Saturday, December 14, 2013

Days of Grace

I'm in Moab right now.  It's been pretty cold here, snow on the ground, but I'm indoors house-sitting at my friend Anne's, taking care of 11 chickens, a kitten, and a school of goldfish, until I go to another house-sit at my friend Maggie's tomorrow to take care of a couple cats.

I've been back to Fruita, Colorado a couple times, mainly to see my parents.  I hadn't seen my parents since last Spring.  I don't like to be away from them for so long, wanting to spend as much time as I can with them, as they're both 86 years old.

At Passage Charter School

While visiting them in early November, a teacher, Claudia, and her students from the Passage Charter School in Montrose, Colorado contacted me, saying they were reading The Man Who Quit Money for a class assignment, and asked if I wanted to talk with their class.  So my dad took me there, and I have to say how honored I felt to to have him with me to also talk with her class and some other students and teachers there.  A very fine bunch of folks.  Some people and their sincerity make you feel very good, and that's how I felt being with the folks, both teachers and students, at Passage.
My Dad (Richard), Claudia Bishop, Me
Passage Charter School,
Montrose, Colorado

 Ana Valles, Maria Delacruz, Me, Claudia Bishop, and Isabel Ramirez
at Passage Charter School,
Montrose, Colorado

More Bicycling With a Good Friend

Back in Fruita, I also hung out with my friend, Cullen.  He has a beautiful wife and two daughters, and they are movers and shakers in the Fruita community.  I feel we are growing to have a very special friendship. It turns out he wanted to bicycle back to Moab with me - a 100-mile-journey.  He had never long-distanced biked before, but he did the whole thing on a one-speed!  And he was ahead of me most the time!  Okay, I carried the food for us in the trusty bike trailer.  But I also found loads of food in a campground dumpster on our way.  We ate high on the hog.  Our ride was spectacularly gorgeous, but I was, for some odd reason, feeling like quite an old man on that bike trip.  It started pouring rain the last few miles of the trip.  My friend Pete was gracious enough to offer Cullen and me his couches that night.  Cullen's and my mutual friend, Ken, drove Cullen and his bike back to Fruita.  

Me, Cullen, and my Dad (Richard)
at my parents' house
in Fruita, Colorado,
preparing to cycle to Moab

Hanukkah-Thanksgiving Treat

So, I was back in Moab, ready for a good rest, as my life had been pretty packed till then.  But I wasn't getting off that easy.  Within the hour after Cullen and Ken had left, I just barely sat down in the library when a journalist for a French magazine showed up.  I knew he was coming sometime, but didn't realize he'd come that early.  Yeah, the book has been translated into French, so they sent him out here.  He actually flew in from Israel, his home.  I forgot he was a journalist, he was such a good-natured, un-business-like dude who liked to hang out.  A day or two later, the photographer, Stefan Ruiz, came, along with his partner, Carol - another lovely and down-to-earth couple.  We all went up a canyon and camped at one of my "decoy" caves.

The day before Thanksgiving, the Israeli journalist said he wanted to go to Arches National Park and invited me to go with him.  As we were driving up there, he asked me what my plans were for Thanksgiving the next day.  I told him I planned to go to the Moab community Thanksgiving dinner - a very fun event.  I said I usually spend Thanksgiving with my parents, but it didn't look like it would happen this year.

"Well, let's go to Fruita, then!" he said with a big smile.  He made a u-turn away from Arches Park and we instead headed to Fruita.  So I surprised my parents again. He had coffee with us, and my parents, being Judeo-philes, were elated talking with a real live Israeli.  And we talked about Hanukkah, the first day of which happened to fall on Thanksgiving day this year.  He then headed back to Moab.  The next day I had Thanksgiving dinner with my parents, my brother, Ron, his wife, Aggie, and her brother, Bob, and my other sister-in-law, Elaine, and we pulled out two sets of 9 candles and lit them in the front and back windows for Hanukkah.

That weekend Hadrien decided to send Stefan, the photographer, out to my parents', too.  So he came with Carol, and he got shots of them.  He took some pictures with some of the last Polaroid film on earth, too, and gave us a couple of them.  The film was so old it was a little washed out, so I photo-shopped this one a bit:

Me,  my Mom (Laurel), and my Dad (Richard)
Fruita, Colorado
Their 65th Wedding anniversary is coming up in May

I was thinking I'd share some philosophizing brewing in my head, but I somehow lost inspiration to share it right now.  But I am inspired to share this little thing, a short "lesson" I just wrote on Facebook (yeah, I'm plugged into even Facebook):

Lost Ancient Arts 101. 

Lesson 1: How to apologize:

"I hurt you and I was wrong." Period.

"I didn't intend... bla bla bla" and "I'm sorry you feel hurt" are ego parading itself as love. 

The hows and whys of my harmful actions are my problem and nobody else's.  Nobody else's. 

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions" is another myth created by ego parading itself as love. 

If my intentions were healthy, they would have produced healthy results.


Sunday, November 17, 2013

What Steps Must I Take To Be Free?

Okay, I wrote this as a spontaneous comment on the last post and decided to make it an official post here.  I get lots of questions, almost daily, from people feeling stuck, asking how to break away from the oppressive system.  I find myself feeling clueless, unable to prescribe steps for others to take.  And after the great adventures of the wandering moneyless tribe the past few months, I don't feel any less clueless.  I find myself not knowing what I should do. Then it dawns on me that this is exactly the place I am supposed to be.  I can't tell you any steps you should take.  But I can tell you to be yourself, and nothing else.  Here's the comment:

I can't tell everyone to live as I do. 
And I can't lay out plans for a just society. 
Nobody can. 
This isn't really about living without money, or thinking up a new system. 
It is simply about being authentic. 

All I can say is follow your conscience, i.e. be completely real. Then see what follows automatically. If everyone did this, started following their consciences rather than what they are paid or ordered to do, I propose that our commercial system would collapse, because its very foundation is ulterior motivation, requiring its citizens to be fake.

