Saturday, September 30, 2006

Arcata, Cali

I'm in Arcata, Cali right now.

If i blogged more often, each entry wouldn't be so verbose. But I'm covering lots of ground over the past month when i get to computers. Also, book writers are verbose. So just think of this as a book online that's for free, since i don't want to publish for money. Okay, paper books are nicer than computer screens. Maybe that'll change.

Huck Finnin'

Lots have been happening since i last wrote here. It turns out i set up a camp on a deserted island in the Willamette River in Portland weeks ago. The island is very wild & pristine, for being surrounded by the chaos of Portland. It's full of deer, beaver, nutrea, otters (i think), blue heron, and bald eagle! And the insects make a haunting, perfectly syncronized, rhythmic hum through the night. There are huge trees & thick foliage, including tons of blackberries, everywhere. At first I was swimming to the island. But the river is kinda sketchy - i mean polluted. And the weather was getting colder; so one night i wasn't feeling too good about having set up camp there. I didn't even want to dip in that water again to swim back, because the water looked particularly scuzzy at that time. And my idea of building a raft was turning out to not be so easy. I had brought a saw to cut huge logs, but it was too small. But then i remembered that it had felt so totally right coming to that island, & that i hadn't come this far to lose faith now. So my mind went from worry to rest in the perfect Random future.

The next morning was glorious, and the sunlight was sparkling on the still Willamette. The river was way low - so low there was a land bridge over to Ross island. I'd never seen it that low, though the river fluctuates like tides every day. I'm still not sure if it's tide changes (this far inland?) or maybe dam-levee adjustments. Whatever, i decided to walk over to Ross island to explore. There are lots of abandoned camps, in plane view on Ross island's beaches. I walked quite a ways on the west beach. I then felt like making a bee-line into the forest & thick foliage, and stumbled upon an old, broken kayak paddle. I could use it for my potential raft, i thought. I left the paddle and walked further down the beach until i saw a strange black thing washed up on the shore. I went to investigate and found it was 8 plastic buoy-like things linked together like a jig-saw puzzle. They had maple leaves on them, so i figured it was something from a Canadian ship. I pushed it into the water & hopped on. It totally floated! So i ran back, got that old paddle, and paddled that raft into the river! I started paddling it back to my island, and just when i was feeling intense gratitude, a bald eagle flew from my left directly across my path.

So i had floaty transpo now. I made a temporary tee-pee type shelter with old lumber & tarps. I've been having visions of making a clay cob structure. But October is when the rainy season starts, and i'm still debating weather or not to stay on the island then.

I Finally Decided to Use a $20 Bill... But I Still Didn't Use Money!

One day when i was exploring Ross island, i stumbled upon a $20 bill on the beach. My custom, since i started to live moneyless 6 years ago, has been to get rid of any money i find or am given by sunrise the next morning. But this time i had planned on staying on the island for a few nights. I thought about floating to the river shore & leaving it someplace random for some random humanoid, & then come right back to the island. But then i realized i was being to bound by the idea of money. The idea is to see things for what they are. The bill was not money. Money was in my head. Money was my belief about the $20 bill, not the $20 bill itself! So i looked at the bill. It was actually quite beautiful, a work of art. That's what it IS! I could evolve its beauty by cutting it up and making it into a collage! So i cut it into pieces. It would be a useful collage, because it would upset people's belief. It would upset the money religion, and maybe jolt some folks back into the Present.

So, are you upset that i cut up a $20 bill? Are you saying, "you could have given it to the poor." If this upsets you, you are a Judas. Remember the story of Judas in the Bible? I want you to recognize that all people who believe in Money are Judases. Now don't judge a Judas as good or bad, just recognize yourself as Judas. Judas is in me, too. Yeah, Judas is also part of the Plan - isn't that what scripture says? When the woman (Mary Magdeline?) took the "costly" ointment in the alabaster box and broke it, pouring it over Jesus' head & feet, Judas was apalled, saying, "This could have been sold and given to the poor!" I believe they say it was a month's wages. In one gospel version, all Jesus' disciples were apalled. Mary Magdeline, though, had the eyes of a child, the Divine Eye, and saw the ointment & the box for what they were, not blinded by Money Religion. All she knew was they were beautiful now. Do you get it? Is your mind simple enough to understand? Is your mind the Buddha mind?

Do you understand that the only way the world can come into balance is to see everything as it IS, not what it coulda woulda shoulda been? Can you stop trying to save the world and simply BE, thus saving the entire Universe? By you I mean me. I'm asking these questions to myself.

