Just Fucking Life

“Dude, I know you’re not trying to be a teacher or nothing, but I’ve learned more from reading your articles the last few months than years of listening to spiritual teachers. It makes all this spiritual stuff so clear and simple. Like something has relaxed inside me, you know? It just makes fucking sense. Don’t know how else to say it! My question is, WHY ARE YOU THE ONLY DUDE TALKING ABOUT THIS IN THIS WAY??? There are a couple other teachers I know who are critical of the spiritual circus too. But even they are selling some brand of their own “awake” state. But you’ve got no skin in the game man. That’s what makes me wanna listen.”
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Why am I the only dude talking about this? I don’t know if I am, but if it’s true that’s a pretty fucking sad state of affairs. You’re right, I’ve got no skin in this game. I’ve got no skin in any game. Even my everyday jobs that earn me a living are something I can walk away from at a moment’s notice if they require me to compromise myself in any way.

It’s like that poem, The Man in the Glass, that Priscilla shared in the comments section a couple of posts ago. I don’t live my life seeking external validation of any form, emotional, psychological or financial. The only person whose validation I need is the guy staring back at me in the mirror. And it’s not about giving myself props or building up an image of myself either. It’s a silent validation. A soundless, “it’s all good”.

I trust myself to the extent that I no longer have to think about myself.

I don’t know why no one is talking about this. And how simple it all is. I don’t know why these gurus are up there “ego tripping” on the sense of importance they feel when others put them on a pedestal. All I can say is that they must feel utterly terrified inside. Yes, I know about teachers who are critical of the non-dual scene, yet end up manifesting a very similar kind of power dynamic under the guise of it being something else. They’re just looking for a new angle from which to market the same old product.

“You” are the product you’re being sold. And like any product, it isn’t enough to market just the product. They have to keep providing upgrades, newer models, more features and so on to keep the customer interested and seeking more. It happens in every industry: tech, auto, fashion, business, restaurants: we are constantly reinventing the same things in order to generate an illusion of progress. So, when “you” are the product, that’s what the whole focus is going to be about.

But it’s not meant to be that complicated. None of it is that complicated. Complicated is US, our minds, what we’ve turned our lives and ourselves into. But this: life, reality? It’s bizarrely simple and straightforward. That’s what makes it impossible to accept.


I was chatting with a buddy last night and he goes, “man, sometimes I sit on the bench in the park and just look at a tree. And I’ll look at it for like an hour or two. I’m not meditating or anything like that. I’m just looking at the tree. And when I’m doing that it just becomes absolutely fucking clear to me that, that’s all there is to it. That’s all the meaning there needs to be. Nothing spiritual or mystical. It’s an ordinary tree. Just looking at the fucking tree. It’s that simple.”

And I responded, “…and what we call civilization is the sum total of all the infinite techniques human beings have invented in order to AVOID looking at that fucking tree.”

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Of course, the fucking-tree isn’t the point. It could be a fucking-anything. The fucking-mailbox, the fucking-street, the fucking-dog, the fucking-book, the fucking-olympics, the fucking-mailman, the fucking-wife, the fucking-wife fucking the fucking-mailman, you get the idea.

It’s just fucking life.

Seeing everything with a simple matter-of-fact awareness requires nothing “more” to be made of the moment than it already is.

But simplicity is the enemy of progress. If we were just content with looking at the tree, we’d still be living in the jungle along with our other primate cousins who are genuinely content in their tree-gazing.

Yet, some ancestor of ours a bajillion years ago, while looking at that tree went, “Nah. There’s got to be something more to life than just sitting here looking at this fucking tree.”

So, he went and invented some tools which he used to cut that bastard tree down. Then he cut it up into small blocks and came up with the bright idea to set it on fire. Then he used that fire to burn down entire acres of useless trees. And he planted useful things like “crops” that served a more functional purpose than simply being stared at. But he couldn’t get the fucking tree out of his mind even though he had already assassinated it and its entire extended family.

