|The Dead Lifeboat|
|Thanks to Dimitri Orlov for introducing me to this artist|
The Soul of the 1%
Thanks to Jonas Burgert for this brilliance
While the Buddha sat beneath the Bodhi tree realizing perfect enlightenment, he was visited by Mara, the tempter. With him, Mara brought his three daughters Desire, Lust and Aversion in order to tempt the Buddha away from his coming enlightenment. This is a myth that all spiritual traditions share. In Christianity Jesus is tempted by Satan in a similar fashion. While Jesus is starving in the desert he is asked to turn stones into bread. Satan also asks him to test his god by throwing himself from the top of a temple. The final temptation is all of the kingdoms of the world. Satan takes Jesus to the highest mountain and shows him all of the kingdoms with the riches they contain and tells him that they can all be his. The common theme in this temptation myth is diversion from spiritual truth. The tempter's goal is to get the nearly liberated spiritual practitioner to become preoccupied with distraction and diversion within secular life. Anything will work so long as it keeps the individual from seeing the truth about reality clearly. Anything to keep you from following your bliss and therefore living an authentic life. There is only one requirement for complete liberation. That requirement is that you must first have faith that liberation is possible. Once you have this faith, all that's left is for you to overcome the fear that is created by your faith rubbing against the illusion. When you approach your liberation there is friction and heat from this rubbing action. It causes the tempter, who is guarding the gate beyond which is liberation, to take notice of you. Your temptations will begin.
I was reminded of this myth recently by developments in my own life. I have no illusions of grandeur. I'm no Jesus or Buddha. I'm no more important than either of them claimed to be. I'm just a man capable of spiritual enlightenment just as every man. I'm imbued with the same consciousness as the rest of humanity. I'm humbled by my own Buddha nature. It seems to me that the division between the flatlands of the Matrix and the wonderment of liberation can be witnessed by synchronicity. That is, the visible proof of the spectacular world that awaits you in your liberation, is synchronicity. This is what emerges for you when you follow your bliss. The synchronicity is always happening but we tend to not notice it. That's the tempter at work guarding the programming that's in place to control your mind. The tempter projects the American Hologram and created the American Dream. He creates the illusion of permanence in matter. He tricks us into believing that the world is fixed, deterministic, and immovable in it's misery. It's not. In fact, reality is very malleable. What the system does not want you to know is that you can change reality with your mind. Now, I realize that the last statement can be driven to absurd conclusions that are packaged and marketed to New Age Sheilaism and sold as nonsense such as "The Secret." A documentary about the supposed "law of attraction" which is nothing more than Santa Clause for gullible adults with no moral compass. This is not the type of reality bending to your will that I'm referring to. There's a big difference between getting a Lamborgini by wishing it into existence and the help that you get when you follow your bliss, or your purpose. It's not about getting things, it's about living authentically. It's not about materialism, it's about honoring your soul and the higher nature of consciousness. If you do the good work of living and supporting other sentient beings in their quest to live, then you will be helped along your way.
I've just recently decided to believe that synchronicity is a real phenomenon. Believing in synchronicity does not eradicate coincidences but it does make it tricky sometimes to figure out what is and is not synchronistic. At times it becomes complicated to decipher the meaning in the events that happen in your life. I recently submitted my resignation to the Matrix. That event was largely marked by my resigning from a career as an EMT. I'll still be working part time for a convalescent service making 11 dollars an hour to spend two days a week "granny snatchin'" as it's called in EMT jargon. I have to do that to ensure access to money because I have a toddler and a wife to care for. It's a necessary step on my way towards a permaculture existence. Resigning from the Matrix was made possible by taking an opportunity to move in with family. Next, 14 acres of pasture made itself available just behind the residence. The next day we found renters to rent our house. They want to buy it but don't have the credit and means just yet. We were prepared to walk away from the mortgage. Then right on que John Michael Greer published a blog titled "Waking Up, Walking Away," which was about doing what I had just committed to doing. It seemed everywhere I looked I was being told that I was making the right decision.
The point of what I'm doing is to walk into a life of voluntary poverty/simplicity. This is necessary behavior for me to stay true to myself. There was much psychological distress being created in my mind due to my own inaction. I knew that the Titanic was sinking and I was just paralyzed with business as usual (BAU) in action. I was too confused, afraid, and unguided to do anything meaningful about it. I would love to simply get rid of my truck and have just one vehicle between my wife and I. My wife is not ready for that level of commitment to voluntary poverty, but she is aware of my goals and she is supportive, and I think she wants something similar. She's just cautious with our forward momentum into this new lifestyle. I believe caution is probably a virtue at this juncture. My head has been full of voluntary poverty, resignation from the Matrix, and counter/permaculture thinking. I made contact with a permaculture initiative in Asheville NC, "Permaculture In Action." I had a 45 minute interview with the man responsible for the class. It was like talking to myself, only a myself with a lot of permaculture knowledge. The next day JMG published his next blog "The Myth of the Machine." I read his blog out loud to my wife and visiting mother (she had flown in to SC from SoCal for my Birthday). It's mainly about how the television and car dominate American thinking. I read that blog out loud, and then in typical American style, began packing a bag for a road trip.
