Category Archives: religion

PONDERING REGRET AND THE POWER OF LETTING GO

Greetings from the mountain top…

As hard as it is to fathom, sometimes the words of another are better than The Guru’s.

Such is the case with the subjects of regret, forgiveness, and letting go of the past.  Written by Beth Nielsen Chapman and sung by Willie Nelson, the following lyrics answers this pondering perfectly.

Nothing I Can Do About It Now

I’ve got a long list of real good reasons 
For all the things I’ve done 
I’ve got a picture in the back of my mind 
Of what I’ve lost and what I’ve won

 I’ve survived every situation 
Knowing when to freeze and when to run 
And regret is just a memory written on my brow 
And there’s nothing I can do about it now. 

I’ve got a wild and a restless spirit 
I held my price through every deal 
I’ve seen the fire of a woman’s scorn 
Turn her heart of gold to steel 

I’ve got the song of the voice inside me 
Set to the rhythm of the wheel 
And I’ve been dreaming like a child 
Since the cradle broke the bough 
And there’s nothing I can do about it now. 

Running through the changes 
Going through the stages 
Coming round the corners in my life 

Leaving doubt to fate 
Staying out too late 
Waiting for the moon to say goodniight 

And I could cry for the time I’ve wasted 
But that’s a waste of time and tears, 
And I know just what I’d change 
If went back in time somehow 
But there’s nothing I can do about it now.

Running through the changes 
Going through the stages 
Coming round the corners in my life 

Leaving doubt to fate 
Staying out too late 
Waiting for the moon to say goodniight 

And I could cry for the time I’ve wasted 
But that’s a waste of time and tears 
And I know just what I’d change 
If went back in time somehow 
But there’s nothing I can do about it now. 

I’m forgiving everything that forgiveness will allow 
And there’s nothing I can do about it now.

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Filed under Death, Philosophy, religion

PONDERING EDDY PART 9

Greetings from the mountain top…

The Guru was interviewed recently by a media outlet, and the reporter asked lots of questions about my many lifetimes, the truths I had learned, my students, and my influences.

When the topic turned to one of my favorite gurus, a foul-mouthed, rough-edged janitor named Eddy (about whom I have written on many occasions), the reporter became rather pushy.

“Was Eddy real?” he asked.

I didn’t answer.

“There are no photographs of him. No video recordings. The people in the neighborhood where you say he lived shake their heads, laugh, and walk away when the name ‘Eddy’ is uttered. No one even has a last name. Was Eddy real?”

I laughed in answer.

“Why are you laughing?”

“I laugh because I know exactly how Eddy would answer that question,” was my reply.

“How is that?”

“Oh, Eddy he’d just let out a big breath, relax as if he was being held by his momma in a warm blanket, and he would smile….he would smile in a serene manner like you see the Buddha in a statue…then he’d look at the floor, shake his head like he had just heard a private joke. His eyes would pause for a second (and you never knew if he was gathering his courage or restraining his fury) then those charcoal grey eyes of his would rise up and hold your gaze as only your mother can and only on those few occasions when you know you’ve really messed up and it’s pay attention or die….that kind of look…and he’d say…

“Fuck you.”

Peace out ya journalist freaks

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PONDERING THE DEBATE ON ABORTION AND THE WIZARD OF OZ

Greetings from the mountain top…

Part of the job of a guru is attempting to make sense of difficult subjects, questions, and debates.  Part of that process is having the patience to walk completely around a topic (sometimes for years), to poke and prod, to not form rapid, emotional conclusions and then to set the topic aside for a while before ultimately issuing an answer.

All of that is a polite way of saying that this lesson isn’t one entered in to lightly.

Let me save some time for those of you, on either side of the abortion issue, who may be lighting torches and heading to the mountain top–there is no opinion or ultimate answer in the words to follow.  Just a dissection of what has passed for intelligent discourse these past decades.

