As I begin another journey to Black Rock City for my second “burn” I can’t help but giggle at the unlikely “Burner” I have become. And a rather good one at that I must add. In a million years who would have thought a somewhat spoiled, sorority girl who loves the amenities of city life would ever give up so many comforts for a week in the desert. But I did, and I’m going back with a group of stunning people who have become my family. Just like everyone, I’m a complex being. I can’t be defined by any particular identity, as much as others and even myself want to have one. That’s what makes all of us so great, at any moment we can do things no one would ever suspect and suprise ourselves and others in the process. Even when we want to put others, or ourselves in a box, it isn’t possible. This burn I have the intention of connecting with all the other beautiful

My fellow Cosmicopia campmate Darrin Drda wrote a beautiful piece describing the paradoxes of Burning Man, Buddhism, and ultimately ourselves.

Here’s the first bite, the rest can be found at:

http://www.realitysandwich.com/burning_buddhist_questions

Of the many things for which San Francisco is notorious, Buddhism and Burning Man are undoubtedly near the top of the list. Home to the first Buddhist temples in the US, the city has attracted several waves of Asian immigrants, a handful of Zen masters, and a bunch of Beat writers that together have fostered dozens of sanghasrepresenting an array of Buddhist traditions. Elsewhere on the countercultural spectrum, Larry Harvey and his intrepid entourage have continued to fuel the fires of radical self-expression and psychosocial experimentation that were ignited on Baker Beach over 25 years ago. Although Burning Man now takes place in the Nevada desert and draws over 50,000 fabulous freaks from all corners of the globe, its heart and headquarters remain in San Francisco.

In retrospect, it seems strange that I was lured from the Midwest to the Left Coast by neither Buddhism nor Burning Man. With my interest in the former already well established, I was actually attracted by a rad grad program (Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness) offered through an equally cool school (The California Institute of Integral Studies, which, I only discovered after enrolling, was originally called The California Institute of Asian Studies). As for Burning Man, my virgin ears had only heard the phrase in passing, but after just a few months in the Bay Area, I had fallen under the ecstatic trance of dirty dubstep, steam punk fashion, and colorful fake fur. Even before stepping foot onto the playa, I felt like I had found my tribe.

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