Sunday, March 23, 2014

Fender and Zazzu

Fender & Zazzu, 2014
Soph Laugh
Copic marker on paper
Private Collection

Fender lives in a world characterized by constant change, activity, and progress. He has a positive attitude and is full of energy and new ideas. Within him is a force that stimulates change and progress. He is energetic, spirited, and spunky. He is one of those high-octane, full of vim and vigor, feisty beings. Bold and enterprising, Fender beings are highly flexible in thought. 

Zazzu is at peace. A poet might describe Zazzu as an area of the sea without wind. She is tranquil and quiet, soothing to be around. She is serene, untroubled, and composed. She is the epitome of appeasement, satisfying others with her presence. She is unruffled, untroubled, and poised. Easygoing and levelheaded, Zazzu beings are happy and have an inner sense of completeness. 

Fender and Zazzu could be described as the Yin and Yang, as polar opposites, as two fundamentally different ways of being-in-the-world. As with all physical systems, beingness appears different on the outside. Just as a balloon when inflated is full of air, it appears large and protruding in a closed space. On the inside the balloon might feel exuberant and joyous, while on the outside it is perceived as loud and obnoxious.

If we examine Fender in all his positive glory, we see a contrast on the inside. We see an individual operating from a mode of deficiency. His actions are motivated by a need that compels him toward acquiring what he thinks will assuage his needs. He sets goals and strives to keep everything in its right place. Everything in Fender's world ought to be just-so, with nothing out of place.

On the contrary, Zazzu, while seemingly placid and unexcitable, is actually operating from a different perspective of being-in-the-world. Zazzu is in a state of inner completeness, and is at one with herself. Her actions are not motivated by a sense of inner deficiency, but rather experienced as an overflowing of her inner sense of completeness.

Fender seeks perfection. Zazzu feels completion. But which is best?

We live in a physical world ruled by dynamic systems. While the enlightened quality associated with relinquishing oneself from a sense of deficiency to exist in a state of completeness might sound nice, it involves creating a container for oneself, a nurturing place to exist when the world gets hectic.

Creating a special or sacred space in which to exist is akin to mothering oneself. The act of mothering is closely related to the Buddhist practice of 'exchanging one's self for others', which the Dalai Lama frequently recommends when speaking to audiences in his public appearances. It involves letting go of the ego, of the needs that arise from a desire for perfection, and allowing oneself to exist with less, in a place that is light and spacious, uncluttered with needs and wants. In this place, compassion and loving kindness toward others is more easily felt as they are immediately accessible.

Existing in a dynamic universe makes it impossible to exist 100% of the time in Zazzu's world. If we enter the realm of Zazzu and let go of all concerns of ego, like a garden, the chaos of life will continue growing, and if left attended, will gradually creep up and overpower our Zen-like garden.

For this reason, Fender and Zazzu are presented next to each other, but existing in separate spaces. The blank space between them represents our capacity for spontaneous appropriate action. Here, intuition and action spring forth at the same time. In this sense, thinking, action, and intention must be harmonious. It is like living in a space of suspendedness, in a place of inexhaustible energy where you are aware that you must work in order to be carried along. In this state, time seems to slow down, though you may be working at top speed; worry fades away, and you exist in a frame of mind where what needs to be done presents itself without counterthought or question.

Despite the spontaneous nature of this way of being, appropriate action results out of deliberation. Deliberating on matters requires our 'walking through them' in our mind's eye; recognizing the emotional states that will arise and evoking that Zazzu'esque nature within to soothe ourselves so that we can focus on action and not reaction.

In order to live in Zazzu's world, we need Fender to help us formulate the ideal state so that when moments arise, we can create something outside ourselves that exists within. What's most important is recognizing whether to evoke Fender or Zazzu at any given moment, as well as understanding that our perceptions of others arise from two distinct aspects of beingness: 1) the state in which we are temporarily existing + the state in which the other is temporarily existing; 2) the illusory or external perception of Fender vs. Zazzu states of being (recall the balloon analogy above). Here, we must recognize that both we and the other are experiencing a perception and act according to what we perceive to be the highest ideal of both states. If we do not know the highest ideal, it is best to ask.

Identifying with the Zazzu state is like identifying with the aspect of creation that appears to emerge from nothing. In this fresh state we have not yet formed attachment. Identifying with the Fender state is like identifying with the aspect of what we produce, the product of our own creation, something that arises out of a sense of attachment (to the medium or tool we utilize to create it).

To discover oneself is to understand that reality exists in close proximity to both states, in a state of perpetual, relaxed preparedness ~ allowing for nothing and everything simultaneously. Recognizing opposites as temporary states rather than permanently fixed time space locations allows us to live in a state of 'perpetual awareness' or 'unprojected consciousness'.

In reality, living in the combined realm of Fendazzu or Zazzender feels like the ineffable quality of awe, wonder, or mystery associated with existence. Rather than being hindered by ideas and opinions, we incline toward experiences that require a bit of intrinsic awareness, where desirable states surround those who do not cling to predefined outcomes or even stillness. There is a tendency for some individuals to cling to the skirt of enlightenment, continually telling others what they are missing, creating new ways of being, and negating others. This is the same thing, only the other side of beingness. Attachment that arises from judgment, even positive judgment, is a tragic romance. Whereas the love affair of mind exists in having our cake and eating it, too ... or saving it for a rainy day, whichever works.

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