Just finished reading Illuminatus! for the second time. I realized that this is one of the few books which have genuinely changed my life. I had no idea how MUCH of an influence it had had until this reread after probably eighteen years, coming across phrases and ways of thinking which had operated as “mind bombs” (I have no idea from whom I stole that phrase). One of RAW’s favorite phrases is Korzybski’s (sp?) “the map is not the territory”, and I became aware that I had been focusing far too much on the “map” of my peregrinations, not really seeing the “territory” I had covered. My personal path has been winding, from Southern Baptist (which I left behind long ago), through a very brief not even quarter-hearted flirtation with Catholicism inspired by Thomas Merton, to varieties of Buddhism (Zen and Tibetan primarily), and back again to Taoism a couple of, or a few, times. There were also diversions into paganism and Celtic spirituality along the way, as well as the Sufis. The Sufis creeped me out a bit, but I’m not sure why. What happened is that I sent off for some information to one of the organizations affiliated with Idries Shah in the late 90s. At the time, I was living in Nevada. I subsequently moved from there to Florida, a couple of different addresses, and the Sufimail followed me for a number of years (it has since stopped). My conspiratorial mystical mind went to work and got a little freaked that they KNEW where I was somehow. The more plausible explanation is that they received change of address notifications from the PO and updated their information. Still, though, I’m not completely sure.
(the journey is its own point).Taoism is the one which resonates most strongly with me, but after reading Illuminatus! again I realized that if I am anything, and I’m not really, I’m a Discordian. I have acquired my own, personal web of knowledge about different ways to look at the world (thirteen ways of looking at a blackbird, as Wallace Stevens might say). I am more comfortable today with the fact that my journey will likely continue as it has, that I will continue learning and hopefully growing. One of my favorite quotes is from one of those Zen guys, Shunryu Suzuki. “The beginner’s mind is open to endless possibilities; the expert’s mind is open to few.” Probably slightly misquoted, but you get the idea. My goal is really simple – to always have beginner’s mind, a flexibility that allows me to encounter new points of view, assimilate what resonates to me, and move on after a time.