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.