The Lives of the Dead

Some of the most interesting people I meet are dead…

Archive for the month “August, 2017”

Who You Callin’ Primitive?

Originally published Oct 12, 2014

 

 

…Continued from August 27

[note: When I go into my trance the next night, I look for Ipo again. This time, he shows me around his old forest home. We are sitting on the ground, under some trees, talking. I ask him what his prized possession was.]

That’s easy. My bow. It took me many, many days to make it; to find just the right materials and to shape it just so. It was a very good instrument and others admired the fine workmanship.

“And what is your favorite possession?” he asks in return.

 I couldn’t think of an answer, which I suppose is good. I guess it means I’m not that attached to material things. I thought about it for a long time afterward, and now I would say it’s my collection of journals, dating back to college.

 As we are sitting and talking, I am feeling a bit nervous. As beautiful as it is in this place which feels so alive, I recognize that it is also full of unseen dangers. Ipo reminds me that there is no danger to us here. We are merely astral forms.

With that, Ipo casually and reflexively grabs his slingshot, and in a single motion, loads a stone into it and brings down a snake inches from my head.

 “I thought you said there was no danger!?” I said, frightened and a bit annoyed.

“There isn’t,” he replied.

I just wanted to demonstrate something to you. Even if we were not in our astral bodies, but were in human form, you still would not have been in any danger. I would have seen that snake long before you were even aware of it; and it would have been dead before you’d even registered danger.

Notice, however, that when you realized what had just happened, what close a call you’d just had, you were terrified after the fact. If that had happened in your real life, that fear memory would have remained with you for a long, long time. Perhaps the rest of your life.   Even though the danger was only conceptual.

Now, imagine me as primitive man visiting you in New York. Our situation is reversed. My surroundings are completely unfamiliar and terrifying to me. There are unknown, unseen dangers all around. We are standing on the street corner, waiting to cross. I am about to step into the street without looking or thinking. You, however, are unconsciously aware of the traffic light and the flow of the cars. Before I can step off the curb, you instinctively put your arm out across my chest to prevent me from moving forward. At that very moment, a bus whooshes right past me.

To you, the act of reaching out and stopping me would be pure instinct, honed from your years of living in the city. It is a non-event for you. It’s the kind of thing you would forget almost immediately after it happened. I, on the other hand, would be terrified by what had almost happened to me. And that fear would likely remain with me for a long, long time. Perhaps the rest of my life. Even though the danger was only conceptual.

My point is that all danger is conceptual, and thus, so is fear.

We fear what we believe we cannot control.

But we cannot overcome fear by controlling everything, because that is impossible. If that is the goal, it can never be achieved, and thus fear can never be conquered.

Fear can only be overcome by relinquishing the need to control; by understanding that life is going to unspool in exactly the way it was wound up – by you, when you were here, before you breathed into life.

What do you have to fear? All obstacles have been put in your path by your very self, to help you understand and ascend. Vanquish fear by searching for the lessons in the very situations which you, yourself, have provided to yourself. Use the unknown to learn something new – about yourself, about others, about the universe – and fear evaporates. Accept that it will be as it should be.

People with understanding and faith in this truth are peaceful.

But blind faith can be worse than no faith at all.

You must work, always, for your own enlightenment. You must not accept facile answers. Everything you need to know is within you, if you look deep enough.

And if you go down far enough into your soul, you will find a door. That door opens into the universe.

 

[There is much more from Ipo. He’s quite the philosophical and chatty fellow! And I’m finding him very interesting.  But in the interest of the blog,  to keep it from becoming too “one note”,  I’ll be posting some narratives by others who’ve come to me during the same period.   I will get back to Ipo’s wisdom and insights soon enough.

I find it difficult to understand his concepts sometimes — it’s a lot to process — so I imagine it would be even more difficult for many readers.  I think we can all use some time to digest.)

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If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey.


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If a Tree Falls in the Forest….

Originally posted October 9, 2015

(This was my first contact with Ipo, who as my regular readers now know, has become my “spiritual guide”in a way.  He is the wisest entity of all I have encountered.)

 

 Ipo

[This was channeled over several days.  As  I mentioned in the previous post, I’m learning that I can “call” for an entity with whom I’ve previously communicated, which means I can revisit those I find interesting; hear more details of their story, ask questions if I have them.  I imagine I will be exploring this more as I continue.]

Work is what we do to survive. Everything else is play.

Our jobs change as we go through life. It is a baby’s job to suckle and grow, and learn to walk. As a child, his job is to learn how to function and survive in the world.