What happens if you are real? 
What happens if you proclaim, "I am who I am," the holy name? 
You will step out of sleepy comfort and be up against great hostility. 
It's not an easy path, outwardly, 
but it's the easiest path overall - 
the only healthy and restful and happy one inwardly, 
because there is no conflict of conscience in you. 

Think about it, all the rights people now have and take for granted were originally illegal, opposed by the powers that be.
Rosa Parks
Being Herself
All your rights were brought to you by people who stood their ground being authentic. Your rights were not voted into place through the system, they were fought for by people standing firm, opposed by the system. When you stand your ground, after they test you with persecution, they must finally back off. 

Nothing inauthentic, based on illusion, can last. It must collapse, as every commercial system in history has. 

All that will be left is your authentic foundation, if you cultivate it now.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Coming and Going of the Moneyless Tribe

I'm back in Moab, Utah!  This blog entry is not my usual - it's pretty much Facebook posts & pics by everybody who joined or met up with the tribe -- a review of the coming and going of the moneyless tribe from early summer until now.  (Most pics taken by Javier, but the 2 group pics taken by Hesna El Ghaoui's Hungarian TV crew, who documented the first two weeks of our tribe).  

I'm still unsure if I'm just on sabbatical for the winter and whether or not the moneyless tribe will revive again, or maybe start totally over again in warmer months.  I need R & R first, then maybe I'll know.

The video teaser at the end with Karl Pilkington, which just came out, brings us full circle to the start, as it was filmed in Billings right before the moneyless tribe began.  And it ends this on a light note.

Chronic Logic of Chronology:

June 17
Made it to Billing, MT. Met up with Phil & Cody! Won't be able to leave to Gathering till the weekendstuff.   It's all too exciting sometimes. Yogi Bud is at main council helping plant the seed of the moneyless tribe. (--Suelo)

I'm at the library here in Billings Montana having a great time! — with Phillip and Daniel Suelo. (--Cody)

July 9
Beaverhead County, MT
So rainbow changed my life, another amazing adventure... Have joined a tribe, the moneyless tribe to be exact. We have left rainbow on foot and 40 miles and two days later we are awesome! Headed to mizzoula.... Not sure where this road will take me but walking it with amazing people for now! Send me love, sending you love!  (--Mika)
Caminando (--Javier) 
 July 15
Learning how to sleep outside, swim in cold water, carry everything I own and eat what God provides! Trusting more with every step and lucky for the community uplifting me! So blessed to be in this journey! Halfway to Missoula and loving it!  (--Mika)

I made it to Darby Montana. It has been a wonderful stay!  (--Cody)

July 17
Yet another happy travelogue. ~
Life is so Good; & The Universe, so kind.
Lovin' You All
— feeling wonderful in Hamilton, MT.  (--Brandon)

So lucky to wake up and rinse in the river, walk four miles and find a huge stash of fresh fruit! Now we are watching an animal show at the park with a lot of kids! What a beautiful day! (--Mika)

The Walking Tribe

July 20
So today I started my solo adventure as I departed Hamilton without the tribe... God is so great and has just showered me with love and gifts! I left Robin, Christian and Knox after a great farmer's market and so much wonderful conversation and friendship forming and a few hours later I ran into Brad on the path and he invited me to stay at his house with his wife and daughter! They have a beautiful home in the trees and fed me great food and strawberries, watermelon, ice cream and m&m's and we talked about faith an love all night! I am blessed beyond words and so happy to be so fully in the most beautiful relationship of my life with my creator! It is amazing to see how I am loved beyond my own comprehension! (--Mika)
Mika, Brandon, Javier, Cody, Suelo, Summer

July 21
Camped behind St. Mary's Mission, the oldest white settlement in Montana.  Stevensville, MT (--Javier) 
Mount Sentinal, MT

July 24
Finally in Missoula after 17 days walking! — at University of Montana. (--Javier)

I made it to Missoula Montana! (--Cody)

Epic walk, so far! Cody, Summer, Brandon, Javier and I walked into Missoula, MT today! Mika walked here earlier on her own & might be here still. Where we're staying, what we'll be doing? Mostly unknown... infinite possibilities. But I am hoping to be at Mark Sundeen's & Cedar Brant's wedding this weekend while we're here. And I'm looking forward to spending time with Katie, among others. — in Missoula, MT.  (--Suelo)

Suelo, Brandon, Javier in Missoula

July 31
Still in Missoula, looking to build bicycles and likely head to South Dakota on bikes. Things took a strange turn the past 2 days. Summer had to go to Portland for mouth surgery, and Cody decided to escort her there. They just messaged & said they plan to come back later. Then Bʀandon had to leave today to help his family, & won't be back for a month. So it's just Javier & me right now. Several other people want to join us.
If folks come while we're in Missoula, they can also build free bikes for themselves. Otherwise, folks who want to join the moneyless tribe & are able to find & bring a bike, that would be grand. But don't let that stop you if you can't! We'll make due with whatever happens, whatever we have, and also put it out there for folks to donate bikes if needed.
— in Missoula, MT.

Aug 6
'Jesus said, "If your leaders say to you, 'Look, the (Father's) kingdom is in the sky,' then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, 'It is in the sea,' then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father's) kingdom is within you and it is outside you. When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty."' {Gospel of Thomas, Saying 3}
[['Dijo Jesús: «Si aquellos que os guían os dijeren: Ved, el Reino está en el cielo, entonces las aves del cielo os tomarán la delantera. Y si os dicen: Está en la mar, entonces los peces os tomarán la delantera. Mas el Reino está dentro de vosotros y fuera de vosotros. Cuando lleguéis a conoceros a vosotros mismos, entonces seréis conocidos y caeréis en la cuenta de que sois hijos del Padre Viviente. Pero si no os conocéis a vosotros mismos, estáis sumidos en la pobreza y sois la pobreza misma».'  {Evangelio de Tomás, Dicho 3}]]

Aug 10
Javier & I decided to cycle west when we're done building bikes, maybe head to OR, then southward. We're postponing S Dakota for a future time when more tribe is together again, when it can be more effective.  I've been feeling empowered again since letting go my attachment to SD. — in Missoula, MT.  (--Suelo)

