Cosmic Train

Kindile book cover OHBThis is the first chapter from my book “On Human Being – Loving and Living Without Purpose.”  I apologize for it’s length but hope you enjoy it in any case.

Earth life is a vacation from the cosmic train we all ride on through our infinite existence.  It is a unique experience all of us who choose to visit get to enjoy, if we accept that the only reason we are here is to enjoy.  It may seem erroneous to consider that we are here to experience three dimensional reality as a vacation or as something we should enjoy when we see so much pain, suffering and sorrow in the world.  The reality of existence here on earth is that it is nothing in comparison to our existence in eternity.  We are no less infinite on earth than we are in eternity.

While aboard the cosmic train, a few of us have gotten off here at earth and as we pass through the gates of birth, we enter a new kind of awareness that overwhelms everything else we once knew.  The old awareness gets tucked away but is always there.  We sense that there is more to us, but in the new earthly awareness, it is difficult to hold onto and pull it into this reality.  Some do and we see them as mysterious and unique, but never allow that, we too, are just as they are.  Earthly awareness is so tactile and sensory. The stimuli we take in through our earthly senses overwhelms us in a sea of experience and richness that is difficult to separate from the reality of who we truly are.  So we are driven to find answers in this reality to that mysterious knowing we have about ourselves that is bigger than our means of communication can express.  We look for meaning and purpose in terms of what we see and in the expressions we communicate, but even with all of that, we are sometimes left empty.  The search continues.  The purposes of life are explored and examined but the answers we seek lay hidden.

There really is no purpose in this life other than to experience reality as only humans can.  Every aspect of life should be embraced and we should revel in every minute of it regardless of whether we judge the experience good or bad.  Our purpose, if there is any purpose, is to live and live abundantly in the richness of sensory experiences our human existence allows.  Our existence “is” the meaning of life!  Living “it” is its only purpose.  However, it is ours to choose how we let the sensory awareness of this life be measured.  We can choose to embrace it and enjoy all its ups and downs, or we can be miserable as we slog our way through it to our death, or the entrance back on the cosmic train we disembarked from.  We make it what it is and we can blame no one for our experience.  Sure, our innate nature has been masked, but it is not unknowable.  We live according to our awareness and that is as it should be.  That is what we came here for; therefore, every minute of earthly awareness should be basked in for its wonderful and delicious sensory experience.

The search for a greater meaning or purpose to life is in some ways its own problem.  It suggests that we cannot be here for any other reason than to embrace and enjoy everything about life.  It leads us to question our lives and the experience we have as meaningful in ways that they are not meant to be.  It adds seriousness to our existence that drives us to meanings that can only make sense in this reality but do not begin to address our own innate knowing that we are so much more than what we sense in this existence, or than what language will allow us to describe.  That is a lot about what this existence is about – coming to grips with the limitations of awareness and communication we otherwise have as gods.  There is no way we can describe our divine nature in the languages of humans, but we are not supposed to.  Remember we are on vacation and compared to our divine nature, the pace here on earth is slowed down considerably.  Our infinite state is a quickened state in which our awareness is of things incomprehensible in this life…  earth life is seriously slowed down.  In fact, our own human-ness slows us down even more.

For instance, it has been proven scientifically that our bodies, including what we call our physical senses, take in sensory input, several billion bits of information every second, and yet what we are capable of being conscious of is in the range of twenty to thirty bits per second.  Something about this experience as humans filters out so much of what goes on that what we are conscious of is infinitesimal to what is really happening.  When we consider our divine or spiritual natures, the information we receive is even greater than what we experience on the human level.  In fact, our spiritual sensitivity is so finely tuned it is barely detectable and in most scientific circles, it is nonexistent simply because we do not have the three dimensional means to detect it.  What is not detectable in this reality is usually left to speculation, theory or is just relegated as non-existent.  Even though most of us at one time or another have felt something in ourselves that is more far-reaching than we can articulate, if we cannot define it, or measure it, it cannot be, or so says our science.

Human consciousness or sub consciousness is not the extent of our experience.  We have built in conditions and filters that sift through the enormous amount of information, bombarding us every second, which screen out the majority of our experience.  This is what I mean when I refer to life as an illusion in my book On Being God.  What makes it into our conscious awareness is what we have been conditioned or programmed to know and accept.  Most of us have heard that when the Spanish ships appeared on the horizon upon discovering the “New World”, the inhabitants could not see them.  There was nothing in their conditioning that could explain what they saw and yet intuitively they saw something.  Their programming simply could not identify it and nothing in their experience, other than clouds, could the ships on the horizon be compared to.

