Great insight into Love – a force of nature whether you recognize it or not.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!
Great insight into Love – a force of nature whether you recognize it or not.
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year!
Occasionally, if you’re paying attention, you’ll come across people that seem to have an effect on the flow of time. Time is a rare commodity or so we think, so we relate to it and so it occurs. Ironically, you have all the time you’ll ever need. Spending some time with one of these people who “shift time” is an excellent way to significantly impact your life and allow you to experience the true nature of time. If you’re paying attention.
I’ve had the opportunity over the past three weeks to take some vacation from work and spend my days with one of these people. Being with him has allowed me to experience a flow of time that is both slower than what I’m used to in normal day to day life and makes the world outside and its passing of time seem much faster. The days have flown by while at the same time I’ve found myself laboring to slow down, slow down my mind, slow down my desire to Do and just Be in time with this master of being. At the same time, I can hardly believe that three weeks have gone by in the outside world from my view here inside this sanctuary.
The background image that I currently have plastered on my phone to snap me back to reality is a quote attributed to Buddha. The quote is, “The trouble is, you think you have time”. Quotes are useless in and of themselves. You have to live the quote to experience it’s wisdom and power. The full picture of this one in particular, like the visual image of the old woman/young woman, is easy to miss. Easy to get caught up in the idea that the trouble is, you think you have time to do those things you’d rather put off until tomorrow. Make that bucket list, get to it, what are you waiting for. Certainly that is a valid interpretation.
After spending a few weeks with the Master, the time shifter, what I see is that the trouble is, I think I have time. <–Period. It’s so easy to get caught up in the mind made construct of time. I have a past, a present, a future and if I create this magnificent vision of “future” and live into it I can drastically alter my present and the way it occurs for me. Or, I have this past, present and future and the reason my present looks the way it does is that I know I’ve incorrectly put my past in my future, so everything that I can hope to do will most likely turn out very much like it has in the past.
Time-shifter disagrees. He has no past. He has no future. And what of his present? He is present certainly. But he doesn’t have a present either. He doesn’t have to “get himself” into the present. He is the present. It alters who I am and my experience of time. It radically points out when I’m somewhere else, not present. It cracks me across the back with his swift stick when I’m somewhere other than here, now.
Sometime soon, in his future that I can speak about, he will gain that dual edged sword of language. He will someday soon begin to relate to himself as an entity I, separate from me, separate from the world, separate from time and he will cease to be Time. He will become concerned with me, and mine, and I. He will believe that you are distinct from he. Time-shifter will become ordinary.
With conversation, reflection, and time spent with other time-shifters he may regain what has been lost. Don’t be confused that this occurring of being a time-shifter is relegated only to those with no language. I’ve met some of these “enlightened” ones, consistently being. I’ve also met some of these “enlightened” ones (we all are, aren’t we?) who shift time consistently doing. You’ll notice these time-shifters as those who leave you “less than whole”, incomplete, causing you stress between what “should be” and “what is”. This space between being and doing is what we seek when we look for balance.
Master has a complete support system in place for himself that allows for his wordly survival concerns to be taken care of. Many of the other enlightened ones do as well. This allows them to exist in a space of being, exist outside of time really. When I’m hungry, I eat. When I’m tired, I sleep. When I cry, I cry.
When I have to poop, I poop. This is where Truth/Love/Aletheia is experienced – out of Time, as Being Time.
Junior just happened to fall asleep in his swing while I was making the coffee. I couldn’t seem to shake the grog out of my head this morning so the only solution seemed to be some heavy duty fresh ground coffee. Emerson goes in the swing for a couple of minutes, brew the coffee, maybe even eat some Cheerios to reduce my risk of heart disease. Simple plan.
Ring, Ring. Sears on the caller ID. Hello. Yes, this is him. This guy wasn’t trying to offer me a car loan from India like most of the telemarketing calls I’ve been getting since I attempted to get some financing for a car I bought for somebody over a year ago on bankrate.com or whatever it was – never use them, ever. He was kind, fairly well spoken and wanted to send somebody over to give me estimates on any of the eight kinds of services they offer. Would it be replacement windows, an overhang of some sort, kitchen remodel, maybe a finished basement (he didn’t mention that one, but I made it up when he asked his next question).
