Thursday, February 18, 2016

Shakubuku

http://eleventyoneblog.com/shakubuku/

Shakubuku

My friend recently reminded me of this exchange from the movie Grosse Pointe Blank:
Debi: You know what you need?
Marty: What?
Debi: Shakubuku.
Marty: You wanna tell me what that means?
Debi: It’s a swift, spiritual kick to the head that alters your reality forever.
Marty: Oh, that’d be good. I think.
It turns out shakubuku is a real thing. It is a Buddhist practice of moving towards enlightenment by destroying illusions. From what little I’ve read about it, it sounds like the no-nonsense, hit you with a stick school of Buddhism. Only a philosophy that rejects duality can embrace a swift kick to the head as an act of compassion. And it does sound good, doesn’t it?

This idea of altering reality forever holds great appeal to me. But the point of this short post is not how to alter reality, or when to seek that spiritual kick in the head, but to bring up something another friend once told me when I sought her advice on a problem: “No one is coming.”

The odds of your high school sweetheart swooping in and changing your worldview are slim. So is the chance that an assassination plot is going to teach you some important lessons. Art can instruct and inform life, but if you sit and wait for the Hollywood plot twist instead of getting down to business, then you’re doing it wrong. John Cusack is not coming. Neither is Minnie Driver. Not even Dan Aykroyd. If anyone is going to administer shakubuku to us, we’re going to have to go out and find them.

The alternative is to do it ourselves. It might take some impressive dexterity to kick ourselves in the head, spiritually or otherwise, but I believe it is possible. Maybe it’s the only way. I suggest you start by stretching. Perhaps the first illusion we can Kung Fu kick in the cranium is the idea that someone is coming to do it for us.

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