I present to you the very first published photo of all four original members of Zero Defex together for the first time since nineteen hundred and (mumbles indistinctly)! Left to right are Mickey X-Nelson, Brad No Sweat, Jimi Imij and Tommy Strange.
Purists may ask where are Johnny Phlegm, Frank N. File and Alan X-Nelson. But the band's first three bass players each lasted a mere couple of weeks, while I was in for the long haul right up till the end. Or at least the first end of the band. So go suck a grape.
This was taken at X-Day 14 down in Southern Ohio where we played last night. I am heading back down to the same campgrounds later today. Tomorrow and Thursday I will lead workshops at Starwood, a big pagan festival down there in the woods at Wisteria campgrounds. I'm pretty sure you can still get a spot there. Click here for details. Cuz I don't really know. The workshops are at 10 am both days.
On the way driving back up to Akron a friend who was riding with me asked that perennial question, "What's the difference between a Zen teacher and a therapist?"
This has come up a number of times since I spoke at Ordinary Mind Zendo in New York where, some (but not me) say I was psychoanalyzed on stage. I've answered in a few really complicated ways. But there in the car I came up with the real answer spontaneously.
A Zen teacher teaches Zen.
The relationship between a Zen teacher and his/her "student" is based on their mutual practice of zazen. If you're not practicing zazen... well, you can ask a Zen teacher whatever you want and either place value on her answers or disregard them. But you won't really understand her answers until you start practicing yourself.
My friend asked if I give people advice about how to live, as a therapist does. I thought hard about the many private interviews I've had with practitioners and I couldn't come up with a single instance where I advised anyone about how to live. Nor can I recall ever being advised how to live by my teachers or any other Zen teacher I've done an interview with. In fact they've all avoided giving such advice even when I clearly and unambiguously asked for it.
I talk to people about their Zen practice, about the things that come up during practice, about how to respond and deal with this stuff. In my case I usually respond by explaining how I've dealt with my practice issues. I don't ever tell people to do it my way because my way is not right for them.
So there you go. The difference between Zen and therapy is Zen.