I'm back from Colorado now. Back at sea level where the air has oxygen in it. That's nice. I didn't learn until my last day there that newcomers should take Asprin regularly to dialate their capilaries and get more oxygen into their systems. I guess I shoulda read up on it before going.
While I was there Kyle Larson gave ma a copy of a book called I Am a Strange Loop by Douglas Hofstadter. He's the guy who wrote Godel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, which I never read. I'm just starting on I Am a Strange Loop but it's pretty interesting so far. Hofstadter thinks that the self is just a strange loop of energy within the brain that has no intrinsic reality. Something Buddhists have been saying for 25 centuries. It's good to see a Western scientist (or is he a philosopher?) saying the same thing. I'll let you know how it turns out.
Related to that I was hanging out with Kyle's wife Jessica and their 2 year old daughter Sophia (who is also called Chuck). Jessica mentioned that she could see Sophia gradually developing a sense of a separate self. She said that it seemed that her daughter was just beginning to get the idea that, for example, her mom was an independent being and that she herself was too.
I remember Nishijima saying that by doing Zazen "we come back to our childhood." It's true. As your practice deepens you can begin to recall the view of the world you had before you developed this idea of a separate individual self. Normally we think that the ideas we had as little children were mistaken and that the adult idea is a truer representation of reality. But I don't agree at all.
Big thanks to Waylon Lewis and the staff at Elephant magazine for their kind hospitality and to the folks at Denver's channel 7 news who had me on their daytime news show. If only LA was that hip. Thanks to Kim Corbin at New World Library for arranging that, too.
Anyway, all day Zazen retreat today so I gotta go.
I'll be in Japan from Sept. 19-28 if anyone's looking for me.
Saturday, September 15, 2007