We know it took the shamans of those native people several days to come up with a description they could then convey to the rest of the people.  Only then could they identify this new phenomenon and only then could they put this new description into their own language and make it part of their experience.  Consider how much is going by us if in every second of life, billions and billions of images, sounds, smells, tastes, touches and any number of sensory inputs we can’t possibly remember get discarded by processes we barely understand.  Life goes on around us at light speed but we only sense it at a snail’s pace.  And the civilizing of ourselves, as we refer to it, is only slowing it down even more.  Think about what is passing us by.

In the early 1990’s, I worked for a telecommunications company whose products helped optimize the available bandwidth of copper phone lines around the world.  Cellular technology was in its infancy as was fiber optics, so maximizing the available telephone bandwidth was of major importance because there were only so many copper lines available to an ever increasing population of telephone users.  The product we developed was a device that would convert an analog voice signal to a digital signal, remove any extraneous noise such as the static or ambient noise one often heard on a telephone land line, and then packetize the cleaned up digital signal into small packets that would be sent across the line to another device that would assemble the packets, convert the digital signal to an analog signal and, wonder of wonder, a voice was heard speaking just as on any phone call.

What was so unique about this product, for the time, was that in processing calls in such a way and by eliminating all the extraneous noise, we could put sixteen voice conversations across a telephone line that up to that time could only carry one, representing a huge savings to businesses who were paying for multiple lines at great cost as well as a serious improvement to the usage of the available bandwidth. One of the interesting facets of developing this technology was the idea that the extraneous noise in normal telephone conversations carried no useful information and could be removed without any affect to those speaking and those listening.  Little did our developers know that the noise did provide one very important piece of information.

All of us who have used the old land line telephones always had a sense that our call was viable because we could hear the noise of the connection during breaks in the conversation.  The information carried by the noise was that the call was still connected.  Even though the noise adds nothing to the words spoken or heard, it did add to the assurance that in between words spoken and words heard the line was still connected.  When we removed that assurance, sure enough, people who used the new technology complained that during the breaks in a conversation, the line went so silent they couldn’t tell if the connection was still intact.  The familiar noise of land line conversations was a carrier of information that, like so much in our reality, is taken for granted but missed if it is gone.

We are missing more and more in our reality due to the stripping away of the noise of life that civilization, culture, and upbringing filters out, and the absence of it is causing us to be aware of less but to seek more.  In other words, we are starving ourselves of the richness of life in all its forms and replacing it with the illusions of culture and civilization that have been drained of nutrients necessary to the soul.  Our aloneness in the world stems not from the isolation we feel from our brothers and sisters.  It stems from the filtering of life that has isolated us from our own god-ness and that of everyone else.  That is what we seek in life – not human connection, but divine connection.    Individually and societally, we are crying out more and more for something to fill our satiated souls, and more and more civilization devises empty stimulation to keep us in control – in check from venturing away from the illusion we know.

The illusion we live, like the processed foods we eat, have been stripped of those things that would enrich and nourish us and replaced with fillers and synthetic nutrients that satisfy temporarily but do not fill us.  Our connections to nature have been replaced with television, radio, internet and other civilized forms of media that have been carefully engineered to play to an illusory beat we have all been taken in by.  Like the packetizing of small pieces of digitized voice from a telephone call, information is carefully fed to us at a rate not to exceed our ability to pay attention.  So much of the information is stripped away that we only get teased with what is really happening and before we have a chance to try to figure out what information has been stripped away, we are hit with another perfectly timed, perfectly sized packet of seriously reduced information.

The illusion is so complete that we, as participators in it, have accepted slogans such as “give them what they want” believing that what we want is what we are being given.  Meanwhile, for those who search for greater awareness, getting outside of the illusion is extremely difficult and so they search in vain among the institutions of civilization for the soul nourishment they crave.

What was intended to be a stopping off point, a vacation from other awareness has now become a desperate struggle to somehow survive natural forces that, while once were so much a part of us, have now become the enemy.  Our illusion of what this reality is has become so synthesized that we have replaced what was always intended – enjoyment, enrichment, tranquility and nourishment – with a struggle fraught with peril, tragedy and synthetic stimulation.  Our cosmic vacation has become so empty, so stressful that we now look for ways to vacation from the vacation!  And where do we go?  To those places with as little civilization as possible.  We go to those places where we can rest, soak up the sun, or be inspired by the beauty of a natural wonder such as a mountain, a river, the ocean or a canyon.  We sometimes go to the civilized, manmade attractions but, while fun and stimulating; they often leave us empty and un-refreshed.