In the movie The Wizard of Oz Dorothy and her band of misfits, after asking a simple request from an ‘all powerful’ being, were sent on a seemingly impossible task–bring back the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West.  The wizard knew the task a waste of time which was exactly the point–get those pesky thinkers out of his midst before they ruined a good gig.

So it is with politicians and the election-time rehashing of the debate on abortion.

The Guru finds it most interesting that–as with homosexual marriage–the abortion debate tends to most often rear it’s head around election time.  It could be said elections are the ideal opportunity to discuss what is really important, but The Guru is more cynical (you try living multiple lifetimes and not becoming a tad jaded about politicians) and believes those who orchestrate such debates do so to distract us all from the real question; namely, how the fuck are you doing–Mr. Politician–at the job (representing our needs) you were elected for and handsomely paid to do?

The truth is the ‘powers-that-be’ would much rather we argue amongst ourselves while they diddle us in the nether regions.

The typical questions of whether or not abortion is a woman’s choice, an abomination before God , an affront to nature, or none of our damn business is always framed within such narrow terms that I laugh out loud at the absurdity of ever finding a common answer.

For example, the argument that a woman can do with her body whatever she chooses –absurd.  Can she sell her pussy for money?  Nope–ask The Mayflower Madam or Heidi Fleiss or any crack whore on a big city street.  Can a woman, or any man for that matter, take their own life?  Well, yes you technically can…but it’s illegal.  What about selling an organ for profit–a kidney, for example?  Again, you cannot and will be swiftly arrested and prosecuted should you try.

Whether or not those actions should be legal is an entirely different debate, but please don’t toss out the ‘woman’s right’ argument.  It holds no water regardless of court decisions.

So abortion is an abomination against God’s will?  The Bible (if that’s what you choose to follow) does have a commandment against taking a life and those who believe that text should adhere to it, but what about non-Christians? Should they have to follow the rules of a religion that isn’t theirs?  Isn’t forcing ones religious beliefs into the courtroom the same thing feared by Christians about Islamic fundamentalists and Sharia law?   If it is right for Christians to force their belief on others in one topic (abortion) then why is it not right for all of their beliefs to be forced on all others as well?

I hear you saying that this is a Christian nation and we should live by God’s law. Actually, bucko, no.  It isn’t.  The United States of America is a nation of freedom to choose your own religion and that freedom has led to a majority of citizens choosing Christianity.  That’s not the same as a nation based on one particular ideology.  In fact, that’s the antithesis of the desires of our founding fathers.

Then abortion must be against nature because nature always protects life, especially the life of the young, correct?  Again, the argument doesn’t hold.  Infantcide in the animal kingdom is very common (in particular among primates, cats, dogs, rodents, insects, and fish) and occurs for numerous reasons including: to gain food, to gain increased access to nesting sites or space, to avoid caring for unrelated offspring, and to bias the sex ratio of the litter along with a multitude of other reasons.

Children, none of the traditional arguments about abortion (pro or con) hold water when thoroughly examined, and The Guru has examined them since well before Roe v Wade.  What tends to happen instead of true examination of this issue, unfortunately, is that rhetoric is increased, embers are flamed during election season, and rational discourse disappears like a fart in the wind.

There is no answer because abortion is a koan (look it up, The Guru ain’t a vocabulary teacher) and it is a tool used to distract us from the issues destined to overwhelm our society.  The next time a politician raises the issue of abortion or homosexual marriage calm your emotions and think–it’s not a four-letter word–about what this individual could possibly not want you to think about.

What are they truly hiding behind the curtain?

Yes, children, sometimes a guru never reaches an answer because the question asked is intentionally unsolvable.  A koan.  Some tasks, or questions, are meant to be a fool’s errand whether it be claiming a broom or debating that which has no answer.

“Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” Dorothy and her crew were told by the Wizard.  Perhaps it’s time you did paid attention.

Peace out ya yellow brick freaks

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PONDERING YOUR GREATEST FEAR

Greetings from the mountain top…

When The Guru is not sitting on his boulder, saggy buttocks clinched in a desperate attempt to not fall into the ravine, he is in his man cave studying, writing, and watching ESPN.