“Sir, if you had twenty thousand dollars what would be the first thing that you would do to your house?”, he asked. Up until that point, even though I had not yet hit the “on” button on the coffee grinder/brewer, I was interested in having a powerful, meaningful relationship with this random caller on the phone. Even though the phone rang, potentially destroying my opportunity to eat some Cheerios, I still knew that love could be present and experienced with this guy from Sears. That’s who I am after all. It’s the purpose I was born for, so I say.
Evasion was the tactic I chose. Two options came to my mind. If I had 20k laying around that I didn’t have any purpose for (and I also happened to have another cool half million laying around that I did have some purpose for because if I had 20k laying around I’d have some purpose for it. In fact, the money was not the issue. Using the money to do whatever to my house is not what I’ve been figuring I’d do with the 20k that I have laying around) what would my next project be. What first came to mind is some windows in my sunroom because the builder used just about the worst possible windows that have ever been manufactured in my sunroom. I knew it would be cooler in there with all those windows but nothing like this. Or, finish the basement. I’ve been wanting to do that for a while, wanting to do it myself really for the “fun and enjoyment” of such a large home project undertaking, but since I haven’t gotten “a round to it” for so long, if I had the 520k laying around, I’d have somebody finish the basement.
I didn’t say either of those things. I said I don’t know. I wasn’t forthcoming with the information that his question elucidated from wherever responses to questions come forth from. Yeah, ummm, I’m not really sure. He pressed on, even gave me some other questions that brought to mind the same responses. I knew I was being evasive at this point. Love was out the window. Not with this guy. Not here on the phone while the baby slept in the swing.
There isn’t much required to have love present and experience. The simplest things in life are often the most elusive. Imagine your day to day life if there was love present and experienced with everybody you came across. Imagine your work. Your home life. Your visits to the grocery store. All of those billions sharing the same affinity for themselves that they share for you. Babies wouldn’t be all that special anymore with their baby magic that makes you want to be around them.
Models are only as useful as the results they allow you to produce. Here’s my model for having love be present. I’ll need to expand on the three aspects of presence, vulnerability, and trust at some point. But use what you think they mean and play around. I’m pretty sure it’s all that is necessary. Try it with your spouse, your friends at the holidays, your mother-in-law…see what happens. Write a blog entry that doesn’t make much sense. Be vulnerable when they’re being aggressive. Be present when they’re not. Trust that if you give them the answer that you’d probably get your basement finished if you had 20k laying around that your relationship will deepen, become more meaningful, and the slightest hint of “something” will arise. I call it Truth/Love/Aletheia.
I didn’t go for it with the telemarketer. I still haven’t quite mastered being vulnerable in one area when it will affect trust or presence in another area. Let me know what you find.
The premise of this blog and of my work is quite simple really. It is this. There is love. It is everywhere, all around us, in us, through us, connecting us, aside from us, outside of us, everything that is and is not occurs in the context of this love.
That’s really it. So love. Each other. One another. Yourself. Experience it.
That’s also where it gets complicated. The first complication is that love is a word and like all words it is a symbol for something, though it is not that something. So love (even with a capital L) does not capture the something. It doesn’t properly explain it or identify it. As a word it’s open to interpretation, misinterpretation, misunderstanding, understanding. Due to this complication I call it Truth/Love/Aletheia. Aletheia may be the best word I’ve found for the phenomenon, at least as Heidegger uses it in the context of the rest of his Being and Time.
Mostly the phenomenon is concealed from our experience. This is the second complication. This causes a whole host of additional complications which I won’t attempt to go over.
Given these two basic complications, my work has been challenged to take root. My work is to have love be present and experienced. That’s it. Mostly I get in the way. Since I’ve really only experienced the phenomenon a dozen or so times with people outside of my “close circle” and even mostly have difficulty with my work with those inside my “close circle” it’s been a challenge to really put a finger on the components of having the love that is always there sort of “arise” in the space of experience.
One year ago today I, for the first time, intentionally caused love to be present and experienced with people that were, only a few days before, complete strangers. Something shifted in the space of myself and these two guys that I was having the conversation with, creating together the phenomenon and clearing the space for love to be present. In the end I was left different and known. They were left known, or something, as well. Honestly, we still haven’t fully made sense of what happened, what occurred. But we did all agree, many months later that something happened. There was a presence of being known or loved or connected or something unlike anything we’d experienced before, at least with random people that we’d only just met.
