TAKE A WALK WITH ME: The Road of Religion and the Path of Spirituality

According to the wise words of Robert Plant, “Yes there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run there’s still time to change the road you’re on.” Far be it from me to offer you an absolute interpretation as to what that lyric from Stairway to Heaven actually means, either to Robert Plant or you the listener. Quite honestly I don’t know if I would even presume to tell you what that lyric means to me in any absolute way and I believe that is because I don’t think in such terms. I do however believe that it probably wouldn’t hurt so much if I placed an option on the table of ideology and allow all of you to make up your own mind. If what I say appeals to your palette then by all means serve thyself; if not pass the pot and I’ll be none too offended.

 

Many great parables use the concept of paths or roads to make a point or bring about a process of thinking. The lyric from Stairway, the road less taken, the straight and narrow versus the broad path to destruction, you get the idea. When I first started with ZENINTHECAR.COM I suppose this concept was probably somewhere in the back of my psyche as well, only rather than focusing on the path, I intended to rather put more emphasis on the vehicle itself that is on the path. One could draw the conclusion that the vehicle on the road of life is the body and I wouldn’t argue with you; however what I would do is also ask that you incorporate the ego as well. Think of the two in a symbiotic relationship, after all if a car represents the body then surely the driver represents the ego, essence, or spirit if you prefer. Neither is going anywhere if both are not in some sort of working relationship.

 

Like anything, a car is neutral. It has no free will of its own but merely goes or does what it is commanded to do by the operator. A car can be used to give the less fortunate a ride to the grocery store or for the simple pleasure of a joy ride from time to time. It can be used to save someone in need with a quick trip to the emergency room or bring the hungry groceries and for those who really lack perspective it can of course be used to commute to and from a place of work. On the other hand a car can be used to escape a bank robbery, a hit and run, the scene of a rape, theft or murder. The vehicle itself is neither evil nor is it good; it simply is. Ultimately the one at the wheel is responsible for the damage or goodwill performed by the car.

 

Now I have often said that it was while whizzing down the interstate at 80 miles per hour with trees and other cars darting past me in the opposite direction when I finally attained enlightenment, I should probably correct that to attained a level of enlightenment because I don’t believe enlightenment is something you fully obtain or a place you ultimately end up. Enlightenment is more like addiction to tell you the truth; that first hit is just the beginning and once you have it you will need more and more to maintain the high. In my case it isn’t practical to get a bigger and bigger car and go faster and faster so other methods for me to get my fix would need to be implemented. For me personally I have found that a great level of enlightenment can be attained in the complete opposite way than from how I first touched nirvana and that would be by taking slow and silent walks. Instead of absorbing massive amounts of visual, audible and physical information at high speeds I have found that there is incredible clarity in the observation of the tiniest details around me at a snail’s pace. In that place the Universe is in the moment and in a single moment one can fully experience the Universe.

Today was the warmest day we have had in my area of the world in a long string of very cold and cutting days. So I thought I would take the opportunity to enjoy a slow stroll to the local park I am known to frequent and do a little mobile meditation. Typically when I do this I will have a subject on my mind that I want to work through, or a revelation on something that has been mystifying me for a time. When I set out on my walk I had made the decision to contemplate the differences in religion and spirituality. Low and behold as soon as my boots hit the road I looked on the ground and in the middle of the street was a spoon. I have always thought it strange to find spoons just sitting in the middle of the road because I have to believe that it got there because someone was driving around with a spoon and suddenly just decided to toss it from the window of their car. Nevertheless I happen to find spoons in the oddest of places. Obviously what these random spoons bring my attention to is the line from the Matrix about there actually being no spoon.

 

nospoon1.2With the concept of there actually being no spoon my mindset is instantly shifted to the personal fact that everything I see that is perceivably around me and outside of me is in all actuality within me and is me. All that I see is merely a reflection of myself; a holographic projection that is manifested and sustained from my own consciousness. Knowing this rather than believing this I take my little walks as if life is in fact a video game not too far off from the scheme of Legend of Zelda where along the journey little bread crumbs will be prepared for me in the “physical” to help me solve the riddle of the spiritual. Taking the spoon and placing it in my back pocket I know that if I remain mindful the answers I am seeking will manifest themselves before I return to my abode.

 

I continue with my walking and turn my attention back to the differences between religion and spirituality. From my view religion is a path that most will start out on. It is already laid out for you and there is very little effort needed except to walk a path that has already been predetermined by whoever created it. Religion isn’t really open to personal interpretation but demands a strict adherence to what has been established by men and women long since gone. Religion is concrete and tends to speak in absolutes for the most part. It doesn’t allow for the growth of personal and first-hand experience or knowledge rather it demands the conformity and obedience of outside knowledge and second hand experience. Religion is a path designed for the ego, tracks laid out that don’t really provide for the will to express or create but instead carries the ego exactly where it wants the ego to go. What is ego? I can’t pretend to explain it as eloquently as the Buddha but I can describe it from my personal place of understanding. Ego is the you that is not really you. Ego is the identity that was provided for you at the moment of your conception and continuously crafted for you by those around you since that moment on. It is the legal name you were given but did not choose. It is the race you were told that you are but not given the chance to adopt. It is the faith you were raised in but did not seek out for yourself. It is the nationality you were forced into by borders on a map that were not laid out by you. Ego is the job, the net worth, the clothes, the marriage, the disorder, the handicap, the morals, the dogma and all the other things hoisted upon you that you have accepted but did not create. Ego is the car. The neutral and lifeless mass of parts bereft of free will or free expression. Sure, it may have had intelligent design but it truly has no intelligence of its own.

 

When Buddha set out his journey to enlightenment the concept of the ego was one of the primary conundrums he would have to tackle. Being born and raised a prince in the palace of his father, Buddha was given everything a person stuck in ego could want. Fine foods, luxuries, power, as well as a wife and child. Yet Buddha was one of the few that hear the call for something beyond the physical and from birth felt compelled to head the call of the spiritual. In order to do so he had to shed himself of all the physical that had been built around him keeping him trapped within the ego. That included the union of his wife and child. How can one seek that which is without when confined to titles such as father and husband? In a similar fashion I suppose I can identify with the Buddha in that regard. When the yearning inside me for something more than a home in the suburbs, a 401k, a white picket fence and an identity that was more fluid than the mask I had been wearing overwhelmed me, I too had to walk away from all that the physical ego had created. The most difficult of all these to let go of was a marriage that I was quite attached to and had defined me for thirteen years of my life.

 

Anyone who has heard of Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey will understand that when the call to adventure is heard, and the Hero chooses to take the quest he must leave the place he has called home and found security his whole life for uncertainty, danger, despair and all that comes with the unknown. This formula is true of any mythological character, super hero, messianic figure and believe it or not you and me as well. For me, when the call to adventure was given it was very much like coming to a fork in the road of life where I knew that in order to fulfill my purpose I had to go one way and while it was my heart’s desire that my wife come along with me, it was simply not written in the stars. I had to walk my path and she had to walk hers. As we ventured onward apart, the distance of forest between us only grew more vast with each step we took and while early on I called through the trees to her with pleas of her changing the path she was on; eventually the only sound that returned to me was the echo of my own voice. I had to walk this path alone, that had become clear. The purpose of the hero’s journey is to seek a golden fleece, a holy grail, an Excalibur or some other magical relic which would vanquish the evil of the day and bring peace to the world. In the case of spirituality the thing that must be found is the true self. The individual identity that the ego had imprisoned behind bars of titles, labels and obligations. When one takes this path they find that there is no road laid out before them and there is no track to follow. If you take the road of spirituality you enter into experience which is more fluid and intangible than the rigid road of religion.