Aug 23
After meeting so many great people and having so many great experiences on a long journey across the Northern US: Chicago, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Bismark, The Badlands, Billings, The Montana National Rainbow Gathering, Missoula, Coeur dA'lene, Spokane, and even into Portland. The Washington wilderness and farmlands are calling, and I have answered- I have decided I am going to stay in the Southwest Washington State/Battle Ground and Clark County areas. I'm going to be keeping heavy travel to a minimum for time to come (with a few exceptions for family and necessity of course). Thanks again Daniel Suelo, Brandon Kiss, Mika Raw, Javier, and Ell Bee for the great times we shared on the Road. If anyone ever wants to meet back up let me know and I'll be more than happy to see that it happens!  (--Cody)

Sept 9
Javier - leaving Missoula
Out of Missoula, Montana, on our way to Portland, Oregon. Nine days of bicycle travel so far, riding thru the Paradise-St. Regis Scenic Byway and the Trail of the Coeur d'Alenes, among other wonderful landscapes... — with Daniel Suelo in Plummer, ID. (--Javier)
Garden of 1000 Buddhas, MT
St. Regis
Javier on Hiawatha Trail, MT
Suelo on Hiawatha Trail, MT

Sept 11
Last night spent the night near (I won't say right in-) the Steptoe Butte Park surrounded by coyotes howling at the moon, a raccoon sniffing through our provisions, and a pissed off deer huffing and stomping at our intrusion into his territory. This last bit was particularly hair-raising!  (--Javier)

Steptoe Butte, WA

Wallace, ID
Javier & I are in Colfax, WA, bicycling to Portland. Should be there in a couple or so weeks. A couple or more folks plan to join our moneyless tribe in Portland. (--Suelo)

 Sept 15
Always apples galore
Beauteous biking so far with Javier. Gonna roll down the Columbia River. Hoping to be in Portland before the 25th — in Kennewick, WA. (--Suelo)
Oaksdale (?), WA

Sept 20
Javier's birthday.  Suelo happened to find a cake-decorating packet of candy words saying "Happy Birthday", which  he put on some donuts he'd found.

Sept 28
Dumpster Stir Fry
In Portland! (--Suelo)

Sauteed these veggies up and had a delicious $0 meal. How is it $0 you might ask? All of it came out of trash bags in a dumpster behind a restaurant here in portland. One mans trash is another mans treasure. Living high on the hog! (--Derek)
27 days bicycling (--Javier) 

Oct 1
Chillin in the PDX (--Derek)

Oct 3
I'm reading and speaking tonight, and Daniel Suelo will join us on the phone. 
Thursday, October 3 at 7:00pm
You were invited by Shari Zollinger 
(--Mark Sundeen) 

Oct 5
The rangers came and respectfully booted us out of our camp and asked if we had enough resources, letting us know the city of Portland has plenty of help for the homeless. Lol. ¡Soy un valor perdido que camina por las calles! (--Javier)

A group of 'do-gooders' pulling up non-native ivy spotted Javier, Derek & I camping by the river & called in law enforcement. The haves' inconvenience of thought - the have-nots' upheaval of basic human need: story as old as civilization. Our sign to cut Portland short & bike outta here today while no rain. We're free, worth more than any house. — at Oaks Bottom / Springwater Trail. (--Suelo)

I'm in the Chicago area, travelling, moneyless, searching for flying bison. (--Summer)

Oct 7
My friends Javier, Derek & I decided to part ways (I miss you guys already), put the moneyless tribe on hold for the winter or indefinitely. I need a sabbatical. It's all been fun & magical, but hard. I'm off to my friend Tim's in Redmond, OR, then to Utah... I think. — in Sandy, OR. (--Suelo)

Now traveling from Portland to San Francisco! (--Javier)

Oct 13
Made it over the Cascades through pouring rains & hostile car & property owners & bronchial sickness and earthly beauty, now at Tio Zo & Logan White's house... I think heading to CO & UT! Missing my moneyless tribe fam (parted physically for now), feeling Portland vanquished us prematurely... friends I couldn't see or hang out with, circumstances beyond control. A crazy beautiful hard and fun and angry and sad and joyous and disappointingly defeating and magically triumphal last half year of sun come to a close. All as it should be, contrary to expectation, but all tells me this is right & I'm in sweet sad peace. — in Redmond, OR. — in Redmond, OR. (--Suelo)
Oct 18
Believe it or not, I arrived late last night to Pete's house in Moab! I was cycling from Portland & thought I wouldn't be here for weeks. But my friends Dustin & Kyle happened to be coming this way & gave me & the bike a ride from Tio Zo & Logan White's house in Redmond, OR. Yeah, the moneyless tribe and my expectations fell apart. But it feels a mystical conspiracy brought me back here, so here I am... unsure, frazzled, but at peace. — in Moab.  (--Suelo)

Oct 23
Hey, that's me with Karl Pilkington at 31sec, last June in Billings, MT. We're sporting coats we just found (when Karl was cold) & eating a pie we found right after Karl said he wouldn't be convinced until we found "pudding". Somebody out there with TV watch it for me ;-)  (--Suelo)

Sunday, September 15, 2013


Javier and I bicycled out of Missoula a couple weeks ago, across the Idaho Panhandle on the Coeur d'Alene bike path.  Now we're in Kennewick, Washington, getting ready to roll west along the Columbia River to Portland.  We hope to be in Portland before September 25th. 

Not much computer time & this blogger thingy doesn't function well at this library.  So this is brief and without bells & whistles.

The weather has been prime and the beauty indescribable.  We've had our physical ups and downs, as well as our mental and spiritual.  And that's what gives us muscle and endurance and health - physical, mental, and spiritual.

We've been talking a lot about faith. 
This trip and this lifestyle is all about faith.

Faith has a bad rap.  Understandably so.  Lots of folks who claim faith bastardize the whole concept, and there are tons of books by clever minds denouncing faith as the dark age of humanity.

Faith is usually thought of as blind belief, based on a creed.  Repeat the creed and say you believe it, and not let anything stand in the way of your creed.  Blow up things and people and bulldoze the earth for "faith".

