Thursday, January 12, 2006

Strange Things Happen.

Probably the biggest puzzle we ever have to deal with is to figure out the meaning of the world according to ourselves. This ties in with the most profound question of them all; “Who am I?” The solution to the puzzle possibly contains the answer to the question. Finding out who you are no doubt causes the pieces of the puzzle to come together automatically. I had just finished typing the words “Who am I?” and was sitting here staring at the screen when Susanne came into the room with her hands behind her back and said, “Which one do you want first?” In the spirit of the moment and, because I often react like this anyway I replied, “Enlightenment” One of her hands came forward with a small laminated picture of Ramana Maharshi that I had had for years; used to have it stuck in the brim of my black fedora. I had lost it on a trip to France. I was sorry to lose it but, like just about everything, I put it out of my mind. “Who am I?” is the phrase that Ramana is most known for. Well, I’m not going to speculate on the appearance of the picture or the very strange feature of the moment in which it appeared or the uncanny response I gave prior to its appearance. Strange things do happen. What makes them strange is only that we don’t understand them.

I was of a mind to write something lyrical. I had had this idea in my mind for a few days and it seemed like the time today to write it. It wasn’t flowing right out as it usually does and that is why I was sitting here staring at the screen when Susanne came in. Now my course is changed and I guess I will write about this. What was in her other hand? It was a microphone holder; a plastic grip into which you insert the microphone. I had set it on my desk one day and it vanished from the room. I was recording at the time and it suspended my project until I could drive to my friend’s business and buy another. It just migrated out of the room to an unlikely location. There is probably a rational explanation for this; I just don’t know what it is.

Early last year I was alone at the house. Susanne had gone to Portugal or somewhere. I don’t remember now where she was. I just remember I was alone with her mother for a week or so. There’s a pub down the way where I have performed on occasion. I don’t go there often, maybe four or five times a year. I don’t like bars. Usually I am a guarded person. When I drink, which I seldom do, I can get ebullient and friendly; friendlier than I want to be on later reflection because it brings people into my life that I find annoying at other, saner times. A Finish man approached me, well into his cups, and got really chummy. Apparently I said a few things to him that made him get the idea that I was from outer space or some far location. He was with another fellow; a large burly and sometimes contentious fellow that I had seen before. Lacking my usual reserve I invited them back to the house. I played some music, the drinking went on. Both of these fellows have/had an alcohol problem.

After a hour or two I got tired of their company and just wanted them out of the house. The Finish man seemed obliged to leave. The other fellow sat their in an intransigent stupor, although he heard me, I know, when I asked them to go. Well, I asked them to go several times and then I said, “Well, if you don’t go I’m going to have to put you out.” The Finish fellow was getting excited at this point. He wanted his friend to leave and his friend wouldn’t leave. So he went out of the room because it looked like something physical was going to transpire. He was gone into the yard for a moment, not very long. Certainly not long enough to accomplish what he would have had to accomplish in such a short time as we shall see after. And it is unlikely, given the circumstances of the moment that he would have done this, could have done this, as it was obvious he was more afraid than anything.

At that time I was in the apartment downstairs which I used for a recording studio. The upstairs was locked. I had set my keys where I always set them when I come into the studio. The Finish fellow came back into the room and at that point I said, “Okay, that’s it.” I got up and pulled the other fellow to his feet, spun him around and propelled him out the door. It wasn’t an aggressive thing really. I just did it without thinking about it and with no emotional content. Suddenly they were both outside the door and then gone.

I went back inside and messed around a bit at whatever it was I did and then I went to go upstairs and found that my keys were gone. I looked everywhere but could not find them and so I slept downstairs that night as I could not get upstairs. In the morning Susanne’s mother opened the door and I was in. I could not find my keys anywhere. Later that day the Finish fellow dropped by with some beer. He was already on his way toward another alcoholic sunset. I asked him about my keys and he said he didn’t know anything about them. He was just worried there would be a fight and he was surprised that there hadn’t been. I got rid of him.

Susanne returned and I still had not found my keys. A few weeks passed. I looked all over the grounds, thinking that the Finish fellow might have spitefully thrown them into the bushes. He might have thrown them into the pond outside my door too. There’s so much shrubbery here that I could do no more than check the perimeters. I gave up on looking for my keys. Some weeks later Susanne came into the studio with my keys in her hand. “Where did you find them I asked?” They were under a cushion in her mother’s living room. It defies possibility. I never went upstairs that night. If I had I would never have thrown my keys on the couch. If I had thrown them on the couch they would not have migrated under the cushions and Susanne’s mother never sits on the couch.

There are a number of keys on the ring and to open the single side door requires a bit of a trick. The main door is chained from the inside, so a key wouldn’t have worked there. The Finish fellow had no idea of the layout of the house and the doors anyway. There are further reasons why he couldn’t have accomplished this but I don’t want to spend a lot of time on the argument. Strange things happen.