 

As I pondered this on my walk I had found myself at the beginning of a nature trail not too far from my home where a sign stands that many a Christian leave gospel tracts in hopes that some poor, lost soul will read them and eventually come to their church. Now while I am not what most would call an orthodox Christian, I am most certainly not one of those who have animosity towards them, the bible or the message of the man commonly known as the Christ. I am just as content in a Baptist church to learn as I am with a Hindu or Buddhist temple. So with the ability to translate what is said or written by an orthodox Christian church I happily grabbed one of the gospel tracts to see what message the Most High had for me. Here is what it said:

 

972231_286948341442262_1499513182_n“One of the main objects of the Holy Spirit is to get believers really identified with Christ as the risen and exalted Lord, and to make His risen life real in their experience. As the age moves toward its consummation-the manifestation of Christ –two features will become increasing evident. On the one hand things, men, movements, institutions, organizations, etc., will predominate and draw multitudes after them, and will attach the crowds to themselves. On the other hand, with a growing disappointment and disillusionment over these, a minority will turn to the Lord Himself to find Him alone as their life.

Three elements will inhere in all this. One is the unmistakable development of the principle of Antichrist; that which will definitely supplant Christ, or intend to do so. The second is the alternative to the whole Christ in man-mad Christianity, and imitation life born and carried on by its own momentum. The third, a deep and genuine quest for reality, truth, and inward knowledge of the Lord Himself. In the first case it will be the naked worship of man in human power: a tremendous overflow of humanism, the wonder and glory of man. The third will be Christ altogether as the life.

 

If the Christian is attached to some thing, such as a teaching, a tradition, an institution, a movement, or a person, the end will certainly be a limitation of life and eventually confusion and disappointment, perhaps worse. The New Testament makes it unmistakably clear and emphatic that the destiny of all is to be “Christ all and in all.” We must learn that a true work of the Spirit of God is to attach everything to Christ Himself. He, Christ, must be the life of our spirit, the “inner man,” so that we are strong in the Lord: not in ourselves, nor in others, nor in things. We shall have to survive adversity by his strength within alone.

 

Christ will have to be the life of our mind. Perplexity will find us without the power to explain and understand, but the spirit will teach and lead. Christ will need to be life for our bodies. There is such a thing as Divine life for the physical body. Not always does the Lord choose to heal the body, but he does always want to be its life, even in suffering, to fulfill his purpose.

It is the lord himself, and for this to be so, it often has to be against a background of natural inability. The power of his resurrection is the law of union with Christ from the beginning to the end. Days of terrific pressure are upon the lord’s people. Their enemy is taking very little off-time. The only sufficiency is in the Lord himself as our life. Barnabas exhorted the believers at the beginning that “with purpose of heart they should cleave unto the lord”. There is an utterness about this that will be pressed upon us until the time “when Christ, who is our life, shall be manifested.”  

 

After reading this I had to admit that I couldn’t agree more with the words on the tract though I am sure I translated it differently than the author intended, which is where you get into the land of heresy but as Jesse Herriott would say; “Heresy is good for breakfast.”

 

Those still on the road of religion would take all of that and interpret it to mean that a person must conform to something outside of themselves, a young Jewish figure that lived two centuries ago in a culture that is alien to us now in the 21st century. They would believe that the only hope of any type of redemption is to call upon and pray to someone or something far, far away that will only be manifested high in the sky some day when you die. I think that is a bunch of nonsense. I believe that the entire message of the Christ is that we…gasp…are indeed Christ ourselves. We, once shed of ego, are the very second coming millions are still waiting for. It was the message of the man commonly known as Jesus that there was and is no difference between him and ourselves. He tried so desperately to relay to us that once we are willing to shed ourselves of an ego which has been indoctrinated with the notion that we are worthless sinners deserving of eternity in the flames of hell and at best we should close our eyes and bow our heads when addressing the Most High; that we would come to the realization of the truth. That truth is that without the ego, we are the sinless and perfected Sons and Daughters of God and we ought never hide our faces from It, but boldly enter into the throne room. Obviously if you come to this realization and intend to express to friends and family that have not, that you are in fact a Messiah, fully expect to be thrown in the loony bin by those addicted to ego and its limited capacity for understanding anything ever written in the bible or any other holy scripture. My advice is to keep the fact that you are God in the flesh a silent secret between you and the other winking spirits you meet that know it to be true as well.

 

Again, I think one of the most profound things I have ever heard Jesse Herriott say is “Don’t pray to God, rather pray from God.” Which brings me to the concept of Satan or the devil. Like Buddha before him, the Christ performed the ritual of wandering in the wilderness for a time to confront the ego and finally claim dominion over it. The Satan that appeared before him those 40 days and 40 nights was simply the manifestation of himself that we would call ego; the identity one has which is apart from the infinity of what we call God. The devil that tempted him to rely on an outside force was nothing more than his own doubts, fears, worries and disbelief that he indeed was God in the flesh. Like Krishna, Buddha and Christ; we all must face this adversary if we are to continue on the path of spirituality. Of course as the New Testament has stated, this adversary will continue to pop its ugly head up for some time along the journey to tempt us away from the journey we first set out and gave up all in order to travel. After we have come to purge Satan from ourselves it becomes very sly and appears to us as others.

 

I continued my walk through the woods to the park down from my house pondering this and an analogy from my personal path came to mind. When I had resolved within my soul that my journey would be done alone and without a partner beside me, I eventually came to the place where I understood that regardless of people in my life or things at my disposal, the most fulfilling treasure had indeed been attained. Individuality. God expressing itself through me, with me and from me. I had come to know and appreciate the uniqueness of God within my members and found as all mystics before me that the very knowledge of this was self-sufficient despite all I had left behind. Of course after nearly three years of flying solo, the temptation of ego played on one of my many vices and that was to have my arms wrapped around a woman. I rationalized that I had been single long enough and perhaps I had healed my wounds to a degree that I could give relationships another shot. It didn’t occur to me at the time that when one opens themselves up to include another in their journey compromises in one’s identity must be made. This is not always a bad thing if the two of you are on the same path but as the bible says “Can two walk together except they be agreed?”

 

One of the problems with being a Messiah is the compulsion to want to save others. Now this isn’t a problem if you do as you should and swoop in, save the ones that want to be saved and then fly off into the sunset. However if you aren’t mindful you might find yourself in the predicament of trying to pull someone out of quicksand that they don’t really want to be saved from. In a brief relationship I entered into this was the fix I found myself in. Some would call this a toxic relationship or a codependent relationship. This is when you empathize with the pain and heartache of someone else so much, when you are holding onto them so much desperately trying your best to pull them out of the muck and the mire that before too long you find that you are being pulled in with them. Though all of your energy and strength had been dedicated to saving them from demise it became apparent that they were fighting against you to sink deeper and deeper into the abyss. Your energy being drained, your true identity overshadowed by a new and subtle ego that is coupled with the other person, you must come to understand that you are again being tested by the adversary to abandon the hero’s journey. When I came to understand this revelation, and that the other person I was trying to save was merely me looking through a mirror darkly, the choice was clear. Let go.

 

You can’t save everyone. You especially can’t save those that have no desire to be saved but relish in the cloak of victimhood. My advice to anyone on the path of spirituality that are not content to do as Paul and remain single; don’t yoke up with someone that needs to be saved. If you are to have a partner in your journey then make sure it is with someone who has already saved themselves. Don’t be pulled down when you intend to pull someone up; instead find someone on level ground that sees you eye to eye. Anything else and you are stepping onto the playground of the Devil where the ego will be tempted to rise again and again.