But faith is trust.  Faith is subjective.  Only you can see it in your mind's eye.  Therefore, you can pretend, deceive others into thinking you have faith.

But faith, unlike science and theology, is the only thing you can truly know, can truly prove.  It is a "hunch" that you know, beyond thought, beyond mind.

Faith is the basis of not only religion and theology, but of all of life, all of science, all art, all creativity.  Without faith, nothing would come into being.  Nothing.  Am I simply presenting blind theory here?  Or is what I am saying directly provable?  Am I talking belief, or am I presenting gnosis, knowing?

Consider every scientific theory and discovery, invention, work of art, or social innovation that ever existed.  First it was faith.  First the scientist, the inventor, the innovator had a hunch, a belief.  A belief, unproven.  But their faith was so strong, something they saw that nobody else could see, that they had the determination to stick with their hunch, even through being called fools, even having zero support of any other human being, until their hunch was proven.  That is faith.  A seed has faith.  A mustard seed, a cottonwood seed.  A sperm, an egg, a conceived thought of the mind, enduring through natural selection.  Faith that does not prove itself, faith that does not do, against all odds, is not faith.  Faith is the essence of every particle in the universe.  And this is the only thing you can prove and know empirically yourself.

It once dawned on me, the verse my dad often quoted, that faith truly is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.  It truly is substance, the only substance you can surely grasp.  And it truly is evidence, the only evidence you can surely know.

Yes, it is subjective to only you, which is why you can pretend and fool folks for a while.  But faith is not truly faith until you are driven, absolutely driven, to prove it, against all odds, against all opinions, against all ridicule, against all flattering false praise.  Then your faith becomes the gift to everyone. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Time to Roll West

We're still in Missoula, but bicycling out tomorrow!

Yeah, the moneyless tribe is down to just Javier and me for now.  Thus we decided to postpone going to South Dakota for some future chapter when we perhaps have more numbers.  We're heading to Oregon instead.

Time of Cycles, Cycles of Time

Suelo building a bike
Bob Giordano
And, yes, we finally got our bicycles built, thanks to all the folks at Free Cycles, Gill, Dave, Tie, and, of course, Bob Giordano (the founder).  Javier commented on what a high quality human being Bob is and wanted to get a picture of him, but couldn't, so I found this pic on the net.

I met Bob last summer when I was in Missoula, very impressed with him and his whole demeanor.  He has changed the face of Missoula.  Javier and I have kept running into him in town, and he would immediately stop what he was doing, put his work bib on, pull out his tools, and help us with our bikes.

Suelo, Brandon, Javier at Michael & Kate's house

More Missoula Friends

Last I blogged, Brandon  took off to help his family for a month or so, Javier and I left off staying with Kate and Michael Golins and went back to the Clark Fork river to camp.  We stayed there quite a while while building on our bikes.  We were finding so much cast-away food we started distributing it to various river dwellers and also leaving it at random places.  We even found eight bottles of wine.  Maybe we were being enablers, but it was quite fun leaving it at random places for river dwellers and in parks.  I doubt if withholding it would really help or cure anybody from being an alcoholic :-)

 It's also been a treat being back in Missoula so I could hang out with my good friend Kate Keller.  She made Javier and me an absolutely splendid Thai dinner while we watched videos of Peace Pilgrim.

Any time I need encouragement and inspiration, I simply think of Peace Pilgrim.  Her energy and vitality were astounding.

I finally got to meet Rhonda (we'd been in cyber-contact for a while), randomly and unplanned when Javier and I went to Open Way.  Rhonda happened to be sitting right next to me, not even realizing it until days later.  Rhonda invited us to stay at her house, where we are right now.

 More Freely Giving, Freely Receiving

After we finished building our bikes, we were still held back from leaving--not having a bike cart and/or paniers, and no bike pump.  Then I remembered good ol' Freecyle Network - the other Freecycle, on the web.  So I put in my request for a pump and a cart.  We immediately got replies.  A couple named Michelle and Mike gave us a pump which needed repairing, and a woman named Heidi gave us a bike cart that needed repairing, looking pretty ghetto.  Both were easily repaired, so now we're ready to roll out, probably tomorrow!

Everything We Need, Right Here

FYI, the pump's tube split, seemingly dooming it to uselessness.  This happening seems trivial, but it turned out immensely satisfying to me. I started giving up hope, feeling like we would have to postpone the trip even longer until we found another pump.  This wouldn't be such a big deal for a moneyed person.   Just go buy another tube for cheap, or even a whole new pump made by Asian sweatshop workers for the same price!  Then I took a deep breath and that mystical calm feeling of "everything we need is right here" came over me.  My eyes darted around the garage I was in, knowing they would fall on what I needed.  I realized right at my feet was a bicycle cable sheath.  Like two lovers realizing their destined coupling, the sheath fit perfectly inside the rubber tube, reinforcing it to better than before, also preventing future splits.  It now works beautifully.  This is what is so beautiful about having no money, which I keep wanting people to understand.  It opens up mystical possibilities and creative juices that you miss out on if you just buy it at the store.  This is why I don't like people wanting to buy me things.  It blocks the magic.

Wouldn't Society Fall Apart Without Money?
For those skeptical that a society would fall apart without money motivation, I finally found the author and name of the book I've often talked about, that gives empirical evidence that there is a human motivation productively better than money motivation.  Anybody who listens to their heart knows this.  But, for us when we find  ourselves so removed from knowing our own hearts that we need scientific evidence, here it is:

Dan Ariely
In his book, Predictably Irrational: the Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions, Dan Ariely (Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University) speaks of an experiment he conducted with three groups of students at computer screens, each group unknown to the others:

"In this experiment, the task was to drag the circle, using the computer mouse, onto the square. 
. . . . We measured how many circles they dragged within five minutes."

For this task,
The first group was paid $5 per circle dragged into the square.
The second group was paid 50 cents or 10 cents per circle.
The third group was paid nothing.  They were told it was a "social request", merely a favor asked.