"The poor you have with you always", Jesus responded to Judas. This, too, baffles the Money Mind. "Poor" means "bad" to the Money Mind. But have you forgotten that Jesus said, "Blessed are you Poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God". Happy are you Poor. There is no better news than "the poor you have with you always." The Money Mind just doesn't get it. The Buddha Mind is the Poor Mind, the Empty Mind, the Christ Mind, the Child Mind. The infant and the raven and the lilly are Poor, are Blessed.

Bay Area

I had in mind staying & playing on the island & doing Food Not Bombs & other stuff. But Satya asked if i'd go with him to the Bay area where he was taking Indian flute lessons. So off we went. We train-hopped out of Portland in a luxurious engine. We got booted out Klamath Falls. Then we hitched to San Fran. We stayed at the "Chicken House", a kind of co-op house full of young folks. A young woman named Becky there was immediately drawn to Satya and I and took us to a couple of her cool hang-out spots in San Fran, like "Station 40" and "The Commune" and introduced us to her friends. She made us feel right at home.

Then Satya & I parted ways. I went up to Fort Knolls in Marine County to visit my friend Saskia. Saskia is a Dutch woman who devotes her life to animal activism. She often goes to sea with Sea Shepherd to stop illegal whaling, fishing that endangers dolphins, and fur seal hunting. She also has about 8 dogs on her land she rescued from hurricane Katrina aftershock.

After a few days at Saskia's i hooked up with my cousin Lauren, who had just come into the Bay area from Texas to possibly relocate. Lauren wanted to drive a ways to northern Cali to explore and took me to Ukiah. From Ukiah I hitched here to Arcata. I think I'm heading north to Portand again, but plans might be changing.

Ah, the life of Random! Random is the Divine Mind, Natural Selection, that evolved us and continues to do evolve us. Can we give up our worrisome Mind Selection and trust in Natural Selection? I'm still learning to trust, even though Natural Selection keeps proving Grace to me over and over.

So much to talk about, but i've been on this public computer way too long.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

What I Did This Summer

Kick starting this Blog again.

I s'pose it's time to revive this blog. I kinda forgot this thing, thinking it had faded out.

So I'm a roadie again, which could make for more exciting dharma bummage reading for y'all out there.

I haven't read my last blog entries, but I think I did them in early spring, and I hardly remember what I wrote - mainly just my feelings - squirming in doubt & navel-gazing. Now I feel I have a revived confidence again.

It's been a sweet summer, packed with zillions of "realities". Now I'm in Portland, Oregon, presently sipping red-cedar tea (from the tree outside) at my friend Helen's house, where I crash off & on when I'm not camping by the river. Helen has actually opened up this house as a kind of Buddhist temple to be shared. It's funny how the universe threw us together. She is a wealthy person who is realizing her wealth is not her own. She is devoting her life to generosity & openness. She respects my moneyless lifestyle & philosophy more than most anybody. She is one of the few moneyed people who doesn't try to take care of me and buy me things, and she totally accepts and feasts on my scavenged offerings for the treasures they are.

Now, back to where I left off in the Spring.

In early May, my parents came through Moab & whisked me away for a couple weeks to the northern California coast to celebrate their 57th wedding anniversary. It was interesting seeing all the places I'd walked by a couple years ago when I trekked down the Cali coast. Now I saw it through tourist eyes. Before, I'd seen it through vagabond eyes, from outside those same tourist trappings, and sometimes from inside those trappings' dumpsters. Yeah, it's good to immerse yourself into contrasting "realities" to keep your mind open and refuged in the Only Reality. The Only Reality is that which never changes. And it was good to spend time with my parents, as life is fleeting and every moment precious - yet on the other hand not to be taken too seriously - precisely because it is fleeting. My parents, who are conservative Christians, never say a judging word about my radical lifestyle. They know this is how I see life as prescribed by Jesus, and so it happens also to be life prescribed by Lao Tzu, Buddha, Krishna, Mohammad, Mahavir, Francis of Assisi, Peace Pilgrim, the Rhine Christian sages, the great Native American sages and shamans of the world. Of course I'm not forgetting the great female sages of the world who relinquished their names being known, even as the recessive chromosomes secretly pass down the greatest and profoundest secrets of our biology. Yes, as I see it, this is the life prescribed by all the wild creatures.

Moab closure.

After Dad & Mom brought me back to Moab at the end of May, I was psyched that Gordon & Kay then came from Connecticut to visit me. I happened to have a lovely house-sit at the time so I could luxuriously put them up in their own room. I'm toying with the idea of hopping a train east to see them again, along with my other long-lost close friends over there.

