Starting in the Middle

I always start a book in the middle. I select a page at random, and I read. It feels more like my life if I begin like that. I came into this world in the middle of my parents’ story. Actually, I arrived in the middle of many different stories. You are coming into the middle of my story. I considered putting my essays into chronological order, but that won’t help. The connections between these tales don’t necessarily follow a particular order. There is no linear sequence.

Some churches have labyrinths. These aren’t mazes. They have no dead ends. They are meandering paths that people walk in order to meditate or pray. The labyrinth is shaped like a circle. There is only one way into the circle, and only one way out. The trail winds from the outside of the circle to the center, and then twists back out again. The interesting thing is that the person walking the path often returns to nearly the same place. The walker revisits a location, but sees it from a slightly different perspective. My essays always come back to certain topics, in a roundabout way. I am always revisiting places and people.

You will too.

Frank is Emptiness. Emptiness is Frank.

The name of the blog will probably only make sense to somebody who has read (or chanted) the Heart Sutra. It’s a joke (I mean the name of the blog, not the Heart Sutra). The idea is that whatever you read in this blog may be profound or meaningless, depending on how you perceive it. I say nothing that is inherently important. I would hope that I write something interesting, but you will decide if that is the case. I might write something that touches you, but that doesn’t mean it will affect anybody else. The subject matter of this blog will be eclectic, and at times confusing. Expect to read about Zen students, Texas rednecks, war veterans, Harley riders, Orthodox Jews, Catholic Workers, Syrian refugees, homeless people, born-again Evangelicals, marijuana farmers, and God only knows what else.  My interests are diverse and my opinions idiosyncratic. There is no unifying theme to this blog.

During meditation practice, sometimes people ask the question: “What am I?”

The standard Zen answer is: “Don’t know.”

If you are asking, “What is all this about?”

My answer is: “Don’t know.”