Tales From Mephitis, Chapter 17: A Candle in the Darkness

Updated on September 22, 2018
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Mr. Vanek is an Observer of the Human Condition and a Writer.

Friday, on New Year’s Eve, he was told by Toad that he was being sent to the Venice Station for the day. He shrugged and got into the battered county truck, # 502, and leisurely drove over.

It was busy there all day, and as usual, no one else really helped the people there. He got stunned looks from customers when he came over and took their bags of garbage for them and helped them with their recycling.

His nose began pouring early and poured all day, which was a major pain in the ass, because he couldn’t wipe his nose on his sleeve, or use his gloves to hold a piece of paper towel (there were no tissues) and taking the cheap gloves on and off caused them to fall apart.

During the lulls in traffic, the new part-timer he was working with opened up and started to talk about himself. His name was Gunner Nimrod. He was maybe nineteen or twenty, and was hired that summer. Thin, he went about 120 pounds, and was of average height, with a pencil neck, big glasses, brown hair, and a somewhat dazed expression: Quintessential nerd look.

He lightly explained that he was severely diabetic and showed Frank the $20,000 insulin pump on his belt that kept him alive. It would last only two years, and insurance only covered half of the cost of it.

Turned out he was well-named, because he loved to hunt.

“Go into the woods with my brother every day I can.”

“What do you hunt?”

“Anything that moves: Crows, chipmunks, squirrels, robins, you name it.”

That somewhat stunned Frank. From the way the young man described his diabetes, he was always on the knife’s edge of life. Frank just assumed anyone whose own life was so precarious would respect the lives of all other creatures as well; apparently the opposite conclusion was reached by Gunner.

“What do you carry?”

“Shotgun. Really love deer hunting though.” His eyes lit up with boyish excitement at even the mention of it. He was an amateur taxidermist as well: And one with an unusual aesthetic sensibility.

“Made a beer keg wall dispenser for my father’s bar out of the ass end of a deer.

Wanted to use a doe and have the beer squirt out her c*nt; but I got a buck, so I had to use that instead. I left the prick and balls on. Lift the tail and beer squirts out the a*shole.” He paused for a moment.

Frank knew the lad expected a comment, but he honestly did not know how to reply.

“Made another one the same way from the ass end of a lake trout. Lift the tail and beer squirts out. My father loves them. Big hit with all his customers too. Got orders to make a few others.”

Frank had learned early on that some people use the dumps as their private source of materials for garage sales which they held every week.

“Professional Garage Sale Holders” had become an established profession up here in the 90’s after most of the jobs evaporated. For these people it was their main source of income.

Frank noticed a slim, fortyish woman with light auburn hair in a long ponytail going through the Gaylords of books. She had a goodly pile set aside on the ground.

Tonto snorted and disdainfully told him she was “just some Mexican that comes in every Friday looking for stuff to resell at her place”.

She had a large home on the outskirts of Venice and held a garage sale there weekly.

“She doesn’t appear ‘Mexican’.” He could see the light wrinkles that had begun to appear on her face and throat. “Time is so cruel to the fragile, and so merciless to the fair.”

“Excuse me. Can you help me?” she suddenly asked him in a pleasantly light voice with a hint of a Spanish accent.

“A sus ordenes.”

“Ah; mucho gracias, senor.” She smiled. There was an air of faded aristocracy about her, worn lightly, naturally. “Como se llama Usted?”

“Frank. Y Usted?”

“Sophia. Mucho Gusto. Encantada, Frank.”

“El gusto is mio, Sophia. Perdoname, puedo a usted preguntar adonde esta?”

“Cuba. A long time ago. I was a little girl. My parents fled the communists. And you?”


“I lived there too. Are you Greek?”

“No; Czech.”

“I thought Astoria was all Greeks.”

“Not way back then. The Czechs were there before the Greeks.”

“I see. Could you help me with these books? My car is over there.” She indicated a Subaru hatchback with an elegant wave of her hand.