A few years ago I was spending the night with my friend Bud in Kihei, Maui. He lived in a large studio apartment. It was perhaps forty feet long and fifteen wide. He was lying on his bed at one end and I was meditating at the other. I had a locket sitting in front of me that had a picture of a young teenage girl in it. She had given it to me when I was on the East Coast some months earlier. The story there is unimportant, I think. While I was meditating I heard something hit hard behind me and then Bud cried out, “Holy shit!” I turned around and asked what happened. “This happened.” Bud said. I got up and went over to him. He was holding the bent locket in his hand. It had gone flying at him and just missed his head, crashing into the headboard behind him. Neither of us knew what to make of that. We still don’t. These are just a few events, not by any means are they anywhere near the strangest of events I could recount. Some of the stories I could tell might leave me in a less credible state with those who read here and, anyway, I’m not into that kind of thing here... or anywhere. Strange things happen.

Every one of these things could have a credible explanation, I guess- except maybe the locket. Other things I have not mentioned could not. Then there is the matter of typing “Who am I?” moments before Susanne comes into the room with Mr. Who am I’s picture. But let’s leave that all aside because the strangest thing of all is that we are here at all. We look for miracles and magic and mysteries while sidestepping the most miraculous and magical and mysterious thing of all; the fact that we are here. Who is it that is reading this, writing this, thinking about this? Who is it that is watching you in the process? Something there is within us and some of us know this. We just don’t know who.

Repetition makes things seem common and mundane; ordinary. There is nothing ordinary about the power of life. Our prisons are woven from the comfortable repetition of things within familiar parameters. This doesn’t make it that way. This just makes it ‘seem’ that way. But getting comfortable in life is like trying to get a good nights rest in a bus station; in a bus station seat. It’s not going to happen, not for very long.


Anonymous said...

"We look for miracles and magic and mysteries while sidestepping the most miraculous and magical and mysterious thing of all; the fact that we are here."

If ever someone asks me how I am so sure that God exists I often reply, "because we're here."

What more proof do you need?

I know a little bit about science and evolution and that explains a very small piece of the puzzle but the odds are staggering that we would even come into existence at all, especially in this way, with the ability to be self-aware, feel emotion, inquire into the mystery of it all, etc.

Thanks for this piece Les.


Justoffal said...

Years ago my parents bought a house on the east side from the original resident who had lived there since 1914. The house was built by her father, a fine sturdy gambrel type with 4 large bedrooms and a true turn of the century look. The woman was heading into assisted living and the money from the house sale was her kick-off funds. she had no living relatives and so she took what she needed and simply left the rest for us to sort through. The house was a treasure trove of antique bodices, gold eagle coins tucked away in snake oil tins and cedar chests full of goodies.

After a week in the new house all family members complained of sleepless nights. Worse, were the troublesome experiences that befell each and every one including the sensation of being touched, whispering that seemed to be louder than a voice and the feeling of being unable to move though wide awake.\

That very night I awoke to the feeling of being pulled off of my bed. I looked up to see my feet dangling firmly in the air. At first I thought I was dreaming but I was able to call out to my parents. The got up and started across the hallway. Suddenly my feet were thrown down violently at the cross post on the end of the bed. This was down with such force that it should have broken both heels, but somehow my feet hit the mattress instead.

After checking with spiritualist we were told to make a diligent search through the house and inventory all strange looking items.

We collected all of the former residents belongings into the dining room. When she arrived the spiritualist quickly selected a baptismal lace that had an envelope attached to it containing a lock of hair from the baptism some 60 years prior.

"you should be alright now" she said.

The night molestations ended.

Anonymous said...

You're always entertaining Les and I get swept along in what you are saying and the next thing I know I've been hustled down an alley and right out of this black and white world.


Anonymous said...

I've seen a lot of strange things so I know what you're talking about. I never had a single one get explained to me yet. We are the miracle though. Maybe if more people saw it more clearly we would treat each other better. It's a crying shame the way we treat each other.

Anonymous said...

Yes, this is the thing...the fact that we find ourselves in a kind of mysterious living "magic theatre", surrounded by a world which seems so ordinary, and more so as we grow older and our life gets more familiar through repetitition. But in spite of our complacency, and the tendency toward living life mechanically and away from full awakeness, the so-called present moment is always ever-fresh, until it instantaneously becomes memory and we filter that memory through our presumptions, identifications, and acquired beliefs.

As you mentioned, Sri Ramana Maharshi showed us the magic doorway of "Who Am I ?" which leads us out of our dream-life and into the awakened instant presence, where the final answer to that "most profound question of them all" forever shines self-illuminating.

--- j. d. omsatnam



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