We've all heard of Alex Grey, whose work is quite popular. I cannot compare artists as each is unique in their own way, and to say that such-and-such artist is like so-and-so artist would be an insult to each of their individuality, but quite clearly they are inspired by a higher realm.
I was browsing through some web sites when I found some samples of various artists' works, and there was an image by John Vega that really stimulated me at a higher level. I went to further explore his work and found a particular gallery of his in which several pieces had the same effect. While all his art is worthy of praise, there are two pieces from the Digital Visions gallery which really stood out in terms of stimulation-producing effects. They are http://www.dancingimage.com/gallery09.htm and http://www.dancingimage.com/gallery06.htm. (If you look at these, be sure to have your speakers on as they are flash images with sounds which enhance the experience.)
Like many people I am attracted to art, and in 2005 I began to produce some of my own digital art using fractals. It's been a few months since I've done anything, and it will probably be a while before I return to it, not because the flow of creative energy has disappeared but because I am spending my time on other "projects" right now. Creating them, however, was my way of meditating as I often found myself in another "zone". My skill is nowhere near the skill of the artists mentioned above but it is/was something I greatly enjoyed doing. It might be shameful and vain for me to advertise my own work to my readers, but if anyone is interested in seeing my images and animations, please send me an email. I am not posting the link to my gallery because I keep my spiritual journal - this blog - mostly anonymous and separate from my public gallery.
We've all heard of Alex Grey, whose work is quite popular. I cannot compare artists as each is unique in their own way, and to say that such-and-such artist is like so-and-so artist would be an insult to each of their individuality, but quite clearly they are inspired by a higher realm.
Another photo journey has been posted at the photo blog:
Note: A lot of the details of this dream are lost; this is entry is hopefully true to the dream.
Someone had the word "Enneads" written on a piece of paper in big letters. (I don't remember who it was.) I told them, "This is a synchronicity, because I'm currently reading the Enneads!"
At this time I am involved in reading Plotinus's Enneads at the recommendation of my Teacher. It's not an easy read so I'm slowly working my way through the first few sections. There are some things I don't understand which seems to be affecting my comprehension. Due to this I've been rather lazy about reading it, procrastinating, and I think the dream is a reminder to me to put more effort into it.
Today's hike really felt rejuvenating. It was just me and the surroundings, the grass, trees, scurrying animals, the smell of vegetation, a few scattered leaves that have fallen early, yellow, floating down to the ground on small gusts of air, the splish splash of water in my bottle.
In the next few weeks I'll be traveling to some other locations with my mother for longer hiking trips, new scenery, more photos. I'm looking forward to them, and am happy that I am hiking with my mother again like we used to up until four years ago.
There are new photos here: http://surroundingsofexistence.blogspot.com/
I don't normally go shopping, simply because it's just not something I enjoy. I am not your average female (i.e. no fashionable wardrobe, no closet full of shoes, no collection of make-up). Yesterday, for the first time in a year or more, I went shopping for jeans. I only went because Old Navy was advertising a sale on jeans for one day only, $12 per pair! So I bought two of them.
Later last night, a friend of mine sent me an email letting me know about a sweepstakes which included information about an auction for a pair of celebrity jeans. He had no idea that I went shopping for jeans.
If you are subscribed to the feed for this blog, there is now an option that will allow you to post a comment or read others' comments.
A great big thanks goes out to Alex for making me aware of such a possibility.
Ignore this post, please. I'm trying to make changes to the feed through FeedBurner. I've never used an RSS Reader before, but my good friend Alex has made mention of Google Reader and I'm trying to learn how to use it. I'm posting this to see if I can have access to comments through the reader.
Including but not limited to:
- biting into a sweet juicy peach from the local orchard when thirsty.
- hearing the thud of the earth beneath my tennis shoes on the hiking trail.
- seeing the shoe prints and bicycle tracks in the dirt on the trails and imagining who the other body-carrying souls were that were on the trails before me.