And I should point out that we’d been drinking Belgian beer all night. Then, after we experienced love as a presence Sinterclause showed up. And then I got really drunk so I could get inside the head of this incredible guy I know who jumps off of stuff, to get a better understanding of what that is for him. The night ended with me drunken facebooking. The morning began with severe pain.
Since that day, really the day after, when I found myself “barfing more” I’ve not made a lot of sense out of it all. Much of the experience has concealed itself again and I’ve found myself trying to recapture or recreate the event. Which I of course know is about the best way to not have it occur again. So, today I guess I’m just reminiscing about Truth/Love/Aletheia.
When you’re being at the moment of truth, really just being the moment of truth, the experience of time’s passing slows dramatically. The wisdom aspect of it is a knowing everything and a knowing nothing all at the same time. Present. To everything. And Nothing.
It was a grey 1978 Ford Fairmont. It had the sweet, dashed, between-the-windows stripe but that had been painted over by an Earl Sheib $89.95 special. They used a matching grey but painted right over that sweet stripe…unbelievable. That’s probably why it was so cheap. Tony says we paid $50 bucks to Dave for it …I’m thinking it was a little more like $50 bucks each, but the certainty of that memory is lost to time. I probably wasn’t present at that moment of truth.
Either way, the Fairmont wasn’t running. Tony said he heard that Fairmont’s made great sleeper cars and that this one with the straight six under the hood could be a beast – not The Beast – that’s another moment of truth, but a beast. The plan was that we would work on it in the neighbor’s garage, and when we were done with it we’d race it…Quigley Avenue or something. Nothing like Norwalk or anything like that…at the time my ability to dream was a little stifled and suppressed by the stories I’d made up in the past.
It was supposed to turn out like this Fairmont.
That Ford Fairmont would have been really bad-a$$…not to mention that we sawed out the steel plate behind the backseat (I think Tony did all the work) so it would also be an incredible camping machine. Picture it – just pop out that back seat and two people could easily sleep in the trunk (and backseat) with nothing more than a sleeping bag. It was like a Chevy Avalanche but in 1987 – we were way ahead of our time. And it would have been an incredible racing machine – hah! I just thought of this – not only was it a sleeper*, it was also a sleeper. Visionaries.
The only problem with the plan was that neither of us really had enough money to sink into this car to turn it around. It was Tony’s neighbor with the garage right next door so he spent some time over there messing with it, but I just don’t remember being over there all that often. I remember feeling powerless to do anything because I didn’t know very much about cars at all, I had no money, and I was too worried about looking bad to admit any of that to anybody that may be able to assist us. I recall highlights such as getting that steel cut out, and actually getting the thing running with tons of starter fluid directly into the opened up carburetor. That was mostly what was wrong with it, the carburetor, and Tony tinkered away enough with it that we got it running. We were so psyched, we had the hood off but we just had to take it out for a ride. That was the only ride I ever had in our bad-a$$ Ford Fairmont.
Eventually the neighbor got sick of that heap sitting in her garage. Something happened to the transmission…I wasn’t around when it did and I don’t know that I ever really understood what…exactly…happened. I didn’t care. I was busy having other powerful life altering learning events. Eventually that car ended up sitting on a gravel lot at Pearl and Bader outside of a friend of ours’ house, a house he was renting I think. It sat there for a few months. It seemed like forever when I’d drive by and still see that car sitting there. Time moved a lot slower even normally then…a few months seems like years when you just turned 18.
Seeing that lost dream sitting there for ALL THAT TIME eventually made me start asking Tony what exactly happened to the transmission. Was there anyway to fix it? Did you even get underneath there to check it out? What happened when it stopped working? We stopped there to reveal the answers to these questions, maybe it was just so I’d stop asking questions and I could find out for myself.
Tony was there, Bob was there, Ed was there, maybe Chris from inside the house was there (he wanted it out of there by then too). I don’t remember how we got there, or too much on either side of the moment of truth. We took the factory jack out of the trunk and put it under the car and started jacking it up. It was one of those uni-body cars or whatever they called them at the time…they were making cars lighter to get better gas mileage so the days of a big heavy frame were over. And the jack was one of those expanding diamonds…starts out flat and raises up just enough at the very top so you can get a tire off.