So, he began to dig into the ground and discovered that the dead fucking-tree, along with other dead things, had turned into fucking-coal and fucking-oil. So, he invented machines that could use these dead tree-corpses to build massive steel and concrete cities in which not a single structure he built looked anything like a tree. In fact, they were designed to be distinctly anti-tree-like.

And living in his concrete bubble, he invented things like politics and religion, government and law, culture and tradition, technology and fashion, science and medicine and so on: infinite ways in which to preoccupy himself in an effort to prove the correctness of his original declaration, “there’s got to be something more to life than just sitting here looking at this fucking tree.”

But there was something missing. Something gnawing at him on the inside. He was unhappy. Even though he was more comfortable than he had ever been in the jungle, even though he had literally doubled his life span – that increase in quantity had not translated into an increase in quality. If anything the quality had deteriorated. At the back of his mind, he had this niggling sense that that “something missing” had to do with the fucking-tree. Over time, he came to accept the fact that he needed to look at it again. But how?

So, he began to invent spiritual practices that would teach him how to look at the fucking-tree properly. And he began to seek the counsel of expert tree-gazers, those who claimed to have transcended all desire to look-away-from-trees. Those who claimed to have realized their own tree-nature.

He paid a lot of money to these good, magnanimous folks. A lot of fucking-trees died in order to print all that cash he paid to those good teachers. And they taught him to feel all kinds of things about trees. They taught him to worship them. To offer sacrifices to them. To be filled with ecstasy, love and bliss at the very thought of them. To see his own tree nature.

He began to dress in only bark and leaves. He would meditate while standing and holding his arms upwards pretending to be a tree. He studied botany and could list every single species of trees that existed. He would meet with his other tree-loving friends and together they would spend hours talking about the beauty and freedom of trees. They would all join hands and sway together like the branches of a tree in the wind.

Yet as the years passed on he began to realize that he still felt empty. That all his worship and seeking hadn’t filled that void inside him. He was still missing something. And it still had to do with that fucking-tree…

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Then, one day depressed and confused, he walks down to a park. And he sits down, next to this other guy who seems relaxed and passively gazing at something. He asks the guy what he is looking at and the guy responds, “a tree.”

And our friend embarks on this long monologue about what trees are, what tree nature is, the millions of species of trees, the importance of trees in our lives, the benefits of tree-gazing, the greatest tree-gazing gurus he has had the fortune of studying under, his mystical experiences of union with trees and the sudden realization of his own tree-nature.

And the guy on the bench is just passively nodding, “uh huh, uh huh” while continuing to look at the tree.

And our friend, a bit peeved by this guy’s lack of acknowledgement of his own knowledge, expertise and realization begins to berate him as being superficial for not having delved deeply enough into the matter. He tells him that there are layers and layers of reality within trees. That the guy is blindly living in a concrete matrix designed to prevent him from recognizing his own tree nature. And that there is more to this existence than meets the eye.

The guy on the bench, continues nodding passively, unfazed and uninterested. Our friend becomes quite disturbed at this point. He inquires how the guy is so unconcerned. Isn’t the guy interested in what this whole thing called life is all about? Isn’t he interested in discovering the deeper purpose and meaning behind it all? The guy shakes his head without looking away.

At this point, our friend breaks down and confesses that he is lost. That he has searched high and low for a solution to his suffering. That he has done everything possible to try and acknowledge the fucking-tree: he has studied about it, meditated on it, sung songs of devotion to it, tried to become one with it, tried to surrender to it, tried to make love to it – but nothing has worked. He still feels a tree-shaped void inside his heart. Is there anything, anything at all the guy could offer him in the form of a pointer or some advice that will help him on his quest??? He has suffered in his doubt and confusion for so long! Just a word! Even a single word that will shine even one ray of light into the darkness of his own existence!!!

The guy on the bench sighs and turns to him and goes,

“Bro, shut the fuck up and just look at the fucking tree.”

One thought on “Just Fucking Life

  1. There’s lot of other shit involved, but the core of Radical Honesty is essentially ‘bro look at the fucking tree’, so I imagine at least some of us are out there talking about this too. Getting dumber by the minute.

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