- hearing the sound of unknown animals scurrying away in the green growth beside the trails.
- imagining invisible benevolent centaurs protectively following me through the woods.
Today was a very memorable experience for me at the animal rescue farm that I volunteered at. It started off with the cleaning of the stables, mainly shoveling horse manure and putting down new shavings for the floor in most of the stalls. I was surrounded by animals - roosters, chickens, horses, guineas, colts, mules, donkeys, dogs, cats and kittens, lamas, squirrels, deer, baby goats (even a fainting goat!). The man that runs the place lives in an RV on the property with his wife. He is in his 60s and reminds me of an old hippy. He was wearing a tie-dye t-shirt, had white hair and a beard and mustache. He said to me, "C'mon hon, you can help me feed the baby goats." So into a stall we went, he gave me some bottles of warm milk and I fed a baby goat - one of three. He is what's known as a "fainting goat". Never had I heard of fainting goats, before. Before the feeding, the fawn and baby goats were crying for the food. It was a very special moment for me to hear the fawn suckling from the bottle I held, as well as the baby goat. I told him it's the first time I'd ever experienced feeding farm animals (and deer).
Not only was this a good experience for me, as it got me out of the house and into participating in physical activity, it was also a very personally rewarding experience to help animals in need. I told them I'd be back, and they said they could use the extra help. So, this may become a regular weekly project.
Here are some photos and videos of today's adventure:
See http://surroundingsofexistence.blogspot.com for photos.
I've posted a slew of photographs on my photo blog. I've been feeling nostalgic. There are photos of my proms, first car, teenage job, homecoming, 16th birthday, high school band, piano recital, flag team, Spanish class, Girl Scouts and more.
Tomorrow morning I'm volunteering at a horse sanctuary. I'll be cleaning stables, feeding and brushing horses. It will take a lot of sweat but I'm looking forward to it. I'm bringing my camera so you can be sure I'll post more photographs.
There is a brief new photo journey from today on the photo blog.
While speaking with my Teacher tonight I remembered a dream I had last night or the night before. I was falling backwards into an endless blackness. It seemed so real that I even felt the feeling of free-fall in my stomach.
My dreams the past few days have been vivid and quite graphic - sexual and horrific. I post these because I have been keeping track of my dreams for years, as you know. If you are at all sensitive to sexual or graphic material, please do not read these, but I've put them here in my journal so that I can remember them and ponder on their meaning. I don't know why I'm going through this phase. I do sometimes have sexual dreams but never so many in a row like this, especially mixed in with frightening images. I haven't posted all of them as some really are too personal and if I forget them that's OK with me.
Three days ago I dreamed that I was in a house that was quite chaotic, i.e. there were lots of unknown people around. I was frantically looking for my elderly cat, who in real life hides anytime someone is in my house. I was calling her name, when finally she came running out and jumped into my open arms. I held her and hugged her like a child would hold a teddy bear.
Two days ago I dreamed that I was flying in the sky while typing on a laptop. When I was on land someone commented that my hair was turning white, and I replied that it was because of my exposure to the sun and wind while flying.
(Warning: Graphic Dream) The same day, I dreamed that I was sitting in a lid to a cardboard box, like a dog, in someone's kitchen. A man was sitting beside me violently holding on to my bare legs and lifting them up while inserting his thumb roughly inside of me. At the same time he was growling and sucking on my left breast. He jammed his thumb in and out three times and I orgasmed while he covered my mouth. He said, "There, that wasn't so bad now, was it."
Today I dreamed that I was in a middle eastern country, the landscape was desert-like and there were lots of little mounds with doors in them that were homes to Muslim families. I was with someone, though I don't remember who. We asked some Muslim boys to borrow a book and they handed us a box that was closed. We took it into a room and the man I was with sat down to open the box while I stood up beside the table. When he opened it, we discovered it was not the book we were looking for; it was instead the Koran. We had been tricked. Suddenly the door opened and lots of Muslims swarmed the room, coming inside and grabbing hold of me and my companion. Someone yelled that a man and woman were not supposed to open the Koran in the same room, especially when the woman isn't wearing the hajib. While the men were holding onto me someone walked up to me holding a whip with the intention of using it to punish me.
