I’ve been hot on the scent of Culture for a few days. Like a bloodhound I don’t let anything divert me from the trail of clues. And where are the clues? In my own everyday mind. I am the American Culture. So if I want to find out the cause of my discontent, Culture can’t tell me. Obama or Trump or Irma is the the cause of our anxiety. All the causes of my anxieties are just Culture’s way of diverting the bloodhound from his prize, which is to see the Whole Culture in one grasp, in one Gestalt.
And this is Zen. Practicing, playing with the koan, with the puzzle, with the paradox and not giving up. It takes years, I tell you, to break the enigma code of the culture we are born in.
Religion, non-duality, new age, ideology, science…everything…is all inside culture and all are false scents that lead to the First Cause of our Suffering. Buddha discovered the First Cause, and in his four noble truths he laid out the step to finding the First Cause, and if you SEE the First Cause, that Seeing is the cessation of suffering, or anxiety, this floating anxiety we are now trapped in.
Floating anxiety, which is rampant now in America, is a fill in the blank fear. In this way we can be manipulated because every salesman offers a remedy to heal the wound created by Culture. We try it. We don’t like it. We try another until we realize there is no remedy, and then we fall into either depression or nihilism, the American cynicism. We all know cynics. But that too is just a band-aide for the basic anxiety that says anxiety is normal, so buck up and stop looking for a cure.
All of these positions, either conforming to culture or rebelling against culture are within the fish bowl of culture. But here’s the secret I’ll share with you. Culture, using the metaphor of the fish bowl is not opaque. Culture is like glass. Culture is transparent to the great ground of being or reality that is Just This. Culture applies a story to everything. Reality has no story. Reality is Just This. Making culture transparent to the transcendent—which is what Joseph Campbell always said—means making culture, making its myth transparent to….(not the transcendent) but to a reality that has no boundaries, and no cultural story or fixation. You are That.