Friday, February 6, 2009

H. H. the Dalai Lama: How to See Yourself As You Really Are

A funny thing happened while I was getting my truck worked on today...

The whole story started last night at the gym, with me forgetting my workout sheet and having to go back after dark to get it. That sheet had all of the workout notes that I needed to do the session on my own. "Sarge", what my personal trainer jokingly calls herself from time to time, would not have been pleased if that sheet was lost. My head was spinning with endorphins and I was focusing on stretching out and staying hydrated so I would be less sore. My mind just blipped and I didn't put the sheet in my pack. It was on a table by the gym floor station. This set up the series of events that followed, and ended up marking an important re-emergence in my life. One more major step to recovery.

On the way back home, the left front tire on my truck shredded from dry rot. It was on my "to do" list, but I messed up. So, in about 5 seconds I go from being 5 minutes from home to being stranded in the dark on a twisty country road, in frigid weather. One guy turned around to make sure I was OK and had a cell phone, good man. I had nothing available for the repair, more of that "to do" list, but at least I wasn't so negligent as to not have some cash, plenty of gas for heat and a charged cell phone. If I hadn't gone back for my workout sheet, the tire would probably have not blown out at lower speed and where I had room to get off of the road. It would have also probably been light and actually harder to see my flashing hazard lights. The whole scenario would have been more risky. Controlled chaos was what I experienced.

The road service people were decent locals and I was back on the road in about an hour. The odd part was the gentle nature of the tire failure and the fact that I was almost delivered precisely to one of the very few places on that road to avoid getting rear ended on a blind curve. If I had to pick a place myself, I couldn't have done much better. That wasn't just luck. Luck is more random than that. This was an organized and sequential series of events that led to an important realization about my life direction.

At the repair shop...
Being on a Friday, the shop was swamped with work, so I spent the whole day getting two new tires for the front and getting my snow treads transferred to some original rims, and getting the spare checked. They did a good job and the price wasn't that bad. I'd gone to the place years ago, but it was under new management. They delivered what I paid for. Besides that, the shop folks were decent local people who spoke my language, small town rural Virginian. He even introduced me to his adorable daughter, about 8 and all grins safe by her father's side, at the end. It was like the old days, 30 years ago, when people could talk and trust each other a lot more, when we had a lot less government and less social experimentation in our lives.

Guess whose business cards were on the desk of the repair shop? They were from the guy who came and rescued me the night before. It's called a community, folks, remember those? Benefit one: reliable repair place that just opened and a reliable tow service that are close to home. Benefit two: emphasis on emergency preparations in my personal truck, no matter how many miles per year I put on it. Each trip was so short, I'd convince myself that the tire was OK for a little longer. What I also forgot was that I was driving a lot more back and forth to the gym.

I was waiting in the waiting room for about 2.5 hours, but I had something to read and my computer if I wanted to get online for some reason. I had snacks in the truck, so I was good to go. Being caught stupid last night, I thought the least I could do was be prepared to wait on my truck repairs. The book was How to See Yourself As You Really Are. While I was reading about love and compassion and my responsibility to set an example for the world, the boy from hell flew into the waiting room. Benefit three: always have food and water in addition to emergency food.

The little brother was about 6 and the older boy was about 8. The older boy was the anti-social one. The first thing he did was turn the radio in the waiting room up way too loud, so that it was disruptive adn left the room. He was showing me who was in charge. That's a classic mental disorder symptom, with roots in self-hate and frustration from no one providing any productive direction. In other words, nobody gave a damn and he knew it.

As the older boy and I did some light jousting wth the volume control on the radio, he came real close to taking a swing at me as he left, the smaller child played happily and the mother pretended she was exploring the surface of Mars for cotton candy, or some such thing. She sure wasn't with us here on planet Earth. I think she was on some strong medication, like Xanax.

Long story short, the mother and older boy end up frustrated and the younger fellow pulls up a plastic chair next to mine and starts showing me pictures of Mustangs and Porches. I liked that boy the second I saw him. Of course, these days, I was concerned how close he got with the way the world is. But, he kept his distance and we did all right. He had positive energy. Here I am reading a book on how negative energy finds negative energy and positive energy does likewise and it all unfolds right before my eyes. The picture of the younger boy sitting quietly next to me reading, imitating me, was too cool for words. He was seeking positive energy and completely ignoring his brother's negative behavior. Benefit four: the power of a cool head and kindness is unlimited and positive energy does yield the same.

Given that episode and the last 24 hours, something very significant is taking place. There's this balance occurring between the physical and spiritual. Though I was more like the younger brother when I was little, I also grew up with parents who didn't give a damn when they thought no one was watching. I have some of that older brother in me, still. After 40+ years, it feels really good to know that I still care and that I can still see reality and not the fabrication put forward by ignorance. The question is how I am still like this and why did those last 24 hours happen the way they did? In 24 hours ago, I went from giving up to going onward with a renewed faith.

More later on this book. I recommend it very much. Benefit five: I don't have to tell "Sarge" that I lost my homework.

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