One particular day a 20-something, wanna-be, hippie chick student we shall call Candy walked in as The Guru was typing furiously on the computer (which means both index fingers were cranking out somewhere in the neighborhood of 10-12 words per minute).

“So…” she queried.

No answer.

“Um…excuse me. What are you doing?”

My reply stunned her. “Hooking up.”

“Excuse you?” The fact she could utter even two words was surprising. Such is the power of shock as a teaching tool.

“Hooking up. You know…friends with benefits, no strings attached fun, looking for a kegger, trolling the Internet, flaming, posting, answering personal ads, twittering, killing time. Ain’t no thang, dog.”

It was her turn to laugh out loud. The Guru may be eternal, infinite, omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient, but he is not hip.

With her thought, I snickered. “I’m avoiding, Candy. Like everyone else seems to be doing. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right?”

It never occurred to her that The Guru knew about FWB, NSA, or the like.

“Avoiding?” she asked. “Looks like you’re trying to do anything but avoid. Looks like you’re trying to engage.”

“Funny how looks aren’t always accurate, isn’t it?”

Momentarily missing the message, she was mesmerized as I opened hundreds of windows and never experienced the slightest slowdown in computer speed (The Guru has powerful connections, not to mention well-placed former students with access to experimental data lines): Match, Flixster, Flickr, StumbleUpon, LiveJournal, Tumblr, Multiply, MyHeritage, MyYearbook, Netlog, Orkut, Plaxo, Reunion, Sonico, Viadeo, Wayn, Xanga, Craigslist, eHarmony, Bebo, Classmates, LinkedIn, PlentyOfFish, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, IMs, get-rich-quick schemes, male enhancement ads, promises to cut utility costs 50%, and so many more.

“This was in answer to your question, Candy.”

She had not asked a question, and looked at me perplexed.

“You wondered why the concepts I’m teaching make such sense to you when…your words here not mine…when you aren’t ‘exactly the sharpest knife in the drawer’.” I grinned broadly and she blushed deeply.

“Here is your answer – avoidance. While on the mountain top you are isolated without distraction and you must listen without interruption.  With focused, uninterrupted listening, you can easily comprehend most anything. Soon, though, you will wake up in a your own bed (a very sad thought, indeed, considering the fact that you could bounce a quarter off of her…but, I digress) and you’ll return to being obsessively busy avoiding that which you most fear. ”

Her confusion was obvious so, for once, I continued without any prodding.

“You…all of you…you’re terrified of being alone. You go to any lengths to avoid being alone with your thoughts, your reflections, your memories, your decisions…with The One.

“Drugs, alcohol, random sex with strangers, mind numbing hours of television and movies and Internet sites, attending social functions, rearranging closets, gambling, pornography, reality shows, gossip, texting, fantasy leagues, make-up parties, obsessive gym time, gaming, instant messages, reflecting on the ‘good ole days’, lessons and more lessons, working day and night, emails, taking surveys, talking on the telephone, talking on the cell phone, talking on the internet, talking, Talking, TALKING!

“Why don’t you ever take time to listen?”

In her gut she knew I was referring to mankind, but her head hung as my words hit her reality directly between the eyes.

“There is no quiet in your lives because quiet means you’re alone. Being alone means you have to hear, hearing means you must listen, and listening means you have to think. Thinking requires you to pay attention and thinking may show you how empty your choices have made your life. Thinking may mean you realize how lost you are and that possibility terrifies each and every one of you.”

I was right and she knew it which frightened her even more.

“It’s the root of the problem, actually. It’s why you cling so desperately to any flotsam offering the appearance of salvation, especially if that salvation is handed to you on a silver platter requiring nothing more than weekly meetings, donations, and a few repeated words. Find a solution with roots in real truth and you cling even tighter because if that limited truth is challenged and proven wrong, you’re alone again. Even worse, you’re alone with a falsehood. Heaven forbid you spend just a few minutes alone with The One each day.”