“I’ll get them.”

When he was done, she offered him her hand; a definite coquettish flirtation.

“Muchas gracias.”

“De nada. Hasta luego.” He pulled off his glove and shook her hand lightly.

“Con esperanza. Hasta la vista, ‘Frank’.”

Ray called and told him to wait there for Tom, who was going to drop Farina’s truck back off at around four, and give him a lift back to Mephitis.

Just before four, the skidsteer he was using to push in garbage gave up the ghost. He’d had trouble getting it started all day. He informed Tonto it had died. He and Roger turned out to be particularly inept problem solvers.

Frank told them it probably had something to do with the switch in the seatbelt, because that had been balky all day. They didn’t listen. He suggested they just tow it inside for now. They didn’t listen. They pored over the manual stupidly and blindly for about fifteen minutes, then gave up and called Ray.

Tom arrived, and when he heard what the problem was, he too told them to just tow it in. They didn’t listen. He was pissed when he heard they had called Ray and that he was on his way in; because that meant Tom’d be held up there.

Sure enough, it was getting late by the time Ray arrived, futiley tried a few things, and then told Geryon to just tow it inside for now.

Tom was anxious as hell to get back. Every ten minutes during the ride his cell would chime and it would be Ray again. For the space of the call he was friendly as a puppy, but as soon as he hung up he blistered him with deprecation.

When they got back to Mephitis at 4:15, Frank looked around the breakroom in disbelief. He had just walked into the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. It was like a pinball machine; everyone bouncing off each other maniacally in pure pandemonium.

They had just heard it was official: They now had a contract. The Union and the County had signed.

Little Tom sat on the chair pulling off his pants, still talking to Ray on his cell. Rod hovered nearby staring at his crotch, and pretending to be ‘exhausted’.

“I was out there all day all alone. Toad stayed in the office all day.” he whined in a whisper to Frank. “He and Ray got in trouble with Mitch for sending me to Genoa...”

“It’s ‘F**k John Friday’! It’s ‘F**k John Friday’!” Hoppin’ John kept repeating, louder and louder as no one responded. “It’s F**k John Friday! It’s F**k John Friday!”

“I called Dick and told on them...”

“It’s F**k John Friday!”

“Hey, Little Tom! Mind if I stop over and give ya wife Susie a good f**kin?” Jack yelled across the room.

“I don’t see why not. I’m not getting anything, somebody might as well.”

“Get outta here, Rod!”

“The Big Rod does what The Big Rod wants!”

F**k John Friday!”

“Well ‘The Big Rod’ better want ta get the f**ck outta here! I’m takin a leak!”

“What the f**k did you do all day, Toad!?”

Heh heh heh heh!”

“Now we’re gonna get winter coats! Also: I thinks we should get free boots too.”

“You ain’t gonna get coats or boots, a*shole! They’re gonna shut us down! It’s f**ckin f**ck John Friday! F**ck John Friday!”

“It’s ‘F**k Joe Friday! Joe Friday! Dragnet was a f**kin good show.”

F**k John Friday!”

“I don’t suppose you remember who Joe Friday’s partner was, do ya Hoppin’?”

“Where the f**k were you, Toad?”

Heh, heh, heh, heh.”

“Can I f**k Susie in the pee bag?”

“Stay the f**k away from my house, Big Rod!”

“The Board of supervisors said we’re losin too much money. Barrator says we gotta cut back. He said we gotta turn down the thermostats at all stations.”

“Well, can she pee on my face?”

“D’you hear me? I said, I don’t suppose you remember who Joe Friday’s partner was, do you John?”

“I can’t work when it’s that cold. They can’t turn the heat down in the building!”

“You can’t work period! Who the f**k you kiddin, Rod!”

“Get the f**k outta here, Rod! You f**kin pervert!”

Heh, heh, heh, heh.”

“These stations were built as a public service! Not to make a profit!”

It was a relief to get outside and get to his bike. The darkness was deep and the air sharp with cold.