When I was a kid I was always warned about getting under cars on a jack. I only heard the story once about the friend of the family whose son got crushed by a car. That kind of story only needed to be heard once and I didn’t even have any of the details. The only thing I really knew about the story was that it happened the same day he was playing with a Ouija board with his friends. It was an effective story – I was left fearful of getting under cars and playing with Ouija boards.
For whatever reason, that fear was not there that day (probably so I could someday write this story and alter the course of somebody’s life by revealing the distinction “being present”). I must have really been messing with Tony, pressing him about the transmission. I got down on my back and slid myself in there. Once I started looking at that transmission I realized where I was. I didn’t see any major leaks, but it looked quite a mess around the bell housing with greasy gloppy stuff all around.
Then time went all slow motion on me. My senses were already heightened because I had just realized where I was, and at the same time the voice was chattering as it does about not wanting to look like a big wuss, freaking out and pulling myself out from under that car. It didn’t matter.
While those two things were happening, another simultaneous sound was happening, and I was hearing it at the same time the voice was telling me that you wouldn’t want to look like a wuss. Hearing a cheap, piece of crap, yet still solid steel Ford factory tire jack break through the rusted out, unibody, not-frame of a 1978 Ford Fairmont sounds exactly the way you would expect it to sound. When you’re under that Ford Fairmont it sounds like the sound of chewing Peanut Butter Captain Crunch recorded and played in slow motion at a really high volume.
There is where the moment of truth began. Like I said in my last post the moment of truth is happening every moment, every second, of every minute of every hour, of every day. The Truth/Love/Aletheia about it is that those seconds, minutes, hours, days don’t actually exist – they’re something we’ve made up, and agreed that they exist. All there is are moments of truth (right now). It’s useful to be able to relay the stories of things that have happened in the seconds, and minutes, and hours, and days gone by or the plans of the seconds, and minutes, and hours, and days ahead but they are not to be confused with truth.
Aletheia. An immediate unconcealing. A revealing of Truth. Love, present, and experienced.
During the slow motion crunching sound, while looking at the greasy bell housing, the instinct to turn my head happened. During the slow motion crunching sound, while my head was turning I saw the car getting lower. There was no voice in my head. There was only that slow motion crunching sound, the car getting lower, the increased pressure on my pectoral muscles where the welded seam of the unibody not-frame met the floor boards of the more fuel efficient-than-my-father’s-old-blue-1970-Ford-Galaxy-500-that-my-brother-wrecked 1978 Ford Fairmont.
Wide-awake. Aware. Not enough experience around it to know that’s what I was, not like being light aware and wide-awake. Hearing everything, not loudly but clearly and crisply. Seeing that the car had stopped moving, feeling my chest pinned yet still able to take in and let out breath, lightly yet heavily. Seeing out of the periphery vision the feet scurrying by my feet outside from under the lightning fast sleeper Ford Fairmont. The gasps. The oh no’s, the oh-my-God, oh-my-Gods, leading to the Ed, Ed, are you alrights. Situation assessed here under the car…not the “voices in my head” assessment…a silent knowing assessment without language – a Self assessment. Without words. Head’s not smashed, breathing heavy but good, no send me into unconsciousness pains, not laughing either – but feeling good. Feeling grateful, and appreciative, and I can say it now as a story – loved. Dodged a bullet loved, though, got lucky loved…not intentional and not having caused it. Not willfully present and mindful and Wise.
Wisdom it was nonetheless. The second time I’d felt it. A time in slow motion oneness with the moment. A knowing, sensing everything while knowing nothing at all. Not dodging death, but just not yet time to die. Under that car, one of the things I most feared happened and I was not dead (good thing I hadn’t been using a Ouija board).
That was how the experience was for me – drawn out in story here for sure, and I want you to understand that talking about the moments that fill a 15 second time span as a watch ticks – telling the story about those moments is not those moments. Most of the time we’re missing those moments with the dialogue we’re filling the space with. But life occurs in those moments, those moments of truth (right now). And it is possible to intentionally experience moments right now without all of the noise and distraction and consideration about how you look and what they’ll think and just be grateful and appreciative of them scurrying about acting astonished about what just happened even though what just happened always happens and when you’re present you’re not surprised that it just happened. We can be present and wise right now.