 

As I considered this I found myself sitting on my regular bench at the park. I took the spoon from my pocket, bent it slightly and sat it down beside me. I looked around for more breadcrumbs of the Universe and low and behold not too far from me was a nerf dart. It was bright blue with an orange tip. Not one to second guess myself I walked over and picked it up, took a pause and looked around only to see another a few feet from where I stood. Like the good little avatar that I am I retrieved it as well, repeating the process until before long I had 12 nerf darts in my hand. This message from the Universe brought a smile to my face as the story of the Buddha having darts from his dark half shot at him in order to frighten him away from the Bodhi Tree and of course the biblical passage of the wicked one sending fiery darts to those on the path of enlightenment. My own Satan or ego had indeed sent a barrage of 12 darts my way, but the Universe was telling me to remember that they are only made of foam and plastic and that I was never to forget that this Hero’s Journey is just a game after all. Though we sometimes get immersed in the game and for a brief time believe it is real; we must constantly remind ourselves that the point of any game is to just have fun. So in anything be it love, life or spirituality, remember that if you aren’t at the least having fun, you aren’t doing it right. At the end of the day I think that is how one can tell if they are on the road of religion, or creating the path of spirituality.

EVERY NOW AND AGAIN

D. L. CRUMPTON

D. L. CRUMPTON

Every now and again you have to stop life. Sometimes it gets too heavy, sometimes it gets too tough. Sometimes you take so many punches you have to sit a few rounds out and heal. It isn’t that you are throwing in the towel, or that you are giving up, it just means that sometimes you need to take time out and work on yourself rather than everyone else. You know that some will think you are being selfish, you know that some will think you are weak, but at the end of the day, what good are you to anyone if you’re not good to yourself? How can you possibly be an aide and comfort to all those who call upon you if you yourself are not well?
A ship adrift in the sea can only take so many blows to its hull before it must find comfort in the docks. While there it will be repaired and found seaworthy again. Is this not like each and every one of us? Don’t we all go through trials and tribulations that seem to beat us down to the core? And don’t we always seek shelter in the times of such storms? Does that make us weak? Does that make us less than the person those around us would imagine? I would hope not. I know that in my life I have had more than my share of bumps and bruises, slashes and scars; however I don’t want that to define me. I don’t want to be remembered for the heartaches and the hard times. I want to be remembered for what I overcame. I want to be remembered for the smile on my face and the spring in my step. I think this is a common thing with each and every one of us.
We wallow in tragedy, we sulk in failure, we relive past mistakes over and over again. We brutalize ourselves to no end on the things we could’ve done, should’ve done, or would’ve done. And for what? To realize we can’t change the past? Or that we really have no control over the future? Do we do it to understand that at the end of the day we are merely human after all? I don’t think I know the answer to that. I don’t think any of us do. What I do know is that all of us are hurt. All of us have broken wings. All of us have this sob story hovering behind us. What we have to do is brush it off. I know that sounds simple and nonchalant, but it’s the truth. Because if we don’t, then what will become of us?
We are not the victims of our scars, we are not the patient waiting to be treated. We are titans standing tall, we are heroes rising from the ashes, we are who we have hoped for, believed in, and waited desperately for to rescue us from our nightmares. When we rise and look at ourselves in the mirror, we do not see defeat, worry or depression. We make the choice to see victory. We make the choice to look into our own eyes and see someone, with warts and all, that has overcome. This is a choice we make every day. So this goes out to all of you who with wings needing to be mended, to all of you with bones that need to be set. You are not alone, and you never will be

NOW WE ARE FREE

WHEREVER YOU GO, THERE YOU ARE

quill-1

photo from marketingforhippies.com

As a writer, I am never one to try and waste a witty tale or clever little story. If anything I know that in order to be a truly prolific writer, the pen must be fueled by experience. While on hiatus I have come across a strange little of obsession of mine as of late; triggered by a trip to the attic on a cool and rainy day. After shuffling some boxes around I came across something I hadn’t really paid much attention to for the past decade, give or take some change. It was a steel lockbox, an old safe my dad use to keep his stacks of rolled pocket change in after collecting for a few months. I suppose this too was a little obsession I picked up from him-emptying the change from your spent cash from the day into a jar or a container; saving up for something special you will feel you have earned. Perhaps even the occasional guilty pleasure. Nevertheless, over time he grew weary of that particular safe and it passed down to me to who would use it for an altogether different purpose.

I was a very young man at the time, going through all the “life changes” most, if not all of you were going through and keeping in mind this was before the advent of social media. There were no private message boxes to drown your sorrows in, there were no little green dots giving you options of who you would vent to, or allow to vent with you. This was beeper age. This was the age when notes passed in class looked like a prehistoric Facebook thread. This was the age before the blog where the only outlet a teenager trying to figure out what the hell this thing is all about was a diary (typically for chicks, guys don’t keep diaries, it just doesn’t sound right) or a journal (see, doesn’t journal sound much more masculine and serious? I know, right?).

Now, for those of us who kept these little logs of our life, we can attest that these black and white speckled, composition books or bound diaries secured with a lock quickly became our closest companions. They were the keepers of our deepest, darkest feelings in a time of insecurity. They were our mother and father confessors while the winds of change were roaring in our ears and the sand beneath our feet was fleeting like water. While in them, we knew we would receive no judgment, no condemnation, and no argumentation. We would only find a silent friend letting us bleed on the page. Some of you merely piddled with the idea and kept one or two, thought they were silly and tucked them and the idea of it away. This was not the case with me. I am a writer; I was born weaving looms of tales pulled from the ether. So needless to say, my journals would be perceived with much more dramatic intensity than the journals of most youths of different callings.

In the age before the internet had started to put on its big boy pants, a writer had to make whatever they could into a magnum opus and reach any audience, by any means necessary. My own personal journals would be intended for an audience. But I wondered at thirteen years of age; how to solve the logical dilemma. How could I keep a journal with my deepest, darkest, most intimate thoughts and feelings about myself, about the people around me, about my family; and yet still write for an audience? There had to be a loophole, and I thought about finding it. After some thought it was shown to me in a glimpse of the Divine that the simplest answer to the problem was to write for an audience that was removed from the players of my life by either space or time. This is kind of like a writer’s “Prime Directive”; maintain the third wall between writer and reader. Blur the lines of the written words from the events that inspired them, but leave enough breadcrumbs to let the audience know those words were indeed inspired by truth. This is the safest way to throw hints to the characters that they are just playing a part, but not smash them in the face with a frying pan of this notion. The only thing left was to figure out what audience would fit within those parameters.

I suppose at that age when the world began waking up in new ways, I sorta felt it in my bones that whatever my life was going to be, it was going to be interesting and I had every rebellious, teenage cell in my body screaming I was deep, down determined to screw up…a whole lot, along the way. But hey, it’s not all bad. Just as convinced of that I was equally convinced that I would get a lot of stuff right. That I would have victories after defeats, resurrections after deaths, rises from the ashes. I would have foe and friend, battles and retreats, the truest and deepest loves as well as the most cruel and bitter of hatreds. Yet that notion of a writer’s pen needing to be fueled by experience pops its head up again. “You signed up to be a writer, kiddo,” I would say to myself, “it’s gonna come with the territory.”

