Saturday, January 26, 2013

Zen Buddhist sing-along

This morning I got an email from an old acquaintance who involves himself in the world of Zen Buddhism. It said:
I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn is described by Wikipedia as "a social networking website for people in professional occupations."

So I looked up "professional" and was informed in part that it means:
-- relating to work that needs special skills and qualifications
-- showing a high level of skill or training
-- behaving in an appropriate way at work and doing your job well
-- relating to a profession and its rules, standards, and arrangements
-- working in a profession
And I tried to make all of this compute or make sense in some way. I could only infer that the LinkedIn world I was being invited into focused on Zen Buddhism in some way. And the matter seemed to implode of its own weight.

When it comes to Zen Buddhism in my mind, the only "special skills and qualifications" I can think of boil down to being alive. A "high level of skill" was never my forte ... I was a serious failure in more 'professional' ways than I can count. "Behaving in an appropriate way" strikes me as miles beyond my grasp. "Rules, standards and arrangements" work well for those in a profession, but I am retired.

I am not pulling a watch-me-be-modest/watch-me-be-superior schtick -- I was seriously trying to figure out why and in what way I might contribute to my acquaintance's interest in LinkedIn. I like and practice Zen, but the invitation felt a little as if I were being invited to join the Daughters of the American Revolution or the American Numismatic Society ... I am the wrong sex for the former and, in the latter instance, while I can imagine others' being interested in collecting coins, paper money and medals, still, I am not.

This is all clearly just my stuff. I admire people who may attempt to improve whatever it is they are improving by creating a group effort. Support and encouragement are good things ... and I will certainly try to encourage anyone I run into, but it's a young (wo)man's sport -- singing songs around the camp fire.

I do try to be agreeable in my dealings with others, but I have also learned to listen to myself when I disagree. It's just a matter of disagreement, after all... and disagreements help to enhance agreements.

And as a small, wry addendum, the timing of this morning's email seemed to dovetail nicely with a suggestion that I rethink my gun-shy attitude towards 'social media.'

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