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