A child needs to learn what to drink when he is thirsty and what is good to eat when he is hungry. He must learn what is edible, what will make him sick, and what might kill him. He must learn which creatures are harmless and which can cut a grown man down alive. He needs to learn which insects and reptiles are harmless, which are merely annoying, and which can kill with a bite or a sting.   He needs to learn to always keep an eye out for good, round stones of the right shape and heft for a slingshot. He must learn to climb a tree like a monkey, which is not something so easy to do. He must learn which are the best kind of feathers to fletch an arrow and how to gather what is necessary to make poison for the tip.

Children must be able to survive on their own as early as possible. The sick and infirm are not attended to very much. If a mother were to spend all her time nursing a sick child, she would not have time to hunt for food or do any of the other chores she needs to survive. And then, they would both die. Perhaps her other children, too.

There is no room for the weak.

This is not from lack of compassion. This is a necessity of survival for all.

In my life before this one, I lived as a successful, urban man in a busy city. In that life, I had no peace.  When I read about or heard about so-called primitive tribes, I wrote them off them as some curious vestige of the Stone Age. They had no part in the modern world and so were easily dismissed as unimportant.   If a culture, a society couldn’t keep up with the times, they would perish; become extinct. Pure Darwinism. That’s just the way life goes. Why should I care?

But I can tell you now, from here, that such people are the soul of the human race.   If they die, the human race loses its way to redemption.

Modern man, for all his technology, is completely disconnected from his roots. He doesn’t grow or kill what he eats. He doesn’t tread lightly upon the earth, taking only what he needs and leaving little trace of himself when he is gone.

Unlike the modern man, the “primitive” does not consume more than he gives back. He does not destroy his home but instead lives in symbiosis with it. He is acutely in tune with nature; aware of seasons by the stars in the sky. He tells time by the sun. He trusts his instincts. He can know every corner of a new place by smell. He can walk and make no sound.   He can focus for hours on the smallest task. He feels no outside stress or existential angst. He needs no money. His wealth is in his ability to live in harmony with his environment.

He belongs to a small group of humans who have no choice but to get along with each other. Together, they obey rules of civil conduct and etiquette, assuring smooth relations all around. For the same reason, they are tolerant of differences in each other. They work together as a community, codependent upon each other, like a single living organism. There is no choosing to walk away from this. To abandon your tribe (or be abandoned by it) is to die.

These are all the things which are missing from the lives of modern humans, and which they yearn for.   They feel the pull of it. They know the rightness of it. They try, in their small way, to find it. And yet, they are prisoners of their own technology. It’s too late for them to go back.

If a huge electromagnetic pulse or invasive computer virus wiped out all the trappings of modern life, modern man would be completely helpless. Like a child who has not learned his lessons, he would not survive; that’s how unable he is to live without all his conveniences, which have become necessities.

But those primitive tribes, isolated and living deep in the forests, they would survive as if nothing had happened. They would provide the seeds for a new human race.

That is why they are the soul, the very essence of the human race. They must not be allowed to perish. When they die, humans lose their connection to where they began and who they really are. This connection to our primal childhood must not be severed.

[Before we part, he wants to show me something. In an instant, we are floating down a river in a small boat. The last rays of the sun are passing through the leaves of the high treetops. It’s a spectacular sight!

 I feel he has more to say to me, and I am enjoying his company, but it’s late and I want to sleep.  

…to be continued

 

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If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey.

No Mercy

NEW

Cruelty in perfection (Plate III), William Hogarth, 1751

Ald

I was cruel!  Marvelously, exquisitely, gloriously, unapologetically cruel.  I loved to see that wince of pain in the eye, the tear of defeat rolling down a cheek, a fallen face in the instant of betrayal,  the collapse of posture as the soul shattered within.  These things made me feel powerful, invincible.

When I was about eight or nine, one of my friends had a crush on a girl in our class.  He was too shy to even speak to her, but he would go all-moony eyed whenever she crossed his line of sight.   One day, she glanced in his direction, noticed him staring, and nodded back at him.  He was as ecstatic as a boy of that age could be.

But I could not let this stand. His happiness irritated me.  I could not bear for him to have something which gave him such joy, such hope,  while I had nothing.  So I told him confidentially  that I’d overheard her saying  mean and insulting things about him; that she called him fat and stupid; that she mocked him among her friends.

He had no reason to think I was lying. I was his friend, after all.

He was devastated.

I feigned sympathy for his pain but that lie, that ability to destroy his happiness with just a few well-chosen words,  filled me with a sense of ecstatic power which until that moment,  nothing else ever had.