As my friends like to tell the story…everybody’s freaking out and saying are you alright, Ed are you alright? Then there’s a silence and they wait for the answer. As calm as can be, Ed says, “Pick….the….car….up.” And that was how it was for me – calm as can be. They picked the car up, I slid out and the moments carried on. I grinned as I do.
* A sleeper is a car that looks to be ordinary, nothing special…until you pull up next to it to race and only then is its Truth/Love/Aletheia revealed.
Mindfulness. Being Present. Wisdom. Living in the moment. Right now.
These are terms, words or phrases describing phemonena that occur within our experience. Understanding that the term is not the phenomena and that the term does little justice to relaying the experience of the phenomena is a worthwhile thing to understand. These different realms of “knowing” (concept, phenomena, experience) fall under the broad heading of epistemologies.
Truth/Love/Aletheia is dedicated to broadening and expanding knowledge of Truth/Love/Aletheia (right now). There are many other terms which can be used to “label” the phenomena, many terms that are “like” the terms above, and many terms which are confused with and thereby dillute the understanding of the phenomena. Explaining the phenomena will almost always be a second best effort of actually experiencing the phenomena.
Allowing you to gain first hand experience of the phenomena of wisdom is my desire in writing. Honestly, there’s little use for it, as in, it can’t be used for the normal things we want – making money, having power, getting what we (think we) want (usually a result of money and power), being admired, maintaining the illusion of control. What it does allow for is a “clean” place to come from and operate in the world. It occurs as peace in experience. In the world I see and experience from people (and myself) a great deal of suffering often inflicted on people by other people, and almost always inflicted on oneself.
“Wisdom”, (aka Truth/Love/Aletheia, mindfulness, being present, living in the moment, etc), “is not something to learn. Wisdom is something which will come out of your mindfulness. So the point is to be ready for observing things, and to be ready for thinking. This is called emptiness of your mind.” (Suzuki – Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind)
During a previous post I spoke of enlightenment and a being all things and light and nothing. We live in the so called real world however and most of the time we aren’t experiencing being light. We are making dinners, and working with other people, and buying things, and singing, and eating and doing what we do. Wisdom is a being enlightened all the time, doing the mundane, being-in-the-world. This is where truth/love/aletheia is experienced at the moment of truth.
The moment of truth occurs every moment when you’re present. In the normal course of events you may not necessarily notice the moments in your life when you were fully present unless somebody shares the story of their experience with you and distinguishes being present. In the next few of my posts I’m going to share some moments of truth that I’ve had – many of these moments just happened, as in – I was going about my day to day business and then blam – I was present; mindful, and empty of mind all at the same time – a dialetheia.
Sometimes people relay stories about things that I’ve done. I don’t even know they’re telling other people about them and I find it funny when I hear about it later. I still can’t tell if they’re telling those stories because I’m admired, or they thought well of me, or they’re telling these stories as a warning to others. At this point I’m love either way. One of the stories people tell about me is the time the car fell on me. For me it was just The Moment of Truth.
If you were wondering whether or not I’ve noticed – I’ve noticed. This blog is pretty heavy. Not the sort of thing that you might try to digest without having a “tasty beverage to wash it down”. All of the readings should be digested while putting your own life and own experiences before you to act as a sort of filter to read my experiences through. After all, these experiences are shared and we make meaning of them together; you as the listener and me as the speaker or writer, in this case. Together we can expect to be left somehow different than we were prior to reading/writing them.
This entry will be different. Short even. It’s sole purpose is to entertain.
One of the things that I found out about myself, during my training and development and receiving my certification in “Developing Leadership Through Emotional Intelligence”, that surprised me was the usefulness of my sense of humor. Now, I’ve alway known I’m funny no matter what my wife says. I’ve also always known that I’m pretty “deep”…one of the deepest people I’ve ever come across. Deep also occurs as heavy.
At times when spending some time with me in an intense coaching session or even just discussing nothing at all I can leave people a little drained. I can leave myself a little drained as well. One of the best methods for quick rejuvenation and to move yourself back into the area of the Positive Emotional Attractor is a good laugh.
To that end, I leave you with the following “commercial” for my upcoming YouTube Television series – Survivor: Middle Bass Island. Feel free to subscribe so you’ll be notified of new episodes, make comments (5 to 1 ratio positive to negative, please), and hopefully have a laugh.