The logical conclusion after this internal, intellectual rolling over of an idea was that I would write my journals for my children. It was my intention to pen my life and create a road map for my future progeny, should I be so fortunate to be blessed with them. I would keep them safe and ensure that when my children reached the age I had been when I first started journaling, I would be able to let them read of all my mistakes, zigs and zags, so just maybe….just maybe they would mike wiser choices than I. It was my hopes to have them thumb through the pages of their father’s life and KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that there is nothing wrong with them and they are most certainly never alone. But who the hell wants to read their parents old journals right? This was going to be tricky, I remember thinking. After pushing through all the details I finally ended up just sitting down with some good music, maybe some tea or some coffee in a small bedroom lit with a few candles. I would be as close to the flickering lights as I could get as I curled over and penned them to the tune of symphonic Led Zeppelin, or an early Radiohead album. All of them with title pages, introductions, prologues, chapters and blank pages in the back intended for an altogether different purpose. After every writing session I would wrap them in a red clothe, place them in the steel safe and ensure they were secured from prying eyes.

20141002_081218Over time, the pages written filled so many composition books that the steel safe my father had given to me would no longer serve the purpose I had first assigned it. Another form of holding my journals came along, but being so attached to the box out of sentimentality I gave it a new purpose. From then on I would keep letters, notes, pictures and mementos, all from the times my journal was chronicled. And while in the attic and seeing this steel box for the first time in years, all these thoughts had come back to me in a flash. The moment I saw the scribbling on top, secured by some of my dad’s black, electric tape which read “The Lives of Daniel Louis” on top with hourglasses and Egyptian looking eyes etched on either side to boot, over a decade of memories exploded in my face. Yeah, I always had a flare for the dramatic.
As outside the pattering of rain on the roof and the streaks on the windows accompanied a darkly lit afternoon; inside a comfortably cool den, my dog Hannibal and I curled up and began thumbing through the contents of the steel lock box. In no particular order we looked at Polaroid’s from my youth with the ever changing face of yours truly mixed in amongst years of the ever changing faces of the cast of characters in my life. After so many pictures and so many old letters I was provoked to go digging for the journals themselves. I pulled out some rather weighty milk crates (the final resting place of the pages of my life after several moves and new “life changes”) which contained stacks of composition books with my handwriting, as well as others, within the pages. Some dull, some a little blurry, some fine, thin and distinct…and of course the occasional illegible. At first I flipped through them at random and read an entry here or an entry there. Hannibal simply gave a huff as he watched my expressions change with each little read. Sometimes I was embarrassed at what I read, sometimes I was sad, some I was laughing, some I was simply holding a sinister smile, some were making me melt with heartache and fondness; but the ones Hannibal didn’t huff at were the ones that profoundly moved me and caused me pause. A kernel of wisdom from the mouth of a babe, some quote or poem from my younger self that reached in and moved my present self.

When those lines would come across my eyes, I would stop reading and look up and to the right, Hannibal would not huff rather he would raise an eyebrow, or tilt his head as well as if to say ‘Ah, there you are’ in the fashionable wise and caring composure of the companions that we all know dogs truly are. After taking a break from the random thumbing I decided to put the journals back in chronological order and begin reading them in the fashion they were intended to be read. Like a story, with chapters and sometimes illustrations, all pacing the rate of my life and my growth; the experience I was obtaining as I walked my path. After so many pages or so many composition books I would take a break to refresh my coffee or tea and put the pictures in the order of the story, to file the notes and letters with the appropriate time frame. Then it was back to reading, locked up memories being liberated from the catacombs of my mind. As I laid the written word along-side the pictures and little treasures from the past side by side, and took a few steps back I realized what I was building. Eerily enough, a few feet away my desktop started blaring, via Pandora, Pink, Floyd’s “Another brick in the wall.” I made a mental note to watch “The Butterfly Effect” on Netflix that night then got back to the pile of memories.

There are only so many hours in a day, therefore my reading continued for the next few days. Occasionally I would check the internet for new messages or notifications, maybe send an instant message to a friend or two about some of the things I was reading in them, perhaps get some philosophical or spiritual conversations going to better help me understand why going back over my life had become such a strong obsession in those few days. Some of them were of the opinion, or so strongly inclined to lean towards the idea that I was living in the past. Though they were gentle and kind, there was the obvious undertone of “the best thing for you to do, buddy is take all of that out back, throw it in the fire pit and light a fire!” Yet then again there were some friends of the opposite opinion. They would say that knowing me on a more personal basis than others, and knowing how I think; it was perfectly healthy for me to be perusing my past. Those friends would insist that it was therapeutic to see where you have come from so you will know where you are going. A few of them were strongly convinced with the theory that I had actually died and had found my higher self within the akashic records in the only form I could conceive of at this evolution. Therefore I had to “re-member” who I was before I died so I could reincarnate and get it right this time. I gotta tell you; those are my favorite friends to chat with at about 3:33 A.M. when I haven’t slept in a few days.

2851683772_2c7afb72d1-470When I managed to break away from the keyboard and the tiny pings chiming from my phone, I would take my walk and meditate on all of this. In between that I posted old pictures or a line from my journal or a quote to my wall. Sometimes I would just put a random song or video that reminded me of my younger self up, with no other intent than to see how it would affect my psychology and self-image having looked across the ocean of a decade or more. How would this refreshed recollection of my footprints in the sands of history, however deep they may be, change me? How would it set me on a new course? As I scurried through them I began to notice that there were indeed blatant cycles within my life. Most too astounding to be a coincidence, not that I believe in those tedious little things to begin with. There were definite patterns in the years that separated imaginary dates on calendars stuffed in a drawer and marked with special dates and occasions. Many were reemerging in my life in the present or the very recent past. I was seeing the signs and the mile markers that would allow me to change or break cycles I no longer wished to experience to those more pleasant to live out. I was navigating from sadness to happiness, drifting from heartbreak to a more supernal love, skating from anger and rage to peace and calm. The road maps I had intended for my children were, at this time, a road map for me.

I found it funny how people in your life that seem so permanent one moment, can be gone in the blink of an eye in the very next. Friends and family through the years can be compassionate and a support some years, and the most vicious of adversaries the next few. Births, deaths, marriages, divorces, relocations and incarcerations. All of these things serve as little hiccups in the stream of life. After diving into this indulgence of self-rediscovery and having my eyes opened to a great many things about who I was before I nearly tasted the shot at a family and lost it, I wondered what had compelled me to cease from the habit of writing a personal journal. Was it because I thought that soon my daughter or son would come and there was no longer a need to continue because if they don’t figure life out by that time, they ain’t never gonna get it? Was it because my life had become more stabilized at the time I quit and there was no longer anything interesting to write about? Was it because my journals stopped when I met who I thought would be the love of my life and I no longer needed them as an outlet because I believed I would always have her? Well, who the hell knows, right? I just chalked it up to, one day they began and one day they came to an end and that’s that, and that’s all.

Of course, the question was nagging the back of my mind for the next few days, though I did my best to shoo it away. As one does, one morning I find myself waking up in a hotel a little before 4:15 A.M., having to remember if I was in Birmingham Alabama, Nashville Tennessee or Panama City Florida. As usual, I did the morning routine of waking up; coffee, shower and then jump into some clothes before heading downstairs to the lobby. A fellow traveler was already turning in the keys and signing us out as I came down the stairs, there was a short whisper from the hotel clerk, and then a glance back to me as I passed by and outside to board my transportation for the day. Later in the day when my travelling companion had the chance he gave a smile with a nod and said “You should have heard what that clerk said this morning.”
“Oh yeah, what was that?” I asked.
“He saw you coming down the stairs and paused for a second and then he said ‘Man,…I bet that guy has seen some shit’.” My friend replied.

