I had an interesting interaction with one of my music students today. The campus on which I work is small and close-knit and so some students are aware that I am a practicing "zenner." Of course, what that means is that I occasionally get asked questions that assume I know everything about Zen and can speak for all of us. Anyway, a student today asked me a bit about how I came to this practice and why I do it. I answered as succinctly as I could, noticing that he appeared to be working up the courage to ask another question. He finally told me that he had recently experienced a "transcendent" event that changed the way he saw things and he wondered what it meant. I'll add that this student is not a meditator to my knowledge and that this conversation occurred during an elevator ride and was very brief. I told him that I certainly was no authority on these sorts of things and that I had no idea what it meant, and that I thought it was ultimately up to him to figure out what it meant. He was cool with that and the elevator ride stopped and the conversation ended.
The question itself was what was interesting to me. More than anything, I think this kid was seeking external validation of his uniqueness, and it reminded me that it is so easy to fall into this trap. Seeking external validation was and is a habitual thought-pattern for me. I think some of it comes with the territory when one is involved in the Arts, but I imagine we all do at some level. Anyway, the real lesson I was reminded of today was that every event in our lives is an opportunity to see ourselves and see through our fictions and delusions.