The oldest among us recall fondly the quieter and less hectic times they grew up in and the freedoms they enjoyed then that are so distant now.  The youngest of us cannot even conceive of these things they describe.  The sterilizing manner of civilization removes the adventure and connectedness to the world whose intention it was all along to enrich us and enliven us from an infinite “other world” reality.  Our souls came here for enrichment, not our bodies, and yet it is our bodies that our civilized world caters to.  The experience of life has become a race, a competition to find purpose and meaning by indulging the senses in every possible way, such that the soul is lost completely to the gratification of the physical or three dimensional aspect of our lives.  We hear the statement that “we are spiritual beings having a physical experience”.  Yes, we are having a physical experience, but not to the extent that we completely overshadow our spiritual nature.

In the Old Testament, there is a story of the man Job whom most have heard of in some form or another.  The story of Job is the story of a man who has everything this life can offer.  He is a man of great wealth, influence and notable character.  He is God-fearing and righteous and is blessed with a large family, creature comforts, as we call them and the respect of everyone in his country.  Job’s story takes a bizarre twist as Satan convinces God to let him break Job and show God that if he were to lose all the things in life he possesses, that Job would lose his faith and curse God.  God allows Satan to literally take everything from Job including his family, wealth, and good fortune.  Satan is even allowed to cause great scourges and illness to come upon Job, but Job, while physically broken in every way, never forsakes his faith, nor does he turn against God.  Job does, however, question why one as righteous as he, is treated so poorly by the God he worships.  He even asks God to take his life and end his misery.  Job suffers all that is thrown at him, but never accepts that he is evil or that God is punishing him for some act he has committed.  Job does seek for answers to his suffering and requests to speak to God face to face.  God grants Job’s request and appears to him as a whirlwind.

It is extremely interesting God’s response to Job and very relevant to our experience here in this life.  Instead of speaking in any way to Job about his suffering, God directs Job to look all around and take in all the beauty and wonder he is surrounded by.  God covers every aspect of creation and life on this earth and not once addresses Job as a sinful man or in a way Job desires.  All manner of creatures are mentioned as well as the wind, rain, water, snow, hail and frost.  It can be taken that God rules over everything and is greater than all things but it is as if God is trying to show Job that the things that are naturally here on earth are what is important in life.  All of it is here for the good of our souls and yet our so called civilizing or taming of nature is not unlike that of Job questioning God why he is made to suffer.

How is it that we can suppose that the egoic cravings of humans can nourish our starving souls when any of it has no comparison, whatsoever, to the beauty, majesty and abundance of this earth?  The treasures of life are not found in the creations of man.  They are found in the raw creative beauty of which we are all a part.  When we see that eagle soar high above and we gasp for breath as we watch, “we” are every bit as breath-taking and none of it is because we have created our cities, monuments, and wonders.  It is because our souls, like the eagles, soar above everything we believe important and look down on something so vast and wonderful.  Nothing in our creative imagining comes close to its splendor.

We are the recipients of this splendor.  No act or outcome in this life will change the nature of our soul in the eternities.  Nothing we do here matters, so all that we need do here is embrace everything that goes on, every experience, every accomplishment, and every aspect of the life we live should be embraced in every possible way as another part of our vacation. None of us should ever feel we are victims of circumstance when we step back on to that cosmic train.  We should be refreshed, invigorated, uplifted and alive from a richness of experience we may never know again, and while in infinite terms the experience is a blip on the cosmic screen, every part of this experience should leave us absolutely vibrating.  What a gift it is to be here and to experience the incredible highs and lows of humankind.  We should relish every moment of it.

Too many can’t wait, like Job of old, to get out of life and back on board the train.  Life has not been the pleasure trip it was meant to be, but that is only because in the egoic life we live and try to fit into, we lose sight of why we are here.  As God spoke to Job and asked him to identify one thing in his experience that remotely compared to the splendor of this planet and everything on it, Job shrank before Him and could not.  The reason is that there is no manmade thing that compares to anything on earth and in infinite terms, nothing on earth including earth itself compares to our lives in eternity.

In the last chapter of Job, the epitaph, Job is restored to his health, position, and stature that he knew before Satan physically broke him.  In fact, it was greater than before.  The story of Job is a metaphor for us here on earth living life that regardless of our circumstances or how we view our life experience, in the end we are restored to our unique and divine situation.  If we learn to see this life, our experience, as God instructed Job to view it, nothing else matters.  Nothing we do or accomplish in this life will ever surpass just being a part of life here on earth in whatever form it takes.  The cosmic train leaves no one behind regardless of how the earth experience went for them.  Like Job, we are all restored back to that infinite reality we all exist in.  We won’t be looking back as in infinity, all things blend together into one big whole, and it is wondrous.  All of it is wondrous!