"...those who received five dollars dragged an average of 159 circles, and those who received 50 cents dragged an average of 101 circles.  As expected, more money caused our participants to be more motivated and work harder (by about 50 percent).
"What about the condition with no money?  Did these participants work less than the ones who got the low monetary payment - or, in the absence of money, did they apply social norms to the situation and work harder?  The results showed that on average they dragged 168 circles, much more than those who were paid 50 cents, and just slightly more than those who were paid five dollars.  In other words, our participants worked harder under the non-monetary social norms than for the almighty buck (okay, fifty cents)." [p. 78-79]

Finding the Greatest Force in the Universe

This is the motivation I envision for a moneyless tribe, the motivation that trumps money.  Where your heart is, there is your treasure.  When your treasure is not elsewhere, not in the past or the future, but in the present, your heart is totally into what you are doing.  "Do all things heartily as unto the Eternal Present."  The Eternal Present is Lord over all.  There can be no heart more powerful.  Can a small tribe with this Strong Heart go over Jordan and conquer the land of Commerce? (Canaan means commerce, trade, and Canaanite means merchant, trader).  Can a little guy conquer the Dragon of Leviathan (Leviathan the Dragon or Serpent symbolizes debt).  Or is this an absurdity, wishful myths of the ancients?  Who is willing to give up all treasures on earth, have all treasure in heaven, in the heart ("The Kingdom of Heaven is within you")?  The Pure Heart is the Heart with no treasures on earth, the Heart which acts fully for the present, whose reward is in doing.  The Pure Heart is the Strong Heart, the Divine Heart that conquers the delusional world.

You cannot work for both Reality and Mammon.  You cannot work for both the Eternal Present and profit. 
The word God can actually mean something other than the ridiculousness it has been imbibed with for centuries.  The Eternal Present, beyond words.  There is nothing and no one more powerful than the Eternal Present.  Why work for anything or anyone else?  I care not what you call it, even if you never ever use or like the word "God".  It's better not to use or ever mention the word than to use it in vain.  I don't hear that word used in vain as much as I do by droves of churches and politicians, even with zeal.   

I love how the medieval Christian, Meister Eckhart, in his commentary on Jesus driving the merchants and moneychangers from the temple, used the word:

" long as we do any work at all for gain, as long as we desire anything God may have given or may give, we rank with these traders.  Would you be free from any taint of trading with God?  Then do what good you can and do it solely for God's glory, as free from it yourself as though you did not exist.  Ask nothing whatever in return.... The traders are driven from the temple and God is there alone when one has no motive but God.  See your temple cleared of traders.  The man who is intent on God alone, and on God's glory, is truly free from any taint of commerce in his deeds..." [The Best of Meister Eckart, p. 44]

Do not all the religions teach this same principle?
Judge for yourself:

The Jewish Branch  
The Orthodox Christian Branch
The Mormon Christian Branch
The Islamic Branch
The Taoist Branch
The Hindu Branch
The Buddhist Branch
The Jain Branch
The Sikh Branch

The Bahá’í Branch

Zeal for Heaven

Why, people often wonder, are droves of religious zealots so zealous for commerce, in spite of  their claimed founders' teachings about giving up wealth and doing for the sake of doing?

When your religion is based on desire for heaven and fear of hell (credit and debt), you automatically will be the force behind commerce.  When your religion is based upon even desire for enlightenment as future reward, you are going to be the force behind commerce, and you are the money-changer and merchant in the temple.

Conversely, when your religion is based upon love, you would rather love than go to heaven, and you give up all craving for future "salvation".   You would forfeit heaven and go to hell for love.  "Love" that desires to save its ass from hell and looks for heaven far away is not love.  One day I realized the purpose of the concepts of heaven and hell--why such concepts exist.  They are our test to prove our love.  Love is not swayed, not burned or changed, but is refined by the fire of hell.

But "love" that desires heaven and fears hell is also a "love" obsessed with a Messiah in the past or a Messiah coming in the future, but cannot stand the idea of Messiah within, in the present.  Such "love" cares not for the life of this earth, not for the environment, not for the animals and forests, not for the social justice of fellow human beings.  Such "love" has no self respect, no personal responsibility.  But such "love" parades itself in pious zeal.   Love that is willing to forfeit its place in heaven for love's sake is the only love that exists.  This is the only Love that casts away all fear--all fear of hell, all fear of others. Love realizes that the "Kingdom of Heaven is at hand," not some distant place and time, and that the "Kingdom of God is within you."  Such love has no ulterior motivation, no desire to convert, no need to compete.

Rabia al-Adawiya
True devotion is for itself:
not to desire heaven nor to fear hell.

 --Rabia al-Adawiya (The Mother of the Islamic Sufi Way)

Love is the eternal blood flow of the universe, forever freely given.
Love washes away a multitude of debts, taking no credit.
Love exists long before any religion, any scripture, any prophet.
You, yes you, have known this from the beginning.


Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Out of the Wild, Into Missoula

We're in Missoula, Montana now.  Our tribe of five walked into Missoula on July 24th.

Darby to Hamilton

Last I blogged, our tribe of six was getting ready to walk out of Darby.
Several miles out of Darby, a 60-something fellow we had met at the LDS Church there the Sunday before, named Phil, saw us resting at the side of the road and stopped to load us up with fresh water and some scrumptious cinnamon coffee-cake he had made himself.  It was timed perfectly, as most of us had run out of water.  Phil hung out and chatted with us a while, and even prayed for us before he continued his drive to Hamilton.  He said he admired our faith walk, and called Jesus a rebel, against the current of conventional society.  We also admired his sincere kindness and unique character and unabashed faith.

In our walk through Hamilton we indulged on a plethora of cast-away food there.  It was not only like this there, but all along our entire route.  In Hamilton, we stopped at the public library to use the computers and hang out.  It turned out there was to be a show for children on the library grounds, but some performers didn't show up.  So Mika stepped in to fill in for them, doing some juggling and dancing for the kids!  The next part of the show was a fascinating display of several live wild animals from local animal rescuers.  The librarian was quite friendly and gave us an invitation to stay in her yard, which we ended up declining.  Cody had found a great place to camp outside the park by the river.
Cherry tree in Hamilton, MT
We were toying with the idea of building a raft of logs and floating the rest of the way to Missoula. 