The photographs that I took on my last hiking trip are now on my photo blog. It's amazing the details that one sees in nature if they pay attention.
Today was a very busy day with activities including, but not limited to, swimming, hiking and shopping. I've done a lot of hiking in the past week, almost every day, in fact. I have some photos to show you of just little details I noticed on the trails. I'm hoping to have a chance to post these to my photo blog tomorrow.
I've been enjoying the photo journeys that have been shown to me by some other bloggers. Keep it up!
I've very sleepy so I'm going to bed! Goodnight.
Kindness comes in all shapes and sizes. It's not just the giving of material things, but more so it is the giving of some of one's heart.
I can never pay back the kindness to the Universe that has been shown to me by others. I can try, but I don't know that I'll ever come close.
In any event, kindness shouldn't be shown just to keep things even; Kindness should be shown because it's something we want to do and because it's natural for us to do so.
"What wisdom can you find that is greater than kindness?"
I'm sorry to everyone for getting behind on responding to comments.
I always read them, though.
I hope this won't keep you from communicating with me in the future.
Is it really necessary to get rid of the ego in order to connect with God?
Love is an emotion, and emotion comes from mind. Mind is ego. How can I love God without ego?
What is happiness without Ego?
In a comment just now, I mentioned that to some extent Ego - used to communicate with others - is necessary for survival.
The question is, is survival necessary?
If we came to mass enlightenment, all egos would disappear. Therefore all communication would disappear, since ego is necessary for communication with others. When mass enlightenment occurs, would this mean the extinction of mankind?
When mankind disappears, what will the insects' and animals' souls evolve to, given that the level of consciousness of mankind is higher than that of insects and animals?
I was bent over a sink, laying my head upon the marble top. I was naked. A doctor walked up to me and started to wrap some device around me that was supposed to monitor my heart. I fought the doctor, yelling, "I'm not sick! Leave me alone!" I was moving around trying to get out of his grasp when another man came and assisted the doctor in getting a hold of me. He grabbed my arms and held them together, then I was pushed onto a stretcher. I was kicking my legs but the man grabbed my feet.
The friend I went hiking with on Friday and I were going to an ice cream shop. Nearby there was an amusement park and fair. We were getting a snack at the shop and then headed across the street to stand in line to get in the fair. The line was long and the park was supposed to close in a little while. I was getting nervous that we wouldn't make it into the park before it closes. I was putting quarters into my black leather jacket's right pocket. (In real life I once owned a black leather jacket.) We made it into the park and we quickly went inside to the fair. I was in a hurry to get to a book sale. There were people everywhere. One man was pushing someone around in a wheelchair and he kept trying to run over me and push me out of the way. I said, "Don't you know how to say excuse me?" But he continued to push me away with the wheelchair.
The dream scene switched. The perspective was through a window in a log cabin at night. The time period seems to be different, like that of the old west. Two people were sitting next to each other in the candlelight. It was the rude man from above and me. I affectionately patted his arm and placed my head next to his and closed my eyes.
A man with long white hair and blue eyes was staring at me. I did not recognize him, but his eyes seemed to penetrate me and I could not help but look at them. The strange blueness of the eyes hypnotized me, and I was pulled towards him as though he was a magnet for my soul. I felt as though I were being sucked out of my body and I screamed.
The scream was high-pitched and loud; it woke up my husband. He was telling me to be quiet. He asked, "What were you singing?" I told him that I wasn't singing, I was screaming.
Rum and Coke. Good for trips down memory lane. I know it's frowned upon but what is it they say about the nectar of the gods?
For the next few days I'll be at my photo blog posting old photos, unless I can think of something to say here.
I love connecting with your hearts and souls. That's all I need to say for now. My heart is your heart and your heart is mine.