If you prefer the facebook viewing experience, view the Survivor: Middle Bass Island page.
Being love present and experienced occurs for me as laughter. For me the best times are laughing with my family. Hopefully it’ll be “fun love” for you too.
Laughing Out Loud With Love,
Today marks four years since the revelation that “for all intents and purposes” my life is approximately half over. It’s also my 42nd birthday and as my brilliant cousin pointed out to me a few weeks ago after viewing one of the http://shirt.woot.com/ items for sale that day, this is the year that I would be the same age as the answer to the question of life, the universe and everything.
Back to this “half-over” business though, there’s no intention in it to be morbid and there’s certainly no science in its half-ness as I could be dead tomorrow, today, or sixty years from today. It’s lack of morbidity is based in the freedom that living a Being-Towards-Death existence allows for…once you get crystal clear that soon your day will come you can really begin to live each day from the amazing opportunity that it is. The lack of science is much more obvious, but is worth briefly telling the story of how I came to its conclusion.
Thirty-eight was a turning point year in my existence. My father was seventy-six years old that year, which made me exactly half his age. At some point during that year it was really the last time he was with it, or with us, fully at least. He’s still alive physically but it’s difficult to know how much he’s with us mentally. He doesn’t speak anymore. It was the year that I was able to transcend speaking and really just be with him the way every Son should be allowed to be with his Father at some point in their lives (as I talk about in my Positive Outcomes paper). My father’s sudden and rapid slip into dementia brought out many realizations for me (in a life very full of assessments and realizations).
The most impactful of these realizations was the acceptance that my life was half over. That if there was anything I really wanted to get done in life, I’d better get to it. I’d had a good run up until that point and already had a very full and fulfilling life. This was thanks in no small part to my parents, my siblings, my brother-in-law, my aunt, the guys, my wife, my kids and obviously all the other countless people who’d impacted me. If you’re reading this it probably includes you. So this post is really a “What have I done since that realization and what am I pedal to the metal working on?” assessment. After all, I’m already four years into the second half of my life.
Just for record keeping purposes I want to say a little bit about where I was at that point, what I was committed to, and what results I had that were worthy of score keeping.
“You’ve committed yourself to a really big game,” one of my coaches said to me at the time. “You should expect it to be challenging”, she said. It was. Even beyond what I thought. I thought it would be neatly packaged, simple really. You say something, and honor your word, and the results show up. It had worked before in the relationship game, the career game, the life of my dreams game. However, I spent a lot of time looking at the scoreboard in those days rather than playing the big game. I looked to what people told me about what was happening rather than trusting in who I am, knowing that the score only matters at the final buzzer.
The first shift came out of a really simple yet wise conversation about age in general, and the way I held myself – or said more accurately the age of the conversation I was having. I was having child like conversation. I was the youngest. The youngest always gets their way and I didn’t like it when I didn’t so I would quit playing. I wasn’t getting my way. I’d hit a wall where the old way of playing wasn’t working anymore. Everything I’d relied upon before wasn’t working, even my transformed view of the world. The big shift came when I realized half my life was over…my search intensified. I got very serious about finding out what my transformation really meant. I started searching for the source of it so that I could become my own source of it. I always wondered, but never asked until then. How did he keep it up day after day and be the source of the transformation for millions of people.
Asking a new question shifted everything. It always does. In fact, just asking a question at all shifts the whole playing field. I stopped being an answer, having an answer and started inquiring. What could I find out that would allow me to stop playing within somebody else’s experience of the world to begin to be the source of my own. I’d only ever known one person that had done it and what do you know he’d just resurfaced to offer a course.
Meeting your idol, or hero, or the most impressive person you’ve ever heard of or been impacted by is something that every person should have the joy of in their lives. Having them live up to everything you’ve heard, expected and more is even better.
Sitting on a rock smoking. That’s how I fully experienced who I am. He was just sitting on a rock smoking. If you’ve read Zen stories you know of some odd moments when the student is enlightened. Sitting on a rock smoking was how it went down for me. I watched him smoke. Not something I would have ever thought a transcendent human being would do. I was awestruck though by his power as he smoked, and sat, and talked with the few of us there with him, I saw that he was just himself. Not anything more and not anything less. Then I saw who I am.