“Throw your bike in the back. I’ll give ya a ride.”

“Thanks, John.”

“I got the old lady a Kindle for Christmas.” He told Frank as if it were his idea as they drove. “It’s like an electronic book, and she can read with it because you can adjust the size of the print and even the brightness. We had to give up the internet after she lost her job, so I take her to MacDonald’s. They got free high-speed internet there. We have a coffee and she goes online and gets books.”

“How does she like it?”

“Loves it… Jesus! “He cursed as his truck lurched through a series of potholes. “This road sucks!

“Yeah. It’s been years since they paved it.”

“I heard the County’s chief bean counter cut DPW’s paving budget by twenty percent. Told them to forget paving. County’s already way behind in it.”

He had the heater cranked and the atmosphere was suffocating. Frank felt his head filling up. John pulled the truck up to a stop sign. As he proceeded, Frank saw his right hand go groping around for a shift.

“Used ta drivin the rig. I keep looking for the shift.” John noted wryly. “If ya see one; let me know.”

Frank began the year with a roaring fever that began on New Year’s Day and lasted right up to the night before he was due back into work. Mel wanted him to call off, but he insisted on waiting to see how he felt in the morning. He was as surprised as she was to find that he actually felt good when the alarm went off at four.

Despite it being January, the weather had gone surprisingly mild and dry; more like a ‘normal’ November.

An astonishing amount of synchronicity began for him with the end of the Old and the beginning of the New Year. He had found that Trakfone, and then the next day someone came and gave him that charger. There was that strange coincidence and feelings around that photo.

Mel had been lamenting that she was totally out of fabric to make the children’s Halloween costumes that she did for the local food pantry, and then someone dropped off a fifty-pound bag of clean fabric scraps.

Just after the loss of their record turntable, someone brought in a dead one that had just the rubber drive band they needed.

As if to reinforce what was happening, he found lying on top of a Gaylord “The Tao of Synchronicity”, by Dr. Jean Shimoda Bolen. He opened the book at random.

“When the pupil is ready, the teacher will come.” He read and felt his scalp prickle.

“I’ll be damned.”

Dr. Bolen described Carl Jung’s concept of “synchronicity” as an acasual connecting principle equivalent to the “Tao”, which she saw as a link connecting psyche and event.

Synchronicity was the term coined by Jung to describe those eerily meaningful coincidences that sometimes occur.

The “Self” is what he called the totality of our psyche. He likened it metaphorically to a sphere. Our ego, our waking consciousness, was but a spot on the surface of that sphere.

The Self contains our subconscious, our ego, our personal unconscious, the collective unconscious, our genetic and biologic legacy of being a human animal, and something more, something ineffable; the Godhead, the Atman in Hindu thought, or the Tao in Chinese.

The Self, the Tao, is what we experience when we no longer feel ego-separated from everything else, when we intuitively, deeply, sense we and the universe are one, not separate.

Like jarringly significant dreams, synchronicity depends on the activity of the psyche; inner turmoil and intensity of feelings seems to trigger it.

To understand why a synchronistic event happened, she maintained you must ask yourself what was the emotional landscape you were embedded in at the time. How were you feeling? What were you thinking about? Ask yourself how the object involved in the synchronistic event relates to your quandary.

Just as dream themes that are uncomfortable and repetitive will continue until the inner conflict is resolved or the external situation that is wrong for you changes; synchronicity works the same way.

“Synchronistic Meetings” are encounters with the same personality type, perhaps an overbearing male figure, or a domineering woman, who trigger the same reaction you had, in this example, to your mother or father, and that happen again and again in your life.

They are happening to teach us something about ourselves. The first step is to recognize it’s happening again, and then ask yourself how do you feel about that person? Why am I reacting so strongly and always the same way toward people like this?

