Friday, October 22, 2010

Wilderness; nirvana

It was the best of times; it was the the mildly weird and pissiest of times (hardly the worst, but I don't need to go through them again).

The wilderness first... I'm at a magician's convention in Henderson NV, gateway to Las Vegas. An entirely wonderful experience. Mostly (more about the wonderfulness in a moment). One of the evening events was a gathering called Wonderground--which, if you like such things, I recommend very enthusiastically. A delightful convocation of gentle artistic oddballs, each of whom are fantastic artists in their own fields. Food was astounding and wonderfully priced. As entertainment, as a "happening," it was phenomenal.

It was, however, not designed with people in wheelchairs in mind. Wheelchairs and party crowds, no matter how benevolent, don't mix. The worst part of it was that my legs were aching rather nastily, and I had nowhere to hide/lie down/recover. I enjoyed the shows, but I didn't enjoy being in either my chair or their chairs for as long as I was stuck there. There's another similar event going on at this very moment... at which, as you can imagine from the above, I'm not present and not sorry about my absence. As much as I would have enjoyed seeing some of the performers, some of whom are quite literally world-class performers. Chaos and I don't get along any more, even benevolent chaos, and inability to get into comfy and restful-for-whatever-condition-I'm-currently-in furniture is going to put quite the kibosh on my "going out" for the foreseeable future. When being somewhere is fun, but being anywhere besides my comfy chair or in bed is most definitely not fun... well, as Sancho Panza said in Man of La Mancha, "Whether the pitcher hits the stone or the stone hits the pitcher, it's going to be bad for the pitcher."

But there's an unbelievable upside to being at this conference. As a presenter, I'm sharing the stage with people who are unbelievably clear, in thought, imagination, intention, and action. People who know not only how to "think things through" but to "take things to the end of the road." People who are powerful in mind and powerful in spirit. And I belong with them. I'm one of them. I'm home with them. This state of blissful clarity is the state in which I belong. Here... I'm home.

Except at this conference... I'm not around, and certainly never surrounded by, people who think things through, who take things all the way to the end of the road. Most of the people around me, God love them and bless them for all the good they do in the world (and they indeed do quite a bit of good in the world), are lucky to even be aware that there is a road, much less thing things along it for any amount of time and space, and never to the end.

Am I in the right place, if I'm not surrounded by like minds? Well, one thing I'll say: they allow me to go to things like this, and I bring back what I learn--quite literally bucketfuls--to share with my students, and thereby I can do a great deal of good for them and the world.

But I miss My People.

Tibetan Buddhists say, "I take refuge in the Buddha, I take refuge in the dharma, I take refuge in the sangha"-- the last being the community of pilgrims on the same road.

I have a sangha... but I'm separated from them. I can only rarely take refuge in them, and only for two or three days at a time.

My truest, best friends are busy with their children, on the other side of the country, both of the above... or dead. As far as the sangha goes... I have no home.

But those two or three days... sheer heaven, wheelchair and all.

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