Walking, losing weight and taking photos of life in Virginia.

Posts from the ‘The Lost Child’ category

Robert Thurman / Buddhist Thought / The Path To Greater Realization

Robert Thurman is a funny guy and very smart, too.  He’s on my Ipod talking at great length about the Tibetan Book Of The Dead.  Here’s a joke he tells that he finds hilarious.  “Why does it take so many sperm to impregnate the egg?”

“None of them will ask for directions.”  Pretty good.  Probably an old joke but I don’t remember ever hearing it.  Certainly my Dad didn’t mention it in The Talk we had many years ago.  Although I wish he had and hope my son reads this and will, someday, pass it on to my grandson.  An icebreaker.  Be cool, Dad.

Does the name Thurman ring any bells with you?  Well, it should!  Can any of us forget the bathtub scene with Uma (his daughter) or Kill Bill (not Bob).  Robert married the Swedish Beauty,  Nena von Schlebrugge, years ago.  Nena used to be married to Timothy Leary.  I shared this information with my wife today since Uma’s Dad is my new best friend during my walks (Audible.com  Liberation Upon Hearing In The Between.  Robert Thurman).  She may have rolled her eyes.  I need to see better but at the moment bright lights are causing me some difficulty because I’m giving up the pain medication I am prescribed for RLS (Restless Legs Syndrome).  Pain medications do help but they have very annoying side effects.  They amplify pain and other bodily miseries (itching, for example  and I have patches of eczema that are very distracting).  I could with some justification float around on a cloud all day but I choose to avoid this false reality and the increasing dosages necessary to avoid the “coming down”.

Besides, I’m in good shape now and don’t mind these daily wrestling matches with the body and it’s charming surprises.  But when your eyebrows cause you pain you have a serious problem.  Just saying.

Back to Robert Thurman.  He brings a poetic imagination to the table and builds visions that inspire, for instance.  New York City.  A large apartment building on a weekend evening.  How many people inside are “getting it on”?  Unborn souls are swirling around and being attracted to certain couples engaged in the tangle.  Each is identifying with a certain man or woman and “dive in” to the aforementioned struggle, not asking directions, but becoming an unborn child (male or female depending on  their focus), if they manage to reach the front of the line.  Sometimes it’s a tie (twins)!  His riff on the Oedipal connections at this moment are intriguing.  Lust will find a way, it seems, and we see why souls are drawn back into this world.  I’ve wondering for awhile why anyone would come back to this place.  Reincarnation always seemed a forced procedure but after listening to his description of romance on the East River I can sort of see why it happens.

While I walk the miles.  I’m not a Buddhist but much of what he says makes sense to me.  I was raised a Methodist in the sheltering arms of my parents and my most memorable experience there was “a first kiss” in the choir loft on an evening before we were discovered by the choir director (not a happy man).  It was a group meeting so the recriminations afterwards were diluted due to our sheer numbers.  Ah, church youth groups in the late 50’s and early 60’s were such fun.

Later I was a Baptist after an ill-fated decision to marry (Yours, Mine, Ours) in the Brady Bunch tradition.  I hope it was good in some ways for the kids because it was the Trip To Hell for me.  I stuck it out for 14 years but as you can probably tell I’m not the traditional kind of guy and the finest memories I have of this period were the communal meals with home fried chicken.  Jesus is real and I kept that in mind as I went down the road with someone who was interested only in support of one kind or another.  And still is, today.

The love of my (spiritual) life is Paramahansa Yogananda who arose in the Hindu tradition.  Robert says some interesting things about how the Hindu and Buddhist religions had a parting of the ways in India.  He notes that there are fierce Hindu deities who resemble  Buddhist deities and so forth.  Did you know that if you encounter one of these terrifying-looking forms (you can often find renditions of them in local museums like our own Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, by the way)  you should embrace them!  Don’t be afraid!  They are your protection in the unconscious mind where the great horrors of mankind (Hitler, for example!) reside.  So my guru, Paramahansa Yogandanda, has been with me since I discovered his autobiography on a book table, while in college.  I don’t associate him with kissing or fried chicken.  He has gotten me this far and through all of that.

And so my path continues as I walk every day and try to (gradually) improve.  The inner light calls me although I will admit, at this moment, the gross light of day is difficult.  I understand that life is fierce and lustful, at times, and it will lead you astray.  But I’m also confident that we can find our way.  I’m most grateful to have found a loving and supportive partner, my wife, Elizabeth, who is a gift from God and someone who enables me to reach beyond our mechanical world with it’s failing traditions.  “Betsy” is known to many as a source of strength and love.  I will call her Elizabeth, here, because it is a majestic name and were we to see her as she really is, we would see a spirit of such stature we would be in awe of the light she casts about this frightful (at times) place.

And to sum up, regarding Robert Thurman.  Once, long ago, he was apparently trying to jack up his car when the stupid thing snapped and shattered his face, causing him to lose an eye.  At that time he seemingly was a traditional guy, but after this happened, he gave up his marriage and traveled abroad, becoming the first American Buddhist monk of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.  He studied with the 14th Dalai Lama who became a close friend, and then returned to the U.S. in 1967 where he met his German-Swedish model and gave up his vows to pursue the life of the ordinary man.

Thus, we have Uma, her siblings and so many other things including some great lectures that one can enjoy while walking and trying to do better.  Yesterday, after I gave up the prescription pain medication and walked, I was lying in bed listening to the following music and doing some breathing exercises.  Suddenly, I was filled with a blissful light and energy that made it clear this was the right path.  This is the way.  Thank you for listening.  Have a perfect day.