After G & K left, it was time to get ready to hit the road. I cleared out all my accumulations from the treehouse and cleaned my stealth cave in the canyon, closing it up with rocks as a final touch. The treehouse was my town house, in my friend Pennie's backyard. But I was feeling odd about staying there lately, because her neighbor told her he didn't like me staying there. Why? Because he said I didn't work, that I "spooked" him. If he had allowed me even once to make eye contact with him, not to mention speak with him, he might think differently. Funny thing is, that neighbor, like me, isn't employed for money but, unlike me, he lives on government dole. It all keeps life funny.

Rainbow Dharma Bumstead

I never was able to hook up with my friend Val to go scouting for the Rainbow Gathering. This year I was feeling a little reluctant about going to the Gathering, much less scouting for it again. But I thought about it, and realized this was the closest thing to my vision of a moneyless world in existence - at least in the US. Whether I could admit it or not, Rainbow is my tribe, and how could I forsake meeting with them? Besides, this year it was close by, near Steamboat Springs, Colorado. My semi-vagabond friend Phil was getting ready for his summer job in Aspen and took me half-way to the Gathering on his way to Aspen. Then I hitched, & two young women, Denise & Ginger, picked me up & took me into the Gathering.

This time I decided to wipe my mind free of all judgment, & the Gathering turned out the best I'd ever been to. I had a realization that the Rainbow Gathering is as ancient as humanity, and as long as there is humanity, it will exist, whatever name it has taken on or will take on. Wipe the mind free of judgment, and the world opens up in magical splendor. See the world through the eyes of an infant, with no past programming.

So the Gathering was splendid, even with its usual harassment by the authorities. But it's the drama as old as civilization: Civilization's authorities & pawns only want people to talk about Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. But don't dare practice it. Isn't Religion the same? Keep it a fanatical lipservice so people think you're a spiritual zealot, or else a mushy liberal sweet talk, but don't dare live it, don't dare have any courage, any Faith. Don't dare give up control, cuz if you do your whole religious ediface & civilization will collapse, whether you call yourself conservative or liberal.

At the Gathering I ran into Satya, the former Zen priest I wandered & camped with on the west coast. He's the reason I'm now at Helen's, because he stays here, and he first introduced me to her in California years ago. Satya no longer calls himself a Zen priest, because such labels are too constricting & dogmatic. He's still a spiritual seeker, even more seriously than before. And Satya is now a Rainbower. And, funny thing about Denise (you know, the lass who picked me up hitching to this gathering)... Satya already knew her from Portland. And it turns out Denise and I have become good friends. She took me here to Oregon after the Gathering.

Family Affairs

Denise and I left the Gathering with a new friend, Clay. Since we were passing by my parents' house in Fruita, Colorado, we dropped in on them. My parents were their usual happy and welcoming selves. They've always been elated to have whatever vagabond friends I'd bring to their doorstep. We thought we were just going to stay a night & leave in the morning, but we ended up staying several nights. Denise was totally charming, and I think my parents appreciated that. She discussed her Jewishness & my parents discussed their Christian-ness, and it worked out nicely.

We rolled on to Utah, where we hit some hot springs, then stayed with Clay's aunt, then with his brother. Denise & I left Clay at his brother's in Salt Lake City and headed to Idaho. We met up with the "Warriors of the Light" bus from the Rainbow gathering in Boise, then headed to Oregon.

Everything Is Prayer, Desireless.

A funny thing happened. We had been getting dumpster food the whole way, eating very luxuriously & extravagantly & healthily. But one day we were jonesing for snacks. Denise said we should think about something that's more healthy this time, since there's such an abundance of bad junk food. So I said the first thing that popped into my mind: "Garden of Eaten Blue Corn Tortilla Chips, maybe with salsa." We kind of laughed, because it was so specific and I wasn't sure why that brand specifically came to mind. About 20 minutes later we hit a dumpster in a small Idaho town. Right on top of all the food was a sealed bag of Garden of Eaten Blue Corn Tortilla chips. And all around it was an abundance of food, including salsa and packets of vegan chili and tomatoes & other vegetables. Funny thing, I've never found blue corn chips in any dumpster before, much less that brand.

Denise and I then talked about prayer and manifestation. The odd thing about prayer is that you don't decide something and pray for it. You tap into what already is and state it. Or, rather, what already is taps into you. You simply submit to the will of the universe and decide that whatever comes is good. You simply state what is. But it appears to folks around you that you are commanding God to give you something, when in actuality you are simply stating what already is destined to be. You are submitting to God, God isn't submitting to you. God isn't a genie in a bottle, and nothing is to be forced and nothing to be desired. But as time goes you realize that in the greater picture you and God are one - one will. True prayer is a statement of the splendor of What Is, not desire of what will be. Give us this day our daily bread. No worry of tomorrow's bread.