I did not forget it.  A year or so later, I wrangled up a handful of boys to sneak into the teachers’ ladies’ room.  We hid quietly in one stall,  standing on the toilet seat, and waited for our prey.   One of the younger, newer teachers came in and went into the other stall.  While she was doing her business, we jumped  up and looked over the top.

She cried out then shrank back into herself in abject mortification.  There were tears, I am sure of it.

A couple of the boys felt bad about it afterwards, but I found myself sexually aroused at her vulnerability and humiliation.  It was a fantasy that I replayed in my head many times during my life.

My taste for the pain of others only increased over time.  I became adept at playing a sympathetic character, one who others trusted.  It made the betrayal so much sweeter.

Occasionally, I would arrange things to hurt another incognito, so they had no idea that I was the cause of their disappointment or heartbreak or catastrophe.  Perhaps an anonymous letter to a wife about an errant, or even faithful, husband.  A complaint to a manager about an underling who had not afforded me the proper respect, in order to get them fired.  A nasty rumor planted and nurtured until its tentacles attached themselves to my victim and strangled the ease from their life.

While these acts of cruelty were certainly satisfying, nothing satisfied so much as being face to face when the knife went in.  I loved to seduce a woman, make love to her, and afterwards,  just as she was relaxing in languor, cocooned in a satisfied glow, I would leave her bed with an insult carefully crafted to cut wherever it hurt most, depending upon her particular insecurity.  I might tell her she was too fat, too old,  to stupid, to consider seriously.

I would often contract for services,  allowing my victim to negotiate a very good price for themselves.  I chose people who were somewhat new to their game; too naïve and trusting;  who believed that getting my business would be a turning point for them.  Yes, I was demanding.  I forced them to put aside all their other clients to accommodate me. But they did so happily,   because they believed it was worth all the money I’d pay them in the end;  that this deal was a lucky break that would final help them fulfill their  dreams or climb back into the black.   And then,  in the end,  they would submit their bill – in person — and I would tell them that I was not going to pay.  It wasn’t about the money.  No, my game was seeing that devastation and ineffectual anger.

I took particular pleasure in publicly humiliating of a person of import within my circle. It might be a dirty secret made public.  An insult or epithet spoken loudly enough for others to hear.  The damage was best done when they were in the public eye — perhaps when they were about to receive an honor, or on the cusp of making a great business deal,   or maybe while running for public office.

Nobody was allowed to have joy without my permission,  and I rarely gave it.

My reputation preceded me. I had no true friends, only acquaintances and associates with whom I shared a common and usually temporary goal.  Even my so-called intimate relationships were transactional.

I could be charming when it served my purpose.  But those who knew enough of me, kept their distance, making sure they never exposed their most vulnerable selves to me.

And this is how I lived,  to the end of my days.  Envious of the joy of others; finding my own happiness only in destroying theirs; never learning any other way to soothe or pleasure myself.

 

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If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey.

Playing Chicken with the Afterlife

Originally published Oct 6, 2014

eggs

 

…continued from previous post, August 18

 

The following evening, I went right back into my deep meditative trance (which gets easier to slip into the more I do it) and “called” for the spirit I’d been speaking to the previous night.

I don’t know if it was him playing games,  another entity entirely, another entity using him as a vehicle,  or perhaps my own unconscious,  but instead of seeing anyone who might be Kenneth (or Peter Dinklage), I was flooded with images of demons, devils and wild animals. They were really “in my face” and I sensed they were trying to scare me.

I looked at them directly and said (in my head), “Hey!  I’m not intimidated by anything in real life. I’m certainly not going to be intimidated or frightened by something that’s in my own head! So piss off!”

 It was kind of comical, actually.  There I was, mentally yelling at demons in my head, perfectly, logically, intellectually aware of how insane it was.  I couldn’t say for sure if I was completely imagining them or if they were “really there” in the astral plane.  For certain, I was not dreaming. I was absolutely awake.

 They kept coming for maybe thirty seconds more, but I kept ignoring them and brushing them away,  and eventually they dissipated and left me alone.  This was perfectly in keeping with my personality. I have been known to “go medieval” when someone  purposely tries to intimidate or scare me, as happens from time to time on the subway or the street. Bullies have literally backed away from me, cowering…as well they should!

 I sensed Kenneth was there, somewhere, even though I couldn’t see him, and I said, “I was really looking forward to hearing more about your life, but not if you’re going to try to f&*@ with my head.”   (I wasn’t about to take flak from what was possibly merely a figment of my own imagination!)

