November 24, 2014

A School of Expectant Cows

A School of Expectant Cows

SULPHUR, OK #VanDwelling … and prairie dogs and an expectant school of cows.

11:04 AM

After waking suddenly to a school of eerily still cows mysteriously gathered next to my rig, I wished them a good morning and a pleasant day of grazing (they seemed to want me to say something) and made myself a cup of coffee and drove onward through vast farmlands and quiet back roads until I came upon a couple of buffalo standing like sentinels at the entrance to Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge.

Within the refuge, there was a sign pointing toward something called the “Holy City” which intrigued me so I made the turn which led through a colony of prairie dogs toward a bunch of buildings made out of red rocks. Upon reaching the Holy City, I took one glance about, didn’t see Her anywhere, then turned around and hung out with the prairie dogs for a bit.

I find Nature far more spiritual than a bunch of man-made buildings and statues, but apparently everyone else thought the opposite because the Holy City was quite popular, while the poor prairie dogs received hardly any attention at all.

November 23, 2014

It's All AND's

It’s All AND’s

EAST OF GOULD, OK #VanDwelling #MiracleLog #HealingThing #NoSelf #MyLove … and drifting like Forrest Gump’s feather.

3:47 AM

A noise startled me awake and a bright light pierced the darkness of the van and a surge of adrenaline shot through me. A cop? A thief? That killer on the loose I read about on the news?

A moment later, the fogginess of sleep cleared and I realized I wasn’t camped out in the desert but at a Walmart and the light was just the street lights shining between my curtains.

There is no way today’s popular spiritual teachers are “blissed out” 24/7. No way anyone could have experienced calm clarity in this situation while the mind is confused from sleep.

I wish today’s teachers weren’t so opaque about their lives. To imply 24/7 bliss is like a lie by omission.

But then as I’ve learned the hard way, transparency—at least for the spiritual—appears too normal. It doesn’t sell.

8:25 AM

Looking for coffee in this quiet town, I sat at a red light while a flock of birds, off to my right, gently floated and swirled about, playing in the easterly wind. Just then, a small, soft, white feather drifted across my windshield, hovered a moment, then floated off across the street, reminding me of the opening scene from Forrest Gump. The light turned green and I pulled through the empty intersection feeling as charmed and lucky and grateful as Forrest himself.

11:00 AM

I’ve stopped at a picnic area overlooking Palo Duro Canyon, which is interesting in that you travel across all this vast, flat, and open farmland when you suddenly come across it.

My father’s clogged artery seems to have mysteriously unclogged, but his leaky heart valve is still leaky. Thankfully, he’s decided to live with it, as the risks of surgery at his age are too great. Since there’s no hurry to rush back to Florida, I’ve decided to try to avoid the interstates as much as possible and take any scenic routes which call to me as I come across them.

It’s a pleasant feeling to be drifting like Forrest’s feather—with a clear destination but no pre-defined path.

3:44 PM

Tired from fighting the relentless wind, I pulled down a dirt road and found a place to park. I sat in my easy chair, pulled away the me-contraction and stared out over the long brown grass waving in the wind. As usual, without boundaries, everything I gaze at feels at once both outside and inside of me. There’s a joining, a merging, a blending that is so hard to describe. The sound of the wind blowing through the hollow tubes of my roof rack, the slight shivering of the van buffeted by the wind, the ache in my neck and shoulders from driving too much… it is all me and Her and Us. Inside and outside.

It’s all AND’s: I, She, We, Other, Me… it’s all made of the same stuff. Separate AND one. Different AND the same. It’s not a mental exercise at all. It’s beyond it. It is an experience of the Divine Herself.

It’s not a permanent state—I have to consciously pull the me-contraction away—but it’s easy enough to slip into.

There’s a storm coming. Maybe I’ll spend the night here.

6:04 PM

I just read Michelle’s latest blog post. In it, she confesses one of her deepest fears: Her feelings of anxiety in relationships. I’m so proud of her. She’s walking it. She’s putting her fears out there for the world to see and in doing so, is distancing herself from them. Fading Toward Enlightenment had the same effect on me: Practically unintentionally I ended up writing about myself from both the first and third person perspectives (early duplex personality?). The confessing of my past and fears had the affect of distancing me-the-witness from me-the-story.

And the exact same thing is happening with Michelle. You can see her no longer exclusively identifying with her fears, her thoughts, or her emotions. Michelle-as-the-witness is starting to become more stable.

This “distancing effect” is one of the reasons why I think I’ll require any future students to blog about their lives (though possibly anonymously at first).

