Mid-July About Beliefs and Doorknobs

Posted by on July 22, 2015


Door Knobs and Beliefs © Yao Xiang Shakya, efh 2015

By Yao Xiang Shakya

In the Woody Allen film Crimes and Misdemeanors Judah, the main character, struggles with his childish belief about God. As a child, Judah’s father taught him that God watches and knows his every move and furthermore this watchful God punishes wrongful behavior and rewards virtue. Judah, after having his mistress killed by an anonymous hit man finds that although he does experience a short period of guilt and fear, in the end his life is unscathed by his brutal act.

As I contemplate this story I include these ideas and acts in my mind as “I am” and “I am not.” What I mean by this is I literally contemplate that I am Judah, I am the hit man, I am the mistress, I am the killer, I am the killed followed by the contemplation of I am not Judah, I am not the hit man, I am not the mistress, I am not the killer, I am not the killed. In both contemplations, whether it is positive or negative swimming occurs. What I mean by swimming is movement in the experience of being I am. There is no landing, no ground not even the ground of a belief that God watches and knows every move I make and punishes and rewards accordingly. There is swimming. But it does not mean I conclude I am a swimmer, it is quickly followed by I am not a swimmer. There is swimming. There is not swimming. There is I am. And this I am is Judah, the hit man, the mistress, the killer, the killed, and not Judah, not the hit man, not the mistress, not the killer, and not the killed. And none of this lives in the realm of ideas but only in the realm of being.

And as far as the doorknob is concerned…well…I am the doorknob, I am the handle, I am turnable, I am part of a door and I am not the doorknob, I am not the handle, I am not turnable and I am not part of the door. This being is being.

I am not Jungian, Freudian, Adlerian…or any such thing…I applaud the Dane, not Hamlet, but Kierkegaard…both these Danes were thought to be mad because both of them lived with a broken heart. They remind me of Jesus and Shakyamuni…surely they went forth with a broken heart as they lived to find the truth of existence!  Three of them lived out the contemplations of devotion.

When I practiced as a clinical psychologist, clients would say, “All you seem to point out is that I am human!” That is of course true. Religion often fails to take that into consideration.  Zen shows that I am a human being that is able to transcend; the method is the contemplations of being devoted to being human and finding God in the middle of it.

What a marvel.

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