 “If we cannot trust ourselves, then we cannot trust our distrust of ourselves.” 						Alan Watts
“If we cannot trust ourselves, then we cannot trust our distrust of ourselves.” Alan Watts

Synchronistic events are like a mirror. The outer world does reflect the inner, not just seems to. What is outside of me, is in me. What is inside of me is outside of me too. Wherever you go; there you are. There are no accidents. All things are symbols of something higher: The Macrocosm is the microcosm, the microcosm is the macrocosm. As Goethe put it: “Alles vergangliche is nur ein Gleichnis.”

The Greeks had words for what they saw as two different experiences of ‘Time’. There was Kronos; the endless sequential moments of time leading into the future. And there was Kairos; which was a timelessness, an eternally present ‘Now’, the nunc stans.

Kronos is how we keep track of events; we feel it exists concretely outside of ourselves. Kairos is how we experience life without the sense of the passage of time at certain moments.

. If you are on a path in life “with heart”, to use Carlos Castenada’s phrase, your dreams will be enjoyable and encouraging. If you’re on the wrong path for you, one with “no heart”, one that is not part of your destiny, your dreams will be unpleasant, filled with hostile figures.

In the same way “negative synchronicity” will occur if you are on the wrong path for you and create the “Malice des Objets”, the seemingly willfully malicious behavior of non-living things, where it seems everything is actively fighting you. It is time then to examine your attitude and actions.

To find the path with heart, follow your intuitive feeling, not logic.

She pointed out that the Chinese pictograph for “Tao” is composed of elements that give the connotation of a step by step progression along a road, or a way, with pauses to reflect.

Your “Daimon is what the Greeks called your completely unique, essential nature; that which makes you you.

Heraclitus left a fragment that simply said “Ethos Anthropoi Daimon”: “Character is Daimon”, character is fate, character is destiny.

Your unique personality dictates the outcome of your life; your early experiences do not, nor does the circumstances you contended with or were blessed with.

The symbolisms in Wolfram von Eschenbach’s “Parzival” and T.S. Elliot’s “The Wasteland” are about spiritual dryness; the Dark Night of the Soul. That is the existential belief that there is a lack of order and meaning in the universe: We are alone. It is that way of seeing the world that creates the “drought mentality”, the fear that there is not enough here to go around and the future will be even worse. Everyone else is then perceived as a competitor or a predator. Healing only will occur when that isolated ego is in contact with the Self, the Tao again.

Frank spent the rest of the day and the next week in a state of vacillation between excitement and cynicism.

“That book hit me hard. Okay, I realize I have a “Heroic,” a “Mythopoetic” turn of mind. That’s the type of mind that sees life not as a mere sequence of meaningless events. It sees life as a living out of a Destiny, a Quest, a Heroic performance, where our behavior is not merely doing what is routine and meaningless, but rather imbued with larger meaning, of omens and signs. I see myself and others not simply as human animals, but as almost mythical figures, enacting something that behind appearances is actually the playing out of cosmic destinies.

It is not a conscious process on my part, not one of deciding to find metaphors of a mythic realm. It is a priori to conscious reflection and thought.

Occasionally the deeper significance of an event will suddenly burst upon me like an epiphany, an insight with a numinous feel to it.

Maybe she’s wrong though about “synchronistic meetings”; maybe it’s a destiny to constantly play out a role with these types of people.”

“The opposite type of person from me is the one who only sees things “as they really are”, who views my type as unrealistic, childish, foolish.

From their lips fall: ‘It’s nothing but…’.

Philosophers call them reductionists. Freud and Skinner were classic reductionists. Jung was Mythopoetic.

I don’t have any choice, I seem to be too. As hard as I try not to feel toward life that way, it’s instinctual. I don’t know whether that is good or bad. It just is.

On one side are the twins; belief and assumption. On the other is direct personal experience. The twins say something ‘must be, should be, can’t possibly be, because I think it should be, want it to be’.

Experience simply says what is. I KNOW what I’ve felt.

The question is: Is it valid?”

Gradually his feelings and thoughts began to distill.

Questions clarified themselves; ones which till now had been there inside him, but unverbalized.