The next several days presented me with a confused and contradictory synchronicity. My wife has a photography business (among other small business ventures using a camera, a keen and adept thrifting talent, and a hustling internet savy). My wife had made contacts in Hilton Head SC in the near past, and those contacts contacted her to give her money in exchange for her ability with a camera. This was our business with Hilton Head and the above mentioned road trip. Now, if you don't know about Hilton Head SC, it's probably because you aren't a millionaire golfer with a yacht. As I drove the straight line of interstate monotony, I was afforded plenty of time to begin marinating in the irony that would be the next several days. I was not on this trip to assist my wife on her business venture, nor was my mother. We were there because part of the payment for the six hours of work my wife would end up doing over the course of three nights and two days, was to have a yacht club stay comped for three nights.
Just so you aren't confused about the nature of this yacht club...I'll try to explain with a bit of detail. There was a large living room with all hard wood floors and a kitchen with everything except a stove and oven (we were in the cheap room), even the cabinets had plates, glasses, and silverware was present. There was a very nice and deep sink, a full sized refrigerator, a microwave, a regular sized coffee maker and a toaster. The counter tops were granite. There was a large screen television mounted on an antique piece of furniture with two plush chairs and a nice couch. There was a glass dining table and a glass coffee table. There was a large sliding glass door that led to the balcony that had a view of the harbor with all of the yachts. There was a full bathroom with a heated fan that blew over the toilet and tile floors. The shower was even tiled up to the ceiling in large 12X12 inch tiles. The bedroom had another large flat screen television at the foot of the king sized bed which was next to the second bathroom. The walk in closet was so big that we ended up using it for my son's room, it's where he slept in his pack and play. After walking into this "hotel" room I understood why my wife told me that I didn't need to take my sleeping mat and sleeping bag. My mother slept in the living room since the couch had a rather comfortable pull out bed. I was literally in the one percent's SC headquarters.
The people there were so rich that they couldn't help but take the 99%'s money. We had to pay $1.25 just to drive over the bridge into la de da land. Once there, we had to stop at a guard booth before we entered. Entered what? I was confused as well. "That will be five dollars to enter please" said the guard. I couldn't help but think we were in the wrong place.
"No, we're staying at the yacht club...my wife has business there."
"Do you have a pass?" Asked the guard. To which my wife replied from the passengers seat "there should be one, can you check."
"I have no way to check that ma'am." We later found out that this was a lie, but I didn't mind since he thought we were the 1% come to la de da it up in Hilton Head.
So I handed him the five dollars and rather incredulously asked "and what exactly are we paying to enter into?"
"You're entering into a private community. This pass will allow you to stay for the day. Have a nice day."
After about two miles of driving away from the shack, just about the time we reached the club, I was able to pick my mouth up off of the floor board. We had to pay to get to the island and then we had to pay to simply be allowed to spend our money in this private community for the day. What was the universe trying to tell me? It would take all of the next day and night for me to relax and let go and let television. I was scared to leave the "hotel" for fear of the type of filthy rich cretins I would happen across.
The next day my wife was able to pry me out of the "hotel" room to go eat some lunch. After spending some time at the rich kids park with Ayden Zen, my 20 month old son, we made our way to the "crazy crab" to eat lunch. We got three lunch specials for the bargain price of 55 dollars. It was terrible fake food. My wife and I got blackened grouper sandwiches that had what vaguely resembled a slice of tomato on them. I removed the hideous and incompetent reproduction of a tomato slice from my plate. There were about eight fries and a small cup of slaw. The "coke" that I got to drink was not coke, it was petroleum sugar colored brown. I returned it to our drunken elderly waitress and told her it was entirely to sweet. She looked at me oddly. I asked if she had ever had that complaint before and she informed me that she had never, and that she could tell I have a sensitive palate (I once ate a ghost pepper raw...the entire thing...and did not lose sleep). Apparently I do have a sensitive palate because 100% high fructose petroleum sugar is too damn sweet for my liking. I ordered a draft beer for $3.50 that ended up clocking in at about 9 ounces of supposedly local brewed beer. I couldn't help but reflect on how it appeared that I was too good for this food, until I realized that it wasn't me cause this wasn't food. I just prefer to eat food of the real persuasion, instead of the industrially produced, proto-food look-not-a-like petroleum product that is unconvincingly sold as food for entirely too much. The next day we went to the grocery store and filled the "hotel" fridge with somewhat real food and beer. I wasn't about to get hood wigged into partaking in that petroleum fiesta artificialness again.