Aspens sometimes grow two trees from the same set of roots.
"If you know the enemy
and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a
hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy,
for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat.
If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will
succumb in every battle."
~Sun Tzu, _The Art of War_
...wondering if the enemy is the ego............. however, it is likely that the enemy is really any obstacle that needs to be overcome in one's life.
"We can form a single united body, while the
enemy must split up into fractions. Hence there will
be a whole pitted against separate parts of a whole,
which means that we shall be many to the enemy's few."
I don't need to say much about that, for I'm sure you know what it means.
"Sun Tzu said: In war, the general receives his
commands from the sovereign."
"War" does not have to be taken literally, here. Although it can be.
More later. Maybe.
I haven't been listening to you, because I didn't know you were there. Now that I know you're there I'd like to figure out a way that we can communicate.
And while we're at it, would you mind telling me if you can speak to others or maybe even God?
I forgive myself for my errors and if others won't forgive me, oh well.
I don't know if it's right or wrong of me to expect from you the things I asked about last night, but maybe I haven't yet grasped whether or not you answer prayers as God sometimes does or doesn't. But maybe you can pass the request on up the ladder.
For the third day in a row I've gone hiking. Up until a few years ago I went hiking regularly. Now that I'm feeling better emotionally I'm finding myself needing to be with nature again.
I've created a blog just for photographs that I hope to regularly post to. The address is http://surroundingsofexistence.blogspot.com/
The photo adventure of our hiking trip at the friary and sanctuary can be found here:
I was sitting in a booth in a bar and restaurant when the waiter delivered our food to us. He spilled a bowl of hot contents - sauce, I think - all over the beautiful expensive black dress I was wearing. I was worried first of all about getting burned, but I wasn't. I stood up, angry. It was all over my hair, too. He started to wipe off some of the sauce with a washcloth he had with him but when the washcloth was completely soaked he walked away. I stood there waiting for him to return to finish cleaning me, and when he didn't I left the booth in a fury looking for the manager. I found him in the bar and I began to angrily say to him, "You owe me $200 for the dress and the hair style!"
After this experience I went out into the entrance room that leads to the restaurant where the hostess was standing. It was a very large airy room with high white ceilings. I looked up at the ceiling and sang high soprano notes with a lot of vibrato. My body vibrated intensely as the sound waves moved through me.When I was finished, the hostess looked and me and said, "I like your voice." I modestly laughed and said, "Thank you but it's not really that great. I just wanted to sing to feel the vibrations."
I went for another hike today. I was alone. I brought my audio book along with me but only listened to it for about ten seconds before deciding that I'd rather hear the sounds of nature or the children happily playing and screaming from the nearby playground at the trail head. Hermes will have to wait. (Hermes is the Philosopher's dog in Sophie's World.)
I enjoyed the hiking adventure with my friend yesterday, but it is nice to go alone, too. I felt less of a rush to take photographs. I stop at nearly every curious thing to study it. The trails here are just walking distance from my house. They are not nearly as much fun or as beautiful and interesting as trails that are a drive from here, but it's comforting to have a place to hike right at home. The photographs aren't that interesting but they are moments captured in time of sights that were only from my perspective, sights that will never be seen from that perspective again. If and when I have time I will be starting another blog just for photographs of things I see on a day-to-day basis. Nothing artistic like Ansel Adams, just images from a little point-and-shoot camera.
The white tennis shoes I bought just before going on vacation are no longer white. They are dusted here and there with brown dirt from the hiking trails in Montana and at home. I should have worn my hiking boots but it's been so long since I've worn them I feared they might give my feet blisters. I'll have to break them in again.
I really believe that good times are coming again. I've already seen changes in my daily lifestyle. If you've been following this blog you know something about the depression. I don't have any reason to discuss it now but it is there in the archives. I'm becoming active again; I'm socializing more with friends and family. I'm sleeping less. I care about myself again and I am very eager about returning to my prime.