I wasn’t sure if he was trying to get through to me, get past all these tricksters, or if he was in cahoots with them, but I wasn’t willing to stick around to find out.

I moved my focus to other things and soon I was so deep in trance and I felt as if I were flying.

It’s hard to explain what came next.

A colorful, changing fractal design totally filled my vision. But it wasn’t so much what I was seeing as what I was feeling. It was as if I were in an alternate reality; as if I’d somehow transcended my body;  as if my consciousness had escaped the confines of my brain and was spreading out into the universe.  (Sounds so trite, I know!!! But I’m telling it as I experienced it.  Readers can make of the information what they will.)

I cannot imagine that an acid or mushroom trip could be more intense. (I’ve never done either drug.)  And yet, I felt totally safe and in control. I knew I could “awaken” myself at any time and be perfectly lucid.

Now, I imagine some of you readers will think I’ve gone off the deep end. Maybe this is all too “woo woo” for you. Believe me, it’s even more “woo-woo” to me!   I’ve been struggling with this trajectory, myself, since this whole business started.

This is a very deep rabbit hole I’m heading into. Perhaps, ultimately, it will lead to greater understanding of the universe. Or perhaps I will lose my mind completely. I honestly don’t know,  and I do worry about it.  What if I become confused, and stray from the path to enlightenment and accidentally take some detour to La-La Land? How will I know I’m NOT in the right place?   I’m pretty sure that if  I ever DO find myself in such place,  I will be convinced that I am experiencing reality and have discovered Truth. 

What is insanity anyway?  “Normal” only means your reality jibes with everyone else’s version. But who’s to say that the guy wearing the tin foil hat isn’t perceiving a truer reality (or at least another valid but alternate version of reality) than the rest of us;  a reality to which we are completely oblivious?

Who decides who’s crazy?  Maybe insanity isn’t some kind of absolute mental defect, but rather only an alternate perception of reality which is only considered pathological when it’s completely at odds with the main of society.

In his lifetime, Galileo was regarded as crazy.

So was John Nash (“A Beautiful Mind”)

 And David Koresh (of the Branch Dividians/Waco, TX)

Not to mention Ted Kaczynski   (Unibomber)

They all believed they were totally sane.

I am not one who believes without proof.  So far, I don’t really have any (except the names I received initially — see first posts.)   Kenneth was probably right. Maybe I’m afraid to ask for proof for fear I won’t get it. Or perhaps I’m afraid that I will get it which would draw me deeper into exploration of the rabbit hole.  I (a most level-headed, logical person) worry that I will be regarded as a woo-woo nut job.  For the time, being,  I prefer to stand back a bit and  refrain from committing myself into a new reality.

And yet, I don’t want to stop. It feels good going to that place. It feels right. What I’m seeing explains a lot of things.

I am very much enjoying this process, this listening to and writing the stories.  Even if  it does mean I’m crazy, I am willing to walk that path.

Which reminds me of the old joke:

A man says to a psychiatrist, “Doc, my wife is crazy. She thinks she’s a chicken.”

The shrink says, “Bring her to me. I can cure her.”

The man says, “I would… but we need the eggs.”

These stories are the eggs.  I’m the chicken.  Cluck, cluck.

 

*****

  “Let yourself be silently drawn by the strange pull of what you really love. It will not lead you astray.”                                                     -Rumi      

 

 

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If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey.

Gravitas

Originally published Oct 3, 2015

Midget-man

Note:  I am in my meditation trance and the first strong image that comes into my head is that of Peter Dinklage, the actor.   I think “aloud”, as if speaking to whatever entity is showing himself to me.   “Peter Dinklage is very much alive so I know you aren’t him.”  I try to push the image aside but he won’t move. He tells me he’s “impersonating” PD to indicate to me that while alive he, too, was a little person.

 Then, he tries to give me all kinds of personal information about himself.  I didn’t want to hear it because I prefer that all narratives be vague enough so that they could be anyone, anywhere.   I believe they have more power that way. But he keeps insisting.

His name was Kenneth B-something and he’d lived in Ohio, and had only just passed on at the age of 58. He tried to tell me more, but I kept “changing the subject.”  

Finally,  he started to get testy and scolded me:  “You don’t want to hear details because you’re afraid that if they don’t check out, your whole ‘talking to the dead’ premise will fall apart, and then what will you have?”

I have to admit, he made an excellent point. Still, it was strange being called out by a dead guy (or possibly just a figment of my own imagination)

 He became very argumentative and irascible, which is unusual. Most of the other “spirits” with whom I’ve communicated, have been, well, quite spiritual!

