One Dudeist journey on the Gonzo trail to finding Jeffery ‘The Dude’ Lebowski
By: Donnie Casto II
“We all have a Dude and a Walter in us, and that’s the point, they’re in us, they don’t define us. You have to be the you that you want to be, be the change that you want to happen. Make peace with yourself and your peace with others will just flow naturally man…” – O’Neill Andrew, Ordain Dudeist Monk, Church of the Latter-Day Dude
The comedy reel that is life on planet Earth is a funny thing. There are so many ins, outs and what-have-yous that will weave strands in the mind of the most centered and awakened human being. Anyone who shatters the mold or throws rocks in the lane of life does so at the expense of treading safe ground and stepping over the line of conformity.
I have to admit to being one of those children who wandered into the middle of a movie when The Big Lebowski first came out. Bowling, mistaken identity, severed toes and $1,000 blowjobs just didn’t make a memorable movie for a 90’s grunge kid. I was a product of the angst and hunger for a revival of the 60’s freak power that took a wild Southern Gentleman named Hunter Thompson to the edge of the vortex and left him transformed and enlightened. The Dalai Lama of Gonzo left a plethora of spiritual truths that often came at the extremes of pushing the edge. Leaving one to question everything and believe in nothing because every truth was the illusion of another’s opinion.
Then a plot twist comes along, something that hits you harder than a Jackie Treehorn mixed Caucasian.
Long before my eye-opening interview with Rev. Dudely Noted of Dudeismtv, the bare bones or milk in the cosmic Caucasian was an open mind that found a lot of comfort in Zen Buddhism and Taoism. At best, I suppose it’s honestly fair to say I was eclectic spiritually. Growing up with a rebellious nature, in a family of conservative Christians whose mantra of “If it’s not in the Bible, it’s not right!” always left me with a mind that wasn’t sure of the story I was being presented. Even more apparent, was the lack of a living Jesus (the Christ, not Jesus the pederast) I could see in the lives of these people outside of what they presented in the church or to their neighbors. Many Dudeist, myself included, would find Jesus to be very Dude like, but his followers for the most part seem to be the congregation of Walter Sobchak, always pissing about the rules and making the Bible their own personal Vietnam.
I read everything promising a direction to a truth, any truth that didn’t demand blind obedient faith, didn’t downcast me for exercising my gift of free thinking, something that resonated to me. After being told numerous times in life that for questioning God, watching certain movies and listening to certain music one was doomed to burn in hell. I truly was my namesake, a child who wandered into the middle of a movie that didn’t hear the Dude’s whole story. Talk about the equivalent of being told numerous times to ‘Shut the fuck up, Donny!”
“The Dude Abides. . .” a lot of wisdom in such a short phrase. Everyone has their own interpretation of some bit of wisdom, fiction and poetry. In the clear picture of the bowling alley of life in the seen and unseen, perhaps the truth and essence of what we are as individuals are always within us. Maybe it was sprinkled in with the fairy tales we knew as children. “Merrily, merrily life is but a dream.” Sound familiar?
Maybe, just maybe, Bill Hicks was on to the real condition of our condition when he said, “God looked down and rained gifts of forgiveness onto my being. Healing me on every level psychically, physically, emotionally and I realized that our true nature is spirit, not body, that we are eternal beings and that God’s love is unconditional and there is nothing we can ever do to change that. It is only our illusion that we are separate from God, or that we are alone. In fact, the reality is we are one with God, and he loves us.”
Did you catch that? We are one with God, the Source, the light, that divine spark that bowled the whole durn human comedy into motion with one cosmic strike. What name you give it, what title you hang on the branch of truth you pick fruit from or mix your own spiritual Caucasian with, means nothing compared to the character of the human being you are individually in this time and in your place of the world. Friends, jobs, beliefs, relationships even possessions earned by that thing called a job, none of it lasts forever. And nothing should become such an attachment that our inner Dude would be disturbed by the sudden loss of any of the above. Sure, we all have our own Ralph’s bought Folgers coffee receptacle to scatter the ashes of the sweet prince of our lives into the Pacific Ocean, but the Dude should still abide.
The Gonzo Dalai Lama himself, the good Dr. Thompson, is quoted as saying “Weird heroes and mold-breaking champions exist as living proof to those who need it that the tyranny of ‘the rat race’ is not yet final.” Jeff Bridges character of Jeffery ‘The Dude’ Lebowksi is a weird hero to some. Not many people claim an unemployed, lazy, J-smoking, Caucasian-drinking bowler as a hero or a role model. Then again a prince who gave away a kingdom for enlightenment under a tree, or a carpenter preaching love and respect to the hedonist hordes of Rome might rank up there in annals of weird in their respective time and place of history.
Perhaps part of our finding the hero of our lives and accepting the champion, who broke what mold we could not, is our desire to emulate them at the expense of forging our own voice and individual energy born of the substance of the path these characters, real or fictional awaken within the divine in us all.
What those in the establishment would see as a bum, a loser, an idiot no one cares about, others see as something to strive for, something that activates an inner reality we never knew we had, to be that person in our own time and personal space in planet Earth. The Dude, Jesus, Buddha, Walter, Krishna, name any worthy ‘Dude’ throughout history that has had a collective awakening in the third eye of humanity. Do they give me an example, yes they do. But do I personally want to be the Dude, Walter, or Jesus or Buddha? No, being a prototype to any philosophy or teaching is window dressing unless the evidence of it is reflected and evidenced in our lives.
Heroes, wise men and teachers don’t exist to be repeated and carbon copied. They return and exist to awaken and bring direction to be the woman or the man that abides in our own time and our own place. Be your own Dude, and just abide.