Non-verbalized conflicts result in an agitation that can only show itself through an emotional state.

He had been agonizing over:

Is there anything out there?

Is there any meaning?

What is the best way to live?

Who am I?

What is my story?

Is change possible?

Frank was of the temperament that Jung called the ‘Thinking’ type. That was his strong suit. ‘Feeling’ was his undeveloped side.

But once he had verbalized his feelings, he could apply the tool of analysis in the service of ‘Feeling’.

That is the appropriate use of the intellect: To serve ‘Feeling’. Intellect can compare, weigh. It cannot determine ‘Meaning’; it cannot create.

How you ‘feel’ about something is what gives it meaning.

“That first question has to be addressed only through evidence; NO pre-existing beliefs, NO scientific dogmas, NO religious dogmas.

It would be the fallacy of ‘Argumentum ad ignoratum’ to state that because we cannot prove God exists, he doesn’t. That is not logically valid. But that doesn’t mean a God exists either.

But even if I do take the position that there are no Gods, no signs, no fortune telling, no dream portents, there is nobody out there: Inexplicable things HAPPEN. Empirically they must be explained; they cannot be wished away. Granted, they are rare, but they DO happen. And as even Hawking would agree, a single exception destroys a theory. To not accept what IS empirically, is insanity. SOMETHING happens that has meaning. What is it? Why is it?

Science refuses to accept as real anything that can’t be measured. Yet with the same breath, it accepts ‘Black Holes’, ‘Worm Holes’, ‘Strings’, and ‘The Big Bang’. None of which can be measured or proven, and each of which cannot explain all they need to.

But these current cosmological myths, and they are myths, do have an effect; they leave us feeling pointless because all is apparently nothing but random, meaningless events. But to say there MUST be a God because we can’t stand it, is an Argumentum ad Misericordian, an appeal to pity in a way.

No: God, or that SOMETHING, can neither be proved nor disproved by reason. So, what is the explanation for these strange ‘events’? Are they caused by the individual’s psyche? Or something ‘out there’?

We accept as axiomatic that all events are caused by other things. Yet we believe that these are not, that they are ‘nothing but’ coincidences.

Whenever you hear ‘It is nothing but’ or ‘Of course, everyone knows’, be on your guard for false reasoning.

Why IS it we believe that our ego is somehow separate from the rest of the universe?

When you can’t journey to a foreign land yourself, the next best thing is to find someone who has.

There have been men and women down through the ages, in every spot on the globe, in every culture, who have been there. They transcend both science and religions.

Religions are like third or fourth-hand knowledge of the foreign land, too garbled and misunderstood to be relied upon.

Science cannot measure it, so science can say nothing here without committing the fallacy of Argumentum ad Vercundian; an expert speaking outside of his or her field, and hence not an expert.

These travelers, we call them Mystics, all agree on five basic premises of what they’ve experienced first-hand.

The ‘Visible World’ is supported, permeated, by ‘The Invisible’.

Man is an animal who can transcend his biological existence.

Man can experience directly, can perceive directly, this Invisible Ground of Being, which is called by many names, but not via the intellect. But it cannot be described or taught, it must be experienced first-hand.

And the goal of life is to achieve a union with this Source.”

“How’s your day goin, buddy?” Rodney asked Frank at the end of January.


Oooooohh! Social Services visited my son.”

“The prison guard? Why?”

“Because his stepson said he gave him those bruises.”

What bruises?”

“The ones the teacher saw.”

“How old is he?”

“I don’t know…She’s probably pretty young. She’s too skinny my wife sez…”

“Not the teacher…the child!”

“He’s seven. The other one’s nine.”

“How did he get the bruises?”

“My son just grabbed him by the arm a bit… a little, he shook him just a little, because he wasn’t listening to him. He didn’t hit him like the kid said he did and he fell down, my son didn’t throw him down.”

“What did Social Services say?”

