Disciples of Experience, Incurable Deviants, Spiritual Disruptors & Revolutionaries
From the mud of the pain & suffering comes
the wisdom of the lotus.
The Mother, Sri Aurobindo Ashram, Pudecherry, India
As many who know me are aware that I am on a mission to ‘de-but’ the world to chose AND over but. Someone who chooses AND over but can be referred to as an incurable deviant and or a disciple of experience.
I first heard that phrase disciple of experience connected with Leonardo DaVinci who called himself this and I know he was an AND man.
When we look at his creativity and the various areas where he put his energy in – invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, I would agree! His life was filled with exploring new avenues of thought, one thing led to another and another….
He found pleasure & perhaps joy and inspiration following a trail, being curious, a growth mindset – no either-or thinking, just making his own unique path – even when it brought him angst, isolation, feelings that brought him mental pain.
Some would call DaVinci is a whole brain thinker; he was able to discipline the mind he lived with to be very productive. He was an atheist and he was aware of divine beauty of nature and in awe of the similarities of humans and animals that must have had one creator. Maybe some would say he was awake to his world.
A 20th century rabbi I heard once called himself an incurable deviant. And I know how we study Torah, I can understand his label o f himself, eternally curious and drawn into a search for meaning in the collection of black letters as well as in the white space they sit in.
Rabbi Bloom and DaVinci can be compared with one of my role models Rabbi Akiva, of the first century, a shepherd who became a renowned and honored teacher-scholar, author of a classic mystical text and who is described as being Shalom – whole, complete, balanced in his studies and teachings and divine encounters. In the flow of life…
When describing your self how would you feel about including the phrase incurable deviant or a disciple of experience? Do you dare to move into the world trusting your self, having faith that you are whole and never alone.
You might be thinking…how does this relate to a mindfulness, meditation or even Buddhist practice? And so come wander with me…
Moses, a central character in the Hebrew bible, had many encounters with the divine.
In one meeting Moses asked – so what do I tell them your name is…and one translation of that Hebrew scripture Asher Yihiyeh Asher is ‘I will be who I will be’… that means to me
That the Breathe of All Life, Mother Father God, Higher Power, Universe reflect as a disciple of experience– responding to the moment – perhaps modeling for us a way of being in the world.
I am inspired by looking around at the diversity of everything…shape & size of each of us, the variant colors of our hair, the tides that rise and fall and yet remain unique within each period influenced by the many phases of the moon. Change is in every breath.
Someone recently called me a spiritual disruptor and I was not sure what he meant – at first I thought it was not a compliment and then I had to think again because the man who called me this was someone I respect, a good guy out to refine the world for the good of all and so I asked him and he said it was a admiring comment…so I needed to know more…
So I Googled the phrase and found someone who wrote that
Jesus was a spiritual disruptor – taking what is – teachings of Judaism and adding his own twist to it – and influencing how people see the world for good – so what does that mean to me and us? I began to ponder for us the phrases incurable deviant and spiritual disruptor
And I ask us “are you willing to be or have you been a spiritual disruptor, an incurable deviant in your own life?
Please…do not limit your thinking to comparing your self to DaVinci or Jesus…PLEASE
Then I remembered Noah Levine, the son of one of my core Buddhist teachers Stephen Levine, Noah is a multi-tatooed, ex-addict and druggie, who teaches Buddhism to the Punk Rock crowd and whom ever else will listen.
He teaches that the Buddha said that a meditation mindfulness lifestyle is ‘Going against the stream’
Some one who is willing to follow their own path as the Buddha lived and taught. Noah wrote:
“The truth is, going against the internal stream of ignorance is way more rebellious than trying to start some sort of cultural revolution.”
I am frequently reminding myself that as brilliant as I am I know nothing…it is only when we think we know it all that we get caught in our ignorance.
In Noah’s book Against the Stream: A Buddhist Manual for Spiritual Revolutionaries he wrote:
“Buddha was a revolutionary. His practice was subversive; his message, seditious. His enlightened point of view went against the norms of his day—in his words, “against the stream.” His teachings changed the world, and now they can change you too.”
