The Zen of Michael Jackson:A Celebration

June 28, 2009 by · 0 

Note: How quickly we forget that our sojourn on earth is short. How marvelous it is when we do something remarkable in that space between hello and goodbye. Here at the Soul Sword Zen Community we would like to pause and reflect on a soul who transfused us with his loving energy...Michael Jackson.

Vernon Kitabu Turner

"Kitabu Roshi"

Michael Jackson gave all he had with each performance.
Michael Jackson gave all he had with each performance.

Michael Jackson as superhero by Manaah Blackwell
Michael Jackson as superhero by Manaah Blackwell

The analytical or legalistic thinker may be baffled at the effect the death of Michael Jackson had on the public, considering the charges he once faced. The charges were never proven but the power of his spirit and his message bore witness of itself time and time again.  That message was beautiful. By reclaiming the soul they once loved without apology the public embraced redemption, the gift of Heaven to all who seek it. In this drawing, Soul Sword Zenist, Manaah Blackwell shares his vision of Michael Jackson in heroic fashion.

The Zen of Michael Jackson
Vernon Kitabu Turner
(Kitabu Roshi)

My current book is called Soul to Soul. Zen by simple definition is a direct pointing at the soul of man. While Religion purports to reveal the Lord of Heaven, Zen strips us bare to reveal that reflective essence focused as a single being. When we cut through distortions of the mind the pure motive power of our being shines through unimpeded. Asians call it by many names. African Americans just call it soul. Michael Jackson delivered it full force decade after decade. The Bible poses a question, “What is man that thou art mindful of him or the son of man that thou visiteth him? When I watch Michael Jackson perform I feel the spiritual current flowing back through me to the source of all things. The answer is so simple. God loves us because we can send the current of Him back with our own spin on it. We can touch Him when we act from soul (spirit). When we drop the trappings that bind us to a solid world we are like our Eternal We are taught that only one who comes like a child can enter the “kingdom of heaven.” No adult in the modern world blazed a more obvious path to that sacred place than our Michael.

Zen activity, soul force, is electric. Once it starts it goes on until spent. Michael Jackson held nothing back when center-stage. Each performance was his only performance, the last one. Perhaps to some people he was just an entertainer but that which comes from the soul directed to the source of creation affects the fabric of the world. It travels, if you will, soul to soul. How clever to disguise a cosmic agent as a child-like singer. While man adores flesh or his carnal nature, God abhors that attachment. “There is no good thing in the flesh,” the scripture says. If a mirror could reflect God there would be only spirit. It is that part of ourselves that we must learn to cultivate.

Michael went deep into the well of his being. When he reflected on his first trip to Africa he spoke in marvelously poetic terms of the rhythm of the people and the land. In doing so he revealed his sensitivity to his environment. That was amplified more when he orchestrated the “We are the World” campaign. Suddenly a better world was in the making.

Michael was humble. Despite his tremendous accomplishments, fame and money, he spoke gently, and with respect to others. That is a significant sign to those who understand. The current of The Spirit flows through us not from us. Man is like a wire through which electricity flows. While he plays a part in the function, he is not the power but the conduit. Many will take the credit for their achievements outright developing a hardened ego. They do not understand. The effect they have will be

All human beings are multi-dimensional whether they realize it or not. That is the reason why all cultures have a spiritual tradition. There is a difference between belief and being and between knowing about and experiencing. Many experts know a tremendous amount about things but the Zen of anything is simply  living and doing it from Source, a "place" beyond prior thought. The act explodes or flows from the spirit of being. There is no dualism in such action, no hesitation. So Michael danced and we moved. He sang and our vocal chords vibrated. He was one soul expressing for many bodies. Don't just take my word for it. The following depicts the response of people in Sweden to the soul that was Michael Jackson.

We have the ability to move each other in positive and loving ways. Truly this is a testimony to a mission accomplished.

Using a single human being to effect many is God's way, after all. One light bulb can illumine a room. What is important to remember is the light and the lamp are different. The lamp can be imperfect. . It does not have to be perfect to hold up the bulb. Its job is to stand. Sometimes, ...those in the dark curse the lamp which holds the light. They don't realize that if no lamps stood they would stay in the darkness. There are no more perfect lamps to be found in this world, only those willing to stand in the flawed vessel of flesh and blood. They can only give the best they can, that and no more. There is a light at the end of the tunnel because someone is holding it.