Timo's & Logan's Run.

Denise dropped me off at the turn-off to Redmond & she went on to Portland. She would have taken me clear to Redmond, but I insisted that she take the quicker route & I could just hitch to my friend Timo's in Redmond in central Oregon. I camped by the Deschutes River on the way. I found a place where deer bedded down on the grass. I almost stepped on a rattle snake, and I found 5 ticks on me the next morning. A van full of 4 old men and one old woman took me almost to Redmond, cracking crude jokes & laughing the whole way. Then another old man in a jeep took me to Timo's front step in Redmond. I was so happy to see Timo and his daughter Logan - it's been a few years. I stayed with them around a week, going on hikes & swims with them and their neighbors, Matt & his son Kyler. I also got to help shingle a roof and play with left-over wet cement, making figurines for Logan.

Lord of the Dance.

Then Timo took me to Portland and dropped me off here at Helen's. Helen is learning Nepali dance under a Nepali dance master named Prajwal Vajracharya, and I happened to get in on a dance lesson that first evening. I did a second a couple days later. This dance form is an ancient form of Buddhist meditation. In the past it was passed down through the Vajracharya clan of dance priests and shown only to fellow Buddhist priests. Then it was opened up to other Nepalis. Prajwal is of the only existing lineage of this dance, having learned it from his father. But his father instructed him to finally open it up to the west, and to teach westerners. So having him here is a rare privilege.

Street kids & vague bonds.

It's been a whole other odyssey in Portland. It's grand to see old forest activist friends. The forest activist scene has pretty much dissolved in Portland, that I know of, but many of my fellow tree-sitters are still here. Eugene is the hub of forest activism now. A lot of my friends are hooked up with Food Not Bombs, cooking & serving to fellow street folks. The vegan food comes from kick-downs from natural food stores and dumpsters. So I've been doing that a lot (both on the cooking and the eating end), and meeting soul-mates everywhere. I don't feel like an oddity in Portland. Living without money isn't such a big deal here, and generosity abounds. But I still haven't met anybody else who lives completely without money, though most my friends nearly do. (If anybody out there has heard of anybody else since Peace Pilgrim who has lived or lives moneyless, let me know).

Desert Rat turns River Rat

Speaking of which, I haven't wanted to be dependent on wealthy people, so I've started camping at the river. I have visions of living on a little desert island on the river. I've got a prime spot set aside, and am preparing to build a log raft and maybe build an earthen structure out there. I've already floated a couple pallets with plywood out there for a bed. But I might end up heading east - so who knows yet.

Denise & Magic Machik

A couple weeks ago Denise and a new young woman friend, Machik, and I went to the ocean to camp in a cave and harvest seaweed for a few days. It was enchanting - the deep familial love among us 3, on top of the intense power of the ocean. Denise & I have clicked together like brother & sister, and now we have a 3rd sibling, Machik. Machik has been staying at Helen's, along with Satya, and is a fellow spiritual seeker. She is one of the most loving, kind, wise, joyful and enlightened people I've ever met - perhaps the most. She's really young, early 20s, and makes me wonder how slowly I've come along all these years. It's good to be humbled like that. On the surface she seems like your classic hippy-chick, airy-fairy and all that. But then you see something amazing & divine bursting through - a thoughtful intelligence & wisdom, a balance of intuition & logic. She fits no mold, no category, no religious label. Everybody she meets, she makes them feel like the center of her universe; and indeed they are. She observes and states your seeming failings with pure love & non-judgment. And her touch is powerful & heeling, pouring out love. Denise said it was wonderful that so much physical affection could come without the sexual trappings. In our society, affection is too often either sexual or non-existent. But the 3 of us had a physical & spiritual affection like sibling children. And I don't think it would have happened without Machik. I suppose that's what I need to learn in order to be with fellow gay men.

So how can I say anything but life is sparkling Now, and there's really no place to go but Here and nothing to look forward to but Now, the Great I Am Who I Am. When you're a devout Christian you realize this, and then you realize you are a devout Hindu, a devout Buddhist, a devout Jew, a devout Muslim, a devout Taoist, a devout Scientist, a devout Naturalist, a devout liver of Life. You realize that I am not saying this to be P.C. and give everybody a New Agey airy-fairy fair shot, but that it is indeed true. What did Moses realize at the burning bush, but I Am Who I Am and nothing else real exists?