Life and living are the only reason we are here and all of it is to be enjoyed, but only as you choose.  We cannot fail at life! There really are no illusions, only the ones we choose to accept as our condition.  We can change everything in our experience here in this life and we should because we get back onboard the cosmic train all too soon.

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Stream of Life

This is the last chapter in my book: “On Human Being – Loving & Living without Purpose.”

 

Follow a stream from its highest point, whether it is a spring releasing water from an unknown source or from the snows of winter melting and giving their life giving waters to everything below.  As the stream finds its way down from its heights, it passes by or over many obstacles along its way, but it always seems to find a way.  Its course often seems impossible, but as it runs into obstacles, it finds the path of least resistance which sometimes means going around obstacles or perhaps it waits patiently to fill a certain low spot that will allow its waters to eventually flow over its would-be obstruction.  As we follow the stream, it will sometimes rush in great torrents down steep hillsides or spill over high cliffs into pristine pools below.  Sometimes it will meander through large open meadows where beautiful alpine flowers bloom and fill the landscape with color, fragrance and brilliance.  Perhaps the stream splits off and fills the meadow with small tributaries that merge back together.

 

The sounds of the stream also tell us something about its travels in that it will gurgle as it meanders through unobstructed fields and meadows, but it rushes and roars as it surges over cliffs, down steep canyons filled with large boulders and other obstructions.  As we continue our journey following the waters, we might see another stream joining ours, increasing its size and power.  Still, the waters push forward, twisting and turning as needed to work its way around the landscape as effortlessly as possible.  In fact, as we observe this stream, it never occurs to us that the waters are fighting their way downward.  It all seems so effortless and easy.  Even in those places where the river has cut its way through rocks and cliffs that, when looking at, simply does not look possible.

 

The stream weaves its way through a tapestry of life introducing us to all manner of trees, shrubs, plant life, and animal and insect life of all kinds.  Some of the places the stream takes us are shaded from the sunlight and are cool and dark, even forbidding, while other places are sunlit and brilliant and the shadows cast on the moving water make it look different, even mesmerizing.  There are places on its journey where it shoots through cracks in the rock and we see rainbows cast so close, we can touch them or we feel the cool mist on our faces.  Everything about this journey is peaceful and calm and the constant rushing of the river soothes us and at times we may even find ourselves talking to the waters as if they could hear.  They can! Never do we sense, as we journey alongside the stream, that it struggles to get where it is going.  It moves effortlessly, inexorably passing by all the wonders of its long journey to get to its destination which, by the way, does not exist.  As it passes by life, it gives life by giving of itself so that all is refreshed, nourished and uplifted.  It is a relaxed life that looks for peace wherever it goes, and it goes where it goes simply because that is where it goes.  We may find evidence along the way when it changed course or with the help of natural forces it moves out of one bed and into another.  Still, it matters not.  The stream is not choosing a path to follow.  It is simply flowing and as it flows, the path opens up, and with each new opening, new adventure, new beauty and wonder lies before it and it brushes up against all of it, content to take it all in and give back what it can in the form of life giving water.   Onward, ever onward, it moves through hills and valleys, forest and fields.  Taking in but giving back.

 

The stream gives life, but is given to life as life is given to it.  Its course is never straight nor is it narrow or wide.  We cannot map its exact course because a map of the stream’s journey could never account for every detail the stream encounters on its way down the mountain. The stream does not choose this way or that.  It simply flows where the grade of the mountain (life) takes it and it embraces and gives back to everything it encounters on its way.  Every aspect of the journey is just that – part of the journey. There is no purpose other than to serve as that part of the journey.  That incredible moment is as the water passes by all that matters and all is uplifted and better for the experience.  No great crossroads or turning points in this encounter or that one.  Just life giving of itself for all to marvel at and enjoy.  The stream moves on, as do we.