Being who I am now is all there is to do. So this moment, and the subsequent conversation with the man from China where I had the opportunity to practice being who I am, gave me a break in my experience of the world.
I know that as a reader most of what I’m saying here is not clear to you. It’s better talked through. But I include it here as a record of what shifted in knowing that my life was half over and the subsequent seeking. Not the usual kind of seeking. It was different than the seeking we normally do. This was a seeking for Aletheia, from Aletheia. A questioning from truth. From the space where who we are is calling. Who we’ve always been and who it’s demanded that we be. The days of suffering were over for me.
When I returned from New York on that trip new opportunities were there. Somehow, since then, and from that day I now own three laundromats – of all things. It was not what I would have ever expected in my wildest dreams.
Also, I found that a group of people, including the Mayor, were already transforming Cleveland+. I couldn’t believe it. I came home and found a document about a green city on a blue lake declared in the future from the year 2020. Never had I heard such language outside of my normal circles. In this document I found another person who’d “created a new way of being in the world” outside of the normal rules of society that seem to constrain us all. He wrote of amazing things such as “repatterning our relationship to reality itself.” Since then I’ve heard amazing stories of people who live here who are doing exactly what I envisioned could be done when I invented my game – giving up what we had been and envisioning/creating who we are in the future. I haven’t even had to lift a finger yet there is much still that will be done.
Being blown away by these amazing voices I’d found I looked deeper into them. Right here in my backyard was the most amazing and transformative program I ever could have imagined. I went to an orientation and put the stake in the ground that I would enter the Master’s program in that fall of 2010. I’ve recently graduated.
In that program, I’d also created a long range learning plan which included provision for frequent travel and the possibility of another baby and my wife’s completion of her degree. The baby’s on the way, the travel has been happening at a rate of about 3 adventures per year (4 is the commitment, so we still have some adjustment to make here) including some trips that I just couldn’t have imagined would ever happen way back in 2007.
What’s the point? There isn’t one. It’s my birthday and I’m reminded that my life is more than half over. My wife and kids got me some CDs from an Englishman living in France who I heard on the radio while driving to get groceries on our recent trip to St. Martin. One of his songs is right up my alley. He says simply, “Coz we all kick the bucket in the end, the end.” Look his songs up on youtube and listen to them to celebrate my birthday. Thanks for being in my life and thanks for your listening.
Like a Hobo and With Love,
In my last post I made the proposition that we’re all englightened, that we just forgot about it or something happened to cloud over it, conceal it. Consider little babies, they’re so cute and wonderful and even the most hardened people start cooing and googoo gagaing all over the place when they’re holding a little baby. They’re like little Buddha’s, making us all bigger and better people than we normally know ourselves to be. I used to be that cute and that much of an opening, calling out for only the best another human being could give me. You did too. The truth/love/aletheia about it just may be that we still are.
What happened? How did I end up this way when I started out with so much promise. People used to love being around me and want to care for me, and be the best they could be around me (when I say me, you could be thinking about your me too). Dare I say, people used to just love me. That’s all there was – an inexpressible love that people wanted to dote on me, that I drew out of them. It’s that inexpressible, insatiable feeling that makes you just want to chew on a little baby’s leg and just eat them up (like that will somehow turn out well). They’re so adorable though that you just don’t know what to do with yourself when you’re with them…yet we’re driven to express “something” to them. It usually ends up with us gooing and gaaing and looking mad, bad, and wrong to others. But then the others notice you’re with a baby, and they say, “Oh, well, he’s with a baby so it’s okay.”
Consider this scene. Remove all the people and fast forward a few years. I was eight years old-ish. Right there in front of Peaches Records and Tapes. I was walking toward that spot where the mob is, down one of the aisles of cars with my brother who is about 8 years older than I am. I’d just come off a rough patch of run-ins with bums as I called them…thugs that liked to beat up or just otherwise mess with little kids for no apparent reason. They were just kids like me though. I still thought you could count on grown-ups.
Dark green. That was the color of the big boat of a car he was driving. It was a Chrysler New Yorker, or an Imperial, or a Plymouth Fury. Rusted already though it couldn’t have been more than a few years old.
He was probably mid-20’s, mid-length curly hair, mustache, jeans jacket, a little rough around the edges but not evil looking or anything. I watched him the whole way from where he started coming through the stop sign at the end of the strip plaza, just waiting for the traffic to pass so we could cross. But, I guess I was looking right at him the whole time…or I wasn’t. I must have been a threat to him (I can reason now), or maybe I was too happy (for him) because I was going to Peaches with my older brother…again, a threat.