I suppose politics used to be men's discussion, but these days it has become almost anyone's. I once felt I should teach myself politics just so I could engage in intelligent conversation, but I have since felt less of a need to conform.
I am becoming physically active again, and will soon regain the beautiful body and face I had a few years ago. Today, for instance, I went hiking with my oldest friend, a girl I went to college with who took math classes with me. She is now an 8th grade math teacher. We don't see each other so often these days because she had to move more than an hour and a half away. We used to live just a walk's distance, but those days are gone. After our hike we came home and walked one of the dogs. Then my sister came over and we went swimming. Not long after my mother and her boyfriend came over and all of us had a big dinner.
I'm going to start dancing again. Regularly. The endorphins will feel intoxicating.
After I lose the weight I gained during depression, I will be social again.
The idea occurred to me today that even as I've desperately sought a teacher I could call my own, everyone who visits my blog and comments is my teacher. Just look at all the wisdom scattered throughout the comments in the archives.
Everything on this page sounds like what I'm after:
But then when I click on a link at the bottom of the page it takes me to some big guru who looks like he might live in a giant mansion or something.
Everyone wants money and that's the one thing I don't have.
In one of the previous posts on this blog, an anonymous commenter advised me to read Dr. Zhi Gang Sha. I quickly blew them off, giving some excuse or another that I can't remember at the moment. However, in doing an unrelated Google search the other day I found some excerpts of one of his books.
After reading some texts, including Meher Baba and now some excerpts from Dr. Zhi Gang Sha, I believe I have more knowledge on how to behave around spiritual masters and just other people in general. I should treat everything as though it were sacred, but especially the Teacher because they are the representative for the grace of God.
See this link for excerpts from a chapter on relationships with teachers by Dr. Zhi Gang Sha:
The Third Most Important Divine Relationship is with Your Teacher
In Meher Baba's _Life at its Best_, Baba speaks deeply about the relationship between Master and disciple. I was very moved by this while reading His book. You can read it here: http://www.ambppct.org/meherbaba/Book_Files/Life.pdf Tomorrow or whenever I can find time I'll post some quotes from it.
I have to add before closing, that while I appreciate what Dr. Zhi Gang Sha has to say about Divine relationships, I was initially turned off from him because he seemed too commercial. When I see web pages covered with the face of the Teacher with links to buy their books or services, I just don't feel anything for them. I can't afford to buy their books right now. I don't care about money anymore anyway. But thanks to the anonymous person who recommended Dr. Sha to me. Please don't let my opinions of him sway you from commenting on anything I post about.
I know this post is going to bring about some heated comments, like, "You don't need a teacher," etc. I'm used to those sorts of comments, and I do appreciate the concern, but you have to be in my shoes to know what kind of spiritual chaos occurs without one.
I still have a long way to go. I don't believe I'm enlightened yet. I could be wrong but I doubt I am. I only feel as if I've finished Kindergarten. I think full enlightenment comes from knowing who you are, where you come from, where you're going, who God is and more. NOT just reading it in books but KNOWING it through experience.
Don't know why life's lessons are so difficult.
Would rather a swift and benevolent spirit father reach down from the heavens and wrap his loving arms around me.
Life, even though you are difficult and sometimes painful I give you my gratitude for teaching me.
You can deal me more blows or choose to give me rewards but either way, I'm ready for it.
After the plane took off, and as we flew higher and higher into the sky, I stared down to the ground below, wanting to try as hard as possible to keep an eye on cars no matter how small they became. The cars became as small as freckles, if not smaller. The people inhabiting them would be invisible to my eyes.
I felt insignificant. I exist, but would be smaller than a quark to some alien planet, let alone to a god as big or bigger than the universe.
I never think about the mitochondria in my cells.
I almost left my body last night while sleeping.
I don't know what time it was, I just remember darkness and the feeling that my spirit was trying to escape from my body. My head, torso, arms totally separated from their physical counterparts, but I was still stuck at the hips. I pulled with all my might to get out, but I began to shake with the exertion and the experience ended as I was lost in sleep once more.
