By Lee Glazier
Ron Swanson, one of my favorite characters from the show Parks & Recreation, said, “I don’t consider myself an anythingist.”
That really resonates with me, Dudes, but it’s hard as fuck to actually pull it off, ya know? No-ists and no -isms. Even agnosticism is too much. Just picture it, man. Picture someone who wasn’t a Christian, Buddhist, Dudeist, capitalist, socialist, anarchist, atheist, humanist, nihilist, creationist, evolutionist, leftist, rightist, feminist, chauvinist, or anything else. Someone who didn’t even make an ideology out of not having an ideology. What would that person, uh, be like?
Probably kinda fucking boring, right? Simple, straightforward, easy-going, and rarely causing a fuss. That sounds kind of shitty to a passionate mind, but, well, sometimes peace is my passion. Peace and Chinese food. I shit you not, I’d give up everything for a lifetime supply of black pepper chicken and crab rangoon.
If there’s one thing that’s been, ya know, consistently true in my life, it’s that I’m generally happier when I don’t give a fuck; when I let the pieces fall as they may.
When I do what I need to and go where I’m needed, focusing more on what I’m doing than what’s happening. Usually, Dudes, usually that’s backwards—I’ll focus on what’s happening, not what I’m doing, and that’s when shit gets shitty. It’s like if you’re so stoned that you get paranoid. The way to ditch the fear is to come back here, to tune in with our own actions, man. “It’s alright, Cliff, you’re not dying, you’re just high as fuck while sitting in a beanbag chair.”
Because life, ya know, life’s gonna do whatever. Life isn’t like bowling, the pins aren’t setup the same way each time, and the gutters are always moving. So, they’re gonna fall however they fall. The most I can do is, uh, zero-in on, uh, um… oh, focus on my roll. Sometimes I roll a strike, sometimes a split, sometimes a fuckin’ gutterball.
But no matter what happens, if my aim is to have a perfect roll with perfect spin, then what does it matter whether I bowl 300 or 0? There’s no punishment for losing this game, and no reward for winning. The boards are erased and alley closes either way. So, why not just have some fun and work on our form?
Buddha-nature—or, as I like to call it, Dudeha-nature—doesn’t mean we’re going to, ya know, get a strike each frame.
It means that we can all master the art of the roll, man. The scores don’t matter, how it feels to play is what matters. Living without -isms is like forgetting about the scores and focusing on the act of living itself.
Whew, some heavy shit there, Dudes. I hope ya get it, I sure as hell don’t, I just write the stuff. And here’s the thing, if there weren’t any -isms or -ists in the world, the world would be a pretty awesome place. If nobody had an agenda or ideology, then we’d give ourselves fewer reasons to be assholes to people. Fewer reasons to be greedy and hateful, man. But the catch is that, to make it work, we can’t turn no-ideology into an ideology. Then we’ll just use that as a reason to trample on others.
So it’s tricky. For me to be “free,” I’ve gotta let others be free, even if that means letting them be free to not be free. Wanting everyone to not be uptight makes us uptight too. Anti-ism is an -ism. I can’t, ya know, make a case for the merits of not knowing without contradicting the foundations of the not-knowing way of life. It’s like how when a librarian says, “Shhh, stop talking,” they’re disobeying their own rule by saying that. Or like how if a parent hits their kid for hitting another kid. It just doesn’t work.
I see this kinda thing a lot, Dudes, and it always bums me out a little. But that’s alright, I’m not averse to feeling bummed out from time to time. It passes quick, then I’m back to doing nothing and being no one.
I’ve had some pretty cool meditations by just sitting and being mindful of my beliefs and disbeliefs from moment to moment.
Just breathing, chilling with the posture, and throwing question marks at every view, motive, and judgment that comes along. It’s like my mind opens up, Dudes. Blooms like a fuckin’ flower or something. Then, if there’s joy or peace, I question that too and it grows even more.
Just sitting and doubting everything I believe and disbelieve up to—and including—the existence of the sights and sounds (or their absence) that I’m experiencing. Because whenever I say something is or isn’t, I’m relying on belief. Even if I use reason to help me out, I’m only doing that because I believe in reason. And if I go the Zen way and say that reason doesn’t get us there, then I’m believing that reason doesn’t get us there.
So, even Zen falls on its face when we’re working with not-knowing because Zen’s an -ism.
I dig this kind of meditation. Especially since I can take that mindset off the cushion and put it work in regular life. But, once again, the trick is to not put that up on a pedestal either. Because if I believe that meditating is better than not meditating, then I’ve picked up another -ism. Believing in no-ism is enough to get ya through the door, but to step to the hookah in the center of the room, we’ve got to take our shoes off.
Take it easy, Dudes. Catch ya later on down the trail.
“Dude” Lee Glazier is a Dudeist Priest, Zen adherent and Taoist enthusiast from Golden, Colorado. He likes reading, writing, hiking, taking baths, listening to classic rock, drinking White Russians, smoking, and having the occasional acid flashback. The only thing he truly believes is that everyone needs to slow down, mellow out, and unwad their underpants. He feels that that would solve all the world’s problems in a heartbeat. “Do you have the patience to let the mud settle and the water clear?”
Editor: Dana Gornall