There have always been beings on the planet who are “born of The Spirit.” For them the body is like a heavy overcoat. Thus the message of gurus and Zen masters have been directed at stripping away the facade to reveal the truth of our being...what is man? Do you really want to know the answer or do you want to become the answer. When a person comes along who can make you feel your spirit, it is a powerful reminder that there is more to us than we can see. Michael reminded us that we are not alone. He, the spiritual man, was right there with us...and so it is. We, too, can be there for each other in our true identity.  It is unfortunate that in his darkest hour Michael felt alone I know that Michael is not alone now. It is .those of us who remain here who may be more alone.  Many of you  grieve for the lost. You can no longer see him. I remind you, however, that when you stand before the mirror you do not see yourself either. Meditate on that.

A reflection of Michael by Ron Johnson, Soul Sword Zen Community.

A reflection of Michael by Ron Johnson, Soul Sword Zen Community.

For a few moments in time we find ourselves in  bodies, children of the universe learning our ABC's. Unfortunately, we often think we know everything when in fact we know next to nothing but how to play in the sandbox. The Creator is always speaking to us through us but we are not always listening. We criticize the lamp and fail to appreciate the light. Those who have magnificent gifts and give them freely are often victims of great suffering and unknown sorrow. There is a price to pay for serving humanity. Money cannot pay the cost and human beings are so fickle so as to turn on their heroes at the first hint of a supposed crack in their armor. If you love people and you desire to give them of your soul those people can wound you more viciously than the enemy. When Michael faced accusers in court I wrote then that we had a choice to make. I choose to believe in the innocence of his childlike nature because the currents flow back to Source. I believed, and did not waiver.

The artist has fallen and now his greatness is apparent, highlighted. The music lives on. The rhythm is unbroken. The curtain has not closed on Michael Jackson. A curtain has two sides. He 's just backstage until the rest of the show plays out. You must perform also. Will you pour out the best you have to give without looking back, without seeking approval from those around you? Will you give from the essence of your soul?. Will your activity have the power of Zen because it is real?

Michael Jackson demonstrated a great Zen lesson. He lived Michael Jackson. There is a Zen saying, “When you are really you that is enlightenment.” Who's bad!? Give of yourself completely and your light will burn brightly also. By that I do not suggest that the world will honor and adore you but God, your eternal Father will embrace you directly. The lotus will open. You will have an insider's view of the “show.”

Thank you Michael, you were sensational. we will see you at the family reunion.


We have learned now that many of the so-called eccentricities of Michael Jackson had a medical basis. He suffered from an extremely rare form of   Lupus which contributed to lost of skin coloration, great pain, was a danger to his heart and perhaps more revealing, may have been the reason his began wearing the one glove. One doctor said that the glove, one or even two were more than reasonable to wear when suffering from such a condition. Michael, as was his right, chose to remain quiet about his illness for over 12 years. He let the media have its way. Those of us who feel a sense of mission often sacrifice our well being, even our lives for the "cause," as we perceive it. Some ways are not so dramatic. We don't get enough sleep. We don't eat properly, we don't slow down enough. Michael's mission was played out for all to see.

Perhaps, only now do people recognize the cost Micheal paid to perform so well. He pushed his body and mind to the limit. He took painkillers so he could dance just one more time for you....a soldier going into a different kind of battle Some soldiers willingly risk a bullet or being the target of a bombing to fight a war they may not even comprehend, should they turn and run? People want too much from their "stars/warriors." They think they want sainthood from them.  If someone seems to rank that exalted status there will be those dedicated to seeking their flaws to crucify them. Such is the nature of Mankind. All human beings are flawed.  Shakespear did not recommend that the "good be interred with the bones. He noted that that was often the case because men focused on the "evil." Fortunately, such is not the case with God. God sees the light within us. It is his reflection. Michael Jackson was one of his mirrors. You can be too, if you remember that the good thing in you is not a product of this world.  Let your light shine regardless of the critics. The One, who is the light of your life, sees only that. Celebrate it and I for certain will celebrate and rejoice with you, even if your rap sheet is book length, just leave it in the past and give the best you have now.

Mariah Carey (and Trey Lorenz) sang "I'll Be There," better than she thought at the memorial service for Michael. Her human-heartedness added the perfect quality.

Inherent in our nature, well-hidden from the ego and intellect, is the essence of our creator. We communicate That quality when we are being true to the moment. We can feel THAT in each other.

Mariah Carey and Michael Jackson (The Jackson Five) were right, we must bring salvation back. To do that we must be quick to love, quick to  forgive, quick to redeem each other and slow to condemn. We are connected in a circle. The current comes back to the sender. You can be sure of that.


The links are provided for your reflection and enjoyment. The Soul Sword Zen Community does not profit in anyway from the sale of the music.