The Reality Institute

Jump: a Jump Answer movement. by Rachel Lynn Trotta

Jump: a Jump Answer movement.

Yesterday I picked up a book on Buddhism. The book is about the Buddhist approach to questions. I read the first few lines to the intro of the book. This is the line that stuck with me:

QUOTE If you ask “Where did the universe come from?”, the answer can’t be “jump.” END QUOTE

So that was the line, the line that got me thinking. I read the line, and then I stopped reading. I stopped reading because I realized…

If you asked me a question right now, ANY question,

I’d have a strong desire to answer with the word “Jump.”

I’ll speak hypothetically. You ask a question, I say Jump. You asked a question wishing to receive specific, informative response. Even if I don’t know your question your bet is as good as mine that an answer of Jump, upon first hearing, wouldn’t satisfy response. The Buddhist book told me that the one word response “jump” is thought to have little to no informative potential.

Let’s say when I entered this world I signed a societal contract. Let’s say this societal contract is for reals- and for real reals because it is printed on heavy weight professional glossy paper. Let’s also say that the societal contract has a voice and its voice is pretty darn vocal.

Here’s another scenario. Societal Contract, the societal contract with a voice, asks me a question. I give the response “Jump.” The societal contract is obviously not very happy with me. The societal contract is thinking: What does jump even say? The societal contract is responding to its own question: Jump says nothing. The answer Jump is a sure way to make the questioner think the answerer did not hear the question. The answer Jump is a sure way to make the questioner think the answerer is avoiding or making fun of said question.

Akin to what happened between me and my imaginary friend Social Contract, the Buddhist question book explicitly states that Jump is never a satisfactory answer. This makes me even more inspired, to challenge the Buddhist book. I would challenge the Buddhist book to a dual, but in true pacifist spirit, I will instead propose a movement. It is not a movement against Buddhism. It is a movement against this “the answer can’t be…” bull shit. It is a movement against the silly first lines of this particular Buddhist question.

So here I am wanting to say Jump and being told “No, no.. that’s not an answer.” As I feel it, I have no choice but to develop the new movement, the Jump Answer movement. This movement supports an environment where it’d be totally cool if more questions were answered with the word Jump. This movement accepts that as long as questions and answers are happening, we could all benefit from a lil’ more malleability in acceptable answering space.

To me the question and answer section of life, has always seemed so limited, so linear.
     “How ya doing?” “Fine, Thanks.” “Where are you going?” “I’m going out.”

     “When are you gonna be back?” “Maybe before sun up, after sun down?”
Most people accept the question and answer section of life as not a big deal. For those accepting the societal contract, it’s no sweat to answer a detail-oriented question or two.

So the Jump Answer movement is officially made. Anyone can join. It’s created by and for the Jump in all of us. It’s created for the non-linear that those straight lines on the street convince us can’t and shouldn’t be followed. It’s to prove to this silly Buddhist book that deflective is reflective, and that answers of “jump” are not necessarily a bad thing.

Broken records aren’t thought of fondly. But maybe if we open our listening, they’ll have something useful to say. You ask me a question. I say Jump. What does that say? It says if you and I wish to construct a home together, yes the front door can be in the back. If we were to lay a rock patio out front, yes we can be our own artistic directors—you can start on the left, I can start on the right, and even if we don’t have the same layout plan, we will still meet in the middle. If we were to cook dinner together, set the table, and sit down to eat, yes we can wait till a dradle is spun before we start eating.

Lately I’ve been among about a lot of cool people, doing a lot of cool things. I have heard these people doing cool things referred to as “Rockstars”. The Jump Answer movement is a shout out to the Rockstars potential in everyone. Show the rockstar an inch, she’ll see a yard. Put the rockstar in a box, she’ll break out of it. Tell the rock star not to defy gravity, she’ll shout “Why the heck not?”

If we were to question and answer,
               yes you can ask,

          yes I can Jump

     yes later we can swap subject positions.

Thank you Note: The Karma of Questions: Essays on the Buddhist Path by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff), 2002.

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