it's my fault

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Since I left Mendo World, I left off reading ten, fifteen, twenty books a week and took up the complicated system of pipes. I stopped letting other people's work soak in and started having to find my own researches to suss fact and fiction. In the old days, that seemed to be clearer, marked on the shelves of the bookstore, but I guess it never really was that much clearer in practice, lots more facts found in novels than in, say, biographies and memoirs, not to mention science or history books.

I remember being jolted by some of the wild assertions I found online. I remember harassing some poor bloke, demanding to know his credentials for statements so profound in their implications as to unseat the very basis for most of the stuff I thought I knew. Despite already knowing the tv news was bollox from start to finish, for some reason I didn't expect it from print medium types. I mean, newspapers, sure, but journalists of more august nature, that seemed impossible.

It was something to do with 9/11. I don't remember the specifics, but he'd said something so outrageous not even I could just take it without arguing with him first. I think it was because I knew it was true and it conflicted this badly, so I had a fit, demanded to know how he could just say this stuff and expect me to believe it. Poor guy just emailed me back to give me a brief summary of his résumé as assurance that he wasn't just some nut off the street.

And, after all, what more could he do, beside maybe regurgitating the nuances of how he got from university and out into the world and the authorities for judging his contacts' veracity and maybe his genealogy chart? I was jolted and kept jolting for weeks. It opened out before my gaping incredulity that there had never been more than taking somebody else's word for stuff I didn't know from firsthand experience.

I contemplated the despicable mess this leaves of human civilization in general.

I might not be here if I'd had a gun.

I think I was fifty when this happened. Yes, yes, the scales had dropped from my eyes on many fronts long since, but nothing had completely knocked the pins out from under me to this extent in my whole vivid stretch from birth to now.

It reminded me who I was on 9/11/2001 and who I'd become in the nearly three years since. I was completely skeptical of everything mainstream before 9/11 and knew the size of the problem on that day AS my phone was ringing, before I picked up and heard my neighbor calling from his job at the mill to tell me to get to his house and turn on the tv.

I was at the point in my Zen practice where I was busy testing my ability to dismiss what my conditioning told me to look at reality, and did not consciously realize at that point what was my conditioning and what was me dealing with reality. The towers powderized. The Pentagon got a hole in it before the roof finally collapsed and Building 7 came down like watching the service elevator go back down to the loading dock.

I wasn't listening to the hairdos, but did hear them mention OBL at some point, and audibly said, "pfeh," and mainly the sound was only on so I could catch any new horror that might be developing.

By the next day I was determinedly sublimating my instincts in favor of a "Zen" attitude, not going to drive everybody nuts with my contrarian takes on this stuff, just going to float and not get driven hither and thither by it.

So then by the time I was jolted by the poor victim of one of my biggest life lessons it had already been nearly three years, and then by the time the jolting and the emergency neurosurgery and the leaving of 86 and settling into my new hovel, it had been just over four years, when I realized the mistake... the idiocy of letting my conditioned brain mistake insight for conditioning and sublimating the insight instead of the conditioning.

You might think that event was not really that traumatic to those of us so far away from it, that the shit we weren't even listening to while watching the disaster replaying all that day didn't affect our basic ability to connect with our own SENSE, but it did.

See, no human in all history has had more authority on which to rely than our own sense. Period. Not the grandest newspaper or university or sage in the entire history of mankind has ever had more authority than that, and our ONLY reason for being alive is to discover this and use it.

It's never too late to get to that until you are dead.

always and any time....