I, like most GenX and GenY’ers, appreciate a grand pallet of human experience – highbrow and lowbrow, pop and specific culture.
The public meltdown of a celebrity ranks high on my list of obsessions and enjoyments – OJ Simpson, Britney Spears, Lindsey Lohan, Tiger Woods, Paris Hilton and our current sensation, Charlie Sheen, captivates me.
The Sheen experience is exponentially rich due to his manic ramblings and nonsensical claims. We seem thoroughly engaged in his fantastical odyssey. He is to date the only person to reach one million Twitter followers in 24 hours and held an audience of 100,000+ on his Ustream show Saturday night. And, there have been three posts in the last month on this journal – a site geared towards consciousness – about the yogic, astrological, and consciousness driven meaning-making we could draw from Sheen’s current public persona.
And, I admit, I took a moment from my Saturday evening to log in and watch. Anticipating a cultural car wreck of ecstatic proportions, I yawned and balked. Like most, I was disappointed by with the show. I was hoping for a solid psychopathic rant. I logged off in disappointment after 12 minutes. How do you go from “I’m sorry, man, but I’ve got magic. I’ve got poetry in my fingertips. Most of the time – and this includes naps – I’m an F-18, bro. And I will destroy you in the air. I will deploy my ordinance to the ground.” to fart noises and reading responses from twitter followers. At least he was chain smoking.
What I find most interesting about our social obsession with Sheen’s insanity is that his ramblings aren’t too far from what the tradition’s masters claimed as the enlightened experience. There is a fine line between insanity and freedom. If Rajneesh said, “I have tiger blood flowing through my veins” would we laugh in dismiss or sign-up for a retreat? If a Yogi Bhajan said, “I closed my eyes and in a nanosecond I cured myself… I have a disease? Bullshit. I cured it with my brain.” would we completely disregard the comment or buy his book hoping to achieve the same? Make a vision board, anyone?
Given a different context, less porn stars and blow binges, Sheen could possibly be our next Eckhart Tolle: “Apocalypse Now will teach you how to live inside of a moment between a moment.” Sound familiar?
Sheen is easy to dismiss because we think we’re not him. In the realm of consciousness, we are certainly not Chuck Sheen, and we can continue to walk blissful down the path of consciousness and self-realization knowing that we are indeed better. Until we have our own special realization of Buddha-mind and the subtle spiritual ego places itself on a spiritual pedestal wrapped in the cloak of humility and compassion to express claims similar to, “It might be lonely up here but I sure like the view.”
In a different context, a spiritual context, claims such as, “If you’re a part of my family, I will love you violently,” “I’m on a quest to claim absolute victory on every front,” or “It’s been a tsunami. And I’ve been riding it on a mercury surfboard” might be celebrated offering inspiration to the masses, one day ending up on coffee mugs and refrigerator magnets.
And, given the specialness that yoga culture typically unloads on its patrons, spontaneous realizations like “I’m tired of pretending like I’m not special. I’m tired of pretending like I’m not bitchin’, a total freakin’ rock star from Mars.” might very well be the point of yoga in our modern world. In fact, culture in point, we might all very well be moving towards, “I have a different brain, I have a different heart. I have Adonis DNA. I got tiger blood, man.”
I can see it now: TigerBlood by Lululemon.
I would like to propose a different view. Instead of fascination due to difference, perhaps we’re fascinated due to sameness. In an honest moment, the claims my mind has made differ little from Sheen’s. I think I’m great, mostly. And I feel that my obsession with Sheen lays not in the entertaining value of difference but in recognition of myself. I am perhaps Charlie Sheen. And Sheen’s transformative potential is not found in his potential recovery but that of my own.