 I chalked it up to the fact that (according to him) his death was very recent and perhaps he hadn’t had time to process his life yet.   So, I just listened to his story:

 

Kenneth:

I was an accountant. I made a nice living, but I never got married. I never felt the need to find someone to grow old with. I had some serious health issues and I knew I would be lucky if I lived to 60. I’d probably die much younger.  I wanted to really enjoy my life and be free from responsibility during whatever time I had.

You have no idea what it’s like going through life as a dwarf. When you are a member of a persecuted religious or ethnic minority, you may be subjected to a lifetime of prejudice and abuse, but at least your own family is the same as you. And you know that somewhere on the planet there are places where there are others like yourself.

This is not so when you are small. I was the only one in my family to have this condition. I was already in my late teens before I met another little person like myself.

Everyone, and I mean everyone, including my own family, couldn’t seem to stop themselves from regarding me as a child.  They patronized me, often without awareness. A dwarf is an object of ridicule. Strangers – mostly stupid drunken teenagers – would often come up to me and make rude comments, then run away laughing, as if I were not even a human being whose feelings were worthy of respect.

I presented myself to you as Peter Dinklage because I admire him. He has gravitas which is something no other little person I’ve ever known or seen possesses.

Even though I was an excellent accountant and had many clients, there was always a separation between us. I was “other” and “less than” and forever would be. Even within my own family.

As you might imagine, this created a lot of psychological issues for me, including a deep and painful lifelong sense of isolation.

You might think that this would be a good reason for me to get married and have children. In a family of my own creation, I could finally be part of a welcoming group, albeit a small one, who would accept me as myself.   But, as I said, I knew I wouldn’t live to be very old and I didn’t want to burden others with my medical issues.

Also, I never found a woman of my own height with whom I had a strong connection. It’s difficult enough for people of normal height to find someone they can relate to and love.  Imagine how difficult it is when that pool of potential mates is so limited.   And relationships with normal-size women were too problematic in more ways than I can tell you,  not the least of which were those lapses into patronizing behavior.

 [I am shown a little woman in what appears to be a road house type bar.  She is way over-dressed – too much makeup, too many sequins, a lacy petticoat under her skirt,  big hair.  She’s dressed for dancing and looks like a real “party girl.”]

That was my girlfriend. She wasn’t especially smart. Honestly, it was hard to have a real conversation with her, but she was fun and she loved sex and. She was as much as I could handle. Or was willing to handle.  I wasn’t looking for anything deep. I just wanted company sometimes.

—–

Addendum:    At this point, I began to fall asleep. My mind was drifting into dreams (which is very different from meditation.)  I asked him if we could pick up the story the following evening, when I’d be better able to focus. (This is something I’ve just learned how to do – to go back in and meet up with a spirit I’ve communicated with in the past.)

 I was really very interested in hearing more of his story, more of his life and his lessons, more of those issues he talked about,  but I simply couldn’t stay awake anymore.

 The following evening, I went right back into my deep meditative trance (which gets easier to slip into the more I do it) and “called” for him.

…to be continued

 

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If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey.

 

The Lessons in Everything

NEW!

 

Nal

My grandfather’s hand held firm on my rudder throughout my life, even after he was long gone.

My earliest memory of a lesson that stayed with me throughout my life was at age 4 or 5.  We had planned a day at the beach, just the two of us.  I had him all to myself (and he, me.)  Before we got on the train,  he took me into a small shop that sold children’s clothing and toys, and let me pick out something special for the day.  I chose a colorful pail and shovel, imprinted with my favorite cartoon character.  I was as happy as a child could be.

We set out a spot on the sand.  He took me into the water and held me while we dove through the waves, me clinging to him tightly while laughing and giggling in pure joy.

Back on our blanket, he showed me how to make sand castles.

On the next blanket, there was a boy about my age, who did not seem very happy.  His mother was kissing and touching a man who I learned later was not his father, but his mother’s new boyfriend. They were secretly drinking beer even though it was not allowed on the beach.  They were in their own world and mostly ignored him, except to yell at him for some small infraction.  His older brother, maybe about nine or ten, entertained himself by harassing his younger sibling.

The boy seemed lonely so I invited to join me, building castles.  He was a fun and willing playmate, running down to the water’s edge again and again to fill the bucket to wet our pile of sand.  My grandfather had brought some lunch along, and I offered him half of my sandwich, which he ate hungrily. Even in my child’s mind, I had the impression he wasn’t very well-fed.

