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Zorba the Buddha: The New Human

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We humans have this weird tendency to repress parts of ourselves…

Depending on what beliefs or identity labels we cling to, we judge and repress all that doesn’t fit in with our chosen facade.

Many people repress their spiritual self, or even their emotional self. Then you have the spiritual escapists who neglect their physical self. Those are some general categories, but we all do this in different ways and to different extents.

Any paradigm that ignores or neglects aspects of self is NOT a helpful model of reality. They create all sorts of insidious problems and stifle our true potential.

Why limit yourself when the whole is available?

This is where the concept of “Zorba the Buddha” comes into play…

Ever since I first heard the term Zorba the Buddha, it resonated deeply with me.

This term was coined by Osho, who encouraged people to embrace the godliness of Buddha, without neglecting the worldliness of Zorba the Greek.

Zorba is a character in the book Zorba the Greek who epitomizes the Earthly romantic. He travels, plays music, drinks wine, embraces sexuality…etc.

Here’s what Osho has to say about this concept:

“Zorba is the foundation and Buddha is the palace. Buddha is the peak, but the foundation stones are laid by Zorba. It will be foolish to choose to be a Buddha without having the foundation stones.

I am absolutely mathematical about it: Zorba should be there and the stronger a Zorba is there, the better a Buddha is possible. So I can become Buddha any moment, Zorba is absolutely needed as the basic energy out of which the Buddha is going to be carved. Zorba is the marble rock out of which the Buddha statue has to be carved. I choose the rock…and Buddha is easy. It is just a question of opening your eyes. I don’t bother about Buddha; I am worried about people who are not Zorbas. How will they become Buddhas? They don’t have the basic material out of which a Buddha is made.

And this poverty has been given to people by our religious leaders. They have been told not to be materialists. They have been told to be celibate. They have been told to live in poverty. They have been told that life is out of sin. All these things have destroyed their Zorbas. Otherwise, every man is a born Zorba the Greek.

And if everything goes according to me, every man will die as Zorba the Buddha. Between the Greek and the Buddha there is not much distance, but first you must be the Greek.”

zorba the buddha

The head-in-the-clouds escapist mentality of some New Age people never felt right to me. Neither did the materialist philosophy that is all too prevalent in our society today. I’ve always felt like it’s best to embrace both at once, embrace all aspects of self, and embrace Wholeness.

Neglect the spirit and you become cynical and lifeless. Neglect the body and you’re prone to delusional flightiness and insanity.

As the Zen saying goes, “Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

Spirituality is not about escapism. It’s about bringing the divine intensely into the physical reality and injecting it into each moment.

This schism comes from our dualistic mentality. We THINK the body and mind are separate. We THINK heaven and Earth are separate. Here’s the truth: There is no separation at all! Only the act of thinking itself causes the separation.

Love and Wholeness

Love is the unifying force. Love is connection between people. Love is connection with nature. Love is connection with everything. Love is the fabric of Oneness.

Fear is what severs that connection. So rejecting aspects of self is done out of some version of fear.

Be fully engaged in the present moment and let love be your North Star. With love as your guide, how could you go wrong?

Bases and Peaks

You can’t have the peak without the base of the mountain. Physicality is the base and spirituality is the peak. A base without a peak is incomplete, not fulfilling its potential. A peak without a base is a mirage, a delusion.

Materialism is like only placing lego blocks on the floor and never building upwards. Spiritual escapism is like trying to build a tower without a foundation.

Look at a pyramid. Most of the effort and materials go into the base. If a base is well-constructed, the capstone basically takes care of itself. The same goes for us. If we nurture and harmonize our mind/body, the spirit naturally comes through.

When you eat healthy, exercise, rest, laugh, meditate, dance, sing and spend time in nature, you naturally feel better! You feel more creative, more connected, more blissful and more inspired, right? That’s tapping into the Buddha within!

Catalysts Of Change

The core message of almost all spiritual and self-help books is PRESENCE, or being fully immersed in the moment.

Eckhart Tolle suggests that our primary spiritual purpose is to be fully engaged in the present moment. Thich Nhat Hanh recommends walking meditations, a practice that helps with truly EXPERIENCING LIFE.

See the common theme? The key is EMBODYING divinity here and now, not trying to escape it. Again…

“Before enlightenment, chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood, carry water.”

Sometimes I get the urge to live in the woods as a hermit. But I’ve come to realize that this is a complete disservice to both myself and the world at large.

If I were to isolate myself, I wouldn’t be able to inspire people or spread love through human connection. I would also be denying myself of physical experience. That’s a disservice.

If we want to change the world, we must do it from the inside out. First it starts within, and then within communities. This is why I love people who are bringing conscious practices to communities and places that need it the most (urban gardening, meditation in schools, yoga, alternative/clean energy…etc.).

Running off into the woods is not the solution. We must face our collective dysfunction head on, just as we must face our internal dysfunction head on. As above, so below.