I wonder where I would have gone had I managed to escape.
I've been receiving emails from the local School of Metaphysics, and recently received one about a metaphysical church that is very close to me. I had no idea that such a church was nearby until now. I just emailed someone to get more information about it, as I would like to start attending. I may also start spending time with the school.
Am I a real seeker or am I a pretender?
How does one know for sure?
I want to be sincere but I fear that my environment is not conducive.
Mossy taught me how to add a track to an existing audio file, so I recorded my voice along with Siegfried’s. I had a hard time reaching the high notes but I’m going to practice and probably will record another attempt later, but I was excited about showing this to Siegfried so here’s the “blooper” version.
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I heard such beautiful music; it was heavenly. It lasted quite a long time, too. If I had to describe it I'd say it is similar to the music of Enya. Only, the music is not anything I've heard before.
When I awoke, I asked my husband if he had been listening to music or watching t.v. and he said he hadn't.
I saw hordes of mice trying to get at some old food in a couple of baskets. There were so many of them they started to look like one organism. I had my camera with me, so I focused on them to take a photograph. I remember telling someone on the phone, "We have mice problems." There was a third basket with something wrapped up inside it. I unwrapped it and saw that it was a cat. It was alive, and part orange and white with brown streaks. It must have been staying in the basket because it had a nice supply of meals (mice) in the baskets close to it. I already had four cats but I knew I couldn't just get rid of this cat, so I decided to keep it.
My cell phone was ringing. I looked at the caller I.D. to see who it was, and it said the call was from "Opera". I answered, saying, "Hello?...... Hello?" I spoke these words aloud because I woke myself up doing so.
I give up. This is too complicated but I did sing an a cappella song on my podcast blog. I can't do the mixing, but I don't need a new obsession (or distraction) right now anyway. :) Thanks for trying to help but I think my sound card is too basic.
So much going on! Today is a day of excitement for me. I'm very happy!
I'm getting ready to go outside to swim. Earlier my mother came over for a visit and brought a basket full of delicious, juicy ripe peaches, not like the kind I've been buying in the stores which are sometimes hard as apples and dry.
I was invited to join a group at PomoWorld by a friend I met online a couple months ago. PomoWorld is "The Human Enlightenment Project". If you're interested in joining, you can add me as a friend - http://pomoworld.ning.com/profile/SophiaW I'm not sure how much I plan on using it yet as it's not very familiar to me, but it appears to be kind of like a spiritual MySpace as far as I can tell so far.
Siegfried has led me into a world of karaoke via computer. As singing used to be one of my passions, I plan on getting hooked. When I was looking for God through Christianity during my teenage years, I sang solos in church and had such a good time doing so.
As you may have noticed, Sean from Jakarta led me towards Meher Baba and now I feel like I've found some things I may have been leaning towards for a long time. I read one of his books while on vacation and now Sean has recommended Baba's _BEAMS from Meher Baba On the Spiritual Panorama_, which I will start reading today. In addition to this I'm currently in the middle of listening to an audio book I downloaded called _Sophie's World_ by Jostein Gaarder. I finally got around to getting serious about it. It's such a truly magical book.
Last but not least I am requesting information from the Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, as I would like to get either a certificate or some type of degree in Transpersonal Psychology with a focus on Spiritual Psychology and Transpersonal Studies. I can't afford to pay for it (we had to save-up for the vacation) so I'm hoping I can qualify for some type of scholarship. We'll see what they say! I was led here by a conversation I had with a young man on a lodge shuttle bus. He is getting ready to go to school for a degree in Transpersonal Psychology.