When it was time for us to go,  my instinct was to let him keep the bucket.  I recognized, in my childlike way, that I had so much more than he did.  I had many toys at home and he probably had none.  I had parents and grandparents who loved me and paid attention to me.  His mother treated him like an annoyance.    But the pail had been a gift from my grandfather.  I wasn’t sure how he would feel if I were to give it away.

I asked him.

“It is yours to do with as you please.  You have to ask yourself if it is better to keep it  or if it’s better to use what you have to make other people happy.  I have found that sharing with others makes me much happier than keeping things all to myself.  I am proud that you feel the same way.”

And so, I gave the boy my special toy.

My grandfather could have replaced it for me but he didn’t.  This was a good thing.  If he’d bought me another, I would not have remembered the lesson.  Missing it reminded me of the pleasure of sharing, the joy of making another happy.

A few years later, I was in the small grocery store my grandfather owned.  A boy, about thirteen or fourteen, came in and took some cans of food and hid them in his clothes.  Grandfather caught him.  I expected him to be outraged; to give him a lecture and call the police.  But instead, he recognized that the boy was poor; that he had stolen only to eat.  So instead, he offered him a job.  It didn’t pay much but it was enough to keep him from stealing.  Grandfather often gave him food to take home to his family.  The boy worked for him for many years, until he left to join the army.  From this, I learned that believing in someone can change their life.

When the school bully started harassing me, Grandfather explained to me that bullies puff themselves up so nobody will see how weak they really are.  They were not to be feared, but rather to be pitied.  And so, I learned to show compassion in the face of fear.

Even after Grandfather died, his lessons remained with me, guiding me in my judgment and   in my relationships with others.  He was then, and remains even here, my spiritual teacher.  We have been together in other lives previous, and will be together in the next life coming.  Not always as grandfather and child, but always as teacher and student.

 

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If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey.

Ignored Intuition

originally published June 17, 2014

forest floor

Da

He murdered me. Stabbed me to death, alone in some dark place; a basement, I guess. My life was already a mess. I knew at the first hint of danger nobody would come looking for me. He held me there, a prisoner, for three days. That was a terror I hope never to live through again.

I wavered between wanting to die quickly (when it seemed obvious I wasn’t going to be able to escape) and defiance; showing a strong will and determination to get myself out of there. He seemed to enjoy manipulating my emotions like that. He would pretend to relax his vigilance to give me false hope, but in fact, he was in total control the entire time. This was his game. It was no fun for him when I was too passive.

By the end of the second day, I was too weak to fight. I drifted in and out of consciousness. He gave me just enough relief to prevent me from dying too quickly. That’s why he took me in the first place.

When I finally expired, after he’d taken all the pleasure he could from my body and my pain, he just dumped me in a woods, barely bothering to bury me. Nobody would look for me there. Nobody would look for me at all.

He got back into his car and drove towards home, stopping in a small store to buy himself some snacks and beer. He was calm and relaxed. Nothing about his demeanor said “I have just murdered someone, and I enjoyed it.”

I watched him, knowing he would get away with it, willing his car to crash but not having the power to make it happen.

I follow him still. I try to cause him whatever discomfort I can but he seems oblivious. His need to torture and kill is so loud, it drowns out any subtle voice or message.

Instead, I try to warn other women away from him. I have succeeded in a few instances. I gave them a cold sense of  foreboding, enough to feel anxious and uncomfortable around him, enough so they wouldn’t go home with him. But not all of them listened. Some felt the hair on their necks stand on end but ignored the sign because they needed the money too badly. Or, like him, something louder (or whatever drugs or drink they used to quiet it) made them immune to their inner voice. If they had followed their intuition in the first place, their lives probably would be on a different track.

This was not how I’d expected it to end for me. It wasn’t the lesson I’d set out to learn, but I strayed off my path early on, and soon there was no redemption for me. So many missed opportunities; so many lost chances. It might all have turned out differently.

So, I try now to save others from the same fate. Do they hear me? I don’t always know; can’t always tell but I keep at it as a kind of penance.

 

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If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey.

The Pleasure in the Pain

first published Nov 30, 2015

 

crying eye

Ri

Life became so much easier once I learned to feel the pleasure in the pain. I do not speak of the passion of physical pain, which is not pain at all; I speak, rather, of emotional pain.

This is not to say I sought it out, but life is full enough of pain that there is no avoiding it. My life became easier when I no longer numbed myself to the inevitable. I stopped running from it wherever it found me. After time, I didn’t even bother to step out of its way.

I stopped fearing it. What a release to enjoy the beauty in sorrow! To savor the taste of my own tears. To climb down deeper into understanding on the rope of my pain.