She Is Dressed In Sylvan Twilight/ The Boy Goes Home

Would you still pull me back up the hill on the sled? Sure I would! Oh the joys of Facebook. My sister, Linda, lives up in New Hampshire and I commented on a recent photo of her standing in the snow.

It has been snowing up there in New England while it has been raining down here in Virginia. And I said something about wanting to be up there with her in the White Mountain regions. But it’s so far away!

So when I read her comment it took me back more than fifty years to the small hill in front of our little house where all the neighborhood children used to sled in winter. I tried to come up with a memory of pulling her up the hill but it’s gone.

All that remains is the sound of boots on crushed snow and ice and the steam that used to emerge from us as we ran around full of excitement in anticipation of the next rush down the hill.

I am standing there looking up at the sky as a jet leaves a vapor trail through the atmosphere. Soon it will be dark and before then I must go inside and stay there until tomorrow.

Ice has found its way between my gloves and the sleeves of my jacket. It lands close to the unprotected pulse and tears at the skin. My feet and face are numb but it really doesn’t matter. Because this is living and it is so much greater than anything else in my young life.

I am alive.

In a moment I reach the top of the hill and push off down the slope as mailboxes flash past and someone jumps out of the way. The metal runners hiss as they rip through the packed snow and for a moment I achieve speeds that are probably faster than the airplane overhead.


And then it is over and the sled has run up a short pile of snow at the end of a shoveled driveway. I fall backward for a moment and once again look up at the sky.

It is darker now and quieter too. I would love to stay here for awhile and watch the light slowly drift off into the starlit night. Would it be so bad to simply forget all the things I must do before it is time to sleep?

And stay here. Become a part of the landscape. Drift into the silent night.

Perhaps at some point I could get up and walk away from the hill and all the little houses with their solitary lamps and windows full of shadows and mystery. I could find a field with a pond of sparkling ice and a moon that casts a glow upon it. And then I could gather some sticks and build a fire while waiting for someone to come.

She will come. I know she will not leave me here. Dressed in a gown of sylvan twilight she will emerge from the darkness and smile as she touches my outstretched hand. And then we will rise above the trees and the hills. . .

Moving with increasing speed.

Until a distant star envelopes us in light and the warmth of her love brings us Home again.

An Autistic Child Is Found In The Woods/ Richmond, Virginia



He walks the paths that run through the school and around the lake of the U because he is determined there will be less of him in the weeks and years to come.  

Disease will find less of him to sink into the ground.  Perhaps he will become light enough to fly.  Yes, eventually he will fly.  It may be tomorrow or thirty years from this day.  But he imagines the space above the lake and tries to elevate.  

Yes, it can be done.  So he walks more miles and meditates.  

A few miles from this  trek a young boy is lost in the woods.  Autistic he is called and silently he wanders where there are no paths.  Leaves of various shades of red and orange are gems in his eyes.  But clouds gather and the sparkling subsides.

The nights are dark but warm.  He wanders far from home.

Friday comes and the search proceeds along with prayers, tears and a light, cool mist.  Later in the day the temperatures will drop and this moisture will turn to sharp blades of rain.  

The old man walks and thinks of the boy.  He feels the recent treachery from someone far in his  past who suddenly returns to place a blade between his shoulder blades.  The world seems a silent and unforgiving place. But the colors are bright and the trees are alive.    

And his Guide is here.  He asks Him to go to the boy.  Find the silent child and bring him home.
““If all of this is not just my imagination. . . “Touch Me!”  For I am in him and he is in me.”  

He walks more miles and the burdens of the world are upon him.  So he turns towards his home but still remembers his vision, “Touch Me”.  

“Beyond this world and its egregious ways there is peace and solitude.”  He feels strong arms  and rises far above his fading notion of himself.   

And  then, before the dark night and pounding, cold rain move upon the earth the boy is found.  Like a small bird in a large nest of stone he is curled up in a quarry when they come upon him as the man returns home.  

They look at him as if he is strange.  Because they do not understand his ways.  Ah, but there are miracles here on this dreary Friday as students carry their books around the U.  Learn,  my children.  Be full of grace.  Rise above this heavy place.  Be alive and hurt no one.  Turn your eyes towards the reflected light of the sun.


Wanting A Sleigh Ride Song

Well here we are the last Sunday before Christmas and there’s lots of snow outside. It is piled up on the limbs of the trees. And it’s covering the ground. It’s everywhere! And we are going to climb up and down the little hill that separates us from B’s parents so we can all watch the football game and have a little Christmas cheer. Together.

The car may not make it but we can walk or slide or fall down and get up.

We can chug along the roads that have been so recently scraped (thank you county workers!) and think about the cold and ice. We can wonder what happened to our Flexible Flyers and why don’t we sled anymore?

The world used to revolve around sledding on a day like this.

And fires built on the edge of a pond where skaters learned to walk on a couple of steel blades. It was not that long ago.

But we are older now and some of us do not even think about these things. I only remark upon it because there’s a snow covered hill in my immediate forecast. And then there will be a game on television where young men will run, jump and catch for several hours. They will risk serious injury as they attempt to win a football contest.

Thousands will cheer if they do something well. The noise will explode around their ears. And the adrenaline rush will make them feel like gods for a few minutes or an hour.

I can only try to imagine what that is like but I know what it is like. . .

Eventually. When they come back down to earth. When the cheering crowds are gone and they are alone with their thoughts, the bruises and the pain.

We all can join them here. We are all as one when it comes to our moments alone.

When another important contest begins.

When you can successfully and happily be alone you have won a battle with yourself. When you don’t need the affirmation and applause of a crowd you have won an important race.

But it would still be nice to go down the side of a hill on a fast sled before darkness falls. Wouldn’t it?

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