Working Towards The Inside

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January 2, 2021, Sedona-

I brought my Bear Drum to Synergy, once more, this evening. This time, there were no men my age and older to complain about the noise. That’s good, because in addition to my hand drum, there were two tube didgeridoos, one coiled didgeridoo, a French horn, three shakers, two acoustic guitars and a violin. There were people playing chess, but they were not the least bit bothered by the cacophony.

I don’t go over here often enough to be widely viewed as an insider, but I am starting to think that means little. I am one of the few people over the age of forty who sits in, but that doesn’t seem to matter much, either. No one is coming here to troll for a significant other. We are just making a space to relax and engage in some meaningful conversations, every so often.

When I spoke bit about plans for later in the year, there were the expected cautions about the chance that the pandemic will still keep us locked away. There was also the caution that some countries don’t allow people my age to stay in hostels. I will need to look into that, of course, but I see that more as the travel industry trying to squeeze money out of people who are seen as well-to-do. I have not had any trouble staying in hostles or pensions, in the past ten years of being a sixty-something.

One of the young men here this evening put it best: “Don’t act like an outsider, and you won’t be treated like one.” That was one of the biggest lessons I had to learn, all the way up into my fifties. It is comforting to take a place on the inside, every so often.

Top of the Hill

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March 14, 2020, Sedona-

The gentle man entered Synergy, with his encased didgeridoo.  He instantly commanded the attention of the gathering, greeting us with “I’m feeling divine and want to give you some.”  After a short burst of spiritual rap, he concluded with “I’m not over the hill. I’m the captain of the top of the hill.” (He’s 69, like me.)  Then, each of us was treated to an individual blessing, using the didgeridoo aimed towards our hearts and heads.  It was exhilarating.

As I write this, I can hear his sonorous voice, chanting and alternating with a vocal impression of the didgeridoo chords.  He calls himself Astarius Miraculii.  I don’t get the feeling, though, that he’s being the least bit pretentious.  The man has lived through a great deal.

This all occurred after I had sat by myself for a while, as the regulars gathered in the back room.  The purpose of my visit had yet to reveal itself, so I laid low.  A.M.’s teaching, though, gave me a new perspective.  There is still, inside me, the small knot of wanting to stay out of everyone’s way.  Astarius begs to differ.

As is the case in Baha’i scripture, his focus is on the true nature of the soul, and who we really are.  Many “New Age” teachers have  a handle on the multiple journeys a soul makes, throughout its eternal path.  We are all in the process of discovery and whether we are sedentary or peripatetic, we are always on the move.  We are, in effect, always in a state of growth.  This may be masked, or interrupted, by addictions, maladaptive responses to life changes or climactic events-but the process is still there, even if it is operating in the background.

So, the affirmations I received tonight are three:  Shedding the knot of self-distrust is imperative; Listening to the deep callings of my spirit guides remains imperative. These could be to go somewhere, as I did tonight or to stay close to home, as one often must, in time of dire emergency; Do not, even to the slightest degree, allow others to define one’s worth.  They are too wrapped up in their own struggles.

I’ve heard all of this before, and the purpose of affirmations is ever to strengthen one’s perceptions.  I, too, am captain of the top of the hill.