The Creepy Guy In The Van

The Van In The Wilderness

The Van In The Wilderness

BEND, OR—One of the reasons van dwelling isn’t more popular is because of the Creepy-Guy-In-The-Van syndrome.

Sitting in my van, typing away on the computer, I glanced up to catch a young mother looking over at me. She instinctively reached for her child’s hand and my mind said, “She thinks I’m the creepy guy in the van,” and I felt The Contraction as the me-thing hardened up. Yuck.

Self centered thoughts, what a pain in my ass.

The chipmunks and the cardinal-like bird taught me that all animals have a primitive sense of self—that evolution rewards self-preservation. Likewise, evolution rewards animals that don’t stand out from the herd—that aren’t too different from the other members of their species. What self-respecting seagull wants to mate with that nut case Jonathan who is always out perfecting his useless acrobatics skills while the rest of us are flocking around doing the-very-important-but-not-really-examined-seagull-stuff? Who’d mate with a weirdo like that?

Evolution rewards the herd. It rewards conformists. (Today’s contrary view: This morning’s post by Seth Godin. Today’s sad supporting evidence: This morning’s news of a crowd watching a murder in a McDonalds.)

Just like self preservation is hard-wired into our brains, I’m pretty sure that social conformity is too.

I’m pretty sure the question, “What do they think of me?” (in some instinctual primitive form), is physically wired into our brains and there’s not a damn thing we can do about our minds asking us this question (no matter how subtly) over and over and over whenever it sees we are around others.

Damn hard-wired mind, what a pain in my ass.

Maybe that’s why solitude is so attractive to the spiritual seeker. It makes their life easier. It makes the Emptiness—the Vastness that lies below all the noise of the ego—much more easily accessed.

Anti-social people seek to repress the instinctual query What do people think of me?, creating (I’m guessing here) an inner conflict which manifests as anger and cynicism toward their fellow man.

But the authentic spiritual seeker—in her quest to understand her true nature—can’t afford inner conflict or self deception. In the pursuit of spiritual truth, she can’t afford to repress or deny the question, What do people think of me?. So what is she to do?

The Frog Master knows:

You are not your thoughts. You are not in control of your thoughts. There is no need to take thoughts seriously. There is no need to feel responsible for them. Your thoughts are not you.

Put another way—and as ironic as it sounds—you could say that your thoughts are not your thoughts. Thoughts are just a bunch of instinctual noise in your head.

I still take thoughts too seriously sometimes. I still contract when my mind says that someone else’s mind is telling them that I am the creepy guy in the van. Damn hard-wired mind… pain in my ass. But I’m trying, Ringo, I’m trying real hard to be the Frog Master.

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9 thoughts on “The Creepy Guy In The Van

  1. Dear Wayne,
    I’ve been enjoying your thoughts. I’ve also been taught that our thoughts are not our thoughts. It’s one of the mantras taught by the Oneness University in India. Very useful. Once we accept that, it gets easier to accept that we are not our bodies, or any other thing we call “ourselves” Keep Being. I’m enjoying the knowingness of knowing that you are out there doing that…while I sit at home with my family and Be it too! Love ,Hawk Devi

  2. Thoughts can catch us the other way too. Praise makes us feel important, loved…and can be addictive too. Yet external praise really has nothing to do with love. So very hard to control that noise. I don’t profess to be anywhere close to that control, but I try. I do enjoy your thoughts…the ones in the blog I mean 🙂


  3. hi,

    Looking at it, the best way for me to put this is, look at thoughts as a separate entity, one that spawns new thoughts all day long. It is separate to you but, it is a part of you, not only are there the thoughts made by itself all day long, but you can spark thought within it. when one of these “what are they thinking of you?” thoughts arise I add, “what does it matter to me, they are going about their day and I mine” and then push it a side. It is very easy to get dragged into the thought and I find it best to stay away as often as possible. Also I have found it is sometimes not so easy to move the thought and get onto the next. In pushing it(the thought) away it is not being denied, its being accepted but there is no place for it here so it must move on.

    a parable by jesus(as best as i can remember).
    you have a field and one day go out and plant all kinds of good plants for the harvest, during the night after you have sawn all your seeds a man comes with all kinds of seeds for weeds. The man goes over your whole field of newly sawn good plants and spreads the weeds. In the morning you are told by a friend that they caught someone last night sawing seeds after you. If you go round now and try to undo what they have done you’ll un plant your own seeds as well. Wait until harvest, once the harvest is done the weeds will be clearly visible and can be taken out. The field can be up rooted, cleared of any plants left over and started a new.

    That is not how he said it, but i think it is put across almost as well. The fields are the separate entity, it is the space where your thoughts grow. This weeds seems ready for the harvest.

    A thought i’ve had about the parable is that it is about un conditioning the mind. The field is not you.

    Yahwah, Bless, Amen.

    • Nathan,

      RE: seeds parable, dude that is awesome! I think I tend to over camp in the fields with a shotgun and try to build too many fences to keep that guy out… isnt that they way the old zen masters did it? They trained the mind with years of practice?

      I really like the parable thought, because who is it inside me that is so concerned with maintaining the fields anyways?

  4. Hi Wayne, Thanks for the food for thought about social thoughts being hard wired. I feel inside however that our connection to them is not. so maybe when you contract because your mind says their mind says you are the creepy guy in the van something left unseen was touched upon? It became so personal to you because of something that you are still holding onto in the personal sense? I have no idea where you are but can only speak from where I am so for me that would be my truth. It’s only ever the person that takes the bait. So maybe it’s only hard wired up to the point that we still feed it significant attention. Perhaps if we no longer buy into it, eventually I think those hard wired patterns get rewired? I once read about brain plasticity and it makes a lot of sense. I think it only fished you the baits that something within you still takes? I love reading your blogs and growing with you over the years. with love from the dao, lokin

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