First off, the December schedule for Saturday Zazen at the Hill Street Center is Dec. 2, Dec. 9, Dec. 16, and Dec. 23. December 9th is a day-long micro-retreat. On Dec. 23rd Tonen O'Connor from the Milwaukee Zen Center will be in attendance. That should be fun.
Thanks for all the comments and e-mails on Jesus. I'm still thinking about whether to do this or not. But I'm having fun reading A Marginal Jew by John P. Meier, a humongous study of the historical Jesus. Chewy stuff!!
OK. The other day I was at Goodwill rumaging thru the usual pile of musty old records when I came across the album pictured here, Velvet Darkness by Allan Holdsworth. Holdsworth is one of those guitarist's guitarists. Meaning he's really really good, but not very accessible to people who don't play guitar thesmelves since part of his appeal is how amazingly difficult his stuff is to play. Eddie Van Halen called Holdsworth his biggest influence. Before this I'd only ever heard one of his records, 1982's I.O.U. While the guitar playing was very impressive, the album was kinda boring. But when I spotted this one at Goodwill for 99 cents, I figured it was worth a dollar. Plus I liked the cover. Anything with the WTC on it is kind of sad to see these days. But it's a nifty picture.
I took it home and it was mildly enjoyable. So today I went on-line and looked up the album. Turns out it's a much sought-after rarity. Holdsworth himself hated it and it hasn't been reprinted since its initial release in 1976 except in an unauthorized edition in the early 90's that Holdsworth himself successfully sued to have withdrawn. Unfortunately, in spite of its rarity, it's only worth about $20 in mint condition. And mine's good for a thrift store find, but certainly not mint.
ANYWAY, the interesting thing was that the album suddenly seemed way much cooler to me as soon as I learned that it was a "secret album." That must be an almost instinctive reaction. Anything that's supposedly hidden or secret, just for that fact alone always seems a whole lot cooler. It's like all those Beatles bootlegs. I have a ton of them and they're mostly crap. The legit releases are much better. Yet dorks like me will drop a big bucks for the stupid things just because we're not supposed to hear them.
Same thing works in religious circles. Whenever some teaching is presented as esoteric, forbidden, or secret everybody wants it. And, of course, just like the Beatles bootlegs, those secret teachings are never really any better than what's out there available to everybody. Usually, like the Beatles bootlegs, they're just lousy cast-offs that were never released to the general public because they sucked.
ANYWAY I listened to the Holdsworth album again this afternoon and I kind of like it. Much better than I.O.U.