Jim told me last night that he was having problems trying to access this blog. He said Internet Explorer would crash anytime he tried to load the page. I mistakenly assumed that something was wrong with his computer or software and had him download and install Firefox, which worked fine for him on this blog. This morning I received some emails from Mossy, and he was having the same problems. He asked if I had any new gadgets on my site. I did some Google searches and have found out that one of my widgets had changed its code which has caused the problem temporarily, so I removed the widget entirely until I find out that they have repaired their code. Hopefully everyone can get back on my blog.
Thanks guys for making me aware of the problem. I apologize to everyone who had to put up with that.
As a self-confessed computer / Internet addict, it was difficult for me to make it five days without Internet access. There was a pay-by-half-hour computer available to me in the "trading post" just a short walk away from the lodge, but I was unable to go due to orders from the husband. I could grumble and moan about that but I won't. Well, maybe I just did. It's fairly evident that I've gone into withdrawal just by looking to see how many posts I've made in the past 24 hours.
The train ride to and from Glacier National Park was tiresome. The first six or seven hours weren't so terribly awful, but the full 58 hours took its toll on me and I grew weary of my confinement to a tiny room. I enjoyed the park itself immensely, but I do not think I'll be riding on a train again. For that matter, I don't expect I'll be vacationing again any time soon.
Aside from my complaints, I did a lot of people watching, especially on the train ride to my destination. I may have been nosy but my constant curiosity kept me looking around to see what people were doing to entertain themselves. I only peeked into a few private rooms when the curtains were open, but for the most part I watched people on coach as I walked to and from the sleeper cars and dining car. Most people were reading, and I tried to see what the names of some of the books were. Some kids and teenagers were playing with handheld video game devices. There were people watching movies on laptops. One man was busy using fingernails on one hand to clean underneath the fingernails on the other hand. Others were sound asleep, one in particular wore a sleeping mask. There was a young man across from our room who had just turned 21. I secretly could sense he was excited about this, because he asked us if we were going to the wine-tasting event. When we said that we were, he joyously exclaimed, "Well then, I'll see you there!" A few days later at the lodge he was in the bar with his father and he came over to talk to us. He was very friendly. I knew he was proud to be in the bar.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner were interesting. In spite of my social anxiety I found it entertaining to listen to the people at my table talk. We had to share a booth with two other people every meal. There was a man named "Bud" with long white hair, who had a wife with very long hair back in a braided ponytail. Sometimes I imagine men with long white hair are spiritual, but not Bud. He was a hunter who said he "liked to hunt pigs" and was a retired P.E. teacher. He said he physically died twice because of his liver problems (He had a transplant). I asked him about his death experiences and what it was like on the other side. He told me there is no other side. "There's nothing there." I found that to be quite disappointing. I sat directly across from his wife. She was a statistician just like me. Imagine my surprise when I found out about that during my first meal on the train. Two female statisticians with long hair sitting across from each other. What are the odds of that? Anyway, I don't think I'm going to let his disheartening death testimonial discourage me from my spiritual journey. After all, I know someone that lives in Canada who had died and come back and he's told me there really is something there.
There were a few people I wish I could have stayed in touch with, including, surprisingly, this very grouchy older silent man (late sixties, perhaps). I don't know what it was about him but I wish I could have had the chance to get to know him. Maybe I imagined I could warm his heart or offer my friendship if he felt lonely. His wife was very friendly and we spoke often, even though her husband refused to say a word to me and even went so far as to push me out of his way with his suitcase. I don't think I've ever seen a more grumpy man, and I spent most of my vacation at the two lodges and on tours with him and his wife. I won't be upset about him, though, because it seemed he wasn't nice to anyone, including his wife. Aside from all this, we did exchange email addresses with a man named Josh who appears to be about my age. I invited him over to stay at our house any time he was in the area. He's definitely a kindred spirit and knows about the magic that can occur between two people during musical improvisation in duets.
