Zen for Halloween

A Zen Helper for Halloween

Today I learned an interesting fact from National Geographic. It’s a bit, um, bizarre, so you may not want to read beyond this point, but here it goes. We’re not ourselves. Well, to be a bit more accurate, we’re not human.

Consider this. If we added up all the cells in your body, about 10% would be human cells. The rest would be microbes – a multitude of creatures who have their own DNA and are totally different creatures from you. Now consider that even in the human cells, the mitochondria are their own separate beasties.

Now consider your water weight – from 60-80% of you is water, depending on who you’re talking to. And H2O molecules are hardly human.

Sheesh! How about that? We’re basically a huge zoo, with only 10% of our being (and that’s probably on the generous side) actually being us! Freaky, huh? Makes you wonder what they think of us. (Well, of course, mine probably think quite highly of me, but I’m talking about the average person.)

But we don’t know we’re not us! That’s the funny part! If we were polite at all we’d at least set up an email account for our intestinal bacteria. I mean, why should ‘you’ get this email, while they’re left out?

Bacteria aside (this whole thing is making me want to drink Lysol), there’s an important Zen issue we need to confront this week. Because what’s coming up? That’s right! Halloween! When we dress up as ‘someone else’. (I’m sure that the deep complexity of this literary interweaving isn’t escaping any of you.)

In Madison, Wisconsin, you get to see hundreds – nay, thousands! – of ’10% humans’ all pretending to be something or someone other than who they ‘are’.

Okay. Take a deep breath, because I know it’s all beginning to hit you now.

And all these 10% humans will be ingesting alcohol and, um, other more exotic substances – each of which enters the bodily menagerie and kills some things while making room for other things – which in effect changes the entire species balance in each ‘person’.

So in effect, this is a holiday about pretending to be someone else while we don’t even have the slightest idea who we are, all the while shifting the basic structure of anything we could remotely pin down as ‘us’!

Maybe I’ll be a microbe this Halloween.

Science has been busy, over the last centuries, in verifying what people have been telling us for millennia. Yup. Buddha told us long ago that we weren’t ourselves. Science had to take a different approach, but they’re finally coming to the same conclusion.

Basically all of life is like this. We see an apparent reality, all the while missing the true reality hiding right behind the mask. Take a pop-tart, for instance. Hmmm. Maybe not. For did not Buddha say (or maybe not), “Of all true realities, only a single breath can sense the top part?” Mysterious words, but if you look at the anagram, the truth becomes more than evident.

By the way, did you get it? Mask? Halloween reference? Second sentence of last paragraph? Buddha’s ‘quote’? I know, I know. Kudos to me. (For the solution, see the bottom of this page)

So, forget the pop-tart and consider a microbe. A ‘Kenton’, actually, dressed up like a microbe on State Street in Madison. Huge pincers, drooling nano-slime from a single orifice that functions as both a mouth and an anus. Imagine the sight for a moment. I know. It’s almost too much.

Do we end there? With that marvelous vision stuck in our heads, and a total lack of proving our point about apparent realities?

But that’s it, don’t you see? The idea that I was going to prove a point was an apparent reality! I was never going to prove the point in the first place!! And thus the point is proven!

Well, I certainly do sometimes amaze even myself.

Note the second portion of the second sentence in that paragraph (numerologists and code-breakers should note the 2,2 pattern). Buddha’s quote, (also divided into two sections – have you been counting letters?) mimics the prior referenced sentence, differing primarily in the second section (reference to ‘mask’ in first sentence, reference to ‘top part’ in Buddha’s quote). ‘Top Part’ is an anagram of pop-tart, which is really just an arbitrary sentence thrown in the middle of the paragraph (note that it is the third sentence, which is the number of times we’ve noted the ‘2’ coincidence). The arbitrary nature of the chosen ‘hidden meaning’ (pop-tart) behind the ‘mask’ references the realization that all these things we think are so important are really just little games with no meaning besides the fact that they either amuse us or provide us with some imagined utility. Sort of like this article.

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