Montana Neighborliness

There was a trail through the area that the public used to walk their dogs and swim, and there were absolutely no signs indicating it was anything but public land, and nothing indicating there was no camping.  We cooked up a nice meal, ate lots of chocolate for desert we had found, and had a good night's sleep.  But in the morning the police showed up.  They said one of the neighbors had called them, and that we were on private property.  They said this even as the public was walking their dogs through there.  They also said the caller had complained that we were walking around naked, which was yet another instance of bearing false witness.  We were by this time feeling astonished at how many times people in Montana were quick to call the cops and see things that simply do not exist, rather than simply walking over and talking to us.  Simply talking to neighbors not only promotes simple humanity but also saves taxpayer expense, if we want to talk money.  The cops themselves even seemed reluctant to respond to such calls.

Bye bye friend

We ended up ditching the rafting idea, since the river was too low.  Mika wanted to walk, not raft, and also felt that her heart was not totally with the moneyless tribe.  She had made this clear from the beginning--a temporary thing to try out--as she didn't want to give up all her money and had other plans.  So she parted ways with us, staying with an old friend in Hamilton, and a couple days later decided to walk by herself to Missoula.  She'd thought she could catch up with us, but we took too many detours.  We took our time, camping along the river, and detoured to highway 269 all the way to Stevensville.

More Montana Neighborliness

Again, somebody called the cops on us, simply for walking along the highway!  The cops came by to talk to us, apologetically, and realized how ridiculous it was that somebody had called them.  This was the 5th time somebody had called the cops on us in not even 2 weeks of walking in Montana! 

We've experienced the very good and very bad in people in this state.

St Mary's Mission in Stevensville, MT
We showed up at St. Mary's Mission, and one of the caretakers was extremely friendly and welcomed us to camp there.   The next day was Sunday, so we decided to attend mass.  The priest, Matthew Huber, happened to preach about providing hospitality to wandering strangers.  Then he asked us to introduce ourselves, and I told them we were on a faith walk without money.  I guess I didn't make it clear that we did not accept money, and people started pouring money into our hands after the service.  We ended up with over $100, and I felt flabbergasted!  So we decided to give the money to the priest, and he said he'd put it into their fund to feed the homeless. 

Later, a couple parishioners brought us enough food to last us several days! There was to be a free concert at the mission later that day of classical and opera music, so we attended and helped clean up.  They gave us their leftover treats.

Meanwhile, Mika made it to Missoula a couple days before us, surprised to not have run into us, then hitch-hiked to Portland, missing us altogether.

Wedding Union & Tribal Parting

Our remaining tribe of five camped at the River near Missoula for a few days.  Then I left my friends for a couple days to attend Mark Sundeen's and Cedar Brandt's wedding.
Cedar & Mark wed

Sallie & Me ringing in
Mark & Cedar's wedding
I was telling people about our tribe family, with feelings of pride, and saying how none of them showed any signs of giving up.  Little did I realize, but I returned and found that Cody and Summer also quietly left for Portland.  I knew Summer previously had been talking about leaving to have surgery.  So Cody decided to escort her to Portland for that reason.  I'm glad he felt responsible enough for her to go with her, even though he's been my right-hand man who gave me the boost I needed to begin this venture.

Then, a few days later, Brandon decided to go back to Las Vegas to help out his family for a month.  So now it is just Javier and me.  They plan to return.  But I have to admit, I go through times of feeling extremely disheartened.  Then I meditate on it and let it go, and feel at peace.  Then I feel disheartened again, and go through that process again (Please, some commentators, refrain from advice).  Quite a few people are telling us they plan to join the moneyless tribe, but we never know until it happens.  This is all good, because it can only be powerful if those who join have hearts totally into this, here and now.  Here's what I posted on the website: Are You Committed to Join the Moneyless Tribe?

I've become intensely endeared to each person who joined our tribe, each so incredibly unique and gifted in his or her own way.  The love I've felt goes beyond description, and I feel deep gratitude that each has been a part of my life, whether for a short or long time.  All things are impermanent, but there is also something permanent, endearingly enduring, too.    
Summer, Cody, Suelo, Brandon
in Stevensville, MT
(Javier no in this this pic since he took it)

More Hospitality

Garden of 1000 Buddhas
Meanwhile, Mark's friends, Michael and Kate, invited us to stay at their house for a few days, since the Missoula police were planning to do a raid at the river to clean out homeless people.  What a great tactic to eliminate homelessness!  It works so well they keep doing it over and over all over the country!  Excuse my sarcasm.
Kate left town for a couple weeks and Michael hosted Javier, me, and Brandon (before he left) very generously.  He also entertained us well, taking us to the   Garden of One Thousand Buddhas north of Missoula, and also to the river. 
Rosie the dog singing
with Michael & Suelo
We redeemed food and he shared eating like royalty with us nearly every day we were there.

Now Javier and I are doing some volunteer work at Missoula's Free Cycles, and we hope to build bicycles to continue on our journey.

Typical cornucopia
of redeemed food

We got more doses of the Buddha way by meditating, for the second Monday in a row, at the Open Way mindfulness center in Missoula.  I got to meet Rhonda there, a person who's been in e contact with me a bit.  There's a good community of about 20 people there.


Javier at the Blackfoot River
Javier (and Brandon, while he was here) are into talking about spiritual esoterica in the Bible & other scriptures.  It's been refreshing for me, since I don't get to discuss these things very often with folks.  Perhaps I can share what we talk about in future posts.  Meanwhile, here's a couple scripture verses we've been mulling over during the past days, considering why they are so mysteriously ignored and explained away by conventional churches, especially those which complain about people "picking and choosing" for or against scriptures they like or dislike:

Now when Jesus was asked by the Pharisees

when the Kingdom of God would come,
he answered them and said,
"The Kingdom of God
does not come with observation;
nor will they say,
'Look here!' or 'Look there!'
For indeed,
the Kingdom of God is within you.'

