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February 19, 2005

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I can’t say that there was any particular time that I have felt closest to God, but as I read your article I remembered an incident that took place a few years ago, before retiring. I was driving on the Interstate, I-65, on my way to an important meeting at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee when suddenly my left front tire blew out. It made a lot of noise and it startled me as I got a big shot of adrenalin, but then I was really lucky and was able to get out of the traffic, slow down, and pull my small truck off of the Interstate without any problem. However, it was then that it suddenly hit me that I was not going to be able to change this tire myself, and I was not going to make my meeting and that people were going to be let down and disappointed in me.

I got out of my truck and examined my deflated tire all of the time fully realizing that the situation was not in my control. So I took a deep breath and just decided that if God wants me to miss this meeting, then so be it. I was going to be content that I was safe and nobody was harmed. In other words I had totally accepted the fact that I was not going to make this meeting and people were going to be very unhappy with me but I was feeling very good about it anyway.

So I relaxed. leaned back on my truck and felt that God was really close and taking care of me, so why worry. It was then that I noticed a car had pulled off of the Interstate ahead of me and was backing up to my truck. When he got close I ran up to his car and he asked me if I wanted a ride. I said sure and got in. It turns out that the gentlemen was a local judge and he happily drove me about and mile or so up to the next exit and let me off at a truck stop.

It was fairly early in the morning and I did not see anybody in the garage office so I wandered out to the garage where I saw a young man working on a big truck. He asked me if he could help me and I told him that I had a blow out on the Interstate and needed help to change my tire. He immediately stopped what he was doing and we got into a service vehicle and we drove down to my truck. He had an air compressor and power tools so it only took him a few minutes to change my tire. I gave him a $20 bill and was quickly on my way to my meeting. As it turned out I was actually a few minutes early for my meeting. This whole incident was very surreal to me and I felt close to God, like He was taking care of me like a small child.

With regard to meditation practice please consider this quote from John Crook in the book "Illuminating silence" The Practice of chinese Zen by Master Sheng-Yen.
"any self-willed intention to become enlightened is doomed to failure. An ego-based activity simply precludes the movement in which self-concern is dropped. The practice of meditation method is naturally motivated towards success and is ultimately self defeating unless it can go beyond intentionality." I hope John doesn't mind me quoting him here without permission but in my own experience what he says here is perfectly true.

Meditation has always been something I just do, a natural and pleasant practice like taking a nap. I can't say if I have a "self willed intention" to become enlightened or not. My attitude is just to enjoy the practice and to see what will happen, if anything. I have no expectations, although I am sometimes pleasantly surprised.

I always recommend some form of meditation to those who are troubled, and if they try it they always find it rewarding. Perhaps "self willed intention" just means that we are trying to kick the door down. Naturally that won’t work.

I recommend the book "Sight and Sensibility: the ecopsychology of perception." [It's like 2 bucks on Amazon]. She talks about the importance of reconnecting to our environment through out senses-as coming back to it as a sort of guide for life and for "self" in order to reverse the destruction that has occured due to the detatched ways of percieving, and the depth perception we have lost the sense of being "apart" of our environment because we are instead accostumed to staring at 2-d strip malls, roads, flat pages of books filled with lines of text etc.) This form of engaging sensually with the world is really all there is and allows for an esctatic type of living experience, that is, coexisting and cocreating with reality around you. In a way, engaging in intercourse with whatever you are viewing or otherwise sensing.

Anyways, its a really interesting book, wonderfully written by Laura Sewall.
I would be interested to hear what u think if u read it.

Eminent writer Ruskin Bond writes,"Is it what it feel to be God?"
What does this quote mean? Kindly let me know. Thanks.

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