The two of us shared a chuckle not really trying to pinpoint the meaning of the comment, but finding it ironic nonetheless. And yet, though this was a witty little exchange (and those of you who know me personally will surely get the wit of it) it still strung a reflective chord within me. As the events of my past were fresh in my mind, I could certainly agree with the hotel clerk on his assessment. This reminded me of a quote I had written in one of those old journals. It was “In my opinion, Life is good. Not because of good fortune, but because of good experience. And sometimes that includes tragedy. –Daniel Louis Crumpton-1998.”

At around lunch time these things were on my mind as I waltzed through a local deli looking for a bit of sushi to sustain me for the day. Having never met a stranger, I struck up a conversation with an employee stocking the freshly made goods in the coolers and it naturally lead to me being a writer from out of state and doing a bit of travelling from time to time. He expressed how that sounded like a lot of fun and then inquired if I had a family or not. I have to admit, that question felt like a sucker punch to the gut. The instant image of “family” appeared to me as a woman holding my hand while we stood outside of a little pink house complete with white picket fence, grappling with 2.5 kids. My path had not brought me to such a conclusion and I was forced to answer the question in my mind with a definite “No”…but before it hit my tongue another path of thought came to me.

zenfriends - Copy

Crew of ZEN IN THE CAR T.V.

No, my current location in this Universe did not lead me to a wife and 2.5 kids to pass my years of experience to, but that did not mean I did not have a family. One has to ask the question as to what a family is. Can people who have no blood connection be family? Is it possible that people who have come into your life by what appears to be a random series of events, yet affect you greatly, be family? Is it necessary to have grown up with them and have all the same views, or are disagreements, distrusts and shared triumphs through weakness just as likely with those you have only known in the current stage of your life and if so isn’t this what a family is? People who apparently with no control of their own end up walking similar paths with similar heartaches and lessons from the so called hard knocks and lift you up just when you need it, knowing you will do the same for them if God be willing. Is this not the very epitome of what family is? The faces of those around me now, in my personal and professional life are here because they are exactly the ones I need to help me on the long road home. So without further hesitation I looked the employee in the eyes and gave him a firm “Yes. I do have a family as a matter of fact.”

Many miles and hours later in the wee bits of the morning I crept into my office and put down my bags, lit a few candles, turned on some shuffled music low enough for me to drift back into the dance of it, sat down and began scribbling for the first time in a long time, “How to Rise from Ashes” on the second or third page of a fresh, clean, brand new composition book. As they say, a life worth living is a life worth chronicling.

20141002_084310I know that ZENINTHECAR.COM is on its break and the crew of ZEN IN THECAR T.V. are all off finding their own voice and passion in their own way, as I am doing myself; but I suppose some of the recent private conversations I have had with many of my friends compelled me to take out the time to put these thoughts on the page regardless of the timing. I know many of you out there are at points in your life where great change is all about. They could be good, they could be bad, and they could be ones you never thought would happen or that you always knew in your soul indeed would. They may be times of loss and weariness of soul or the exhilarating days of a new start. No matter the circumstance or your current lot in life; take my advice and never be tempted by anyone or anything to put down the pen of your own life.

With all that being said; here’s a little ditty (and a taste of what’s to come next season) I would like to send out to all my family and friends. It was put together with all of you in mind. Enjoy.

WE’RE ON OUR WAY

THE SOLITUDE OF SUFFERING PART THREE: RISING FROM THE ASHES

danielrising

D.L. CRUMPTON

LAST: THE SOLITUDE OF SUFFERING PART TWO:LIFE AFTER DIVORCE

 

After publishing “The Solitude of Suffering Part Two: Life After Divorce”, I have to admit there was a little bit of nervousness there in laying myself out to all of my readers. Once it went live I made the decision to step away from the computer and contemplate if I have been sharing too much of my personal life with all of you or that perhaps it was inappropriate for me to do so. As I rolled all of it around my head while trying to rest on my pillow, the thought to simply delete the last two articles had indeed occurred to me. My ex wife often told me that readers don’t really care about a writer’s personal life and I should shy away from such a thing. Of course as a writer I know that everything a writer puts to paper or on the screen is in fact his or her personal life. Writing is the exorcising of demons for an author. It’s the bleeding out on the page. Finally, after debating it within myself I decided I would see what the feedback would be and go from there.

Thankfully the morning after “Life After Divorce” was published; my private message box was filled with thanks and praises for being brave enough to share such experiences with the audience here at ZENINTHECAR.COM. Most people appreciated the fact that I laid it all out there, many others were glad there was someone else that could relate to experiences they have been through that was similar, and others simply said the emotional nature of the article brought them to tears. So needless to say, all my nervous anxiety was relieved when I had the pleasure of receiving your feedback. Thank you for that. One of the things I don’t wish to do with my readers is create a false or fake persona. I want what is on the screen to be who I truly am when I am writing in such a nature so that if and when we meet you know exactly who I really am and all the pleasantries can be bypassed. No layers of plastic onions to peel away here, what you read is what you get. Just shake my hand, hug me, or give me a fist bump (for all you folks out there with OCD) and say “Hi Daniel, nice to see you again” even if it is the first time we have met in the flesh.
The inspiration from the last two articles, and knowing that ZENINTHECAR.COM is about to go on its annual sabbatical, forced me to do something out of the ordinary. I knew that a cycle was taking place, and so I felt that it would not be prudent for me to write the third part of this article until I could make my way back to the mountains of Tennessee, which is where I am writing from to you now. I knew I wouldn’t be able to capture the emotion of what I want to relate unless I was back in the place where I first experienced the Divine at its most potent.
It was shortly before my divorce, and shortly before my novel was to be released. The ex wife and I went on a holiday to the mountains of Tennessee, and while here I experienced several moments within God. I was in a total place of peace before the presidential elections and this environment only helped me to further push into peace. I was reading the Hindu scriptures at the time and entertaining reincarnation in light of my already installed spiritual beliefs. Such a revelation will change your world if you have not entertained the notion. Of course family and friends will scoff at you, but that is to be expected.

I remember after unpacking in the cabin on the side of a mountain, a storm moved in. The winds were horrific, the rain was pounding, and the lightening lit up the sky from one horizon to the other. My ex wife was frightened. She didn’t know what we would do if that tree or this tree would fall down on top of us. It was a magnificent display of destructive power hovering over the mountains and I have to admit to be under such a storm was a humbling experience. I looked at her and believe, from the best of my memory, that I said “It’s God, sweetheart. It’s gonna do what it’s gonna do”. At that moment it occurred to me that God is this force that can sweep over those mountains and consume you if It so chose to and there wasn’t a thing I or you could do to stop it. So why not enjoy the display of Its power. Which is what I did. I sat on that porch and let the rain hit me in the face like needles in between the explosions of lightening in the sky. If this power wanted to smite me out, so be it. I was small and couldn’t wiggle my ears or wink my eye to make it not so. So what would be would be. It just so happened, thankfully, that God did not choose to smite me that day, only show me what It was made of. Sort of like a peacock spreading its tail.
The next day I remember my ex wife and I climbing the mountain together, careful not to feed the bears. When we had reached the summit we viewed the waterfall everyone was clamoring to see. I remember taking a few steps back after snapping some pics of the Ex wife, and taking note to the scenery. At the waterfall I could see Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Mennonites, atheists and spiritualists; all united underneath the waters falling from the mountain. I had to sit away from the crowd for a little while and soak it in. There was this amazing amount of diversity in amazing amounts of titles, yet in God’s nature…no one was fighting. There was no holy war, there was no persecution, and there were no matches and pyres for heretics. All I could see was smiles, all I could hear was laughter, and all I could feel was peace in unity. It was on top of that mountain that I realized that God, however God is understood is within each and every one of us, not one person excluded. Some may show it more than others, but nevertheless, we all are vessels for the Light of God.

