A 2359 Word Post On Standing Before The Flag

GloryLarge2 LargeGlory1

I recognize that every human is free.  Free to their own choice.  Free to their own perception.  Free to their own expression of that perception and choice.

I recognize that perception is limited and any interpretation of perception can be described as a story of what happened.  Each who perceives will tell a different story in their attempt to share their perception.

I recognize that your perception will almost certainly be different than mine.

I perceived the symbol captured here occurring much larger, much more vivid, and much more active in the wind this evening than these small photo representations will ever portray (sort of like my words – limited in conveying experience).  I invite you to zoom into the photos to give yourself a sense of the bombast of it, blazing before you.  If that doesn’t work, go to any Perkins at night, with the wind blowing in off Lake Erie and experience it for yourself – man, they fly a glorious Old Glory.

Sorrow was what I experienced for those who don’t stand before this symbol and experience anything other than the awe that I felt, standing below and before it waving wildly in the wind.

Shall I give up my experience in favor of yours?  Shall I attempt to empathize with your plight?  The plight of your creation, your perception, and your choice of story to tell?  Shall I listen and experience you?  Kneel with you?  Risk losing my Old Glory to understand yours?  Stand next to you and look down, ashamed for myself of what it means to you?  Or shall I stand?  Clear about who I am and who you are?  Standing for who we were born to be – free and mighty and in love.

As I stood before it I was immediately taken in, quickly distracted (enacted) into being with it. This symbol; this story; I was compelled to capture it.  To tell you that in it I saw the future – yours and mine – unlimited by our limited perception of space and time.  In it I saw Truth, Beauty, Freedom and above all things Love.

Truth and Love and Aletheia will set you free,

Ed

 

Sometimes Truth/Love/Aletheia Looks Like A Punch In The Throat

“The biggest danger, that of losing oneself, can pass off as quietly as if it were nothing; every other loss, an arm, a leg, five dollars, a wife, etc. is bound to be noticed.” – Soren Kierkegaard

Fascinating weekend in the stream of life.  Beyond questioning “What exactly am I manifesting in the world?”, I’ve sorted some random items together to put some perspective on the current, streaming-by, over the always unseen undercurrent of Aletheia.

First, a story.  I was greeted at my front door Friday evening by a heavily tattooed unsavory looking fellow (the tattoos alone did not indicate he was unsavory – it was visible in who he was being) who showed up to do me physical harm for verbally accosting his son who’d participated in some bullying, intimidation tactics toward my son the previous week at the playground next door to our house.  He punched me in the throat.  I was being at the moment of truth as I ran down the street to avoid getting punched again.

It was fascinating and unexpected.

Now I was certainly over the top in my confrontation with his son, 14 or 15 in age, not slight and not the least intimidated by my requests to know who his friend was that ran off (a resident of the development) so I could speak to his parents about their bullying of my not slight 12 year old.  Nor was he intimidated by my loud, rude and obnoxious requests to speak to his parents since he wouldn’t give me his friend’s information.  Rather, he informed me that his father would be over that night to beat my pussy bitch ass.  He waited a week – it definitely threw me off guard.

This kid didn’t even live in my development, but was a guest in my common area.  He and his friends had been admonished two days prior by my wife for throwing around F bombs, racial slurs and derogatory language about the feminine form and I’d considered blogging about that occurrence, coming weeks after the Trayvon Martin ruling and my inability to make any kind of meaningful sense of that whole affair.  I thought about writing how we needed to deal with racism at the parks where young teen men (Black, White, Hispanic, etc. – or how is it they put it on those EEO forms? – so correct politically, but so incorrect all around) grow up and learn to share what they’ve already learned at home about race and women.  My wife dealt with these kids that day because I passed by with our baby in the stroller, willing to let it go since nobody was getting hurt and I’d been one of those boys at one point in my life.  My blogging suffered the same effect – the baby has thrown a wrench lately in any meaningful production.

Great story right? which stands at this point with my waiting to hear from the police and waiting to hear back from the results of any conversation that the president of our homeowners association will have with the board of trustees next week.  I don’t have much faith that any “real” change will come of it…as he said, the teen problem will just manifest itself in them vandalizing the signs as they’ve vandalized our community center. Who are they though?  And who are we?

Along with that I was voraciously finishing reading “The Life and Death of Adolph Hitler” published in 2002 by James Cross Giblin, a book laying around the house that my wife picked up from the library for my son’s assigned summer reading.  I’d always been interested in understanding how all of that happened since the days of my youth watching “In Search of…” with Leonard Nimoy where my memory tells me I saw my first glimpses of life (and death) in a concentration camp.  It may have been some other show as my Mother always had a bit of a Hitler “obsession” – perhaps to better understand how my Father came to be or maybe for other reasons.

I found the following passage to be most worth sharing:

In Germany itself, a group of students at a university in Munich dared in 1942 to criticize Hitler’s conduct of the war.  The group adopted the name the White Rose, symbolizing purity, and, with the aid of one of their professors, wrote, duplicated, and distributed leaflets attacking the Fuhrer.  A typical leaflet, headed “an Appeal to All Germans,” stated boldly that the war was lost and urged its readers to part company with Hitler and his fellow Nazis.

“Prove by your actions that you think differently,” the leaflet said.  “Tear off the cover of indifference which you have put around your hearts. Make your decision before it is too late. Do not believe that Germany’s future is associated for better or worse with the victory of National Socialism. Criminal actions can never obtain a German victory.”  The leaflet concluded with a vision of the future.  “Freedom of speech, freedom of religion, protection of the individual citizen from the arbitrary actions of criminal terror states – those are the foundations for a new Germany, a new Europe.  Support the resistance movement and pass on the leaflets.”