She wondered if what I was saying explained, in any way, the viciousness with which some religious leaders and their congregations so often attack other beliefs. One look in my direction was all she needed in answer.

Tears flowed down my cheeks like tiny rivers.

Peace out ya fearful freaks

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PONDERING EDDY PART 7

Greetings from the mountain top…

A few mornings ago the guru two mountains over came by to share a cup of mountain goat tea with me and my new student.

My guru-in-training (who we shall call Bob) has yet to develop a taste for the brew (the terms wretching, gagging, choking, and puking are applicable to his reaction), but as Bob is a most serious young man he continues to attempt to evolve his palate. Neither my guru friend nor I have have the heart (the decency actually) to let him know we both lost most of our taste buds  long ago and are just too cheap to buy real tea. Life lessons must come at a price.

During our morning conversation, Bob asked me a most insightful question and my guru friend concurred that he, too, often pondered it: ‘How does a guru manage to get his message across?’

I chuckled as I remembered asking as similar question to one of my gurus, a foul-mouthed, rough-edged janitor named Eddy. I paraphrased, updated, and cleaned up his answer but the truth remained the same:

“Boys, if you try to make a serious dent while competing with CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, TELEMUNDO, UNIVISION, HSN, USA, TV LAND, COMEDY CENTRAL, podcasts, Sirius XM, LIFETIME, DIY, HGTV, blogs, FOOD NETWORK, E!, A&E, BIO, HISTORY, SYFY, BET, OXYGEN, WE, BRAVO, AMC, TCM, MSNBC, FX, TNT, TBS, ESPN, ESPNU, ESPN2, VS, NFL, VH1, CMT, SPIKE, TLC, NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC, CNBC, CSPAN, CSPAN2, TRAVEL, THE WEATHER CHANNEL, ION, SHOWTIME, HBO, CINEMAX, FOX NEWS, HEADLINE NEWS, MSNBC, CSPAN, MTV, and VH1 you’ll lose your ever-loving mind.

“Not even Jesus Christ could break through today…so you do the best you can with those who choose to listen.”

Peace out ya overloaded freaks.

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PONDERING EDDY PART 6

Greetings from the mountain top…

One of my gurus, a foul-mouthed, rough-edge janitor named Eddy asked me a question once which stays with me to this day. In this simple question the entire purpose of our many lifetimes was encapsulated, while also being coated with an intensely complex riddle.

“Kid…are you here to learn new stuff or to remember old stuff?”

Peace out ya learning freaks

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PONDERING FREE WILL

Greetings from the mountain top…

Movies and popular culture paint a picture of gurus as always peaceful, infinitely patient, and fatherly in their kindness–which is true.

That doesn’t mean, however, that they do not use pressure or temper or anger or debate or challenge as a teaching tool. Some students need a carrot, some need a stick, and some need to be left the hell alone. The mark of an excellent guru is knowing which tool to use with the right student at the right time.

A long-time student of The Guru, who shall be referred to as Candy (not to be confused with The Guru’s favorite stripper of the same name who once took a shot glass, placed it between her ample bosom and…but, I digress) tends to make simple things difficult as do most students. For many complicated reasons, however, she tends to only learn her lessons when the element of loss is introduced.

After an intense lesson on the subject of free will, The Guru walked away without explanation and left Candy sitting alone on a distant boulder (not his boulder, however. No one sits on The Guru’s boulder. The rock is perfectly formed to my saggy buttocks after eons of clinching).

Candy was still sitting alone as she saw me walking toward her, up the hill.

“I thought you left.”

“I never leave you,” I responded divinely.

“Not being a metaphysical being like you, it sometimes helps to have a physical presence,” Candy explained. I looked at her oddly as I contemplated an elemental truth too simple for a supremely complex being to come up with on his own.

“I’ve been thinking about the last thing you said,” she began.

“Sorry,” I offered, “I was pretty worked up.”

“No,” she responded, “not about the rant…the last thing.”

