Increasing awareness has many "side effects". To me, they are fascinating signposts, showing me that I'm on the right path.
For example, the more awareness I gain, the more I realize I DON'T know. As Denis Leary's father put it, "most of the people older than you are smarter than you." And yes, more years on Earth playing the game of life generally leads to more mastery.
Meanwhile, I have continually encountered more patterns and habits internally, things I did but I didn't really know why. With awareness, often I drop the pattern or habit entirely. In that moment, I gain a new space in my life. The enormous size of that space both awes and inspires me. The things I'm capable of, given such a fresh new freedom.
What do I do with this? I really think I have the ability to teach poker. That I can write a column about poker that is both informative and reasonably correct. Yet, I struggle to put this knowledge into play. I know it's somewhat unrelated, but I refuse to wave my hands at it and say, "those who can't do, teach." That's teaching for the flocks, not teaching by revealing mastery. Or, maybe it's just that I refuse to teach something I am unable to implement. The real answer, I suspect, is that I know the really important game isn't poker, it's the one that contains poker. The games I play with my Mind will always be there, no matter how proficient I get at poker. So my scholarly poker studies are waiting for now. What good is having a treasure map if you can't sail?
For me, to teach what I know, is not yet about "how to play poker". There is plenty available out there for that. I wouldn't flinch if someone said 90% is better than the stuff I write. I don't claim to be able to judge the quality of my own poker writings.
What I know, is about getting from playing "bad poker" to "good poker". I think the threshold that remains for most poker players is this awareness. We can all spot amateurs by their basic lack of probabilities and game mechanics. But after this first initial learning curve, the river straightens out and dumps players in the ocean. And from there, they get to choose how, and where, to sink or swim.
10,000 hours is the magic number for mastery, according to Malcom Gladwell, and I think he has found some fascinating, and accurate results. Bill Gates, The Beatles, Bill Joy. Even the "geniuses." But this is training, programming. Doing something so many times that it becomes second-nature. Surely even some people will take more than 10,000 hours, for given skill sets.
But 10,000 hours is not necessary. I submit that awareness alone short-circuits this. Learning becomes active, enjoyment and passion become universal. This is where there is a massive shortage of existing written material. How to take the lessons of Zen and apply them to our actual worlds. How to take the short-cut to the "10,000 hours" mastery level, in poker, or in anything.
I'll do what I can to record my journey here, and I think that best sums up the first two years I've written here. But how do I teach, the more I realize I really know nothing?
Traditionally in the West, teaching requires:
a) learning, acquiring knowledge, and
b) imparting that knowledge onto others
This is not going to happen for me, at least anytime soon, and likely never. I have dropped the burden of "the past", and I don't plan on making an exception for this. Think about your favorite movie, how many times you've seen it and how well you know the story. Now imagine a genie visits you and offers you this gift: the ability to experience everything as new, watch this movie and every movie for the first time, over and over. Do you accept? I did, this is what life is like when you stop building your personality, basing your current life on your previous life up until now.
Everything in this reality is flowing, nothing is static. Any illusion of stasis exists only because you choose to see something as so. So, I will teach, but about how to swim. The things I as masterful about are:
evolution of process
evolution of societies
chaos vs. order
It occurs to me, as a random place to end this post, that I am playing Zen like I'm playing poker. I know all of the "right actions", but I find myself doing alternative ones anyways. Then getting mad about it. Creating conflict, quite literally out of nothing.
I recommit I play Zen.