Then he said to the disciples,
"The days will come
when you will desire to see
one of the days of the Son of Man,
and you will not see it.
And they will say to you,
'Look here!' or 'Look there!'
Do not go after them or follow them."
(Luke 17:20-21)

And, again, a fave I like to quote:

Therefore you also be ready:
for the Son of Man
*comes at an hour when you
do not think.
(Luke 12:40)
*present tense



Monday, July 15, 2013

The Moneyless Tribe Becomes Reality

It's been weeks since I've had net access.  Still little time to write here.
Darby, MT
The moneyless tribe is now reality, dream materialized!  I am walking with 5 amazing people (Cody, Summer, Brandon, Javier, and Mika) in abundance.  We're in Darby, MT now, on our way to Missoula.

From the East Coast to Montana

What a whizzing whirlwind it's been.  Last I blogged, I was in CT.  I hitched to eastern New Jersey and couldn't get a ride out, & was seriously doubting I could make it to MT for even the Rainbow Gathering to launch of the moneyless tribe, much less to meet the appointment with the British film crew, Me & You Productions, in Billings beforehand.  I finally found a library to contact the Brits, and it turned out they were in NYC at the time.  So they picked me up and put me on a bus to Billings!

Before I got to Billings I had a clear vision that I'd meet up with Cody and Phil as I walked away from the bus station (They didn't have a clue when I'd arrive in Billings, or even if I could make it).  But I arrived, and walked a couple blocks from the station.  I saw a couple folks who looked street smart and thought I'd ask them where the library was.  As I got a few feet closer, I saw that they were Cody and Phil!  I felt a great sense of relief and gratitude.  Cody, who had lived moneyless for a year and a half, went back to using a little money for a while.  He still had a little stash, as well as a car his mother insisted he bring.  We discussed whether or not he could ditch the car in Billings or just bring it to Rainbow and give it to somebody there.  We opted for the second option, especially since we ran into a couple (Matthew and Ashley) hitching to the Rainbow who needed a ride.  I also thought it would provide a great means to bring massive amounts of recycled food to the Gathering.

It turned out Phil decided he wasn't ready to do the moneyless tribe thing, and he ended up leaving.  I felt sad about that, but such is life.  I was so grateful Cody was with me, because the idea of launching a moneyless tribe by myself at Rainbow was feeling overwhelming.  Cody and I set up camp at a beautiful spot near the river with Matthew and Ashley.  We would stay there until the Brits arrived for filming. 

An Idiot Abroad

Karl Pilkington

Funny, the British TV thing.  Originally, I'd thought they wanted to do a documentary.  But I finally had time to look them up at the library and realized they were the crew of "An Idiot Abroad", starring
Karl Pilkington,  a very popular "reality show" in both Britain & the US.  "What am I getting myself into?!" I thought.  I felt strong misgivings about agreeing to do this, quickly losing heart.  I met the producers and film crew at a fancy hotel, but not Karl.  Karl wouldn't meet me until the next day.

The next day we met at Pioneer Park.  Karl hadn't eaten since the evening before and was feeling cranky & tired from hypoglycemia.  So I gave him some granola and trail mix I'd foraged from dumpsters, and he became happy.  He ended up interviewing me for an hour or more about the philosophy of moneyless living and about the idea of happiness (the episode's theme was "happiness").  I liked Karl and his sincerity and inquisitive spirit, and thought, "I feel good about this after all.")  Then the film crew prodded us to walk & do  my Billings routine.  So I took Karl dumpster-diving.   We found pizza, more granola, a Dutch apple pie, some chicken, a pair of nice jeans Karl's size, and picked up a couple wool sport blazers from a thrift store dumpster (since Karl was cold).  And, since Karl had no sleeping gear, we went to another dumpster and found a warm blanket.  Karl was amazed at every find, at its utter synchronicity, and kept asking me and the film crew if we had set it all up beforehand.  Of course we didn't, I and they kept telling him.

There's much more that happened, but hopefully you can watch it when it airs in the Autumn (October, I think).  Karl was hilarious.  What I discovered is that Karl didn't at all put on an act.  He's totally himself.  And the film crew staged absolutely nothing, which surprised me to no end.  They let Karl and I decide everything that happened.

It turned out grand fun, but I was relieved when it was all over with.  But there was to be more to come...

To the Rainbow Gathering

Location of the Moneyless Tribe, overlooking Rainbow Gathering
We arrived at the Rainbow Gathering near Jackson, Montana.  We didn't even have to look for a camp for the moneyless tribe - it basically called us.  The first place we went, up on a ridge overlooking the gathering, we found really friendly, welcoming neighbors.  So we put our packs down and stayed.  Shortly afterward, a guy named White Dog set up his tee pee right by our moneyless tribe sign, and then built an inipi (sweat lodge).  The tee pee was visible from all over the gathering, a great marker showing where we were.  And I was so happy to be able to do sweat lodge right next door.

Suelo on July 4th Celebration

Cody & nieghbor, Lief
For days Cody and I wandered around, not knowing hardly anybody, since we were so early.  I kept having doubts nobody would show up and the moneyless tribe could be a flop.  On the other hand, I felt a bit freaked out about maybe 30 people showing up wanting to join.  Either way, I kept falling into doubts over the unknown.  I had already publicized it... and what would happen?  On top of all that, the Hungarian TV journalist, Hesna (Al Ghaoui Hesna) and her film crew were arriving to document the first couple weeks of the moneyless tribe!  It was testing my faith, my ability to remain grounded in the present.

Launching the Moneyless Tribe

Hesna, Hungarian TV Journalist
I put signs up around the gathering directing folks to the moneyless tribe camp.  Then I announced it at the dinner circle.  The next day we waited, and about 12 people showed up to hear what this was all about.  It turned out I mostly philosophized about it, since people were more interested in the philosophy of why we wanted to do this than the practicalities.  I felt it turned out very good, feeling quite inspired.  Within five minutes of everybody leaving, the Hungarian film crew arrived!  They set up camp near us and started interviewing immediately.
Tyler & me at the Rainbow Gathering

I also gave presentations the next 2 days.  About a dozen people showed up at each one, and I felt more on fire inspired, and so did everybody else, as we went.  He Hungarians filmed the second day presentation.  Also, our tribe members started showing up, one-by-one.  I can't describe the warmth and love and gratitude I was feeling.  I had been feeling so weak, so doubtful, so unworthy, so I knew this wasn't from me.  Skeptical pragmatists, think what you will, but I felt and feel the Divine Hand, which is not my doing, not from me.  One-by-one, Javier, Brandon, and Summer showed up.  They had been thinking of this months before coming, and we'd been in a bit of email contact.  Summer had actually been thinking about it for years. 

