“Did you ever wonder about supernatural powers,” Sarva asked? We’re on a Monday morning 15K walk. Sarva always does long walks on Monday mornings and he typically does Dharma talks as we travel through the beach towns along the promenade. He continued, “While we sit in meditation, practice walking meditation, and at every opportunity when we train our mind to be fully present we are using supernatural powers. The untrained mind naturally wanders through its pretending and make believe worlds. It may busy itself with repetitive song, or playing out some conversation that never happened — but practices over and over again to be ready just in case our spouse ever tees it up. Over the first several years of Mahayana meditation practice we learn many techniques to help us train the mind to leave it’s pretend world to instead be part of reality. Each time you bring your mind back to reality you are performing a supernatural power.
Power is cool
The definition of supernatural power according to wikipedia, ‘Powers that are supernatural, relating to, or being above or beyond what is natural; unexplainable by natural law or phenomena; abnormal.’ As such, the normal state of mind is untrained, and undisciplined. The normal mind daydreams, ruminates, and spends all of its energy in a world of make believe. Our continuous efforts to stop the mind from these normal activities, is by definition, the practice and development of supernatural powers. I’m not trying to be funny or to make a play on words. I’m quite serious, what you and I are doing in the practice is learning to use supernatural powers. This should not be taken lightly and you have to take responsibility for the Karma because it is yours.”
Walks with Sarva
Sarva is always upbeat and even when the Dharma talk gets heavy, as this one is, there is always a smile. Also, the generous laugh here and there through the talk helps to keep a sense of gratitude for the learning. Mysticism is the last vesel for talks of the supernatural. Even religions, once steeped in the supernatural have dropped the emphasis on these states of mind. Sarva has a way of adding the science to the Dharma and the talks always provide the means to make the wisdom self evident. If you can see it for yourself it’s always more believable. I do see these supernatural powers myself. I’m constantly catching my mind wandering off in thoughts. It loves to go over the same story lines again and again, the past, the future, the what-ifs, etc. Before you know it, 20 minutes, even half the day can be spent in these make believe, pretend world and the present moment has been totally ignored. Then again, on the best days, when my supernatural or magical powers are strong, I catch the mind drifting and bring it back to “just this.” No thinking or concentrated thinking. Abracadabra… Poof! I alter the natural state of the mind.
After setting the appointment for the fingerprinting from fieldprint.com I went to the appointment on time. The location I chose was a camera store. They had the fieldprint fingerprinting machine there and after logging into the system they confirmed my appointment in the online portal. It tool less than 5 minutes to scan a full set of my prints. A few hours later I had an email letting me know my FBI report was ready for download.
The email confirmation contained a link for me to follow to get to my report. I logged into the system and was prompted to request a verification code. A few seconds after making the request I got an email with the code. From there it was a quick copy – paste and the online portal gave me the official FBI background report in a PDF format. I downloaded it to my computer. It was such good news to read the FBI did not have any criminal record on me.
Apostilling The FBI Background
Spain requires the FBI report to be apostilled by the U.S. State Department which is located in Washington D.C. To accomplish this from my location in Phoenix AZ I found monumentvisa.com provided the service. The website provides an online application, online payment, and a document upload where I was able to provide the pdf for my FBI report. Monument Visa will print the report and hand carry the FBI report to the State Department to make the apostille request. The State Department takes two days to complete the appostilling. After two days, Monument Visa retrieves the apostilled document and mails it to me. They have a few return options including a free, 3 day USPS with tracking, and for extra fee they can provide next day shipping.
I’ve completed the form, uploaded my FBI report, and made payment. A few hours later I had an email confirmation of the payment. Early the next morning I had an email from Monument Visa letting me know they had everything they needed for the appositilling and that they would be delivering the document to the State Department the next morning. And three days later, they sent me confirmation they had my apostilled documents and had mailed them. the email included the USPS tracking number.
There are a few steps to cover before you can get the extended stay Visa. Most of the consulates will require that you meet specific criteria which can be:
FBI background check
Appointment at the consulate
The first thing to do is set the appointment with the consulate. Most of them provide an online calendar. I couldn’t find anything less than 60 days out so you’ll have time to get all of the paperwork and legwork done. However, the FBI and Insurance requirements will take a long time to complete, and 60 days goes by pretty fast when you’re trying to get something done from the government. Apostilling these documents will take even longer. Once you have your appointment set, it’s time to get the FBI background report.
There are a few FBI channelers that can expedite the process. You can find a list of approved channelers on the FBI website, here. For my purpose and location I went with Fieldprint. I also liked their modern — online processing and scheduling system — better than many of the other services which were all done by traditional mail. The FBI report is sent in PDF to the email you registered. For some countries, that’s all you need is the report, but some will require apostilling. I’ll explain this process later.
The channeler company will schedule you for a fingerprinting appointment and once they scan your prints, you’ll need to complete the FBI request form. With Fieldprint, I completed the form online, than waited for them to approve the form. Within a day I received an email from them notifying me that I was approved and they provided a link to complete my appointment. I followed the link from the email and logged into the platform using the username and password I set up previously. There were a few more questions to complete for my height, weight, eye color, etc. before the appointment could be set. I chose the location closest to me that had Saturday appointments available, and set the date and time. After completing the payment ($50), I was finished. Fieldprint emailed me confirmation of the appointment, and another for the payment receipt.
I’ll cover the fingerprinting appointment in the next post.