 

There are no perfect geometric patterns in life as we all would like to believe there is, or as our math and science teachers say.  The straight path does not exist except in our imagined lives.  There is no straight way to any purpose we consider to be our very own.  Life is a stream!  We are taught from a very early age that the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, but no part of our life on earth is a straight line.  In life, the shortest distance between two points is the one that took you from point A to point B regardless of what distance you traveled or the time it took. Ego looks at life in a finite way, and in so doing, it must find order and structure that was never intended to be there.   Our true life is an infinite experience and every twist and turn, the ebbs and flows, as we call them, are never consistent with what our egos expect.  This is the cause of suffering in individuals as well as in society.  Ego constructs a true and ordered life and even uses sacred writings and ancient wisdom to reason with us that if we follow the prescribed path it reasons is the correct one, life will work out and flow effortlessly to the end.

 

Those who rigidly follow their ego’s prescribed course often find themselves in turmoil and needless suffering because they followed the rules and they didn’t get where they were supposed to.   Life is full of Monday morning quarterbacks looking back at what went wrong with their plan or what they could have done differently to achieve the pre-planned outcome.  We see this second guessing, questioning in every aspect of our lives including religion, academics, and occupations.  We might hear someone exclaim, “I followed God’s laws as I have been taught them”, or “I worked hard and did everything I was supposed to, but why was I not protected or spared an outcome I was sure could not happen if I obeyed all the rules.”   Unlike the natural flow of the stream which always finds its way, many will push against the natural course of life.  They will push against it and question their misfortune.  You can almost see them standing in the stream facing upward with clenched fist defying the direction of flow as if challenging it to reverse its direction and go where they command it.  All it does, however, is move forward, following its natural course, either moving around you as you fight against it, or sweeping you up in its current.  Life does not care about the choices we make.  Life, like the river, flows on, embracing everything in its path, and giving back every step of the way. If we could see our lives as a river or stream and simply flow with it, our journey would be so much more pleasant and our expectations would not get mixed up or confused with the twists and turns in life we could not see coming.

 

The grand part of life we can all enjoy is the pure experience of it.  A river has no purpose other than to flow where it will, and it is the same for us.  Life flows on whether we resist it or not.  Why not enjoy it? Human ego is so busy finding or giving meaning to the process of life and finding justification and cause for everything that happens that we miss much of its inherent beauty.  We pass by the works of man or nature and never see them because our focus is on understanding life rather than living it.  In trying to understand it or analyze it, we miss it or it passes us by.  Every bend in the stream, every change in direction is an opportunity to experience life in a new and incredible way, and particularly from our own unique perspective.   Maybe we won’t experience things as others might, but what we do experience is uniquely ours and the only enrichment we need take from any experience is our own to appreciate and fully embrace.  “What happens; happens.”  Not because we have control over life by the choices we make, but because there are no wrong choices, which is the same as saying there are no choices at all.  If we participate in life without the mental anguish of deciding the better of all our various choices then anything we do, any path we follow will be good and right and un-judge-worthy. This type of participation in life removes the resistance we feel as well.

 

I used to tell my daughter, who would work so hard to get cast in school plays, or achieve academic success only to be disappointed over and over, that life was not fair.  I would tell her that she would encounter situations throughout her life that would prove that life was unfair and that she would be mistreated along the way, even though she worked harder and harder to achieve her objectives.  How naïve I was and, unfortunately, the message I imparted to her was completely wrong.  Not only is life fair, but it is completely honest.  Life is truth therefore it cannot be dishonest.  The only dishonesty in life is our own dishonesty which culminates deep within the egoic structures of the mind.   Our egoic identity is the only thing on this planet that resists the natural flow of life, to the point that what we have come to believe about ourselves and what we are is the only dishonest thing in life.  Ego-constructed reality and reality are diametrically opposed to each other and we get caught up in the game of life that convinces us that life is hard and not always just or fair.  Ego is always swimming against the current of life, trying to offer another kind of reasoning for the ebb and flow that doesn’t always seem so pleasant.   Life is always honest and it always finds the way to bear that out.  How hard we sometimes struggle to keep what we know about ourselves from ever seeing the light of day, and so we bring dishonesty to the light of life.  Our lies, our dishonesty dims the light of life, and compounds our struggle against the stream that, if we would only let go of everything we hold so tightly to, would all drift out of sight and our lives would freely and effortlessly blend together with the flow of life never to be consumed in worry, doubt or the endless game of making ourselves “other” than ourselves.

 

Nothing in our three dimensional awareness can account for what is really happening and therein lies the greatest lie we tell ourselves.  The more precise and defined we become, the less aware we are; and the more we convince ourselves that we are precise and defined, the more of our true selves we trample under foot, and the greater our lie becomes. The lack of awareness culminates in the denial of the stream of life we all follow.  It is to convince ourselves that we can make the stream of life straight and exact according to geometric rules that only hold in a manmade reality.  We convince ourselves that within the sterile structure of manmade forms is the answer to who we are if we but push science to find the one simple equation that defines everything we will ever need to know.   Only the ego could have created such a lie.  Only ego could convince us that straight lines can be found in nature and that a formula can be derived that will be able to predict everything we can expect for the future and give an explanation for everything that has happened in the past.  Conscious awareness is a very limited awareness because of its ability to dump so much information so quickly we cannot even sense that it is happening.