I looked at Candy with a heavenly blank stare.

“You said you don’t know!”

“So?”

“You don’t know if we, the parts, will ever put aside our shallow, petty, meaningless differences and come together as a healthy, happy, well-adjusted whole?!?” She was both outraged and confused.

“No, I don’t.” The answer was both matter-of-fact and intentionally patronizing.

“How can YOU not know?”

An enlightened laugh.

Candy later told me that she has not been fond of that laugh since she first heard it, at the age of eight, in a doctor’s office. Each week as she awaited her allergy shot (a sick process, by the way, where they inject you with small amounts of the very thing to which you’re allergic) she watched fish in the waiting room aquarium. On one occasion, she observed a nurse putting tablets into the tank.

“What are those for?” Candy asked.

“Algae,” the nurse answered.

A bit (okay a lot) precocious, Candy assumed the poor woman had difficulty pronouncing words so she proudly explained, “I take shots for that.”

The guffaw of the nurse then was identical to mine now.

“How would I know?” I asked, cackling and wiping a tear from my eye.

Candy stammered and sputtered and spit out every Sunday school, catechism, and televangelist lesson she’d ever heard about His ‘plan’ and His ‘will’ and ‘His’ plan and ‘His’…will…and…plan…

I stopped laughing and looked at me with a somber stare. “You’re serious.”

She blinked, but remained silent.

“As a parent (Candy has twin six-year-old daughters),” I explained, “think about a time when you watched your children grow and learn. They made better choices and appeared to grasp the essence of what you were teaching…they seemed to ‘get it’. Then they did something so totally stupid you wondered if they were dropped on their heads at daycare.”

This time she interrupted with her own laughter as she told of the previous day. For ages, her daughters have been told to refill the ice cube trays because there is no magical ice cube tray fairy who visits at night. Yesterday, opening the freezer door and noticing every ice tray filled AND put in the right place, she felt pride…until the gallon of water which has been spilled on the floor began to soak into the bottoms of her socks.

I chuckled at the story. “The point is,” I continued, “you don’t see it coming because you’ve given them…”

“Free will,” she interrupted. Her childhood Sunday school teacher would be so proud.

“Free will.”

We sat in silence for a considerable amount of time, pondering free will.

“This free will thing…” Candy started.

Eyebrows uplifted in a silent, “Yes?”

“Seems rather convenient for God or whoever is in charge.” This time it was her turn to rant. “I mean, if He is All Powerful then He could stop all the pain, all the suffering, all the killing…He could make this place a freaking paradise!”

“According to some stories, He already tried,” I interjected.

“Seriously, isn’t free will a cop-out for Him to not accept responsibility or isn’t it at least proof He isn’t All Powerful?” Candy beamed with pride at her logic trap.

“Do your children ever do wrong?” I inquired.

“Sure,” she answered.

“You let them?”

“Not if I know about it.”

“But otherwise?”

“No, of course not.”

The Guru asked, “Sometimes do they just choose poorly?”

“They do.” She was saying as little as possible. Toe-to-toe with The Guru and she was, by God, going to win.

“Why don’t you stop them before they do wrong? Why don’t you kill them or smite them or lock them away?” I grinned.

“What, forever?”

“Sure, why not?”

“What’s the point?” she asked.

“Of?”

“Locking them away. Killing them. How would they ever learn and grow if I didn’t give them freedom to make mistakes?”

I smiled with superiority. Round one to The Guru.

Again we sat in silence, pondering, for several hours. Time goes by very slowly on the mountain top especially when one is high.

“But what about the innocents?” Candy finally asked, still smarting from losing the first round and determined to even the score. “Surely they shouldn’t have to pay for the choices of others.”

As The Guru is able to read thoughts as easily as he hears words, he heard Candy remember something very painful (and very personal which will not be shared) from her past. A pain so intense it nearly killed her, yet it had not. She chose to not let this powerfully painful experience define her or limit her.

