Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Buddhist (Bookstore) Bootcamp, Part I

Dhr. Seven and Amber Dorrian, Wisdom Quarterly
Buddhist Boot Camp author and former Zen priest and Tibetan lama Timber Hawkeye book signing, Alexandria II Bookstore, Monday, April 1, 2013 (WQ)

Signing and answering questions
Sabra (Israeli-born) seeker and author "Timber Hawkeye," his chosen American name, although born in Israel as Schmendrick Somesuch (or some similarly unpronounceable Israeli name). He is on a five week tour across the country visiting 29 independent bookstores and one Barnes & Noble tonight (Santa Monica, April 2, 2013) and in Berkeley at Book Inc. tomorrow.

Wisdom Quarterly caught up with him in Pasadena at Alexandria II Bookstore thanks to PasaDharma promoting the appearance.

He now lives in Seattle but once lived in a California cubicle, a workaholic perfectionist for years assisting attorneys. That was his corporate boot camp experience. One day he found himself at a coworker's 30 year celebration and envisioned his life unfolding in the cramp quarters of a cubicle's four walls. He sold everything and moved to Hawaii with no plan.

He went from overworking to a tiny 200 squared foot shared apartment and a 15-hour-a-week job. The new aloha life left him with lots of time to think, slow down, detox from the media, study meditation and psychology and, most importantly, write email updates with photos about his new life to his corporate friends. Those edited emails eventually became his new book released by HarperCollins a month ago, Buddhist Boot Camp.

It has been accompanied by a Facebook blitz and won great acclaim. Why? It does not say anything we do not already know. It's more about KISS (keep it simple, stupid). For as Hawkeye again and again emphasizes, he is not a teacher. He is a, a, a... not one to use labels.

Long ago in Hawaii the words of Eknath Easwaran made an impact: We eat  with our eyes and other senses not just our mouths.

Hawkeye realized that he had been binging for years with little time to digest and no time to detox. He dieted -- detoxed himself completely from the media, negativity, and fear. He did it for years, still writing update emails. Then, finally, his thoughts became his own. He didn't have much to talk to others about, others with their media-fueled obsessions. What is [insert any pop star here] up to? It is on account of our excessive consumption that we know the answer. We are fed opinions by stylemakers and mainstream consensus-reality creators.

He became a Buddhist monk then returned...
Hawkeye realized he could live without it all. There are three gates in our throat, he explains, and there is a guard at each: Before we speak, we can ask: Is what I'm about to say 1) true, 2) necessary, and 3) kind?

Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it intelligent? Is it necessary? Is it kind? Asking in this way, before long, everything was positive and motivational. The detoxing paid off. The mindless mind chatter abated.

The danger in living in that joyful bubble is forgetting that other people do not live in that happy, positive, motivated world. 

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