November 19, 2014

Gazing Skyward

Gazing Skyward

OUTSIDE MAGDALENA, NM #VanDwelling #HealingThing

8:04 AM

It was bitterly cold in the van this morning. While I was warm in bed (the new comforter is much better than the old one), the air temperature in the rig was in the low thirties. Once the heater kicked in, it was comfortable, but it did make me reconsider my plan to head up to Show Low and eastward along US 60 (higher elevation = colder temps).

I did the healing thing a few more times last night, focusing on my father’s bad heart valve. I’ve found myself doing an odd thing in preparation. Though I’ve never been a student of chakras (and quite skeptical of them I’ll add), I end up visualizing (and this is going to sound really weird) two hinges, one on the side of my hip and one on the side of my head and I swing them open and everything inside me falls out the open “butt hinge” and Light fills this hollow body-tube through the open “head hinge” and it burns away and cleanses any clinging matter and “me” stuff.

Only then do I do the healing thing (in this case, I visualize myself inside my father’s heart and patching up the faulty valve using this Light stuff).

I’ve never read this in any How To Be a Mystic manual, it just comes spontaneously. Weird, I know.

Please don’t have me committed.

4:26 PM

I took the road to Show Low and I’m glad I did. It’s a beautiful route. Once up on the Mogollon Rim though, there were snow patches so I continued eastward to a place I’d camped before, a little spot east of the Very Large Array project which, being lower in elevation should be warmer tonight.

Even though where I’m camped is quite isolated, a truck just drove by my van, stopped for a moment, then turned around and drove off (I’m camped on a dead end). I would say that 90% of the time, when I first pull into a dispersed campsite—no matter how isolated the camp is—a truck pulls up within a half hour then drives off. Then no one comes by for the rest of my stay. Never a problem. Never anything dark or sinister, just some guy either looking for a camp or…? I’ve never gotten a bad vibe from them or anything. It’s gotten to the point that I expect it. “Oh, here’s my welcome-to-your-new-camp visitor.” Weird but true.

November 18, 2014

Naturally Fuzzy Things

Naturally Fuzzy Things

TONTO NF, AZ #Surrender #HealingThing #VanDwelling

8:29 AM

I awoke early yet remained in bed. Out the window, the dawn slowly lit the sky with shades of red and orange. Atop a tall saguaro cactus a hawk sat, silhouetted, scanning the desert floor for his breakfast.

Surrender is not at all easy. Though I had no definitive plans for the winter, while in the Southwest I had intended to meet up with a yearly gathering of fellow van dwellers in Quartzsite, explore Tucson and the southeastern portion of Arizona, then meander north with Spring to explore Colorado.

But all of that was just of the mind—nothing real. They were all “Me-thoughts” which inevitably lead to unhappiness.

What difference does it make what I do—or where She takes me?

Meister Eckhart on surrender:

You should give your all to God, and then worry no more about what He may do with what is His.

I’m grateful for the mind-boggling synchronicity of this event… and the practice/scars/wisdom I expect it will provide.

It is the easiest thing in the world to say you are willing to surrender to your higher power, your highest self, your God or your ideal…

It’s another thing entirely to live in surrender.

The smart have their words, the wise have their scars.

9:18 AM

I sent an email to Mom and Jeff (my brother) telling them that I’d be heading back to Florida for the winter. I intentionally didn’t call. As any spiritual seeker knows, it’s exhausting trying to explain your reasoning when your reasoning isn’t based on just reason but reason plus something indefinable and ethereal. (Ken Wilber calls this transrational, as in rational + Cosmic Consciousness/Divine inspiration).

Besides, they know me. They know I’m just as stubborn as they are and will do whatever the hell I decide to do regardless.

I sat in the van cargo door and ate an egg sandwich, tossing the scraps for the ants and birds and coyotes to later find while thinking about the route I’d take back to Florida.

I don’t feel in a particular hurry, Dad’s got a blocked artery that Mom says can be corrected with a stent—she made it sound rather minor in comparison to the diagnosis that one of his heart valves isn’t fully closing and would require open heart surgery if he were healthy enough. They are going in for more tests on Thursday, so things are still in the evaluation and planning stages.

I did my healing thing for him a couple times last night and this morning. I have no clue if this stuff even works (I’ve had mixed results in the past), but it can’t hurt and I enjoy the experience.

3:51 PM

I drove about 150 miles, playing music and singing along most of the trip—feeling good. Kept with a generally easterly direction but never sure of a destination. Ended up making camp at a free national forest campground outside Globe AZ that I stumbled across.

Michelle had told me that she had a “pretty neat disembodied-self experience” while driving and singing recently. After spending the day doing just that, I get it. It is hard to think while singing and in the midst of deep spiritual practice, this disconnect—the disembodied-self (Witness)—is much more likely to happen when you are not thinking yet while actively doing something (ie: singing while driving).

Michelle may be onto something.