Free will. The power of choice. She had chosen to grow rather than become a victim. As a result of being hurt so intensely and personally the false security surrounding us all was amazingly obvious to her. How quickly money, freedom, loved ones, dignity, jobs, buildings and cities can disappear and all we are left with is…

“Love,” I interrupted her thoughts. “It’s the only thing which can’t be taken from you. Love is the only thing that is real on all planes of existence and the only thing that matters.”

While the point was crystal clear to her, the constant, intense anguish of our race was nonetheless troublesome.

“The One could stop suffering, of course,” I continued. “But, at what price? If every decision is made for you what is the point of your existence? If you are sheltered you from all harm, all pain, all injustice, all disappointment and all wrong, what have you gained?”

Seeing Candy’s difficulty owning the concept of free will, I elaborated. “There are times when you see your children get hurt or make horrific choices and it breaks your heart. But, inevitably, if you wait long enough, if you truly open your heart, if you have faith, and if you pay close attention, you see good come from bad. It may take weeks. Or years. Or lifetimes. But it always comes. Always.”

She countered my brilliant argument with only two words, “9-11.”

I paused and shared Candy’s infinite grief. “So tragic. Among my saddest days and among my most hopeful. Beyond the pain, beyond the anguish, beyond the dreams and lives destroyed, beyond the terrible, terrible loss…I saw love. Do you remember heading to work that morning and the mornings immediately after?”

She did. That morning was the most surreal of her life and even in the days that followed, a change occurred – a change which, sadly, didn’t last. For a few days after 9-11 people were kind. It was a quiet world and she recalled an eerie silence on the highways. No horns blew, drivers allowed others to merge, and waves of thanks were given. People opened doors for one another and no one seemed inconvenienced by long lines or someone writing a check at the grocery store. It was very kind and very peaceful and we both agreed that we miss it.

“For a few beautiful months, some ignorant souls aside, you experienced the miracle of life as a whole. A people—not races or nations or religions or political parties—a people mourned. A people gave. A people worked together. A world was shocked, a world was outraged and a world healed. With few exceptions, the parts of the earth came together and realized they were one. Parts became whole if only for the briefest of moments. From tragedy,” I commented, “came love. For a few fleeting days you experienced what the whole can accomplish, and how it could be every day if you chose.

“Free will, Candy. It’s the most difficult gift a parent can give and it can be the most rewarding.”

She didn’t answer. Instead as she reviewed her life and, with a true Parent present, she felt shame at many of her choices.

“I still love you, Candy,” I answered. “I still love all of you even when you choose poorly.”

Peace out ya free willing freaks

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PONDERING EDDY PART 5

Greetings from the mountain top…

Long ago, several lifetimes removed, The Guru had a guru named Eddy.

Eddy, to all outward appearances, was a simple, foul-mouthed, rough-edged janitor who could intimidate a Navy SEAL with his glare. To those lucky enough to be taken under his wing, he was a foul-mouthed, rough-edge teacher of incredible wisdom and insight.

The Guru lives on many planes of existence, and in one he still speaks with Eddy from time-to-time (when Eddy isn’t watching WWE or drinking bourbon). A recent interaction consisted of a soliloquy in which Eddy stated only the following and then refused to speak more.

“The time has come to allow your higher self to live and to thrive. It’s time to rise above doubt. It’s time to rise above fear. It’s time to rise above limitations. It’s time to recognize and embrace that which you are so that you may finally enjoy the Truth that exists in front of you. It’s time to see beyond the past and to release your fear of the future.”

Peace out ya philosophical freaks

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PONDERING ‘WHAT IF’

Greetings from the mountain top…

What if everyone was so busy watching the news channels for announcements of the Second Coming that they never noticed it parading right past their front door?