This was striking a deep chord in Frank; he could feel the stirrings of that rage, the gift and legacy of his own childhood of beatings and excuses for it, always excuses for it. He’d have to monitor himself closely.

“They said they want to make regular visits and see how everything is. That’s fine.”

“The second question; ‘Is there any meaning’ is only a question then if one refuses to accept the travelers’ report on the foreign land, and condemns it as not possible because one doesn’t believe it’s possible.

Like someone who refused to accept the existence of China because they had never been there themselves, and they couldn’t see it from where they were.

No; the more difficult question is: ’What is the nature of this Source?’

The world falls apart into The Wasteland when life is no longer understood to be invisibly backed, when The Invisible forsakes the actual world.”

Frank was gleefully told what happened when he got in on Friday at the end of the month. Seems that on Wednesday, while they were all having their noon smut-lunch hour in the office, Farina was describing to Rod, Toad, and Hoppin’ John how he and little Tom had watched a video on someone’s phone in the County garage.

It was of a woman being f**ked by a burro. Farina had his hands on the window casement and was pantomiming the burro frantically pumping away, with explicit commentary.

Just then Marvin’s mother walked in the office to pick up her son’s last paycheck and caught him in the midst of his graphic performance. They said she just smiled, got the check and left.

But Farina was as red as a beet: He had gone to school with her, and she knew his wife.

A little while later Rod was outside by the trays, laughing and telling a customer the story by the man’s car. As Rod was pumping away at the air like Farina and describing what happened, Frank spotted a woman customer coming up behind him. He rushed forward and urgently hissed “Rod! Knock it off! Stunde!”

Rod broke off in puzzlement; coitus interrruptus. When he saw the woman, he didn’t seem at all concerned at any possible embarrassment and continued the story, sans pantomime.

Later on, Toad had his own faux pas. A woman asked him if he could “Pull that bag out of the trunk” of her car. After he turned and walked a short distance away, he sneered that she “could pull something for me, alright.” The woman had, unbeknownst to him, followed and was right behind him when he said it. She acted as if she hadn’t heard, but there was no way she couldn’t of, or mistaken his meaning. He was as red as they said Farina was.

“As to ‘Who am I?’; The Travelers maintain we are part of the universe, as much as trees, squirrels, and blue jays, It wants us around too. We are not visiting aliens. We belong here.

Jung said we were the Eyes of God; the one species capable of looking at the world differently, from a distance, showing the world to itself. Other animals are believed to live in the Eternal Present, the nunc stans. For them there is no past or future as there is for humans. They never swerve from their natures. Man lives IN time; past, present, future.

But in order to advance into Eternity, the nunc stans, not as an animal does, but spiritually, it takes effort and will.

…Don’t know if that’s right about the ‘animals’ though. My experience has shown me they are no different in how they view the world in many ways than we. They definitely know past, present, and future. That’s what remembering, anticipating indicates: Awareness of time.”

That afternoon a truck came in and Frank helped Toad load it with plastic bales. When it was done, Toad went to the office to do the paperwork.

Fifteen minutes later when he went by to use the bathroom, Toad called him in and asked him how to spell a couple of simple words and asked what a few others spelled.

It was then that he first realized why Toad was always so stressed out over having to do paperwork, and took so long to do it: He was functionally illiterate. He had never met someone who actually almost could not read at all. How did he graduate, he wondered? Did he graduate?

He told Frank later that the reason he never went for his Commercial Driver’s license was that he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to understand the words on the written test. Frank had offered to help him, but Toad wanted no part of moving out of his comfort zone.

Not long after that, Frank found a box of County Public Health publications that had been brought there. Browsing through the statistics, he was stunned to see that the drop-out rate was twenty five percent, and the average reading level was fourth grade.

This is America? We’ve gone backwards for Christ’s sake! In every way we are becoming ,no, already are, a ‘Banana Republic’.”

Even though there was no significant ice cover yet on the lake this winter, it didn’t seem to stop the fishermen from bringing in bags and bags of fish guts that were secretively mixed in with the rest of the garbage.