Brandon, Cody, Summer, with neighbors
Then three others, Tyler, another Brandon, and Trent, showed up to camp near us.  These three really want to join us on the walk, but can't until maybe later.  Then, on the last day of  the presentation, Mika showed up.  She had read the book and was amazed to find us at the gathering.  Her decision to join the tribe was most spontaneous.

Meanwhile, Hesna and her Hungarian crew, Adam and Irwin, were filming and interviewing each of us, as well as some potential members.  It was awkward and tiring having cameras on us all the time, but also fun.  I felt quite privileged for such an opportunity.  They also documented the first three days of us leaving.walking out of the gathering.
Javier, Cody, Summer, Suelo at July 4th Celebration

Giving away the Car and the last money

Cody and I befriended a woman, Mikara, at the Gathering, who was setting up solar showers, doing a good service.  It turned out she didn't have gas and didn't know how she would get to Eugene.  Cody gave her his last money, $120, and she cried tears of gratitude.  Then we met a couple with a baby who didn't know how they were going to get back to Las Vegas, and Cody signed his car title over to them.  It was beautiful to see how natural it was for Cody, how totally in sync he was with people's needs.

[Photos of tribe members taken by Tyler Whitney]

The Tribe Walks

Good hospitality in Jackson

We walked through Jackson, then to Wisdom.  We were so grateful to find that the cooks and proprietor at Rose's Cantina in Jackson were friendly and generous, giving us their excess leftover food along with smiles. I recommend going to Rose's Cantina fb page and 'liking' them.

Nasty hospitality in Jackson

It was so refreshing after dealing with many unbelievably unfriendly, inhospitable people in Jackson and Wisdom (in Beaverhead county for the most part), especially the people at the Hot Springs Lodge.  We simply asked them for food they were throwing away, and we graciously left, without defiance or rebelliousness, when they told us to not "loiter" in front of their resort.  Yet the police found us later and told us they had thrown us out.  Either they had blatantly lied to the cop or the cop was lying to us.  I am not surprised to see that Jackson Hot Springs Lodge has terrible ratings on the Internet!

That evening we had no place to sleep, so we crossed a fence in a cattle field, where there were no private property signs, and somebody else called the cops on us.  We ended up sleeping on swampy ground right by the road.

We figured things would get better walking into Wisdom.  Food-wise, it was good, as we retrieved quite a few cans of spaghetti sauce, potatoes, and a bag of pinto beans from the dumpster behind the Antler Saloon.  But the proprietor came out and scolded us, yelling, "get out of my dumpster!"  She said she would call the cops.  Only a few times in my life have I ever met such a hateful, mean-spirited human being.  It's surprising to see such folks that you think only exist in movies.  I asked her how on earth she thought we were hurting her or any creature on earth.   But we left, as she requested.  I didn't think she would be so vindictive to call the cops, but Mika said she was sure she would.  Later that evening, we found a free public place to camp by the river.  As we were cooking, the same cop from the previous night showed up and scolded us again.  The woman had actually called him.  The cop said he wanted us out of Beaverhead County ASAP, and I told him our wants were mutual, that I'd be out of this inhospitable place now if I could.  But Mika, thank God for her, later talked with him and smoothed things over.  He finally ended up being very nice and gave us granola bars and said it would be fine to stay another day, to heal up from blisters.  He was doing his job.  Police have to go out on calls when they are called.

Good Hospitality in Ravali County

We met a woman named Liz in Wisdom, coming from the Rainbow Gathering.  She offered to give us a ride, in collaboration with the Hungarian film crew, to the Ravali county line, at the summit.

The Hungarians stayed with us another day, filming and interviewing, and then left for their flight to Hungary from Missoula.

They left us with some food, including a couple cans of ravioli.  It was quite funny, because many days before I was joking with Cody and a couple others, saying, "we're going to eat ravioli in Ravali County!"  Lo and behold, ravioli was our very first meal in Ravali County.

We had several people offer us rides on our walk.

We were on a long stretch and I was thinking we, a tribe of 6, might have to skimp a bit, and everybody was prepared to maybe fast.  Yes, silly me, I was doubting that faith couldn't work as well for 6 as it would for just me.  We were also quite exhausted.
East Fork Bitterroot River

We then passed some trash cans.  I found some rubber cement, which I'd been needing, but no food.  We passed a field on the other side of the road with construction equipment in it, and a dumpster.  A couple of us said, "It's not worth it checking that dumpster.  Why would there be anything in it?"  A couple folks needed a rest, so we stopped.  I thought, "Oh well, I'll check that dumpster anyway," and I crossed the road.  It was chuck full of frozen food, not yet thawed!  Fish, sausages, tortillas, bread galore!  Out in the middle of nowhere.  We were astonished.  And we feasted for days on that food.  Never hungry.

Near Conner, we asked permission to camp on somebody's beautiful land near the river.  They came later that evening and brought us even more food.  They were 3 young guys, incredibly friendly and generous.

We walked on the next day, and now we're in Darby.  We've been camping in a park near the Mormon Church.  We decided to attend the Mormon Church yesterday.  Very friendly and sincere people there.  One of the women members, named Sherry, brought us lots of food last night.  A couple Mormon missionaries came later and brought us a Book of Mormon.  We actually had a good talk.

We were going to leave today, but I wanted to finally do some email and write this blog post.

So here it is.

I want to talk about each of the beautiful people in our tribe, Javier, Cody, Mika, Summer, and Brandon.  But it will have to wait.  I can't describe the warmth and gratitude I feel.