At first White Rose members distributed the leaflets only to their fellow students within the university.  Then they branched out, stuffing the pamphlets into mailboxes throughout Munich and even traveling to other cities, such as Stuttgart, Frankfurt, and Vienna, with the leaflets concealed in their suitcases.  Back in Munich, they were distributing a fresh batch at the university when a janitor spotted them and notified the police.

Put on trial for treason in February 1943, the three leaders of the White Rose – Hans Scholl, his sister, Sophie, and their good friend Christoph Probst – were all sentenced to death by beheading.  The trio remained defiant to the end.  Sophie walked to the guillotine with a smile on her face, and her brother Hans shouted, “Long live liberty!” before he died.

Yesterday I came across the short story Dialetheia* – by Anil Menon which just happened to be set in pre-World War Two Germany and amazingly and eloquently shares a “view” or “taste” of this phenomenon which I attempt to explain while attempting to catch glimpses of it out of the corner of my eye.  Perhaps I’ll have to investigate this notion of “inconsistent mathematics” that he mentions.

In reading this book, and this short story I see that we are very much still living in a world vastly shaped by the charisma and actions of this one very determined person.  The state of the world today, shaped by the past yesterday – “Time is a partial order!” indeed.

Linking that, one of my facebook friends posted a link to this video.  It says a lot, it’s worth watching and it’s worth questioning everything through the video as a lens.  Life isn’t clear cut, especially when Love is concealed and your righteousness clouds the view.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bsqwErd6sPg&feature=share

Finally, this excerpt from a link from the above interviewee Glenn Greenwald’s page puts a final lens on my thoughts for the weekend and really for the last few months.  “Civil rights hero John Lewis, in an interview with the Guardian today, praised Snowden for engaging in “civil disobedience” in the tradition of Thoreau, Gandhi and the Civil Rights movement.”  – Read the full article here.

I’ve had a lot of thoughts brewing, for a long time, a lot of unrest – apparently like the rest of us.  I thought I’d better start blogging again to begin unconcealing.  Perhaps if I can return to, or get closer to, Truth/Love/Aletheia I’ll open my front door next time with open arms and a smile or admonish a bully with a gentle, loving approach.  Either way, living life is clear cut.  I may get punched and I still love us all.

Wounded with love,

Ed

It’s All Fun and Games Until…(This post is not for the faint of heart)

somebody shits in your sink.  Ahahahahaha.

Seriously. Both literally and metaphorically this happens every day in your town, your country, your world.  What is your response when somebody does it?

First, let me give a little background about what I’m talking about here.  By now, you should be clear that “Love is.” from reading my blog.  It’s here, perhaps concealed from your view, but here none the less.  All there is to be the “sort of person” who allows love to be present and experienced in the moment. (This is not a grammatical error – all there is to be – It wouldn’t make much sense to say all there is to do is to be, that defeats the point of being and it’s a limitation of English language.) Simple, not easy.

Second, until now I haven’t really mentioned in the blog that I own a few laundromats, du laverie automatique.  They provide me a non-stop training environment for being love present and experienced.  This, what I’m referring to, is my latest example.  Even the cop who came to check out the vandalism was fairly shocked, disgusted, and appalled with what one of my fellow human beings left as their ‘contribution’, though I’m certain it’s far from the worst he’s seen.

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Now, it would be easy to distinguish the source of this turd as an operational issue.  You’re open 24 hours, of course somebody is going to shit in your sink.  Of course.

I’ve long held (since getting in touch with who I am is love, present and experienced) that each of us has a full opportunity set of being in which to dwell.  Any one of us could be Mother Teresa or Thich Nhat Hanh (choose your favorite “favorite person”) or the next Osama or Adolph or Dylan (choose your least favorite “nut job”).  Most of us dwell somewhere in the middle.  We don’t shit in anybody’s sink, but we also don’t clean up the shit that somebody else left.

Much easier to lean toward the villainous side however than to take a stand for causing a shift.  There are really many more examples to model oneself after and we’re often so self denigrating that we rarely think that I am amazing.  We’re curious about these “nutty ones” and we like trying to solve them, figure them out, label them, and fix them in various “correctional” facilities or solutions.  It’s very challenging to let them be somebody who shits in your sink and love them anyway, maintaining your “always open 24 hours, vulnerable and willing to accept whatever offers you make” demeanor.

When “those people” are not shitting in my sink, they’re stealing copper, or change machines, or vandalizing in any multitude of ways.  It’s fascinating.  It’s also easy to become a reaction, put in more secure whatever, cameras to watch, drones to blow people up, whatever.  Not being a violent reaction – that’s the real work.  Not adding more hatred on top of the concealed love…man, that’s some work.

Building the capacity to allow love to be present is like climbing a mountain that has no top.  It’s synonymous with honoring your word (aka, maintaining integrity) in that there will always be some area where you are not being love present.

People will always “wrong” you in your life – the people playing much bigger games than I am have much larger turds in their sinks.  Compassionate laughter is my best friend.  What’s yours?

I love you.  All of you.

Ed

Love Telemarketers

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.

LoveModel

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.

With Love,

Ed

The Moment of Truth (Right Now)

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.

With Love,

Ed

* 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.

Heavy Blog

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,

Ed

Un-Enlightened

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.

These people were not at Peaches in 1978

Courtesy of HotFudgeDetroit.Com

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.

With Love,

Ed

Enlightened

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,

Ed