DONT FADE AWAY

I suppose this influx of tranquility was to prepare me for the next few years of my life dealing with the solitude of suffering. No matter what I would go through, no matter the pain I would experience, I would always be able to travel back to that mountain in meditation and remember that in the storms of life there is always a place of peace for me to hide in. That experience has served me well, I have to say. There have been days that were unbearable, but I have always been able to close my eyes and see those laughing and shining faces in the reflection of the waterfall. They are a reminder to me that God is not only in those that I saw there, but God is within me as well. That fact alone relieved me many a night from the notion that I was alone. I am not alone, and neither are you.
You may believe this or you may not, but we choose the path we will walk before we walk it. Before we got here, on this planet to experience the things we have, we agreed to a contract of the soul and though sometimes it feels as if nothing is going right, and the whole Universe is against us, nothing could be further from the truth. Everything is happening exactly as it should, and that includes the part about suffering. Some of us experience more than others, but make no doubt, the amount is proportionate to what we can handle. If you, like I, have suffered a great amount it is only because you knew you could endure it before you got here, and in enduring it a greater good would come about. Sometimes it is so you can empathize with others, other times it is to strengthen you for a greater purpose, a greater goal. Do yourself a favor and embrace it. However I would add, that if you embrace the suffering, please take note that the suffering is merely the thorns of the rose we call life. Suffering is not life, sorry Buddha, you got that crap wrong. Life is beauty, life is joy, and life is a wonderful experience we are all blessed to have for a short amount of time. Suffering is merely the intermission intended to remind us to take life as the gift that it is. Suffering is the emotion that has been made to remind us to look to the good, to the happiness of our lives. It is merely an interruption or a mile marker so we can shift our focus to the things we truly cherish. I remember after the divorce papers were made out I did something I rarely do; ask for advice. I went to someone very dear to me with the papers in my hand and tears forming in my eyes, I remember holding them up and asking her to look them over before I signed them. Her response summed up suffering in the most poignant of ways. She rolled her shoulders back, inhaled deeply, looked me in my eyes and said “You can do this Daniel. Just keep breathing.” Having already been through the experience before me, she knew what I was facing and in that moment empathized with me in a way no one else could, saying exactly what I needed to hear, saying exactly what got me through the ordeal. Surviving all suffering is that simple; just keep breathing.
Suffering is a lot like that storm on the mountain; it is a force that you cannot stop with any wink of the eye or wiggle of the ear. The only way to deal with it is to open your arms and allow it to engulf you. Trust me, it’s gonna suck for a minute, but when it passes through you, a cleansing will take place. You cannot change other people or the decisions they make, you cannot change the circumstances that hit you like a storm, and you must simply endure them like a sailor strapped to the sails of a ship at sea. So in your darkest hour, in your deepest depth, remember what I said. You may have to deal with suffering in solitude; however when you have dealt with it, you will be able to take the fruits of your labor to others by the multitude. You will be able to offer advice, you will be able to give an ear or a shoulder, and you will be able to be there for someone else that might not be as thick skinned as you. Your suffering has made you an angel to others. You have been through the fire and now you know what to say to those who need to hear what you have to say. So be the angel to others that you so long for, for yourself. Take the lessons of your suffering and the process of your healing to those going through their trial by fire.
The solitude of suffering is a lot like looking at that storm over the mountains. You can’t stop it and worrying about it will do you no good. The best thing to do is close your eyes, open your arms, and wait for it to engulf you. Let it purge you of all the old ways you had been accustomed to. Let it strip away your ego; let it break you to your knees. Let it destroy everything you know, and when it is done, dust yourself off and rise from the ashes of what it has created. You will suffer as long as you need to, but when you are done, when you make the decision to stop, you will find that all around you is a wonderful well spring of life and love. You just weren’t paying attention. So pay attention from here on out. Rising from ashes isn’t all that hard. It just requires a decision on your part to do so. You have to reach that point where you have had enough of the pain and decide it is not going to be this way for the rest of your life. This moment comes to you, it has no choice. When it does you can feel all the years of suffering burn away and for the first time in a long time, you feel born again. It is true that there is a suffering in solitude, but it is equally true that there is a multitude in mending. Now enjoy some great jams from the Melanesian Choir while you meditate on this.

MELANSIAN CHOIR

DAMNED IF YOU DO AND DAMNED IF YOU DONT: PART TWO

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D.L. Crumpton

It only took a few hours after I published my article Damned if you Do and Damned if you don’t” before I realized that perhaps I had not exhausted the topic to the extent in which I could have. I really felt deep down within myself that something was missing from the article and it didn’t take long before my good friend Jason Patrick rang me up to pin point exactly what it was I had missed. I was winding down for the night with a tall cool one and my dog, Hannibal, by my side when the phone rang and once I answered I could tell that Jason the First was well into his night cap as well. These are the moments when the two of us are brutally honest enough to make criticism constructive. The walls are down, the shields are powered off and there is nothing but truth, grit, and more bone crunching truth. Some call these “come to Jesus meetings”, but when he and I do it no one winds up crucified on a stick and no one is condemned to a fiery pit of the imaginary.

The conversation started off with a query as to what my plans were in the next year with ZENINTHECAR.COM and all of that was hashed out. My intentions to take a few steps back behind the curtain were explained; in order to work on my second novel as well as market the first. The details of business between two independent media journalists was discussed in order to put to rest any fear that I am indeed retiring from the arena (not so, simply changing hats in this game for a time) and then it was on to the content of the last article. This is where it got juicy. You see, as you know, ZEN IN THE CAR T.V. was born from Patrick and I forming a unique bond over a little less than two years ago through the mutual crossing of paths in what we call …”life changes”. That typically means your world has turned upside down and a whole lot of crazy is happening to you. But it just seems so much nicer and more professional to call it …”life changes”. It is also important to always put three dots in front of it so that the reader has to make a dramatic pause before they read it. See, we know what we are doing here. So it is no secret that Patrick and I have been in ditches you cannot measure the depth whereof, and waded through swamps to which the length you could not measure thereof. Needless to say, the two of us have a relationship that might seem as odd couple-ish as you could possibly imagine, but somehow or another it has worked thus far and as far as I am concerned when any relationship is working no matter how chaotic it seems on the surface…I don’t intend to look under the hood. As long as that bad boy has gas in the tank and I can turn the key and hear the engine crank, I don’t want to know why the check engine light is on. Those things are just there to make you paranoid anyway.

