Philosopher. Shaman. Poet. Warrior. Martial Arts expert. Speaker. Spiritual Leader. This, and much more, is Hanakia Zedek, a dreadlocked mystic who was born in the streets of Brooklyn, NY, and now lives near the tree-lined banks of Minnehaha Creek in South Minneapolis. But Hana, as he is called by friends, also is much less. Nothing, actually.
His philosophy: Everything comes out of Nothing. He explains that this philosophy “allows for the release of all that you hold onto – belief, fear, ego, hope, faith, worry, pain; all of which we have created and been trained to believe in; all of which create separation within ourselves and the Universe.”
He spoke with The Edge on a warm Indian summer day in October. In Part 1 of this interview, he shared his thoughts on nothingness, on emptying ourselves of old patterns and old thoughts and old baggage in order to get in touch with who we truly are.
In Part 2, Hanakia continues explaining that process.
What is the process that helps people excavate things inside of them, when they come to you for help?
Hanakia Zedek: They just want to figure out what the hell is going on, so what I do is show them the choices they are making and ask, “Does this seem like a logical thing to do? Does this seem like something that works in your life? How does this feel?”
And they look at me and say, “That doesn’t feel right.”
And I say, “Where does that choice come from?” We go back to the point of origin.
And I ask, “Okay, do you want to hold that? Is that something you want to hold or is that something you want to shift? Is that something you want to let go of?” I show them that they have the choice to let that go or shift it or change it or whatever they want to do with it that works for them. It may be just the way that they are looking at it, a perceptual thing.
It’s about understanding yourself. I help people to see what it is that they are doing and where it comes from, so now they can make the shifts and changes that they want. And I show them how to empty that space out so they have a fertile ground where they can plant seeds or ideas.
I don’t really think a person is necessarily broken. We’re fractured. We have parts of us that are broken, but most people are so inundated by external information that they don’t know how to make their way out of it.
Their vehicle is still moving along, but they are just perceiving chaos in front of them.
HZ: Exactly. It’s understanding of the source of that chaos. Is that an internal chaos? Is that an external chaos? It’s about how to navigate, because that’s what a vehicle has to do. Sometimes what I do is teach a person how to deal with their internal GPS. We have to allow that vehicle to navigate effectively, and it’s coming to understand what we have been inundated with, what’s on that path, what is that path, where is it going, and how to maneuver when there is seemingly an obstacle there. To me, any obstacle is an opportunity, so I teach the person how to turn that obstacle, that road block, into a way station, and show them a clearer way. That obstacle is saying something about what is going on. Perhaps I will say, “Okay, you don’t have to fight against that. Let’s find an effortless maneuver that you can utilize to keep you going on that route.”
What type of opportunities do you offer to the public?
HZ: I have different groups that I work with: a shamanic class on Thursday nights, and a master’s class on Friday nights. I also do monthly mini-retreats with people, based on information that I’ve gathered from the previous month, to help them become more effective in the things they’re doing. I deal with individuals and I deal with groups, and then I deal with all of them together on these monthly mini-retreats. Next year I will visit Europe for the first time, leading a retreat in Croatia, more work that I am doing in Germany, and then in Holland. I will be doing a lot of traveling in 2011.
Is the cushiness of the New Age a detriment in some ways? Because you can get in that space and just stay there for a long time.
HZ: Here’s how I would address that: The New Age has helped in some ways as a transition from religion, which so many people needed. We needed Deepak Chopra, Wayne Dyer, Marianne Williamson, all these different people who have come in and said, “Okay, there might be another way to look at it” and give people a soft cushion to come into, where people can still have their beliefs and still have the things they had before, but just make it so it’s not about all these rules and regulations and fire and brimstone.
If the New Age is a way station, what is the next way forward?
HZ: I feel the only path is inside. You have to go in and let go of the things that are telling you to do this, to do that. What do YOU want to do? What do you need to do? What are you inclined to do? I think from this cushion, the most beautiful art and most beautiful expression can happen if people can just let go and then follow what they need to follow, do what they need to do.
It’s a tough question, because the New Age is a huge money-making industry. The energy industry is destroying our natural resources, but that’s what we are doing with religion and spirituality. We are destroying our natural resources, because we have the resources inside. We have to eventually lead the people to themselves so that they can make the decisions for themselves, so they don’t have the crutches to rely on, to rely on religion. We rely on things outside of ourselves and we never let go, we never heal, we never have that opportunity to be free.
Those things have been necessary, but like anything else, you have to fly out of the nest – and flying out of the nest involves having some type of certainty on your ability to be airborne, your ability to move to the next level. I can’t say what that’s going to be. I’m not saying that people have to do this or do that, other than just decide what it is that they need for themselves, what it is that they want to be, want to do, want to have. It’s a tricky thing, because just like religion and culture, aspects of spirituality are just so beautiful. I can’t say where that’s going to go, what it’s going to blossom into, or if it’s going to blossom, or if people are just going to hold steady like this.
But there is something else coming, there is something else emerging. The paradigm is shifting. I don’t know where that’s going, and maybe it’s not for me to know where it’s going, but I know the clear path is definitely within. We can’t do anything with that lack of knowledge by flying by the seat of our pants anymore.
It will work itself out, whether we choose it or not, right?
HZ: Exactly. One of the wildest things is the Hubble telescope. We get a shot of a little space in the universe, and in that little space are billions and billions of galaxies, so that means there’s trillions of solar systems, so that means there’s like a gazillion planets.
We are so much less than that. We are just one tiny little speck in a solar system. We are like the smallest of the smallest of the smallest thing, and we think we know what the hell is happening in here and out there. Are we out of our minds? We are completely mad. This is just a tiny little speck and as far as we know, aside from our projections of what we believe about what’s out there, we may be the only friggin’ thing that has this type of system.
HZ: Experience, exactly, and we think that we know what’s going on? What the hell?
That makes me wonder why we want to destroy the experience that we have by ruining the planet.
HZ: Exactly. We are so lucky, and it’s so awesome. There is so much awe about every little thing. Our whole experience on this planet very well may be an accident, and if it is, that’s even more of a miracle because we get to experience it and somehow process this experience. We should just be very careful about everything that we do, because this system could just go poof! And that’s it. It’s only been a couple of million years. This particular planet is so young, relative to what’s going on out there. We just showed up.
In terms of being self-aware, we are still like a little infant opening its eyes.
HZ: That’s exactly where we are in our development. We are just opening our eyes. We have no idea what’s going on. Everything is speculation. That’s why they call it scientific theory. It’s just absurd for us to take all of the stories we make up and believe them. At least the scientists had the presence of mind to say that it’s theory, and to put everything else, including religion, in the category of speculation, as an archetypal projection of what we feel is going on. The only thing that we can hold sure to is the processes of the planet. This is good soil, you can plant here. This is bad soil. Things happen. Things don’t happen.
For more information on Hanakia Zedek, visit: www.hanakiazedek.org; www.hanakia.multiply.com; www.emissaryarts.com; or www.thephilosophyofnothing.blogspot.com. For more information on the new book Tao-Zen Verses, visit www.whistlingshade.com/taozen.html