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Friday, June 13, 2014

PLAYING WITH CHANCE




A Friday the Thirteenth Full Moon. Can't beat that. I'm a fan of Friday the Thirteenth. It has been my good look day as long as I recall. In childhood I wondered why I never had bad luck on Friday 13 like rumor said it was supposed to be. My best Friday 13 experience was in the winter of 1975-76. I went to work that morning with no thought of it being a loaded day. Walking to work I took a shortcut through Kress, a variety store, used to be called a Dime Store. I took my time through the toy section looking at everything. Found a wobbly rubber snake that was so real I could not buy it. I knew if I bought it, I'd prank somebody with it, and it would give somebody a heart attack. I'd probably still have it and it would be on the floor someplace in the house. It was too creepy. Then I found Silly String. Hadn't seen any before. Bought a can and went to work with it in jacket pocket. High tension time at work. I was dressing crazy in this time for the fun in it. Wore a black mohair suit that day, an electric blue shirt and white dress shoes. Had co-bosses, a couple, people I'd seriously lost respect for. I was at my space doing my work when "Miss Bird" sauntered by saying something smart-mouth and looked at me like, what are you going to do about it? I took the can of Silly String from my right jacket pocket and emptied the contents on her standing still in shock unable to move. A spontaneous sculpture of pink Silly String. Steam was blowing out her ears as she picked the pink string from herself a string at a time like lifting tinsel off a Christmas tree, taking her time, deliberate movements of suppressed rage. A co-worker struggled just as hard to suppress her laughter. Miss Bird picked it all up from the floor, dropped it in a trash can nearby and marched to her man with glowing red eyes. I had a good laugh within, laughing at myself for doing something so spontaneous. It surprised me. I didn't see it coming, not a second before it happened. Subconscious saw it, but conscious mind was outside the loop. Even wondered if subconscious mind might have set up the situation. I picked up what few things were mine, said good-bye to co-worker and walked out the door. Passing the front desk, I said, Bye. Mr Bird said, Forever? I said, And ever, and stepped out the doorway onto the sidewalk, never looked back.
 
 
I walked home thinking, What have you done? I didn't regret it even a frog hair. But it surprised me. I'm not that spontaneous. I was discovering and playing with chance in that time and learning the value of spontaneity. I learned it better than I knew. It was a time in the life of a major inner change and chance was becoming something I relied on, learning that chance and the random was quite different from what  I had thought. The I Ching showed me chance opens to a new idea of order. I was trusting chance in that time, going with it, seeing where it might take me. I'd gone nowhere thinking I was doing something. Letting go and giving over to chance was admitting I'm no good at directing my life. Chance couldn't do worse than my conscious mind. I was walking home, a half mile or so, and it struck: This is Friday the Thirteenth! What have you done? Wait a minute, I said to self, Friday the Thirteenth had always been a good day for me. It didn't ring true. I was looking at leaving the job a mistake. I thought, What the hell, I'm interpreting again. It was no mistake to leave that job. Should have left it months before. By the time I reached home, I had shed thoughts of leaving the job as an error and was left with jubilation to be free of the interpersonal knot of tension that went with the job. A few months before, I had found to my personal satisfaction that God Is. I was changing fast and didn't know it. I was wondering, too, if now that I'm a lover of God, maybe I'm supposed to act right and not spray people with Silly String. Maybe I'm supposed to keep a lousy job and try to make it work like a bad marriage. I don't think God saw it that way. I felt like God had a good laugh too. It was like God was saying, Get out of that Negative environment, buy some Silly String. I was happy I'd done the right thing by the time I reached home.
 
 
Chip, whose apartment was behind mine, I saw working on his Volkswagen engine with repair book, parked by the curb in front of the property. He asked what I was doing home at this time, between ten and eleven. I said I'd quit my job. He said, It's time for celebration--I'll get some beer. He went back to his apartment and brought out two bottles of beer. We sat on the curb behind the Volkswagen. He told me what he was doing on the car and I told him about my morning caper. It was a good spirit between us. We laughed all the time we talked. After we'd finished the beers and our talking wound down, he needed to get back to his car and I wanted to change clothes and settle. A few minutes after twelve, co-worker pulled up out front and brought me a big package of every color of Sugar Lips in celebration. Shortly thereafter, another friend, Bob Brown, dropped by with a bottle of champagne. He saw I was home and stopped. He didn't know I'd left the job. He just happened to have this bottle somebody had given him and was looking for a reason to drink it. Pop went the cork. He had with him Patti Smith's new and first album, Horses, exclaiming I needed to hear it. I can only keep it overnight. He'd be back to pick it up next day. Fine. Chip came in and had some champagne with us. We drank it in plastic cups in celebration of the country song then popular, Champagne In A Dixie Cup. I probably had a Kiss Live album on the record player. It's what I was listening to at the time, Eric Clapton and Steve Winwood's band Traffic, among many others, like Dylan and the Stones, Isaac Hayes, Santana. Saw Kiss in concert a few months later. It was just before they started filling auditoriums. It was the tour that put them on the map following their first live double album. The entire day and into the night spontaneous party went with me like having a troupe of modern dancers swirling in circles around me to Steve Reich's Music For 18 Musicians, chance encounters with friends ready to celebrate. By bedtime late that night I was convinced that chance had done its thing again.
 
 
I don't think of it as chance anymore. Its meaning has grown. I like the saying, Let go and let God. That's what I was doing. Just because I didn't know about God doesn't mean God didn't know about me. Following chance, God led me to his/her metaphorical doorstep. It tickled God that it was so easy to reel me in and impress me out of my mind doing it. I don't mean giving over to chance is the Path to finding God, because I don't know. I felt like God was saying it's time for me to wake up, it's time. Exploring chance opened a trust in the unknown, becoming aware that consciousness is everywhere. There is only consciousness. Like what Emerson called the over-soul, I've come to see that what we call the soul is consciousness. Consciousness sees through our eyes, hears through our ears, feels through the skin, thinks through the mind, is the self that sees our dreams. All living beings are animated by consciousness. Life, itself, is consciousness. The nature of consciousness is love. Consciousness is only love. When I allowed chance, I opened into realizing I had discovered consciousness. It is so not separate from self and others, even insect and worm others, it's like a word that is merely a thumbtack, it tells nothing, a nonsense syllable. It's why God is the commonly agreed upon word that amounts to a sign pointing to the unnamable. It is so much our very self, our very innermost self that sees thought, is the self we mean when we say, "I thought to myself." I see in that common saying an unconscious recognition that consciousness observes thought. It's consciousness seeing the thoughts in my mind and directing my fingers that dance on the keyboard independent of thought, automatically. When we say I, it is consciousness we mean. I is a much deeper part of ourselves than our names. I is the consciousness within. God is the ocean of consciousness, of which we are not separate. We are no more separate from consciousness than we are separate from the stars. I'm fascinated by a recent discovery in astronomy inspiring thought that the universe might be a brain. In infinity, micro can recede infinitely and macro can increase infinitely. Who's to say the universe is not conscious? Consciousness Is. There is only consciousness. All else, illusion, imaginings. Illusion in infinity is, itself, infinite. There is no end to trying to figure things out. I wonder if my explorations with chance opened a peephole in the veil of illusion, enough for the light on the other side to catch my attention. That's illusion too.   
 
photos by tj worthington
 
 
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