Tomorrow evening is Halloween. I plan to dress up as my self. Not my true Self, there is no costume for that; and not my polished persona, there is little that is scary about that. No, I plan to dress up as my ordinary self: my ego.
What will this look like? The Tasmanian Devil on steroids: a tornado of conflicting thoughts and feelings that change so fast that no one, not even me, can make sense of it.
I will fly up to a neighbor’s door, bang loudly, and when the door is opened scream, “Trick or treat, no wait, treat, treat, treat! No! Tricks just tricks. Gimme candy. And a new Prius and an iMac. Gimme something really cool, but even if you do I won’t care about it two minutes later so you better have something even more cool to give me after that. Oh, forget it. I don’t deserve anything anyway. Just keep your crappy candy. What I really need is a hug and a pat on the head. Good boy. Yeah, say, ‘Good boy,’ that would be nice. But what the hell do you know about me anyway? You don’t know me, so don’t pat my head or kick my butt. And don’t think I won’t kick yours. Who cares about you anyway? Unless you have candy. Gimme candy. And what about that car…”
Long before I finish all this I am certain my neighbor has called 911 or taken a shot at me himself, after all I noticed he subscribes to Guns and Gardens, a new magazine about life in the South (no, I’m not kidding). I don’t blame him. Meeting me would be terrifying, to me as well as to you. But I don’t know you, so I will focus on me.
I hate meeting me. I’m so messy. I try hard not to meet me by staying so busy that there just isn’t time. Yet I do bump into myself once in a while, coming and going; always on the fly or on the run. Never on the sit, which is the one place I really need to schedule the meeting.
So maybe that is what I will do this Halloween. Rather than run next door as me, I might just sit on my meditation cushions and spend some time with me. Which reminds me of a story Roshi Norm Fisher tells about Zen Master Ryon (I’m not certain of the spelling).
The master would call out loud to himself saying, “Rayon!” “Yes, master, here I am!” Rayon would reply. “Pay attention!” “Yes, master, I will.”
This is a good story and an even better practice. Call it Hinneni (Hebrew for Here I Am) practice. This is the way to meet myself: “Rami!” “Yes, rabbi, hinneni, I’m here!” “Pay attention! Don’t get wrapped up in the drama! Do justly! Love mercy! Walk humbly!” “Yes, rabbi, I will.”
My plan now is to sit on my cushions, and call to myself. And then I’ll walk next door and get that candy from my neighbor.