Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Deeply Offended

Scott Bradley


I have lifted the two words of this title from the correspondence of another, but have taken it for my own without any relevance to its former context. "Deeply offended." These words arrive like a treasure map. Or, better yet, like the key to a treasure chest already unearthed and here before me. What do these words imply? "I am deeply offended." What does this presuppose? What 'nerve' has it touched? How must I be to be offended at all?

Two ways of turning that key come to my mind. I might ask, Could a 'sage' be deeply offended? And if not, why not? This would suggest an alternative. Or, I might ask, How does it feel and what is happening when one is deeply offended? Both might tell me much, but the latter would probably do me the most immediate good. But to really explore how it feels and what is happening when one feels deeply offended, it would be best if I could say, "I am deeply offended". And this isn’t really all that difficult to do, though ‘offended’ might be too mild a term to describe deep resentments and senses of humiliation that go all the way back to childhood.

I won’t be exploring here either of these two paths to understanding what my being deeply offended might reveal to me about myself. Mostly, I want to offer up the possibility of such an exploration. And more than that I want to express what in the end I probably cannot express about how these two words make me smile, make me laugh, make me find amusement in being all-fucked-up. I’ve often said that if I can’t laugh at myself, I am in some very deep caca indeed. If I can laugh at myself, it must be that I can see something of myself, and yet at the same time, am not being too serious about myself. Isn’t this what transcendence is all about? Maybe the Laughing Buddha is really just laughing at himself; or maybe he’s just laughing at the silliness of Buddhist seriousness. Chill. All is well. The newly ‘awakened’ Zennist smiles and says, “All that’s left to do is have a good laugh!” Eat your dessert first; have it now.

I talk a lot about self-examination; a good place to start might be to see if I am not taking myself and so-called spiritual growth too seriously. If self-examination feels like performing vivisection on myself, then I probably am. If there is freedom, it is now; and if it is going to be now, it has to be with things as they are. The time to laugh is now.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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