On the trip I spent a lot of time in contemplation. I know that one of the goals of enlightenment is to not think so much, but I'm not at that stage yet, apparently. I am tangled up into too many human emotions and I'm going to try to get rid of them. It's all ego, after all. The only person who has confused me is myself, I just wanted to blame someone else for it. Yes I feel guilty and yes I'm ashamed but the only thing I can do is move on and start over. Remember that passage from the _Lover's Discourses_ that I posted a week or so ago, about being like a daruma doll trying to get its balance back? Anyway, I think the messages from the Baba were just what I needed to set me straight.
"Remember that the first step in spirituality is not to speak ill of others. All human beings have weaknesses and faults. Yet they are all God in their being. Until they become Realized, they have their imperfections. Therefore, before trying to find faults in others and speaking ill of them, try to find your own weaknesses and correct those."
"The spinning of the yarn of Karmic debts and dues would be endless if there had been no provision for getting out of the Karmic entanglements through the help of the Master. He can not only initiate the aspirant into the supreme art of unbinding Karma, but can become directly instrumental in freeing him from his Karmic entanglements. *The Master has attained unity with God, Whose cosmic and universal life includes all persons. Being one with all life, he can become, in his representative capacity for the sake of the aspirant, the medium for the clearing up of all debts and dues which have come into existence through the aspirant's dealings with countless persons contacted in his incarnations.* If a person must get bound to someone, it is best for him to get bound to God or the Master, because this tie ultimately facilitates emancipation from all other Karmic ties.
When the good Karma of past lives has secured for the aspirant the benefit of having a Master, the best thing that he can do is to surrender himself to the Master and to serve him. Through surrenderance the aspirant throws the burden of his Karma on the Master who has to think out ways and means of freeing him from it. Through serving the Master he wins an opportunity to get clear of his Karmic entanglements. The relation between the Master and the disciple is often carried on from one life to another for several reincarnations. Those who have been connected with the Master in past lives are drawn to him by an unconscious magnetism, not knowing why they are thus drawn. There is usually a long history to the apparently unaccountable devotion which the disciple feels for his Master. The disciple is often beginning where he had left off in the last incarnation." ~Meher Baba, DISCOURSES, Vol. III, pp. 93-94
The PDF file of the Meher Baba book I read while on vacation can be found here:
It's very short; you could probably finish it in an hour or two. I hope someone will read it and be as touched by it as I have been. I can't think of any other book I've read that has reached me so profoundly.
I was in an airplane headed from home to Chicago, IL in order to catch a train there to go to Montana. I was reading a bit from a Meher Baba book. A passage I had just read was named "The Real Gift", about the gift of love from God. After reading it, a stewardess handed me a cup of cola with a napkin that read, "The gift that will never be re-gifted."
The passage I read can be found here: http://www.avatarmeherbaba.org/erics/realgift.html
I was in my summer pajamas at the end of a magazine aisle in a store. There were manila file folders, all of them were empty except for one, in which was a Prevention magazine. Paul McCartney was on the cover.
I wanted to go down the magazine aisle, but there was a man standing there perusing through the magazines. I didn't want him to see me in my pajamas so I walked around the aisle to go in through the other way. I saw him leave, so I thought it was safe to go down the aisle, but when I went down the aisle he was there again, as if he hadn't left at all.
I'll write more later, and will respond to comments as well, but I'm very tired from the vacation. I have some things to say about what I experienced, about people and what they do on long train rides, a dream I had about shopping in a magazine aisle while hiding from a man because I was only in my pajamas, my life-changing experience reading Meher Baba's _Life at it's Best_ and my new search for a Perfect Master, my experience with seeing the most beautiful and complete rainbows I have ever seen, my learning about Micro Bursts and bear grass, seeing a bear and other animals. There is a lot for me to say, but I'm too tired to say it all right now. I will probably come online after I sleep for a while to write about everything.
A double rainbow. (Taken from inside the train as it was leaving to head home.)
A rainbow halo in the clouds on the flight home. (Can you see it?) I'd love it if someone could explain this phenomenon to me.
This last photo was taken as I was saying goodbye to the lodge we stayed in. It's the most beautiful and complete rainbow I've ever seen, and it perfectly arcs above the lodge.