Great emotion – both joy and pain – is opening. The heart is rent wide, laid bare without defense. No walls. No ego.   Only in this state — without ego — is it possible to connect to the universe.

I learned not to waste that state of grace.

 

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If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey.

 

A Member of the Tribe

NEW!

Ipo  (we haven’t heard from him in a while, have we?  He’s always interesting and insightful.)

When there are not enough resources for all,  human beings become more tribal.   The only way to win a war — over water or land or food or work — is to align with the more powerful side.  An individual alone cannot hope to take what he needs in times of scarcity;  those who are stronger will kill to take it away.  An individual needs the protection of his tribe.   The bonds might be familial, geographic, political.  They may be bonds formed only in times of scarcity and tossed aside as unnecessary when the famine is over.  But they are, out of necessity, strong; sometimes a matter of life and death.

In this way,  scarcity and lack of resources fractures society, causes rifts along formerly peaceful lines,  and becomes an impetus for war.

Humans have abused their planet – their waters, their land, their air —  and they have multiplied their numbers beyond what the earth can sustain.  The cracks are forming.  Social norms are shattering.  Everywhere it is “us” and “them.”  Wars erupt across the planet,  scattered and explosive, like lightening from space.

Sometimes,   humans recognize that the opposing force is stronger  and more likely to win. Allegiances shift.  People claim they have lost faith in their cause,  but at its root, they believe the other side offers a better chance at survival.

Acrimony is inversely proportional to available resources.  The fewer the resources, the angrier the mobs.

In order to have peace, the fewest number of people must be left wanting.

 

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If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey.

By the Sea

 

Originally published Sept 30, 2014

 

She remains one of my favorite narrators…

http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Asia/Indonesia/Sumatra/Bengkulu/Bengkulu_Utara/photo97429.htm

Ja

I grew up in a busy fishing town at the edge of the sea. What I remember most is the smell of the place. I can recall it even now – briny, fishy, sweaty, acrid. The scent of wood fires and charcoal burning; the oil and petrol from the boats; salt water and rotting fish.   Sometimes, after school, I would go to a small cove, away from the boats, just to have the sea to myself. I would dig my little toes into the wet sand, and just breathe it all in.

The smell of the shore is, in fact, that of decay and death. It’s seaweed rotting on the sand; small sea creatures – shellfish and crabs – wounded or dead on or under the rocks. Even the sea birds dined on death, feasting on carrion. But these aromas were familiar to me. It was the smell of my home.

Once, when I was quite young, we traveled to visit some of my mother’s family up in the highlands. Even at that young age, I marveled at how different the air tasted.

Up there, was the sweet smell of life. Of flowers and things green. Of birds and animals living in the forest. It was the organic smell of humus which is technically not alive, but from which life springs so abundantly, it’s hard to think of it as anything other than a living thing. The scent of the flowers — pink and orange and violet — was intoxicating! They grew everywhere, springing up from the ground; hanging from the trees; climbing on vines up the walls of the houses.

It was a magical place, and I could not decide which I preferred more – the shore or the hills. I wondered where I would live when I was grown.

Like many of the other men, my father was a fisherman. One of the aromas I most associated with the shore, and which I loved the most, was his scent when he held me. When the smell of his manly body odor, fish, motor oil, and cigarettes tickled my nostrils, it meant I was safe.

As most young girls, I was in love with my father. He was a handsome man, brown from the sun, with thick, black hair and straight white teeth. His strong arms could lift me up high and carry me all the way home.

He went out to sea almost every day on his small wooden boat, painted white and blue. It had a motor in the back which was often in need of repair. He spent many hours working on it.

Although fishing was the main industry in our area, there were few who had the money for a brand new motor. They all bought the best used equipment they could afford. That meant being a successful fisherman was not just knowing where to find or how to catch fish. It meant one also be good at repair; to have an understanding of how a motor worked, how to fix it with whatever parts were available or that could be cobbled together, with old tools which were always on the verge of giving out. When a motor stopped, there was no time to waste, especially not out at sea.

I knew it was not good when my father couldn’t be out on the water; when he was stuck in port trying to make that old piece of machinery sputter to life. It meant a loss of income. This situation was inevitable for every boat owner. It was time loast which none could afford, yet, it was accepted that this was just how it was.   The men used to say, “Just when you get ahead, you fall ten steps back.” Thinking philosophically instead of feeling sorry for themselves was another necessary requirement for being a fisherman.

Still, as a child, I loved the days my father was stuck in the harbor. I was happy knowing he was safe, close to home where I could keep my eye on him or run to see him. It scare me to imagine him out there, with all the many unknown dangers. It was never far from my mind that the sea might take him and I would never see him again.