Then he was right in front of us. Window height even with my head as he rolled by and me still looking at him. Alive. Experiencing. Being. Not afraid…just loving. Enlightened.
“What are you looking at?” It was all he said.
Taken back. Confused. Threat response. Is this guy a bum? Is he going to get out of the car and beat me up? I looked away. I looked down. I looked at my brother. He was no more eager to get in a fight than I was to get beat up.
I’ve done a lot of work to “find myself”, notice what was lost, or what I invented and I re-invent myself every moment when I’m present to the moment. I still notice that sometimes I look at people away from their eyes…their mouths, their nose, off somewhere else…anywhere to keep them from asking, “What are you looking at?”
Aware of the source of my un-enlightenment now. This being the last event. The one that closed the door and had me really forget anything about the non-sense I knew when I was three…that all there is is love. All around us, part of us, us. Our source and our being and who we’ve always been. Who he was. This guy I’ll never meet.
We develop these ways of being to compensate, to protect ourselves from these threats. But we forget about it. Forget that we created them and we’re left unsatisfied, concerned, restless…looking for something that we already have, something that we are. Truth. Love. Unconcealed. Aletheia.
I love you. Even if you’re the guy in the Dark Green Chrysler. You’ll know it, and experience it when I’m allowing myself to be vulnerable by looking at you, seeing you ala Avatar, being with you. Afraid that you’ll punch me if I see something that you don’t want me to see, but willing to risk and love you anyway.
To say that you’re enlightened is to demonstrate that you’re not. What’s interesting is that we’re all enlightened. We just seem to have forgotten about it, or misplaced it, or started believing the things we told ourselves as kids.
In my last post I referred to my most enlightened experience and a commenter and friend had the logical question, “What was your most enlightened experience?” It’s the type of conversation that flows much more gracefully in the spoken word because you can hear how it lands, if the person receiving the story is with you on the journey or if they’re missing the whole experience. That was the way it occurred when I brought it up. I’ve really only shared the event with two people, my wife who listens to all of my brilliant soliloquies, and that colleague.
Here I’m going to attempt a much more daring feat. I’m also going to be brief. You can make up what you like about whether or not this was a moment of enlightenment, and surely you will. It’s very possible you’ll discount it because that’s what we do and that’s why most of us don’t really notice that we’re already enlightened. Whatever description I give it will be inadequate regardless. Being enlightened must be experienced. It must be experienced right now. You also may want to use it to justify a religion or your religion, or invalidate a religion (or your religion). Don’t. Where I was doesn’t matter. And yes, I regularly attend Roman Catholic church.
I stood in a pew, in a church, with an enclosed ceiling. There weren’t a lot of stain glassed windows in this particular church and the ones that were there weren’t very large and they definitely weren’t near me. In the time leading up to this “phenomenon” I’d just gotten very clear about who I am, about who I’d always been. Love present and experienced.
I stood during a blessing being given to some people that had been married a long time, and my eyes were closed. Light shone down on me, through me really. I felt its warmth and the warmth that I felt was Love. This light extended out through me as if it was coming down on me but as I was a part of it. In my mind it appeared there was a large opening above me and off to the side of me allowing the full rays of the sun to shine down and wash over me.
Standing there basking in that warmth, not doing anything but also not not doing anything, I experienced what was. I experienced myself as part of all of it, part of that light and warmth that extended out through my body into all things. I was that light yet the light was me. I was whole and one. I was you and you were me. I was wood and stone. All those things were love, lit up and warm.
I began thinking more than being, wanting understanding more than wanting experiencing and I opened my eyes to see if there was a window above me, or if there was light shining through a window off to the side. There wasn’t and I was just back in the church, grateful to know that we’re all loved so deeply.
I’ve had other englightened experiences including my favorite and most absurd where I experienced the complete perfection of a pile of dirt with one of those wooden, stand-up road barriers standing on it in the middle of a road construction site. God, it was so beautiful. It all is, when there’s no concealment. It took me a great number of years after that dirt pile to know a word that accurately portrayed the experience as experienced. Aletheia.
With Love and the Warmth of the Sun,