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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Jan > Jan 15

Zen And The Art Of Personal Ufology

From: Daniel Brenton <daniel_brenton.nul>
Date: Sun, 14 Jan 2007 15:48:40 -0800
Fwd Date: Mon, 15 Jan 2007 07:15:08 -0500
Subject: Zen And The Art Of Personal Ufology

It would be very easy to imagine a reader with only passing
familiarity with the subject of UFOs stumbling across my blog,
or any of the blogs that spend time on the subject, and wonder
why should I care about UFOs?

This, Grasshopper, is a wise question.

As I mentioned in my article Confessions Of A UFO Dilettante,
I have been fascinated with the subject nearly as long as I
could be consciously fascinated by anything. I believe I can
think about the subject with some clarity, but my interest is

Why should you care?

It's really up to you. If you don't, that's fine. I'm not here
to sell you.

Those of us that are engaged - for whatever reason - I think, in
a very real sense, are hooked on the mystery. As Roy Neary
(Richard Dreyfuss's character) said in Close Encounters of the
Third Kind, "I just want to know what's going on."

The media ridicules the subject, government agencies stonewall
it, and civilian researchers at all levels of seriousness argue
about every little aspect. Looking at all this, we're left with
the sense that no one's going to (or is able to) help us "know
what's going on."

It's almost as if Ufology is too serious a subject to be left to
the experts.

So, for now, it comes back to us.

(Really, just you.)

Roy Neary's question is a big question, and something I think is
overlooked by at least some of the literature and the UFO
community is that this is related to another question: "I just
want to know why I'm here."

I have never witnessed anything that could be considered a UFO,
but the sense I have of these experiences is that they provoke
the big questions. These are, as Morris Massey of the University
of Colorado called all life changing events, "significant
emotional experiences." The worldview of the first-time witness
changes, the personal paradigm shifts, and he or she is staring
into the face of not only a phenomenon that falls outside of any
mental categories of previous experience, but also into the need
to answer questions his or her experience can't answer.

Because of this, a UFO or a UFO experience can, in a very real
sense, be considered a "koan."

A koan (thank you, Wikipedia) is "is a story, dialogue,
question, or statement in the history and lore of Chan (Zen)
Buddhism, generally containing aspects that are inaccessible to
rational understanding, yet that may be accessible to
intuition." Probably the most famous is: Two hands clap and
there is a sound; what is the sound of one hand?

(Lots of jokes for that one, but I'm not going there.)

The tradition, of course, is for the Zen teacher to pose these
questions to the student, and the student then wrestles with the
question until the rationale mind gives up and the intuitive
faculties provide the answer. I chose the word "wrestle"
deliberately, through my own experience, surrendering
rational thought processes to intuition is no mean feat. But an
aspect that adds to this difficulty is that, once introduced to
the question, the student is "locked" into the struggle.

When an individual has some kind of UFO experience, the
individual is provoked into wrestling with the enigma. Once the
door is opened, the witness is forever changed, and like the Zen
student, can't go back to the comfort of the time before the
experience. The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, moves

I think even the curious are provoked. (This is where I came

A much-debated part of the UFO phenomenon - abductions -
takes us into an even deeper aspect. Assuming the reality of
these experiences (whatever they really are), the experiencer,
upon becoming aware of the experience, has to ask a tougher
question beyond the ones a witness already would: why did this
happen to me?

The sense I've gotten from the abductees I've met is the
prevailing attitude is one of victimization. Some told me they
were powerless, and found the idea of being able to prevent or
take action during the experience was laughable.

This fatalistic tone disturbs me. The universe is not
meaningless, though it certainly may appear meaningless to those
who observe and survive harsh experiences - the loss of a
child, rape, political imprisonment and torture, and so on. I
have not lived anything as difficult as these things, but I have
had my tough moments, and have come out the other side. We hear
stories of the victims of the Holocaust who came through them
more whole and of deeper faith than before. The spirit of these
individuals triumphed over adversity, and they became better
people despite it.

I do not, however, feel the abduction phenomenon is simply
another form of difficult life experience. Both Whitley Strieber
in his Communion series, and more recently Jeremy Vaeni in his I
Know Why the Aliens Don't Land have attempted to make sense of
their abduction experiences, and have come to similar
conclusions. They both point to abductions as transformative
experiences, similar to Shamanic initiation rituals, forcing the
individual's consciousness to break free of cultural
conditioning and look upon the face of Reality.

(If I may be so bold, I would offer that our world could stand a
little reality about now.)

As I've mentioned previously, Jacques Vallee has pointed out
events with similar characteristics have been with us through
recorded history. He has long suggested he phenomenon (or sets
of phenomena) are a kind of mechanism through which human belief
systems are being controlled and conditioned. What I suspect is
that these events are actually part of a larger movement toward
helping us (or forcing us) to understand our real relationship
with our own existence. This may be some other intelligence,
though I tend to feel it is another aspect of our own.

Oddly enough (or maybe not oddly at all) I ran across a quote
from Gray Barker, a pioneering figure in the popularization of
the subject, and the first to make reference to the "Men in
Black." Barker, at a lecture a couple of years before his death,
was asked a question by a member of the audience: "What are
Flying Saucers?" Gray said, "The answer is within you."

The UFO phenomenon presses us to think differently, even
experience differently. It is no wonder it is the object of
relentless ridicule and debate. We are terrified of losing the
familiar, and move into an unknown world.

It's long past time to face the unknown.

Who's with me?

-- Daniel

(c) 2007, by Daniel Brenton. All Rights Reserved.

The Meaning of Existence (and all that):
The Odd Little Universe of Daniel Brenton

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