164 future, but saying that doesn't make for breezy conversation.

"Jesus," she says, shaking her head. "My little brother has his own astrologers."

"Well, they're not really mine. They're just in attendance, so to speak."

I'm used to conversing with people who aren't awake and aren't happy about it. Everything else is chit-chat; talking forrepparttar 122165 sake of talking, reinforcingrepparttar 122166 illusion of self. I'm not against it, I just don't care to participate in it. My fault.

"So, you obviously have a great deal of influence over your students," she says as she sips her iced tea. I mull her statement over and decide that I don't have a response. I take another bite of pasta, wishing I'd ordered something with meat.

"I mean," she says, "they obviously hold you in very high regard. That's quite a responsibility."

She thinks, quite understandably, that she's my big sister and we're having a reunion; a nice little catch-up lunch. She's been thrown a curve with this little-brother/spiritual-master thing and she's trying to handle it. Does she think I'm a fraud? Does she think I'm running a game? Does she think that underneath it all I'm still really her little brother? I don't know and I don't much care. The fact that she's read Damnedest doesn't mean that she and I can speak; it means she should know we can't. She doesn't seem to be clear on that. Maybe she thinksrepparttar 122167 enlightenment thing is just my day job and that I can step out of that role to be with someone who knowsrepparttar 122168 real me.

"I don't know. I suppose it's a responsibility."

"You don't know? Obviously these people are strongly influenced by you. You don't think that's a big responsibility?"

I shrug. The first thing she said to me when we got together was that I wasn't dressed well enough forrepparttar 122169 restaurant. Such a statement is so alien to me that I could only shrug. Now it seems that every statement she makes is so alien to me that I can only shrug.

In accepting this lunch engagement, my hope was that I could slip back into my old persona enough to manage a civil meal. That was too hopeful. I can no longer impersonate myself and I am simply unable to formulate a reply to anything she has to say; I've forgotten my lines. We don't share a common tongue and there's no way I can make her see that. From her point of view she's saying perfectly normal, conversational things.

"Yes, I suppose it's a big responsibility," I say, trying to say something that sounds like I'm saying something.

She lowers her voice. "You hear a lot about people in your position taking advantage of that responsibility for... unsavory purposes. I hope you would never do something like that."

I could simply tell her whatrepparttar 122170 preview copy ofrepparttar 122171 book was meant to tell her, that we are no longer related because what I am now doesn't relate. But why say it? To satisfy myself? It wouldn't. To inform her? It wouldn't.

"You mean sex stuff? That sort of thing?"

"Whatever. Power corrupts. I just hope you'll be careful."

Sweet. Big sister giving little brother some advice on how to shoulderrepparttar 122172 burden of power. Being in advertising, perhaps she thinks we have something in common; wieldingrepparttar 122173 power to influence people's thoughts. Maybe she thinks we're inrepparttar 122174 same business, I don't know.

I set down my fork and sit back. "Well, when I walk throughrepparttar 122175 house, I always have someone proceed me with a boom-box playing Darth Vader theme music to lend a weighty and ominous air to my approach. And I certainly don't dress like this. I have, you know,repparttar 122176 robes,repparttar 122177 beads, and I always carry fresh flowers. Just trappings, all very tiresome, really, butrepparttar 122178 minions expect it. There was a little resistance at first to having them call me Shri Shri Shri Shri Jed, but they gotrepparttar 122179 hang of it. And remembering to speak inrepparttar 122180 first person plural there and singular here can take a little getting used to, but we are, I mean, uh, I am, happy to makerepparttar 122181 effort. Noblesse oblige and all."

She stares at me for a moment, then bursts into laughter. I guess some ice has broken because we are able to continue in a lighter and friendlier manner, and eventually say goodbye with genuine fondness.

I doubt I'll ever see her again, but I'm happy knowing she's still inrepparttar 122182 world. -Jed McKenna

::: About the Author

"Jed McKenna is an American original." -Lama Surya Das

Jed McKenna is the author of "Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing" and "Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment", published by Wisefool Press. Coming in 2005: "Spirituality X" and "Jed McKenna's Notebook". Visit to learn more.

The Bottom Line

Written by Jed McKenna

Continued from page 1

::: The Line Is Drawn

The cogito isrepparttar line between fantasy and reality. On one side ofrepparttar 122162 cogito is a universe of beliefs and ideas and theories. To crossrepparttar 122163 line is to leave all that behind. No theory, concept, belief, opinion or debate can have any possible basis in reality oncerepparttar 122164 ramifications ofrepparttar 122165 cogito have fully saturatedrepparttar 122166 mind. No dialogue can take place across that line because nothing that makes sense on either side makes sense onrepparttar 122167 other.

We all think we know whatrepparttar 122168 cogito means; this is an invitation to challenge that assumption. If professors of philosophy truly understood it, they wouldn't be professors of philosophy. Alfred North Whitehead said that all philosophy is a footnote to Plato, but all philosophy, Plato included, is rendered obsolete and irrelevant by Descartes. Nothing butrepparttar 122169 subjective I Am is true, so what'srepparttar 122170 point of prattling on?

The cogito isn't a mere thought or an idea, it is an ego-eating virus that, properly incubated and nurtured, will eventually devour all illusion. Once we knowrepparttar 122171 cogito, we can begin systematically unknowing everything we thought we knew, and unravelingrepparttar 122172 self we aren't.

::: Life is but a Dream

There is no such thing as objective reality. Two cannot be proven. Nothing can be shown to exist. Time and space, love and hate, good and evil, cause and effect, are all just ideas. Anyone who says they know anything is really saying they don't knowrepparttar 122173 only thing. The greatest religious and philosophical thoughts and ideas inrepparttar 122174 history of man contain no more truth thanrepparttar 122175 bleating of sheep. The greatest books are no more authoritative thanrepparttar 122176 greatest luncheon meats.

No one knows anything.

::: Disprove it for Yourself

Anyone wishing to deny these statements aboutrepparttar 122177 meaning ofrepparttar 122178 cogito need merely prove that something, anything, is true. By all means, give it a try, dash your head upon it, but it can't be done. Cogito ergo sum, however, isn'trepparttar 122179 endpoint of inquiry, it'srepparttar 122180 starting point; it's a tool that helps us see, without intermediaries, exactly what is true and what isn't.

How great is that?

-Jed McKenna

::: About the Author

"Jed McKenna is an American original." -Lama Surya Das

Jed McKenna is the author of "Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing" and "Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment", published by Wisefool Press. Coming in 2005: "Spirituality X" and "Jed McKenna's Notebook". Visit to learn more.

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