Ooooohhhh! I puked!” Rod told Frank. “I threw in a bag for someone an it breaked open and all these fish heads an stuff fell all over.”

By now he had learned that while Rod regularly claimed to puke, no one ever actually saw him.

“I know. There was probably another half dozen bags that didn’t break until they went through the baler.” Frank told him. He had just come upstairs from running it. “They squished out through the straps all over down there.”


“What is MY story?” He thought as he baled cardboard.

I don’t know. I don’t even know if the question has meaning. Maybe we must create any meaning to our lives. If there is any ‘cosmic meaning’, maybe we can’t know it. To make our lives make sense, we must make it make sense; our sense.

Aldous Huxley said that people always get what they ask for; the only trouble is that they never know, until they get it, what it is they actually asked for.

So, what the hell did I ask for? THIS? I don’t think so.”

He was surprised to find how envious he was now of the far better off. He had never been before. But seeing the life styles of the rich and famous in Hoppin’ John’s fan magazines, and watching the Special Features that came with the movies, he now tasted the sourness of envy for the first time in his life.

He never knew while growing up that there were so many opportunities for artists in the movie industry: Storyboard artists, model makers, scenic designers. He had been told by his parents as a kid that his artistic talents were worthless; artists starved. And he’d had enough starving.

When he was an adult, he couldn’t resist his impulses anymore, though it was the final straw that broke his marriage down. He started entering and winning art competitions and selling his artworks at the art and craft fairs. And it was the love of Art that sealed his and Melissa’s love.

But now he found himself bitterly stewing over his lost chances and missed opportunities because he had had no parents, only psychotic criminals who were “A heap of diseases and a ball of wild snakes”.

In early February, on Candlemas, cresting the hill while walking the bike up that first hill at 5:30 on a frigid morning and seeing the valley spread out below in frost, under a sky full of stars, he was unexpectedly filled with a stirring sense of a presence and felt filled with its power.

He realized that ‘whatever It was’ had never made it easy for him, but had always made it possible for him; if he dared and strove.

This was the perfect example: Regardless of how the rest of the winter would turn out, it had ‘coincidentally’ been the mildest, least snowy one in decades, precisely when he needed it to be if he was going to get to a job without a car. The rides and hikes had been grueling and uncomfortable; but the opportunity was there if he did not quail


“No, the cup has never passed me by. I’ve always had to fight, to drain it to the bitter dregs. There was never a fairy godmother saving me. I always had to initiate the movement, only then did events fall my way: IF I persisted....No, that’s not quite right either.

Why do some courses of action flow as if aided by unseen hands? And why do others seem hindered at every turn, no matter how easy the task seemed, or how hard I pushed?...It’s what the Upanishads called “Lila”; “God’s Play”.

To see that requires the losing of one consciousness and the gaining of another one. Life is not meaningless, not chance, not moralistic, not a test, not a progression of learning or steps, not malevolent. IT IS A GAME.

There is ‘Something’ directing this. Life is mutable, it changes. It is not a destiny etched heartlessly in stone.

‘Things’ are put before us based on how we ‘handle’ other ‘things’. Like giving an athlete or actor greater and greater opportunities to show what they are capable of. Some are given easier roles or games to play than others. I don’t know if it is done lovingly, or with compassion in a sense; but it is nothing but a game.

There is nothing but The Game.

And it never ends.

If not just desserts, then it is you get what you wanted or were asking for in the end.

The worst thing you can do is sit and wait for deliverance. You may not be able to deliver yourself right away, but even if you keep finding doors closed, sooner or later you will find an unlocked on.

And only if you had been continually trying the doors will you find that one unlocked one. It can’t be predicted, counted on, or even slightly understood.

There will appear without warning, for just a moment, the ‘cubic centimeter of chance’ and you must be alert to seize it.

If it’s a game, we have to dope out the rules by trial, error, thought, and intuition, and continually test it.

Lila: God’s play.”

Questions & Answers


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