“The Buddha’s teachings are not a philosophy or a religion; they are a call to action and invitation to revolution.”
Revolution…do you think of your self as a revolutionary? Why not?
Noah compares being a revolutionary to waking up out of our sleep walking, of saying to our self the same old same old is not working…I am getting the same results… I must try something new —-deep breath…and go against the grain of comfort I have made for myself…
“Waking up is not a selfish pursuit of happiness, it is a revolutionary stance, from the inside out, for the benefit of all beings in existence.”
We must heal our soul and heart and that will send ripple affects to the rest of our self and to the world.
We each influence our world, we each are revolutionaries, we each have role models to be inspired by as we need to cultivate our growth mindset, being open to possibilities, going beyond this or that, two options thinking…the world demands that in a naturally organic evolutionary way…if we are willing to stay awake in the flow of our lives…
Do you remember Daniel Elsberg? Do you remember Watergate? Well right before Watergate came
Daniel Ellsberg, an American activist and former United States military analyst who, while employed by the RAND Corporation, precipitated a national political controversy in 1971 when he released the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret Pentagon study of U.S. government decision-making in relation to the Vietnam War, to The New York Times and other newspapers.
In an interview with Elsberg a journalist wrote:
“Do you, Daniel, know that you can face prison?
His answer showed me that he had, by then, accepted the potential consequences of his actions.
“Wouldn’t you be willing to go to prison to end this war?” he said.
And I ask ;”What war would you be willing to end? Within you?”
I Again revisit the teaching of The Mother:
From the mud of the pain & suffering comes
the wisdom of the lotus
So I ask myself “am I spiritual disruptor”, a disciple of experience or an incurable deviant?
I would say yes, I am a rabbi without walls, I teach about the Hebrew letter Vav that translates to AND & and am sure that it will save the world, I put out a newsletter asking over 700 people to pause once a month and breathe, and I show up here and challenge your and my fixed mindset that has been trained to be prejudiced, linear hierarchical heterosexual misogynist thinkers.
And as the Mother teachers there is suffering and pain in that mud and from those yucky encounters does bloom the lotus.
And I am the founder of Watering the Tree Outside the Fence Foundation where I encourage being an incurable deviant or as Meher Baba teaches – exploring what it means to be you, being your whole self using your whole brain as you walk in an ocean of Love.
Some friends and I used to play a game where we asked each other who would you invite to dinner – living or dead- I think Leonardo DaVinci & the Buddha, Pearl Bailey, Jonas Salk, Madame Curry, W.E. Dubois, Rabbi Akiva, Alvin Alley, Bill Russell, Mother Theresa, Pink, Rachel & Jackie Robinson, Madonna, Sammy Davis Jr. Marian Wright Edelman, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Spike Lee, Margaret Seidler, just to begin — what a conversation !!! full of honest and provocative conversations.
Whom would you invite? And from those conversations
how would you act within your current sphere of influence to invite, model, challenge, and inspire others to question the line and to take their own actions in moving toward the world envisioned utopian dreams?
Stepping into your whole body mind heart, giving it all the attention it deserves!
And… what can you do to increase your sphere of influence? Listen to the answers that emerge, and take action to refine your path in that direction.
So what does it take to be a spiritual disruptor, incurable deviant, disciple of experience?
UNITED church on Duke street will celebrate its reopening June 22-24 with many ministerial celebrities. One is Reverend Kevin who teaches tough minded optimisim, and I think that when taking on a new thought – being our incurable deviant – spiritual disruptor – disciple of experience selves we need that tough optimism
I am planting the seeds for you to water – asking you to lean toward the positive, to keeping your mind open the mind that loves to suffer, notice what is missing and does not fit into the box or column or topic, PLEASE offer it kindness, embrace your Self with unconditional eternal love.
The lotus flower is one of the most ancient and deepest symbols of our planet. The lotus flower grows in muddy water and rises above the surface to bloom with remarkable beauty. … Untouched by the impurity, lotus symbolizes the purity of heart and mind. The lotus flower represents long life, health, honor and good luck.
Let us focus on the lotus:
Zen Buddhist Priest, Thich Nhat Hnah is quoted as saying – “no mud, no wisdom.”