My mother was as beautiful as my father was handsome. She had a stall in the market where she sold small sweets and savories, all of which she made herself; some at home and some fresh on the spot. She was famous in town for her cooking.

She’d been in that stall since she was 16. Since before I was born. Since before she met my father. It had belonged to her mother, and when she died, it fell to my mother to cook and sell, to help support her family.

That’s how she met my father. He always joked that he first fell in love with her sweets, and then with her sweetness.

My mother’s sweets were so delicate, they would dissolve on the tongue. Some of her small pastries were so spicy, they could make a grown man cry. Her savories had such complex flavors, you could still taste them, mingling on your tongue even after you’d swallowed.

Most people didn’t take the time to really savor them, which was a pity. To them, they were just a quick bite to eat when they didn’t have time to stop and sit and have a proper meal. The shoppers, the other vendors, the workmen and women passing by, they all had a need of a her snacks, but only a few took the time to fully appreciate what an innovative cook she was. Everything she made — even for strangers, even for those who never gave her refined cooking a second thought — was made with love. But if people’s palates were not sophisticated enough to recognize her culinary genius, they certainly were able to taste the care and joy that went into each piece.

Her stall was in an excellent and much-coveted location, at the outer corner of the market, which gave her maximum exposure to passersby. Her food stall was the most popular and had been so since shortly after she began there.

If the market was open, Mother was there. Usually six days a week, even through her pregnancy with me and with my younger sister.

My father and I both agreed that my mother was the prettiest woman in the town. She had big eyes and long lashes and skin the color of the sweet milk tea I loved to drink. She had long, dark hair which she wore in a single braid down her back. I, myself, wore two braids, which she plaited for me every morning and carefully combed them out every night before I went to bed. Then she would brush my hair, gently, as she sang to me or told me stories, relaxing me for bed.

Some days, after my father came in from the sea and had unloaded his fish and had finished cleaning the boat, and tuning the motor, my mother would take me and my sister to meet him in the harbor. Mother would bring whatever snacks she had left over from the day, and together we would sit on the boat and talk about our day, as we watched the sun set over the ocean. We were happy and we loved each other.

I was lucky. Between my mother and my father, there was enough money to send me to school, and in a new dress every year.

Every year, at the end of December, we celebrated a family tradition, the same as my mother had done as a child. There was an exchange of gifts. The year I turned eight, my special gift was a new pair of “big girl” shoes. They were shiny and black with a pink ribbon. I felt like a real lady in them. I couldn’t wait to show them off to my friends at school! As was always the case with new shoes and new clothes, they were purchased a bit too large to give me time to grow into them. I pushed paper into the toes so they wouldn’t fall off.

The next morning, on my way to school, I scanned the harbor. Most of the boats were already out to sea. Father’s was not there, which meant his motor was working that morning. I would worry about him until I saw him again in the evening.

And then something strange happened.

The sea peeled back from the shore, exposing more beach than I’d ever seen before. It sloped steeply down.

Some people started to panic and run away from the water, but most either weren’t paying attention or, like myself, went closer to see what was going on, not understanding what it meant.

I stood there, fascinated. And then,   suddenly, there was a wall of water so high and frightening it took my breath away even before it crashed over me. Instantly, I and everything else was under it.   My new shoes were sucked off my feet. In those last seconds, before I drowned all I could think about was my lost shoes.

We were all lost except my father, but when he came back to shore and saw the devastation, he no longer had the heart for living. He rejoined us soon.

By human standards, it was a great tragedy. So much loss of life. But it was a necessary correction which the universe must make from time to time. I do not understand the reasons.

So many souls, all leaving the living world at one time, creating so much energy. I was just a small part of it; a tiny speck in a cloud of dust, floating upwards on a ribbon of sunlight.

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image: http://www.trekearth.com/gallery/Asia/Indonesia/Sumatra/Bengkulu/Bengkulu_Utara/photo97429.htm

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If you are enjoying this blog,  please click the link above to subscribe and receive posts via email (new posts every three days).  When you think of others who might enjoy it too,  it’s easy enough to help spread the word! Post your favorite stories to social media.   Email a particularly apt link to a friend.   Even better,  talk about the concepts with others (whether you agree or disagree. )
Also,  I have started a discussion group on Facebook,  for conversations about any of the concepts/issues in the posts.  Honestly, these are things in here which I don’t fully understand myself.  I would love  get your thoughts on this…even if you think this is all a bunch of hooey.

 

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