Peace out ya plugged in freaks

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PONDERING BASKIN-ROBBINS, RELIGION, AND ALL RELIGIOUS TEXTS

Greetings from the mountain top…

The Guru recently received a new student, a guru-in-training we shall call Bob. Bob is delightful young man, serious to a fault, and with the type of ‘aw shucks Tim Tebow good looks’ that keeps the 20-something, wanna-be, hippie chicks (currently from Tucson) salivating. He has the somberness, however, of one who has yet to learn that there are endless lifetimes and it is his somberness that inevitably pushes the 20-somethings towards The Guru at bedtime. Thank goodness for youthful somberness.

Religion has always been to me like a Baskin-Robbins ice cream store – so many flavors, but only so much time or money. They are all appealing on different levels for different reasons, and disappointment always follows from not being able to experience each (ice cream flavors, that is).

Among my many lifetimes, The Guru has been a Southern Baptist, a Catholic (thankfully before the crusades), briefly a Methodist (all of the pomp and circumstance of Catholicism without the guilt), an agnostic, a Hindu, a Buddhist, and far too many to elaborate on here.

Bob and I were hiking deep in the mountains towards my favorite destination, the location will not be shared—I love the isolation and intend to keep it empty of humans. Go find your own oasis.

“If God, Buddha, Jehovah, Allah, whoever are truly one Being with infinite names, then what do we do with all of those so-called holy books?” Bob asked. “Are they ALL the word? Or none of them? How can we know what to follow and why are there so many different versions?”

I smiled as only a parent is capable – with infinite patience and more than a little amusement at Bob’s level of ignorance. “They are all THE word, Bob. And none of them are.”

Before his frustration could express itself, I continued, “As for the lessons you learn during this lifetime you will write what you recall and what you comprehend as best you can. There will be points you miss, subtle or meaningless to you, which might change some or all of the meaning but you’ll do the best you can, and you’ll go on to teach with total devotion and the very best of intention from divine inspiration. In this respect, your words will be truth. So it is with all who have shared messages from The One, but no one gets it all correct. No one person could. Don’t forget comprehension is also a product of experience. How something is understood today may be tremendously different in one hundred years, much less one thousand. So, from time-to-time, The One has to do upgrades.”

“The Bible 2.0?”

“Cute. But kind of, yes. Words evolve over time, meanings alter, context is lost, and languages change. Entire civilizations transform and what is left behind is subject to interpretation from those who weren’t there in the beginning.”

“Has The One ever thought of installing an auto-update?” Technologically-superior students are amazingly annoying. A stern look from The Guru indicated to Bob that the limits of cute had been reached.

“It never ceases to amaze me how attached each messenger or each recipient of a particular message becomes to the Truth they learn. What hubris to think The One would, that He COULD, share everything with one messenger or one group of people. What height of arrogance!”

Bob felt my passion rising again and, while transfixed by the force of it, he was also soothed by the absolute perfection in The Guru’s words. Although incapable of translating the emotionality of the moment, he understood without question how thoroughly we deceive ourselves (and allow ourselves to be deceived) by believing we know all there is to know—that we have the market cornered on truth. I thought how adamant various preachers, priests, and spiritual advisors have been over my lifetimes about their ‘truth’, and wondered what level of shame or humility they would feel were they in my place centuries later. Would they still argue so adamantly their belief was the belief?

“For anyone to assume they alone have received every ounce of the Truth is ridiculous, Bob. That would mean they are the equal, the peer to The One, and it just doesn’t work that way. The student sits through a few lessons and becomes The Master? Yet, dividing lines are continuously drawn and believers fight to protect their truth without stopping to consider the depth of the message or the infinite vastness of the Truth. They never grasp that it is impossible for The One to give everything to any one person or group not because He is unable to give it, but because we are unable to fully comprehend at our current level of development. But, He can and does share with each according to their willingness to listen and their ability to understand.”

‘Why not just give one true ‘word’ he wondered silently and, in wondering, I heard and answered.

“Does The Guru treat all of his students alike? Does he explain everything the same to each of them?”

“He does not,” Bob answered. “Some are very compliant and trust what you say implicitly, so details are rarely needed. Some are quiet, deep thinker who ponder everything before accepting or rejecting. They rarely questions aloud, but through their expressions it is obvious to you when details are necessary. Some are semantic warriors, consistently requiring so many details that at times it is exhausting; as with those semantic warriors who debate subtle meanings such as the definition of ‘is’.

