In this part of the interview, we spoke about Buddhism and Taoism mean to Aubrey. We also spoke about how society is lacking a rite of passage for young adults.
You'll find the first half of the interview here.
Taoism and Balance
KB: Could you summarize your ideas on Taoism and Zen Buddhism?
AM: I think that Taoism and Zen give very valuable lessons.
Each is a little bit different. Zen is the philosophy of living in the now, doing everything with a sense of purpose, allowing yourself to have a real experience in the moment rather than analyzing it.
The Tao teaches you another way to look at things. There is the analogy with water that is famous in Taoism. Being still and tranquil when you need to, but carving a canyon into a mountain when you have to.
Being in balance is the most important thing.
I think the one thing about balance that I would like to reiterate is that it doesn’t mean staying in one spot and just experiencing one thing. You may think: “The monks who pray all day, they’re balanced human beings.” I don’t think so. I think that part of being in balance is also experiencing what we’ve been put on this earth to do, not just hopping out of the game. I think we’re here to be a part of it. I think we’re here to fight, to fuck, to eat, and to hopefully make yourself and the world a better place by the time you’re finished.
I’m a big proponent of meditation and a lot of the things the monks do, but I think that should be tempered with going out and enjoying yourself, really experiencing the carnal as well as the spiritual.
KB: I recently spoke to Daniele Bolelli, where he spoke about this idea of balancing your personality and not just your experiences. If you’re more of a soft person, you have to balance your personality out with more warrior like character traits.
AM: Yup, agreed. Being a balanced man or woman is all too rare these days. Most people try to define themselves as one or the other, and they’re missing out.
Rites of Passage
KB: A lot of ancient cultures have some coming of age ritual where you have to overcome some difficulty. I think if modern society had that, it would help a lot of teenagers to develop into stronger adults.
AM: No doubt. I think that right now there is an undefined gap between boy and man or girl and woman.
A coming of age ceremony is one part of it, but to have an effective ceremony, you have to have a sense of tribe, or at least a very strong sense of family. Going through the coming of age ritual is proving that you’re going to be a valuable member of the tribe or the unit or the society.
I think it’s incredibly valuable even for yourself, even if it’s just to announce to yourself that I have arrived.
I really like what Aldous Huxley has to say in his book The Island. His coming of age ritual involved climbing a mountain to a temple where the initiates would take their first dose of mushrooms. They would be led by some very wise teachers and instructors who would talk to them about society and themselves.
It combines a physical challenge with an inherent risk of danger and a very powerful spiritual experience.
If you enjoyed this interview, pair it with my interview with Charles Eisenstein, author of of Sacred Economics, The Yoga of Eating, The Ascent of Humanity, and The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible.
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