Choosing to be either spiritual OR physical is an illusion! The yin is within the yang and the yang is within the yin. And all of it is within the circle, the whole. You don’t have to choose one or the other. They’re facets of the same whole. Accept your Wholeness.

“God changes his appearance every second. Blessed is the man who can recognize him in all his disguises.” ― Nikos Kazantzakis, Zorba the Greek

Source, God, or whatever you want to call divinity – is All That Is. It’s everything, all possibility. Therefore, to neglect any aspect of self is to limit your own divinity.

Embrace Wholeness. Embody Love.

– Stevie P!

Alcohol: Philosophizing on the Fun Poison

“Cheers!” You lift your bulbous glass filled with golden liquid, peaked by a touch of foam at the top. Everyone smiles mischievously as an orchestra of “clink” resonates through the air. You close your eyes and take a sip. It tastes oddly delicious. Bitter, yet accented with a potpourri of unique, subtle flavors. Your lips gently smack together a few times as you bask in the primal enjoyment of taste. You’ve come a long way since the first time you tried it, re-living when you almost lost your lunch after glugging that unanticipated, surprising smack of intense harshness.

You get that familiar warm and fuzzy feeling as the substance slithers into your bloodstream. It’s like being comforted by a seductive muse. You smile, laugh and enjoy yourself, but they are shadows of their genuine counterparts. She has you… And you brush your true essence aside for a deep dive into her delusory bliss.

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Oh alcohol, the ever-present fun poison. It pervades our culture, to the extent that its presence is demanded at every social event.

As a teenager, I would indulge in “the fun poison” to shed my inhibitions. It was a double-edged sword I used to cut through my social anxieties. And because “everyone was doing it” it helped me to fit in more and seem cool.

Thankfully, I didn’t completely depend on alcohol for building social skills and confidence. I developed confidence through more intrinsic means as well (health, fitness, meditation, skill acquisition, writing, reading a lot…etc). But once I became socially confident in most situations, I found myself using alcohol for other reasons…

One being the random spontaneity that alcohol tends to beget, and the other was to relate to as many people as possible. Regarding random spontaneity, most everyone would agree that you get into all kinds of “random adventures” when intoxicated. Much more than your “paralyzed-with-fear-and-conditioning” day-to-day self. And with relating to as many people as possible, it’s difficult for many unique-thinking-introverts to interact within a culture that glorifies extroversion and disingenuous small-talk.

This is why alcohol is a profound indicator of the insidious predicaments of our culture and collective psychology.

Let’s dive into some of these:

Escapism

Though escapism has not driven my alcohol consumption, it’s the case with many people. Life is difficult for so many, and alcohol, like any conscious-altering substance, provides a temporary refuge from the pain. It’s a short-sighted way of forgetting about problems (And will, in fact, exacerbate problems in the long-run). We all know that there are far more beneficial ways to address this issue (that’s another tangent) but alcohol’s omnipresence in society makes it all too accessible. Combine that with a society based on fear and limitation, and we have fertile ground for escapism.

Social Anxiety

The overwhelming majority of people don’t effectively express themselves (myself included sometimes). There is deep-seated, fear-programming that keeps us in an ego-driven state of comparison, feelings of inadequacy and lack of self-love. Most people go about life in a rigid, fearful and overly stoic state. But give them a few drinks, and they start expressing. You see them sing, dance and reveal things you would never have imagined if you saw them a few hours beforehand. Why does everyone have social anxiety? Why don’t we express ourselves like we know we should? Why is it so difficult to just be ourselves? Why can’t we sing and dance our hearts whenever the feeling arises? Why can’t we be random and spontaneous without drinking? These are the deeper questions we must ask ourselves.

Relating to the Masses

The philosopher/writer/speaker Alan Watts was a brilliantly unique man. He dove into the depths of human consciousness and shared profound insights on literally everything. But what people rarely mention is that he was an alcoholic. Watts would be invited to give presentations in front of large crowds, and noticed that he could relate to his audience more when he had a few martinis prior to speaking. This also applied to the after parties that often accompanied the events. Watts was a deep-thinker, who probably found it excruciating to engage in meaningless small-talk. He used alcohol as a crutch to make talking about the weather less cringe-worthy and as a bridge to discussions about deep, meaningful subjects. I’ve found this to be the case with myself and several other “deep-thinkers” I know as well. We must learn how to incorporate meaningful conversation and connection without compromising the health of our mind, body and spirit in doing so.

We need to ask ourselves some important questions… Why do we choose to indulge in this toxic substance? And are there more beneficial alternatives to give us the same “results” that alcohol produces? (like shedding inhibition, openly expressing ourselves…etc.)

Starting today, I choose not to consume alcohol. For how long, I don’t know yet. But I also aim to be freely expressive, socially fearless, ridiculous and unabashedly myself at all times. I started a habit on the app Lift called “Alcohol-Free and More Fun.” I welcome anyone else to participate there and join me in this challenge, especially if what I said resonates with you.

Life is a party , you just have to make the decision to step in the door (and not destroy the house while you’re at it).

Stay feelin’ good, feelin’ great.

-Stevie P!