D.L. Crumpton and Jason Patrick

D.L. Crumpton and Jason Patrick

The main bone of Patrick’s contention was that my previous article completely dismissed the other side of the coin and after hearing his case I have to admit I agree with him. In “Damned If You Do, Damned If You Don’t” I made the case that in life you will sometimes be forced to make decisions that no one else will understand, and when you make them often times you will be ostracized for making them and cast out like a leper. Now while this is true, there is another aspect of making seemingly insane decisions which is also true. I have always phrased it this way; “Anything that can be said can be contradicted, including this statement”, which in all actuality is a complete nose bleed to comprehend. Trust me, re read the quote and roll it around your noodle a few times until it sets in that I actually found a loophole in all logic within the Universe. Not only is the statement true, it also disproves itself therefore making itself true. Absolute genius and you are most welcome for me having a four point I.Q. to come up with it. So in spirit of that statement I will now contradict myself in regards to the formal article and say that sometimes you are only damned if you do and damned if you don’t when you fail to see that there are others around you who may still not understand your decisions, but in the long run, trust them.
When life throws those situations at you when there is no choice but to do things most around you will view as insane or out of the ordinary and those people turn their backs on you, don’t fret. It only means that there are other people either in your life or coming into your life that will understand and be of the opinion that you did exactly the right thing. It’s all a matter of perspective. Some have it, some don’t want it. When you hit that cross road in your life you have to be willing to embrace those who get it and let go of those who don’t. There is nothing like having the satisfaction of being true to thyself, but when you can be true to others as well it is a special type of blessing. One day you make the decision that makes you crazy to one person and the next day you find someone that nods in agreement and says “I wouldn’t have done it any other way myself”, and those are the moments where you feel content in your resolve.

So even when you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t, remember that you are also forgiven by the opposite spectrum. It took Jason Patrick to make me realize that after our conversation on the phone. He wailed and wailed about all the hours the two of us have spent together discussing pains and crisis in our lives free from judgment and condemnation and it made me realize that he was absolutely correct. A man may be an island, but it is always short lived before other islands appear. All of us are aware of his shortcomings as well as mine, but the fact of the matter is he has been a good friend to many of you and most certainly to me in the time I have known him. So when he expressed disappointment with the last article I had to redress. He is correct when he says that when insane decisions must be made someone will always understand, and he would know from personal experience. If there is anything I can say about that fact it is this; in the moments when I have had to do the most erratic things to achieve a goal, Jason Patrick perhaps didn’t fully understand the how, but he completely trusted the why. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he knew I was crossing the line between sane and insane, but still buried deep beneath, he trusted that I knew exactly what I was doing even if he didn’t at the time. And of course so far he has been correct. He has watched me do things irregular in order to flick dominos (as I call it) in the direction in which I need them to knock over others to get what we want or need.

Having that type of friendship and understanding with another person is vital. The reason why is because in those moments when you feel as if the decisions you have to make are damnable, and you do feel alone, you will only feel it for a brief period of time before the phone rings and you are corrected. There is always someone who will trust you no matter what condition you are in, no matter what emotion you are in, and no matter what state of mind you are in. There will always be people who will stand by your side and never walk away from the oath of “I Believe in You”. It may not be the people you expected, but does that really matter? In the end you may be damned if you do and damned if you don’t, but somehow or another you will be redeemed by those just as crazy as you. Peace be with you and all your insane decisions.

DAMNED IF YOU DO, DAMNED IF YOU DON’T

danielrisingGreetings and salutations to all you…how do they say…Zenners? I think that is the term I am looking for. Daniel Louis Crumpton here, one of the chief contributors to ZENINTHECAR.COM and the producer of ZEN IN THE CAR T.V. It has been a while since I have been able to sit behind the keyboard and really be alone with it and my own thoughts without a myriad of other duties and responsibilities crowding up my plate. No matter if it be with duties here at ZENINTHECAR.COM, personal obligations, or the marketing of my novel Then Came the Flood, I have this past year found myself stretched extremely thin. Not that I am complaining. In fact I am praising.
Book sales are doing well, ZENINTHECAR.COM is adding to its subscription list daily, and of course ZEN IN THE CAR T.V. is doing better than we have ever expected it to do this far along. Between Jason Patrick branching out, Sabrina Black digging in, Curtis Sirmans becoming more prominent and the addition of a certain Jason Turner Von Publius; I can’t say I am anything less than pleased with what is going on here.

That being said, I think other things must be said. Soon, within the next month or so the crew of ZENINTHECAR.COM will be doing what they do each year and taking a break. The site will become silent while each of its contributors relax, recharge, and reimagine where we are all going and what we all want to do. As one of the chief contributors I feel this is an important thing every year. I don’t like getting burned out and I know the others don’t either. After all, most of us have families and personal lives that must be attended to and when you are in the game of activism sometimes that aspect can be overlooked. This practice of hibernation has served us well while the site has been live and I believe it will serve us well as we move forward. The only difference this time is that when the crew does decide to go into hibernation and return from that hibernation, I will most likely not return with them in the same way in which I have been. Sure, I intend to continue producing ZEN IN THE CAR T.V. and assisting with certain editing duties, but for the most part I think Zen is in good hands with the staff that is on board. I believe those who are on board have a good vision of where the site needs to go and how to go about it. As for me though, I need time to continue marketing my novel as well as finish the manuscript for the follow up which should be completed by years end if all goes well. So for the unforeseeable future don’t expect too much from me on the site save the intros to ZEN IN THE CAR T.V. and the occasional emergency post. That being said there is an issue I wish to discuss before I go on my own personal journey.

zeninthecarphone 135You are damned if you do and damned if you don’t. This is something my dad tried to teach me but I never could grasp it until this point in my life. He would always tell me to never worry about what people thought about you because they would think something different the next day. In my youth I didn’t understand it, but now that I have years and scars I know what he was talking about. It is a tough lesson, and it is one he had to teach me across many boundaries and borders. But the lesson was finally learned. It doesn’t matter how many people in your life you consider “close” or “extremely close”, it doesn’t matter if you have been through hell and high-water with them over a multitude of years and events; there will always come a point when you must stand in a valley of decision completely and utterly alone. Having knowledge or information that others do not have or cannot have, you will be put in a position where choices will need to be made that are anything but easy.

To make these choices you will not be able to consult others, especially those you deem to be your closest advisors. You will not have the time to explain to them all the details and even if you did they would not have the patience or capacity to comprehend them. You will be out on a limb and no matter how much you exhaust your thinking the end result will always be the same. No matter what choices you make, no matter what decisions you commit to; in the eyes of those around you some will damn you for doing and others will damn you for not doing. I know, it isn’t fair and when it happens to you the temptation will most certainly be there to become bitter at those who ultimately will either believe you are insane or simply vow that they do not trust you when all is said and done. When that moment comes, and family, friends, or loved ones shake their head in disbelief at your actions and the consequence of them and do as they swore they never would; leaving you alone and without comfort…choose to smile. Not just smile for the sake of smiling, oh no. Smile with the sinister satisfaction that even if no one else understood why you have done the things you have done, at least you know.

Most of us make decisions based on how we believe others will view us. We think to ourselves “Oh my, if I do X, Y or Z, how will my wife\mother\church members\friends\family view me?” That might work for you most of the time but whenever you pass by the mirror don’t forget that such decisions are made in vain. True decisions, honest decisions are the ones where once made the only person who fully understands them, appreciates them, and respects that they were for the best are the ones made when no one else in the world will understand them but the person staring back at you in that mirror. This isn’t always easy because when that person is staring back at you the realization will hit you that you are, in those difficult decisions, alone. Can you deal with that? Can you deal with the fact that in difficult decisions you will probably lose people in the wake of the aftermath?

HANNIBALI suppose the thing I am trying to say is this; the decisions that really matter, the choices that are the most important will make a man an island. I know it is said that no man is an island and let me tell you, that is a load of crap. You become an island when you make the choices only you understand…well you and your dog. Your dog will always understand. This is why I make the tough decisions and take Hannibal (my beloved dog) for a walk. Everyone else in my life may ostracize me for the decisions I have made but at the end of the day my dog never really gives a damn so long as his food is in the bowl and I take him for his walk. So from this point on, make your choice. Will you be damned if you do, damned if you don’t or damned for not making the right choice when no one else will understand? As for me and my house, the mirror and the dog are really all I need to sleep on my pillow easy.