I spent all but a half hour in the "hotel" for the rest of the two days and nights we had left in the den of the 1%. The next day my mother and wife went "thrifting" at some rich thrift stores (which I still haven't quite rapped my mind around) and that gave me several hours to read and drink beer by myself in the "hotel" room (New Belgium's "First Snow"..it's a great mass produced dark IPA that I highly recommend). I stayed on the balcony where I read and watched the tourist and rich people. I beat myself up for a while for not throwing the pair of shorts into my bag before we left the house back in normal proleville where we came from. It was a nice 72 degrees on the balcony. I got hot sitting there reading, in February...in SC. But I don't have time to go into that. I sat there and alternated between reading and watching people from my perch. It was interesting to watch. It was mostly just old rich and retired yacht club members out la de da'ing around yachtville. Every once in a while some Japanese tourists or French tourist would appear with all manor of digital recording instruments to document their vacation with. I'm quite certain I ended up in a video or two representing the 1% . Athough I was sporting my blue tie die pajama pants. There were a handful of couples that belonged to the working, common, proletariat type class of folk. They were the "temporarily embarrassed millionaires" that Steinbeck was talking about. They were there to gawk at the yachts and dream of the day when they would have their yacht. I couldn't help the irony I felt when they would look up at me, on a yacht club "hotel" balcony. They clearly thought that I was among the 1%. Any prole could tell that I was a member, and had a yacht, because what else was I doing up there.
After a couple of days I was beginning to feel as though I was being unjustifiably judgmental about the people and their yachts. I thought maybe I should give them a chance. Maybe they don't all fit into this stereotype that they so clearly fit in to. The last night we were there my wife had to take some pictures of the Bar on the roof of the club overlooking the harbor. They were having a social with half off drinks and free heavy ordourves. I didn't want to go, but my wife really wanted me to since we had my mother to watch the Booger (my term of endearment for my son). I submitted to her will and ironed the pair of pants and button up shirt I had brought along for just such an inevitable occasion. I walked into the bar and was smacked in the face by the thick cloud of rich people condescension. They couldn't even see me because there noses were in the way. However, they could smell me, and they knew by the stank that I had clearly wandered into the wrong establishment. My wife set up her $5000 camera on it's couple hundred dollar professional tripod, and I escaped out to the large deck that overlooked the harbor so that I could breath some condescension free air. My wife finished her pictures quickly and ,without me having to say anything, she knew that we needed to leave. She is used to those types of people and events from the weddings that she has photographed. She has fun blending in and "socially experimenting" as she puts it. I, on the other hand, was just as allergic to them as they to me. I was happy to leave and I didn't even eat so much as a cube of rich free cheese.
We left the yacht club bar with the fifth story view of the harbor below to go have a romantic walk along the rich harbor. We went back to the "hotel" room so that we could each grab a First Snow for our walk. I figured, hell, this is a private community and I'm part of the 1%...who's gonna mess with us? The law is on the payroll around those parts. Sure enough a "security guard" in a police cruiser cruised by and gave us parrot heads the thumbs up over our choice of beverage (I witnessed many a rich millionaire parrot head drinkin' American Corn beer behind their thinly veiled koozies that day from my third story perch). On our walk we had the privilege of getting to watch a foursome of Senator son's and daughters (a married couple no doubt) enjoy their meal from the stern of a yacht from Martha's Vineyard. I know that because the boat told me that's where it was from in large foot high black letters located on the stern. We walked right passed them and they didn't even notice us. I think I saw that one of them caught a scent of our hillbilly asses however.
That morning my Son decided to get up at 0400 hrs. I guess he woke up in his walk in closet (I mean third room in the "hotel") and decided that he had had enough of this non-sense. It was time to go home. We got up, packed, and got the hell out of there with the sunrise. My wife and I got into an argument on the way home...about finances. What was I being told by this trip into the Den of the 1%? I believe I was being tempted by the tempter...I'll call him Mara because I'm of WASP (white anglo-saxon protestant...my mother informed me what that meant) descent and I like the looks I get when I say I'm "Buddhist." Well these days I may cope to being a Druid if the right person asks. I think it was some type of esoteric temptation/test. I'm pretty sure I passed it, cause I can't wait to get up and continue packing my boxes of stuff up to take with me on my last exit from the Matrix. I can't wait to take the next trip down the road that leads to the trail that leads to the virgin forest path into the mystical Druid grove. I'm on fire with synchronistic messages and I am listening with my soul.