 

As we meander or tumble through life, we tend to miss the incredible sights along the way as they are happening, but we know they were there because we think back upon them. Sometimes we look forward to the horizon out yonder and think that when we get there, things will be so much better, or all our questions will be answered.  We easily look forward and backward because those are the places we can most freely and successfully lie about.  In the conversation we have with ourselves, we can reminisce how much better things were “back then” or how much better they will be in some future “when”.   Now, the present moment we exist in right now, is an honest moment that is pure and untainted by any thought for yesterday or tomorrow until our egoic reaction to it poisons it with untruth.  Facing the present is our most daunting challenge because of its purity.  In our un-pure state, we have difficulty facing the purity of present reality because being present forces us to look at ourselves without the ideological masks that we have created to shield us from the glare of present reality.  Being present strips us clean of all the false definition we use to demonstrate ourselves to the world.  It is a scary place for the ego.  In fact, it is a place the ego cannot exist in because ego is anything but honest.   Ego needs identity.  That is why it always reminds us and everyone else of its past accomplishments or projected future achievements.  These are its cover; a safe haven from something that cannot be explained in its terms, its language.

 

The stream of life is infinite.  The egoic life is finite.  The two cannot co-exist.  They cancel each other out.  Either we are in the flow and completely truthful or we are in illusion and living a lie.  The stream of life is enjoined with the world and nothing is missed along the way.  The largest of egos and the highest degrees of knowledge and education cannot describe what the stream knows.   Its world is the whole world and it is one with it.  It knows the terrain, the hills, valley and rocks along the way and is never fooled by images condensed and printed on a map that the ego provides.   It feels everything and reaches out to everything, as it gives to life, its “own” life. Consciousness cuts away so much of life while ego tries so hard to convince us that what we are conscious of is the real nuts and bolts of life.  It works hard to convince us that its view of the world “is” the world.  Its view is always looking backward or forward, but never does it acknowledge the present with its billions and billions of pieces of information discernible right now to a quiet non-egoic soul.

 

We are in the stream of life whether the egoic self believes it or not, and the stream always moves ahead, even if we fight against the current.  Our experience is an unfolding. The more we flow with life, the more a part of us life becomes. Every aspect of the terrain we pass through is our guide, our map and our journey becomes an infinite stream of intuition and awareness that consciousness no longer blots out.   Our intuition and our wonderful bodies are sensory instruments available to all of us to navigate and enjoy our life experience here on planet earth.   We step off the cosmic train for a short time and we can enjoy the experience or fight against it.  We choose.  The ego created world is calculated and sterile and does everything it can to reduce the stimulation we all are equipped to comprehend.  Granted, the comprehension is not in the language of ego, which has also been stripped away of the greater part of knowing.  Our intuitive abilities need to be at the forefront of our awareness, not in the background as they often are.  Tune them in and turn on the truth of real life. Real existence! Destiny is unknown, therefore, non-existent.

 

The possibilities available to us along our journey through life are endless.  Ego wants to see and plan for the end.  It seeks a goal, an end that, when reached, is somehow a utopic conclusion to a well-planned life strategy. I was speaking with a friend one evening who was looking for a catalyst of perhaps thought or an individual such as Buddha or Jesus, who by their words and deeds could change the hearts and minds of people to live in peace.  He shared his thoughts about how the so-called age of enlightenment some 500 years earlier, which was ushered in by such great minds as Newton, Descartes, Pascal and others, had failed to provide the predicted “know how” to change a dark world into an enlightened one.  The age of enlightenment was supposed to find “mind made” solutions to all the ills of human existence, including war, poverty, education, government, and every other aspect of life.  My friend recognized the failure of the intellectual mind or so-called “enlightened mind” to accomplish anything other than to increase suffering and the carnage of war on a greater, more massive scale.   While he lamented this failure of enlightened minds to solve complex world issues, he asked me, “If the age of enlightenment is not the answer, what is the catalyst, event or individual that brings about changes the enlightenment sought but could not produce?”

