No Title Adventures

When Thomas Merton met Dr. D.T. Suzuki he commented:

In meeting him one seemed to meet that ‘True Man of No Title’ that Chuang Tzu and the Zen Masters speak of. And, of course, this is the man one really wants to meet. Who else is there? In meeting Dr. Suzuki and drinking a cup of tea with him, I felt I had met this one man. It was like finally arriving at one’s home town.

Dr. Suzuki is, of course, famous for expounding Buddhism to the West.

In subtle ways, humans revert to titles, spoken or unspoken. Titles are helpful in that they build worlds around a person, place them in perspective, and help us relate. Titles are necessary, but titles, taken too seriously, also bind: restricting someone’s being, making them victims of their roles, and suffocating relationships. Is it possible to meet people in a less stagnant status-tic way?

Narrative has the power to destroy titles. Perceiving yourself and others as unfolding stories, relativise current titles by a vector of time. It does come at a price though; the price of uncertainty. The question is: Do you want to come home to certainty or adventure. If you chance the second, you risk a richer life: The life of a person with No Title.

Author Details

Calvyn du Toit

Calvyn C. du Toit is a PhD-candidate in Christian Spirituality at the University of South Africa (UNISA), and a Research Associated in the Department of Christian Dogmatics and Ethics at the University of Pretoria. He lives in New York City, where he is h(o)us(e)band to Christine, and 6PM Music Director at the Church of the Holy Trinity (Episcopal).

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