stone unicorn

This is a cat only a mother could love… and her “mother” is half a world away.  But I have to admit, even I was charmed by the little poser sitting on my dining table cuddling with the stone unicorn.  All sweet and adorable until she needs to wreak havoc on the other unsuspecting felines in the house.

This raises the question for me about competency.  I had a rather intense discussion with someone recently about the issue around work-related competencies and people-competencies.  We really weren’t getting anywhere because in his view, being competent with people was irrelevant to being competent at what you do for a living.  I am assured in his total wrong-headedness simply by virtue of the fact we were two over-educated head-docs having an argument with him being accusatory and me being smug as only an ego-inflated meditator could be.  Quod erat demonstratum.

Take the cat (please).  Very competent at being a cat as evidenced by her ability to pounce, scratch, use the litter box, and hunt insects (mice scare her).  However, she’s lousy at being a communal cat able to deal with the stressors of living well with others, as evidenced by throwing up when upset, beating up on the bigger cats, and in all other ways demonstrating poor emotional intelligence and the judgement of an inebriated mouse.

So now, I’m wondering: what is that edge between being good at what I do and being good at who I am?

What are the skillful means of the stone unicorn?

Thank you for practicing,


7 thoughts on “stone unicorn

  1. Great photo. Personality-wise I can identify with the cat.
    I think that edge between being good at what we do and who we are, is one expression of the basic koan we are all faced with.
    What is the hub of the wheel of my life?
    If it’s either of those two I think I need to look at this “good” part. What’s that about? Another venue for self judgment?
    This is chewy stuff. Also, my teacher has always stressed that any argument is never about the truth, so, it can safely be dropped as irrelevant.
    Anyway, good stuff, thanks.

  2. Maybe this is too simplistic, but it seems there’s another level here. If you mean “being good” at the level of who you are as “human-being”, the level of “personality” in relationship with other human beings, then we’re just talking about a tamed ego – conditioned to be “good.”

    However, at the level of “True Nature” – *beyond* the mental *ideas* of a person, personality, relating, competency, etc.,underneath all the conditioning and concepts we *are* totally That Nature already: totally competent, neither “good” or “bad”, just Being – our True SELF. And all there is is THAT…

    So maybe it’s really about *knowing*/recognizing who we *are* at that level – our “Buddha Nature” – the Beingness that we are. As in who’s seeing through these eyes, what is beyond our conditioning, etc. And then the question of competency is moot.

    As for the Unicorn? Stillness, just Stillness 🙂

  3. Complete compassion expressed by the unicorn. No judgement. Totally present.
    The cat senses this unconditional acceptance and is drawn to be near that presence.

    Very wise cat.

  4. Zen Master Seung Sahn repeatedly said things like, “Dog understands dog’s job. Cat understands cat’s job. Stone unicorn understands stone unicorn’s job. Only human beings don’t understand their job.”

    Actually, he didn’t say the part about the unicorn, but you get his drift…

    He also shouted, occasionally: “Don’t make anything!” (Meaning, don’t make good and bad (or any opposites).)

    Okay, back to “work”…thank you, Genju!

  5. Thanks, Everyone, for your terrific contemplations!

    Janice… why does that cat think my shin bone is a stone unicorn replacement at 3AM every morning!!!??? 😡

  6. the Unicorn: being availiable when needed, I’d guess.

    A few years ago, the NYTimes had an report on a study into the difference between competent and incompetent people. Do you know what it was? The only difference between them was that the competent people had a slight suspicion that they were incompetent, while the incompetent people were absolutely confident that they were competent.

    So if you have a feeling that you might be incompetent, you keep yourself open to better ways of doing things (and don’t get so caught up in defensiveness or arogance.)

    • There was a similar study looking at confidence in recognizing famous people’s faces: with people who were 100% convinced they were right in their recognition were more frequently wrong than people who were unsure. Then they studied people with dementia and found the pattern of absolute certainty was equal to those who was 100% confident (but more frequently wrong).

      Being absolutely convinced I’m right has more often been wrong than being sort of curious IF I’m right or wrong. 🙂

      Thank you for visiting and sharing your wisdom. _(|)_

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