 

My answer was not what he wanted to hear.  I told him that to look, in any way, to an outward cause, to an individual, or event would never bring about the changes in human existence he sought.  The only change or catalyst he could ever affect was his own.  I told him that we, as humans, are all a part of the stream of life, but that we each are our own stream as well.  Individually, we affect the larger stream, but with human reasoning, we will likely never see it.   When we become our own catalyst, our change, we become the larger stream and it becomes us and our outlook on the conditions of the world we wish were different becomes part of a compassionate whole.  When such a change takes place in us individually, everything else changes as well.  My friend listened thoughtfully, but was unable to see it.  His mind was convinced that something big and extraordinary was needed to alter things in the world as we know it.  My response to him was that an individual transformation to higher awareness is big and extraordinary, but he would not accept that as an answer.  “There must be something,” he mused. I could not help him.

 

The majority of us look for the same thing.  We look to our gods, our leaders, our parents, someone, anyone or anything that will reverse the way things are in a massive and dramatic way.  We are conditioned to be this way.  Heaven forbid we allow ourselves control of our own lives.  That is how it was in the so-called enlightenment, when highly sophisticated and educated men determined that they could figure out anything intellectually.  It continues to be a myth in the present day, yet the stream flows onward, ever onward and as long as we look for the utopic conclusion, the life strategy or catalyst that changes in a massive way those things we have determined must change we swim against the current of life.  Life is, at that point, a struggle and we will never win against it.  Despite our struggle and good intentions, we will be washed away in the inexorable flow of life that always moves forward.

 

Everyone is eventually swept away in the current of life.  Some hang on until the very end while others stop resisting and glimpse the beauty and splendor that is always there if we simply let ourselves get caught up in the flow. The stream of life simply is!  So too is life.  Life is about being in the flow, not having or fighting for or against it.  Regardless of the things we determine to be important, or the causes we choose, we struggle against or go with the stream of life but it always flows onward to an infinite destination we will never know.   But we need not know because such knowing will not add one thing to the incredible beauty, abundance and wonder of our existence.  We need only breathe life as it breathes us and go where it takes us. There is no end in infinity!  The stream of life is eternal life; so are you!

Of Carts and Bags – A tale of Christmas

It was a cool, somewhat gloomy morning with a light snow falling but not accumulating.  Just a few things to be done including a quick trip into town to pick up some things to complete a project I was finishing up.  The large home improvement store, in town, wasn’t crowded, surprisingly, especially for a weekend and so close to Christmas.  I suspect the dreariness of the day was the reason so few were out and about.

I made my purchases, exited the store and began making my way across the parking lot to my car when I noticed out of the corner of my eye an older, disheveled woman, running in the direction of my car and on a trajectory that would intercept me just about the time I reached the car myself.  I didn’t give it much thought until she raised her hand and started calling out, “sir, sir, oh sir can you help me out?”  I looked up without really considering that my car was alone in that section of the parking lot and while I acknowledged her call to me for help I assumed she was going to ask me to assist her in loading something in her car.  I was only too happy to be of assistance but looking around the parking lot there were no cars nearby that I thought might be hers.

As she approached me she surprised me by asking if I could drive her to meet a friend exactly seven point two miles up the highway.  I quickly thought how odd it was that she knew the exact mileage to her destination but before I could say a word she told me her car had broken down and she really needed to meet her friend just up the road.  She offered to pay me for gas if I could just help her out in this small but important way.   There was an urgency in her plea that overwhelmed any sense of concern in me and I simply agreed to take her to meet her friend.  She was so grateful and thanked me profusely while I opened the car door to let her into my car.  As she passed in front of me to get into the car I noticed the foulest smell.  It was the smell of dirty wet dog with a hint of urine and rotting milk.

I got into the car, started the engine and quickly opened my window as the smell was so disturbing.  I put the car into gear and began moving when she asked if I could go up to the other end of the parking lot so she could get some things from her car to take with her.  I agreed and slowly moved across the lot expecting her to point out her car so I could stop and she could gather the things she needed.  As we neared the edge of the building she instructed me to stop but there were only a few cars nearby parked in the employee parking area.  I asked her which car was hers and she just instructed me to stop.  I stopped and as she stepped out of the car she told me to just stay here and I’ll be right back.

I looked around to see which car she was going to get into but she slipped in between two cars and began pushing a shopping cart that was full of boxes and plastic grocery bags.  I stepped out of the car and she called out, “oh no you don’t need to help, I can get this.”  I walked back to the rear of my car and opened the rear gate and began to remove items from the cart and place them into the car.   It dawned me that there really wasn’t a broken down car and that the items I was loading into my car were her possessions.  Worn out clothing, worn out shoes and a dirty sleeping bag along with some odds and ends that I knew must be important to her.  Her story about her broken down car now seemed a ploy to tug on my heartstrings to get me to help her out.  MY demeanor changed from cheery helper to guarded dupe who had just been taken by a homeless, bag lady.

