First, let me apologize, for I have been remiss in our correspondence.
Recently I'm feeling like an egg that is finishing boiling, though certainly not done. That inside which has been so fertile for so long has finally congealed a bit into something intelligible, at least enough for me to put it into words. And alas, the shell has cracked and the contents are spilling out.
For a very long time I've felt some of my ideas have been a bit whacked (wacky, unconventional). Perhaps they still are. But it was also always apparent that the normal road in life was not for me. Being unconventional might mean, at different times, being contrary, unapologetic, stubborn, obstinate, intractable. These must be words from the glossary of The Road Less Traveled.
But some recent Facebook chatter about 'You grew up in Los Alamitos if...', about a time in high school I sat on a rock in the school commons covered with clay slip, made me rethink. The impact that event still has on people, 30 years later, finally hit me in the head hard enough to look at myself another way.
A friend posted a Zen quote recently. It recalled to me the inspiration I found in such things in my youth, and the trajectory (and country?) they sent me on as an adult seeker. But I was also heartened by the change of view I had in reading such a thing now (though no less inspired).
What a beautiful seed Zen planted in me; what a beautiful flower!
Here is the quote (thanks, Andy):
“The Master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.”
- Zen Buddhist Text
Row Row Row Your Boat has long been my theme song in life. At different times I have focused on different parts of the song. Merrily, merrily, merrily has always been important (thanks, Robert, and the Beckers). Canoeing in Iowa in my '20s taught me some of the most practical life lessons I've had (merci, Ken). Growing up in California in the late '60s and '70s (and Zen) gave meaning to the second line (nods to Mom, and the other Masters). Nowadays, it's the last line that's repeating, and the volume is getting louder. (Yeah, you're thinking, still whacked!)
My greatest hope with this invitation is that many of us who have been dis- or infrequently connected for too long will find a way to renew our connections. I also hope that what I write or share will pique a question in you, or a comment. I may not be able to answer your question, but I am sure that searching it out together will be our greatest reward.
I recently had a warm family experience, but was left disheartened that too many of the things (I felt) that are so pressing in our lives and in our world today were not things that we could easily talk about together. Enough of that. I pray that this will be a forum to search out our selves, our common grounds, our visions of excellence, our passions, and to my highest hope, Enlightenment. Together.
Yet beyond the ability to talk about difficult things, I am more sure than ever that for us to be together is even greater. I recently saw the movie Avatar, and in the scene when Jake was being accepted as a member of the tribe, all the members of the tribe gathered together and laid their hands on him, or the person/persons in front of or next to themselves, to form a web of family and community, of One. I asked myself, What are the rituals in our culture that allow us to do this? I thought of a few.
But for me, and you and us, time and geography can put a limit on such physical togetherness. My twenty years abroad, searching, has been very fruitful of late. For those getting restless in the bounds of time and space, I hope this can be as powerful and empowering for you as it has been for me. Please ask me about it. The time is ripe: The Earth, and humanity, need us to unite. We need to create a future that, well, let's create a greater one together.
About 20 years ago I met a middle-aged Canadian couple in Bali. We were sitting on the beach together preparing to go diving. The man commented to me that though everyone says, 'Bali is such a beautiful island!', too many people don't put their faces into the water. 'They're missing half the beauty,' he finished.
For me, this conversation has become a metaphor for my life with my eyes wide open. Too often I don't sit down and take the time to close my eyes and see the silent deep within. And consequently, that beauty-filled, infinite, rich depth fails to get fruitfully connected to the surface. Oops. Guess that wasn't part of the myths of our popular culture (parts of the Bible excepted). Or textbooks.
I've said since those Los Alamitos days that
'We are not humans who sometimes have a spiritual experience, but rather Spirits who are having a human experience.'Well, in almost 50 years, I think I can see where being human in our world has gotten me/us. I think it's time to give being Spirit a chance. We need a mask & snorkel for our Soul, so to speak. And we need to get wet.
I am reworking my homepage,
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This is your personal invitation. Please feel free to pass it on to others. And please feel free to respond, comment, question, and interact.
And please, please accept my invitation. Come along for the ride; Where it stops, nobody knows-
It's Party Time! Rock the House! Road Trip!
Your brother, nephew, cousin, and, yup, still whacked! friend.
One in Spirit.