N.D.A.A. headed to the Senate. Who voted for it?

NDAA

 

ATLANTA, GA. – Government Bill H.R. 4435 (N.D.A.A) for Fiscal Year 2015 has overwhelmingly passed the House (325 – 98) and is headed for the Senate. In a weird turn of events, every member of Congress for the State of Georgia, with the exception of Congressman John Lewis (D), voted in favor of this bill.

H.R. 4435 is riddled big government spending to the tune of $602 billion and a continuation of the war effort in Afghanistan until FY2018.

In what seemed like a “no-brainer” (based on what we know from congressional members seeking higher office, each of them vehemently opposing this legislation), every congressman in the State of Georgia voted for this bill – with the exception of Congressman John Lewis.

In an interview with Congressman Paul Broun before the Savannah debate, he stated that the indefinite detention provisions were not in the 2014 N.D.A.A. and he was correct.

So, why am I attacking Broun? It’s simple: He made himself out to be a staunch opponent of just about anything N.D.A.A. I am here to prove that his assertions of opposition and my assertion of opposition are two very different things.

The previsions are in the Authorization for use of Military Force (AUMF), which was created under George W. Bush. However, in 2012, Broun voted for H.R. 4310 N.D.A.A. 2012, which contained sections 1021 and 1022 in which Congress vested the power in themselves to authorize the indefinite detention of an American Citizen without due process of the law. Now that the bill has been changed, congress relinquished this power back to the president – and the N.D.A.A. only “upholds current law”, that being the AUMF.

So, the next time you hear anyone say that the N.D.A.A. doesn’t allow for the indefinite detention of American Citizens, you can call them out on their nonsense. You are now armed with the verifiable truth that the provisions remain, only in the hands of the President and the FISA courts.

In Section 1075, the FAA Modernization and Reform Act is again brought up, with continued authorization to allow the testing of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or as we like to call them, drones. Thanks to the 2012 N.D.A.A., congress mandated that 35,000 drones be integrated into our national airspace, by 2015.

In the North Georgia Mountains, Gilmer County residents fought back against the Federal Government and the private sector from taking control of the counties airport, preventing it from being used as a drone testing facility. Thanks to the late, Commissioner Randy Bell, the opposition to this program was successful in denying the State of Georgia, Georgia Tech Research Institute and Federal Government from obtaining the authorization by the Board of Commissioners to use their facility for such programs. However, the bill remains and they have moved on to other areas of the nation where they don’t need permission to use the lands in which they conduct the data-link testing.

One very important issue pertaining to this bill is found in Section 1216:

United States plan for sustaining the Afghanistan National Security Forces through the end of fiscal year 2018

Yes, you read that right. We are continuing the war effort in Afghanistan until FY2018. Contingency operations will continue for a very long time. American lives will continue to be lost and innocent men, women and children will continue to die via drone warfare.

We at zeninthecar will update you on the status of the bill as it moves through the Senate.

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Many thanks to Shelia Aliens for the help editing this article! Be sure to visit her YouTube account and subscribe!

Video’s from above:

[su_youtube url=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MInYnV9Edcg”]

Zen interviews Congressman Paul Broun

[su_vimeo url=”https://vimeo.com/64638500″]

Commissioner Randy Bell (RIP Good fellow) meeting with Steve Justice over drones in Gilmer County.

Sabrina Black: Zen Spirituality

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Sabrina Black

LAST EPISODE: BEHOLD A GREAT RED, WHITE AND BLUE DRAGON

I have mentioned before that several of us here at ZENINTHECAR.COM have recently gone through major “life changes”; however that is not to say that such “life changes” have been limited to we alone. No; in fact many of you out there are also experiencing such things and for those of you who have a spiritual proclivity this is due in part to a process that is happening world-wide to a certain percentage of people. It is a spiritual awakening happening to those who are in tune with it that is causing all the seemingly tumultuous events in our lives.
In this episode of ZEN IN THE CAR T.V., Sabrina Black addresses this awakening and how we should respond to it in order to pass through the process with as few bumps and bruises as possible. Enjoy.

ZEN SPIRITUALITY

The Wake Up Call

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Sabrina Black

While it appears to be the end to a relatively boring story, it turns out that it was just the beginning to something prophetic. See, outside of knowing I did not elect Obama for President (because his lies didn’t fool me for one second), attention to anything political or even remotely related to politics was nothing of interest. I imagine I am not unlike many others who simply took the beaten with the assumption that we would suffer through it. However, my husband was one of the fortunate ones to be more than aware of what was going on not only in our country, but in the world. He was chastised for it – by yours truly – as I saw much of what he was listening to as unchangeable and negatively laced.

On a morning not unlike many others before it, fed up with the job hunt and the negativity the situation was inspiring; I found myself nagging the husband again about his listening to the crappy news on talk radio. That’s when a challenge was issued. A challenge I believe many of us were presented with at some point in our lives, or why else would we be here?

You don’t have a clue what’s going on in this country, do you?

Well, that’s uncalled for. I never knew before, why should I give a damn now, right? Well, I don’t know what my exact response was, but I’m certain it was defensive. After all, who likes being called out for their lack of knowledge?

Essentially, the challenge being issued was simple: wake up. There was a call to see why I wouldn’t be getting the job I wanted any time soon; a demand to see and understand the liberties that were being stolen from us by our elected officials in government.

Being among the fortunate, this was all it took to disconnect my cord from the system and find a place amongst those who would bring me to further Truth and Enlightenment. Some were found by me, but the some that would become the most significant contributors to my awakening found me. It was then that so many wonderful and inexplicable happenings began to take place. Like so many others, I began to see things differently, and my only desire became to share my new-found knowledge with others.

Unfortunately, just as I was initially defensive towards my husband, so were others towards me and the information I was giving them. Friends, family… people I thought I knew, not only denied these Truths, but became ugly beasts I didn’t recognize anymore. I’m just trying to help you, I thought, why are you not even capable of acknowledging what I’m telling you without debating me?

By this time, so many had already been lost – friends and even family – to my need to share truth. The only way to salvage what was left, as far as I could tell, was to keep my information to myself and at the very least communicate with those who were already awakened.

Months later, I’m sitting here writing this to you after much reflection and understanding. I was wrong again. See, just as I was defensive to the ideas being put before me, so others will be as well. Cognitive dissonance, the desire for people to maintain living in their delusions; prevented people from giving up the illusion they were plugged into. To challenge them as we have been challenged is asking them to step into the turmoil so many of us has already experienced. The daunting task of waking up others is a daunting one that sees friends turn foe and family turn their backs or worse – throw you to the feds.

It’s unfortunate to say that we cannot save them all. There will be many that wish to remain plugged in, and will even fight tooth and nail to keep from being separated from the fictional world they live in. While it seems like going through all of this to inform others is harmful, it is actually just the opposite. Information is positivity; the opportunity to make a choice. It is the lack of information which is most dangerous and negatively charged. What we, as the awakened whole, need to understand is that many will cling to the lies. Do not be discouraged. It is not your role to unplug anyone. Your only charge is to keep the information coming out freely; to put it out there for others to question and reflect upon it, in their own time and in their own way, so that they may make an informed choice.

Ultimately, choice is left to the Individual. All you can do is put the truth before them and move on, as the more people who become awakened, the stronger we grow as a nation towards absolute liberty. Let hope be your guide. Let faith maintain your heart. Let love be your strength. Others will see that your truth is not inspiring hate or negativity. It’s time to unplug this country and the world. So if you’re not already… wake up.