“To each according to their ability and willingness to learn, Bob. It’s no accident there are so many flavors of truth.”

I became silent and he saw a glint in my eyes – a sparkle he recognized as a challenge. I had given an answer far deeper than the question asked.

“Why do I feel parts and whole are involved in this?”

“Very good, Bob!”

“Umm…apparently I have the right answer, but I don’t know what it means. A little help, please?”

I shook my head ‘no’ and looked ahead toward an opening in the trail. The final leg of our hike had been reached—a valley so beautiful it always brings instant solace and humility. As always, I paused at that particular place to soak in the enormity of the setting—the bowl cut by centuries of glacial activity, the stream splitting the basin in half, high reeds and low brush so inviting to wildlife, a half ring of mountains standing guard and peering down on us with eternal indifference and beauty. It is my favorite place in the world and the one to which I have instinctively returned when needing answers or humility. It was no coincidence we were at this spot.

“He wants us to work for it, doesn’t He? To earn His gift?”

I did not speak, but continued walking toward the base of the mountain.

“The whole appreciation thing?” he asked, somehow knowing there would be no response.

I picked up the pace as Bob followed, expounding on his understanding.

“We need to find the answers ourselves to truly appreciate the price of the truth…even if the cost is immense pain and frustration. The answers are already out there, aren’t they? They’ve always been out there, right in front of us. You said earlier that coming together as one whole was our reason for being…The One spread the answers out on purpose didn’t He ? To give us an opportunity to come together by our own choice? Through free will?”

I stopped at the base of the mountain (you are still not getting a name—but it is in Colorado)—normally the end of my hike.

“Every sacred book and story has part of the Answer doesn’t it?” Bob asked.

“Yes.” I answered casually while starring upwards as I contemplated a climb to the peak.

“And every flavor of truth contains part of the recipe for ultimate whole truth?”

“Uh huh.” He could see me mentally mapping a summit route.

“It’s about humility, isn’t it?” he rambled excitedly. “It’s about setting aside our insistence on independence, of realizing the futility of fighting for domination and one point of view and, instead, learning to embrace all truths and adding their unique ‘part’ to the ‘whole’…that whole being THE truth? The sum of the parts must be brought together before we can be whole?!”

“Very good, grasshopper.”

Annoyed at my focus on the mountain, Bob continued his explanation, “The ‘whole’…The One scattered it as a way for us to earn the lesson, knowing no one messenger could comprehend and teach it all, and knowing a gift without a price will never be fully appreciated or utilized.”

Comprehending the veracity of what he was saying, he realized The Truth had always been inside of him, just as it was inside of every other person on earth but he was finally humbled enough to hear.

“By adamantly maintaining our distance from one another, both literally and spiritually, by insisting there is only ONE truth—OUR truth…our ‘part’—we inflict pain on ourselves and one another. The more we fight to prove OUR truth is supreme, the more we harm ourselves and the farther we drift from You?”

I shifted my gaze from the peak to Bob, “It’s a bit like trying to drink salt water to quench a thirst, isn’t it?”

I started up the mountain – not a highly technical climb, yet I scurried along as if walking on an escalator. Bob struggled to keep pace (The Guru may have a saggy ass, but he can hike like a mother fucker) and was frustrated that I wouldn’t stop and listen to him–I wouldn’t cease my climb to the top long enough to hear his comprehension of the message. He wanted it HIS way and he wanted it NOW. He needed me to hear him, but I seemed dead set on getting to the summit as quickly as possible.

“Could you please just stop what you’re doing for one moment and hear what I’m saying?!” Bob shouted.

“Isn’t it frustrating when you have all the answers, but everyone is too busy to listen?” I spoke over my shoulder and continued my ascent to the peak.

The lessons of a guru-in-training are never ending.

Peace out ya contemplative freaks

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