Underdogs and happenstance

Underdogs and happenstance

I’m not a fan of the Super Bowl, or the Olympics for that matter.

I get way too serious. About traumatic brain injury and the mind boggling opportunity cost of it all. The commercials are already on YouTube.

Yet, this year, I found myself watching Super Bowl LII in Boulder. With my climbing friend Marcus. In a bar.

The best thing I could say is that there was a true Underdog to root for. (As a kid, I watched the show! I carried the lunchbox!)

Any team, any person or entity, that has been trying to do something for 52 years—and has had a few legitimate shots but still hasn’t nailed the landing—sounds a bit like me.

I wanted, therefore, to see the Eagles prevail. 

Because Boulder is groovy town, conversation with our bar mate was far more interesting than the play by play.

I admit my brain was elsewhere. Mulling over my most-recent post, about truth telling and lies.

Very quickly, talk turned to how our inner liar may serve us or hurt us. How we integrate (or not) the many different parts of our self. And how we struggle constantly to reconcile who we really are.

Our bar mate Bernard had a lot to add. It turned out he was studying a system called Big Mind—with its founder Genpo Merzel Roshi. But he didn’t share that until I showed him my blog.

And that’s how I scored my meeting.

It turns out, Genpo is world-renowned Zen teacher and guide. At the height of his career, he had 40 or 50 monks living at his place in Utah. And then, he succumbed to temptation with a female student. Outcry ensued. He lost it all.

But not really. His website shows 13 upcoming retreats and events from now through September. He has a loyal following, though Google makes that hard. He's working on another book.

He has spent years reflecting on the collateral damage he caused when he became a dharmaholic, intoxicated with power and neglecting his family.

So, in many ways, Genpo is just a guy. Pushing a shopping cart in the Whole Foods, where we met. He wears street clothes and a Big Mind baseball hat. He goes by “GR” when he wants to fly under the Zen radar.

So why—exactly—was I there?

It would be a cop out to say, there are no coincidences. Because I believe there are.

Dr. Bernard Beitman, who studies the science of synchronicity and serendipity, has found that “statistically oriented people believe that coincidences can be explained by the Law of Truly Large Numbers.”

But here in groovy Boulder, we don’t need a very large “n” to find people who climb, study spirituality, and were tuned into the Super Bowl.  

Beitman also found that people who believe in Mystery (he capitalizes it) tend to find personal messages in coincidences. As in, it was meant to be.

I guess that’s me. I believe that all my careers and relationships, and all my writing, have led me right here, right now. For a reason.

But in my humble opinion, life is also game. An adventure of discovery and delight—about ourselves and the world around us.

We win. We lose. We root for the underdog.

And if we're lucky, we might eventually nail the landing.

Basically good

Basically good

Honestly lying

Honestly lying