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Friday, February 28, 2014

FALLING IN WITH MEHER BABA



yayoi kusama

A little bit ago I found and played a video of Mr Rogers in a remixed collage of him speaking the words in the song from different shows, "Did you ever grow something in the garden of your mind?You can grow ideas in the garden of your mind. It is good to be curious about many things. You can think about things and make believe. All you have to do is think, and they'll grow." I was too old for Mr Rogers when he appeared on tv, was one of the people that laughed at dumb Mr Rogers. Then one day I was sitting with a neighbor's kids and Mr Rogers was on the tv. The kids engaged. I sat watching him and them, listening to him, hearing his humility, his deep caring that came through for little kids. I sat there with tears running down my face for the loving attention he gave the kids and the charisma he had in their eyes. A man that doesn't speak down to kids, but talks to them the way every kid wants daddy to talk to them. I've found that no matter the company I'm talking with, the times I have brought up Mr Rogers with an adult I get laughed at in joking ways like the times I've requested Willard Gayheart to sing Little Red Wagon, a beautiful western swing love song. It pisses off the redneck in me and I want to say something hateful. I choose to say nothing and go on like I'm a good sport and can take it. I remind myself empathy is not an American characteristic, to stay home more often and let the people that don't value what Mr Rogers is doing congregate among themselves and leave me out of it. It was like sitting in church hearing about righteousness and we're such good Christians because we go to church, and wondering why the people in the church had no use for their neighbors or each other. The idea of loving one another was suspect of sexuality, like dancing, sin, repugnant. Not the kind of people I wanted to live all my life subject to. 
 
 
isamu noguchi
 
Evidently, this is what Mr Rogers brings up for me. A few times I have watched Mr Rogers on purpose, to give that vibe to my inner child, who doesn't get a lot of my attention. The video of Mr Rogers remix made my inner child dance. It woke up the kid within. I've preferred not to look back into childhood because it throws me into frustrated anger; hence, depression. But just now, my activated inner child reminded me there was much I enjoyed in that time. Why not take a look at the good times, because there were many. Like both my grandmothers, and mommy until daddy came home from the war. The neighbors up and down the street, parents didn't like any of them. We were the righteous ones. Lord have mercy. I know better than to dive back into that dark swamp. If I keep it up, I'll be cussing a streak in a very short time. The past. Let it go. As history, the past can be somewhat informative. However, recalling that part of my history puts me into a mood. It was WW2 PTSD on somebody whose screws were loose anyway. Fear to such an extreme something snapped within. He had no idea how close he came to being a victim of patricide. I reminded myself every night in bed crying into the pillow he was not worth a lifetime in prison. My sentence in his prison would run out eventually. I'd bear with it, go to school, see grandparents for affection, because a kid has no recourse; let them feed me in payment for the hitting and berating I couldn't defend myself from. He died to me and then started wanting my respect. Give me a break. Whatever. I'd think, though dared never say: I respect you like I respect dog shit--I step around it. I meant it. I learned pretty good avoidance skills from avoiding him in earnest. I went to the coast, as far as land allowed, seething inside. The hate took a lot of years to get over. Never did get over it, just turned it off like flipping a light switch. That didn't end it immediately, but it began the dimming process that took a few years, a seven-year cycle, and the next seven-year cycle working off the anger side effect at manual labor and going to an old-time religion church I loved.
 
australian aborigine
 
At this time of the life, looking back over the whole I see patterns unnoticed while involved in them. The most dynamic thing I found recently was seeing the first half of my life characterized by hate within, the second half characterized by love. I've come to see the balance. I've come to see the first half like drawing the bow string back so far that arm muscles are about to explode, holding it there until the aim is just right and letting go. The let go moment happened at age 33 when I fell in with Meher Baba. I say fell in with as a shorthand. The experience at the time I likened to a fish swimming along, saw something good to eat, bit, it had a hook, the hook pulled me through the water against my will and I ended up in Meher Baba's boat. I had no interest in rock star gurus. Peter Townsend of the Who made an album of his contribution to Baba gospel. I hated it. Never wanted to hear it again. I ended up at the Meher Spiritual Center between Myrtle Beach and North Myrtle Beach, between Hwy 17 and the ocean. Went there as a place to get out of my life for a few days or however long it took to think about things. Somebody I'd met at a party when I was so wasted I could hardly sit up straight started playing with my cosmic mind saying things like "Everything is nothing. Don't worry, be happy." My super-conscious mind that observes the conscious mind was thinking: Does this guy know what he is saying? A week or so later I ran into him at the apartment of a woman I knew from Knoxville, he had brought a kitten she wanted. I engaged him in conversation like I was talking with somebody I needed to know at the moment. I told him some things that were going on daily, signs, I'd been getting of the number 10 every day. And a spread of about a dozen postcards of Myrtle Beach, an Indian coin found on a small square of gold carpet sitting on some boxes put out for trash pickup. I picked up the coin. It said, 10.
 
 
meher baba / jesus
 
I told him I'd been thinking about getting on a bus and going to some small town in South Carolina, check into a cheap motel and stay there until whatever I needed to know came through. I knew it was something life foundation basic with no idea what. He told me about a place at Myrtle Beach, 500 acres of virgin forest, cabins in the woods, didn't cost much, had to supply my own groceries, that was it. It was a spiritual retreat for Meher Baba. I really wasn't interested in doing the guru thing. By this time I was a convinced atheist. I'd brought my own books, but found first day some copies of discourses and excerpts from discourses lying about and picked up the discourses, opened the book randomly and my eyes fell upon the direct answer to a question I had in the front of my mind. Opened it randomly again and eyes fell on a paragraph that answered another question in the front of my mind. It turned into a fun game for me playing with chance like the I-Ching, but this one was like rigged chance, like a consciousness was involved in selecting what I opened the book to. Two days of reading in the discourses like that, and some biographical the same way, all my big questions were answered. Third day, I was in the act of sitting in a chair on a screen porch to read some more and my elbow knocked over a glass of iced tea, the glass fell to the floor and broke. It was two feet away. It told me I'm not right. I realized I was a bundle of nerves and needed to settle down. Took a nap, woke wide awake refreshed, went to the meditation cabin and said, You've done it, you've convinced me. Now that I know God is, I gratefully accept the offer to guide my chariot through the rest of my life adventures. Love was the only path he allowed. I wanted the path of knowledge, not love. Later for that. I went with the path of love like a fish flopping in a net. Toward the end of the second half of my life, the hillbilly half, I can listen to Mr Rogers sing to little kids about the garden of our minds and tears bounce off my cheeks. It took several years to open the closed vault I'd locked my heart in for protection. I have enjoyed the second half so much, I'm grateful to the first half for getting me here. It's like the bowstring was drawn back so far it sent the arrow on a flight it could not have made otherwise.    
 
marcel duchamp
 
 
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2 comments:

  1. Nice piece. Very revealing. I think a good subtitle might have been channeling my own Mr. Rogers.

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  2. Your bringing me to the Meher Center 25 yrs. ago opened Baba's door wide for Marc, Ross and many of our friends and elevated our consciousnesses considerably. Thanks, my friend. Be well.

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