Category Archives: Extras

Living the eight fold path

Book 3 Message From the Author

Book 3 Origins

Not long ago I wrote, I’m not writing stories in hope of anyone, besides myself, ever reading them. I’m not craving fame nor fortune for these efforts. Indeed it is an effort that is ripe with the potential to cause karma. Karma I don’t need and that I don’t desire. So instead, I write this story to convey the liberation that has become available to all sentient beings. The liberation that is available for those who read this as well as for those who do not. And that’s what I meant. I mean, that is, the part about karma causes me great worry. But the drive to write is from a source more grounded than karma. At least I hope it is.

“Give me a paragraph or two to explain.” That’s how it started. I’ll explain it this way. Most nights when I go to sleep I start with clear mind meditation. I’ve practiced this for more than forty years. It starts by waking me to the pillow and the bed. Laying on my back, legs outstretched, arms at my sides. I turn my thoughts to see this place in the bed as a meditation. Neither comfortable, snuggling into the mattress, pillows, and sheets, nor uncomfortable. Just being here in a meditation pose. My body recognizes the mind and my mind recognizes the body. The task for the body works to calm itself and relax. My mind does the same. No aches, no pain. No worries, no running dialogue. Mind and body in equipoise. 

To tell the truth, I often have to start over from the beginning a dozen or more times before the mind and body reach harmony. What follows is worth the several minutes spent starting over, and over, and over again. Well, truth be told, you’re not supposed to tell people what happens when you reach the various Jhanas stages or whatever because when we hear what someone else got from meditation we strive to experience the same or better sort of thing. Totally makes sense when you hear or read that. At the same time who wants to get just a little hint or something substantial to start with. Otherwise, after the third or fourth… legs outstretched my arms at my side, blah blah blah. We just close our eyes and fall asleep.

Here’s some straight-up room temperature, peaty Isla Scotch. Let’s agree, a shot of Ardbeg. Anyway, analogy aside, I walk into the dream state and I can see fingers tapping away on a keyboard. I can hear the keys getting pressed. Sometimes the typing is fast and other times it is slow. The dream begins to pull back away from the keyboard and fingers. I can see the blurry frame and well-lit monitor of what looks to be a laptop. As the dream pulls further back the room begins to come into view, but nothing is actually in clear focus. Slowly, back and back, and away from the laptop, the dream opens.

Eventually, I can see the person sitting at the dining room table, typing away. There must be five or six empty chairs and no one else in the room. Just one person typing away. The room is dimly lit with what seems like a wall sconce positioned just behind the typist. I’m floating and observing and just starting to wonder if this dream could be any more boring when I’m suddenly aware the typing has stopped. The typist has left the table. I heard a door close and it was that sort of noise where I wondered, was that in the dream, or is someone in the house? I chose to stay awake in the dream.

As the dream moves me toward the laptop this time instead of away. Closer and closer until all I can see is what the typist had written. I scrolled all the way to the top of the writing. 

Here’s what it was about.

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Travel Time

Eavesdropping isn’t my thing, but I could hardly help but hear his conversation. Yes, I will, he said. Of course, I can do that too on my way home. I’ve gotta stop to get a few packs of cigarettes, and the car is almost out of fuel. After that, I’ll drive to the pharmacy to pick up your mom’s prescriptions, and then I’ll go to the supermarket. I’ll be late, very late, getting home for dinner. But, is there anything else besides potatoes, olive oil, diapers, and coke that you need me to get? He sits quietly for several minutes, listening to the voice on the other end of the call. Then, for the next seven or eight minutes, he only confirms he’s still listening to the voice on the other end by uttering an occasional, yes, okay, yeah.

Finally, he ends a rather long goodbye and then returns to the task of helping me. There’s a thick plastic separating the two of us with just a slot at the bottom where we can pass documents back and forth. The plastic is there to provide some protection for not spreading the virus from me to him and vice versa. And, I’m confident the same level of protective measures are behind the airline’s decision to make everyone check-in at the counter this morning. The online portal wouldn’t let any passengers get an electronic boarding pass.

Instead of an electronic boarding pass, the passengers, all one hundred and twenty, including me, have to get a paper boarding pass. Yesterday, I had to go to the copy store to obtain paper copies of my covid test results, travel documentation, and passport. The copy store attendant handled the documents, the copies and then handed them to me. This morning I’ve handed these same paper documents through the small opening below the plastic barrier to the attendant. He’s now handled them and passed them, one by one, after typing the required information into the terminal before him, back through the slot to me. 

If I wasn’t already a little irritated by standing here for fifteen minutes waiting for the phone conversation. I did feel the level of frustration elevate at the irony of the plastic barricade and all of the paper passing back and forth between hands. I’m the last person in the ticket process. The twenty or so people behind me had already obtained their boarding pass at the other attendant’s window and moved on to the long lines waiting for the security check. Nothing to check-in? He asks. No, I tell him I only have the carry-on luggage this morning.

Passing through security was smooth. The long delay at the check-in still aggravated me, and the phone call delay was still biting at my demeanor too. When I finally reached the boarding gate, the passengers were already on the plane. The last call, said the flight attendant as she took my boarding pass from my hand and scanned it. Do you have your proof of your negative test? She asked. I handed her the paper copy, and she handed it back to me after carefully checking the date and the name on my boarding pass for a match. You’ll have to check the luggage sir, she says. We’re full up in the overhead compartments.

She attached the tag to my carry-on. Then, she handed me the other half of the bag tag to claim it when I arrived at my destination. Which I did, after a fourteen-hour flight. But, of course, the airline lost my bag.

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