Earl R. Smith II. PhD

(Read More From My Blog)

It is occasionally amusing to read comments that seem to assiduously avoid the focus of a posting in order to vent some personal suspicion of inadequacy. I have, of course, blocked the petulant child who seemed to think that vulgarity is a sign of maturity when it is really a sign of angry impotence.

And then there are the self-appointed hall monitors whose principal contribution seems to be to castigate anyone who might have a thought and be willing to offer that thought in the hope that it might prove helpful to others. I am reminded of a quote from Inherit the Wind: Henry Drummond: “Suppose God whispered into a Bertram Cates' ear that an un-Brady thought could still be holy? Must men go to jail because they find themselves at odds with a self-appointed prophet?” These “self-appointed profits” parading as hall monitors generally contribute nothing to a discussion except impotent castigations. The idea of irony of that impotence seems lost on those who seem to be determined to demonstrate in themselves what they posture as finding in others. But, in the end, these are very uninteresting people who have very little to add and are best ignored.

After many years of mentoring individuals through transformational life journeys, I have discovered that the tendency of the human brain to want to maintain control of Zen ideas is essentially a defensive mechanism. As long as an idea is “intellectualized”, there is control over its impact. But, when an individual truly begins living those ideas, transformation is unavoidable. As I wrote above “The realization of the meaning of the Four Noble Truths is not an intellectual exercise.” For me, the essence of Zen and the teachings of the Buddha cannot be accessed through intellectualization. They have to be lived and experienced directly. The Four Noble Truths indicate a path that must be walked to be understood. Simply reading them accomplishes nothing at all. To make the point, ask yourself, “are these self-appointed prophet evidencing not just an understanding but a living demonstration of those Truths?”

Things get even clearer if you focus on the Eight-Fold Path. Are they evidencing “Right Understanding”? Are they employing “Right Speech”? Are they demonstrating “Right Conduct”? And the list of questions goes on and on. For instance, are they evidencing the “Right Mental Attitude” or “Right Mindfulness”?

I would suggest that they are not. A contributions to a conversation about Zen Philosophy by nihilists or agnostics is not really a conversation about Zen Philosophy. It is simply the inadequate working out of fear and self-loathing.

© Dr. Earl R. Smith II

I look back on the first three months of my work with Dr. Smith with wonder. My journal reflects a journey of self-discovery so vast that I hardly recognize the person who wrote the first entries. It's been a year now and I am happier now than I have ever been.

PJ, Mentoring Client

"It's the most amazing experience I have ever had. I needed to find a new path. A friend recommended Dr. Smith. What was most amazing was the wisdom and perception that he brought. New vistas have opened up and, as a result, a new chapter in my life. There's no way that I could put a value on what he has contributed to my life."

Mentoring Client, CEO and Serial Entrepreneur

"Chief - that's how Dr.Smith was introduced to me and, based on our work together, I have come to understand why - helped me focus on the possibilities that I had been missing in my life. He guided through developing a new vision for my life. My life is richer because of working with him."

Mentoring Client

"Earl is a wise mentor with lots of experience. He has a great way of explaining things and getting you to look at them from another perspective. Dr. Smith is a tough mentor, but, if you can learn just some of what he knows, your life will change forever."

Mentoring Client, Deloitte

“Dr. Smith is a very different kind of mentor. If you’re looking for a warm and fuzzy adviser, this is the wrong guy for you. But if you are dedicated to change and want to be challenged by a very experienced mentor Earl may be just what you are looking for.”

CEO of Croix Connect and Host of ABC Radio’s ‘Taking Care of Business’

“Dr. Smith's mentorship has been of great value and inspiration to my personal and professional development. I felt the need to take a new direction. He helped me sort out the possibilities and showed me ones that I never considered. Working with him has been a truly life-changing experience.”

Partner, IT & Telecom, Defense Solutions