We got everything into the car, stepped into the car ourselves and headed for the interstate on ramp heading north.   She reiterated that the destination was only seven point two miles up the highway and that she truly appreciated me helping her out. I didn’t say anything because I was now put out.  She began to speak of how she had fallen on hard times, that her mother had fallen very ill and lost her house while her father died suddenly just about the time she lost her own job.   It was a tale of hardship and loss but she never really lost her perkiness as she told it.  She seemed very happy to be alive even amidst the hardships she had encountered.   She thanked me over and over even as I tried to tell her it was no big deal and not to worry.

I kept a close eye on the odometer because I didn’t want to overrun her exit but we drove far beyond the seven point two miles she said we were going and I began to wonder just how far the drive would be.  It was about fifteen miles.  I was stewing.  She pointed out the exit we were to take and I made the turn off the freeway when she asked me, “you know, speaking of hard luck if you wanted to help me out with a few dollars I would really appreciate it. “This was the proverbial straw.

I blurted back abruptly, “wait a minute, you mean you’re asking me for money when you offered to pay me for gas to drive you to where you are going?”  She responded, “oh yes that’s right I did offer to pay for gas.  How much would you like for your gas.”  I was flabbergasted.  I wasn’t about to take any money from her but I asked, “do you even have a car?”  She said that she did have one about seven years ago.  Very sternly I began to lecture her about her lack of honesty and how if she was up front and honest that she might get a better response from people and more would be likely to help her out.  She agreed with everything I said and began apologizing and promised that she would take to heart all the things I told her would make her a better panhandler.

She became very quiet other than to point out a Target store down the road that was where she would be getting out.  I was feeling smug as could be that I had exerted my two cents and had successfully given her useful instruction on being a better homeless person.  I drove her to a place where excess shopping carts had been lined up along the outer wall of the building and stopped, got out of the car while she did the same. Without speaking she walked over got a cart and wheeled it back to the car and I began helping her load.  She placed each bag in a particular order and meticulously positioned them as if she knew exactly where each one belonged in that particular cart.  She didn’t have much but she loved what she had.  My heart tugged.

When she finished loading she looked up at me and thanked me again not only for the ride but the instruction as well.  She offered to pay again and I told her there is no way I will take any money from you.  I then reached into my pocket and removed my wallet, took out every bill I had and handed it to her.  It wasn’t more than seventy dollars and she pleaded with me that she would not take it while reaching over as fast as she could and snatching from my hands.  It didn’t matter. I would have given her more if I had it.  I was feeling a bit like a heal but her graciousness poured out again and she thanked me over and over. I smiled at her and told her she should have a nice meal with her friend.

The encounter was over.  I got into my car, drove out of the parking lot and about the time I was entering the main road when I suddenly burst into laughter.  Not ordinary laughter but debilitating, full on, belly laughter. You know the kind that takes your breath away and creates tears that stream down your face.  I had to pull over to the side of the road because I had no bodily control and was not able to see the road through the tears.  I roared like never before and the convulsive heaves of laughter poured from my mouth in huge waves.  I was hysterical; absolutely hysterical.  This lasted for several minutes before I could see through my tear soaked eyes and I began to breathe deeply and methodically so I could regain enough composure to make the drive back home.

As I was sitting there the thoughts began to pour in.  I had just lectured this lady, who carried all her possessions in a shopping cart, on the virtues of honesty in the performance of living an effective “homeless” life while at the same time realizing that not only had she secured the ride to her next place of temporary residence but she got all my money as well and by doing it exactly the way she had always done it!   I began to laugh again, only this time at the smugness of my offering her a better way while sitting on the side of the road, roughly thirty miles from home and not a penny in my pocket.

There is no lesson here or profound meaning.  This is nothing more than a chance encounter with a fellow soul whose trajectory in life happened upon mine at this unique time and place in the eternities.  I judged her and who knows but perhaps she judged me, as well, but even still it was the connection of two souls living the life they were living and without the judgments each life was perfectly fine.  We find a way, don’t we?

I smile, still, when I think of this intersection of our paths and often wonder how she is doing and really how special my encounter with her was.  A lecture, a laugh and smiles for the memories. Looking back and then returning to the present there is no one I would have rather given my money and a ride too.  Merry Christmas.