North America 11
Sam Harris misunderstood
Listening to a Sam Harris podcast, sipping a Latte in a lovely Coffee Shop before I enter the hallowed confines of Abhayagiri Monastery, sister one to Chithurst.
But before I got there, I bumped into Glen, a weather beaten middle aged chap, just about hanging on by his finger tips, but very sweet if a little bitter. His bike was ailing and every so often we pushed and talked, and he slyly sipped on a can of beer. I also dropped by a Gun Shop to admire the weapons! I picked up a leaflet urging people to vote for Northern California to become a separate State, basically they want less harsh gun laws.
Then I came by the local Waldorf School. My wife was a Steiner teacher, and my youngest attended Michael Hall.
waldorfmendocino.com it looked so right sheltering in a grove, with open, happy children.
Then it’s quite a long slog to the monastery. American miles are a bit like Swedish ones 1to 5 English ones, a least that’s what it feels like. Maybe when people here give directions it’s either about the unfamiliarity of getting about without the car, or just their unquenchable positivity.
Thinking about Sam Harris’s complaint about his attempted conversation with the great Chompski . The teaching of not holding “fixed Views” is such a powerful one.
In counselling your taught to ask questions tentatively, so as to allow space for the person to consider a reply. This carries respect for the other who feels listened to.
All the learning in the world, will not guarantee that kind of attention.
Back to the ride, the monastery is on the side of a hill, a bit like the one in Wellington NZ though there , the wonderful bush is totally benign, whereas here if you slip off the path poison oak will have you for dinner. And I did but they have a antidote which I used in the shower, so I shall live for another day. I’m staying in my own room, a superior hut , all the comforts of home plus more. The grounds are over 250 acres, and they are busy building more stuff. And anyone can stay, just offer a donation anonymously. The routine is much like the other Forest Sanga’s , so I feel very much at home.
A few thoughts about the ride itself, as I’m going in the wrong direction I haven’t been passed by other cyclists, so I’m free from those competitive thoughts that still arise. Though I did notice coming here, hidden anger, as I assumed the distance was less than I was led to believe. The trick is to acknowledge these feelings and not to act them out, by complaining etc. It may seem contradictory to keep these feelings to yourself, but in a way by using this technique you are acting as your own therapist.
Anyhow that seems to work for me most of the time. In the movie Network the Peter Finch character encourages his audience to get angry so that they might affect change.
It’s how you handle that energy that makes the difference. Act it out as violence or bad speech, will get you into trouble, but to use it skilfully as a focus for action is a ” whole new ball game” I mean cricket, of course.
We are asked not to use the Internet so I’ll have to answer my mail when I get back on the trail, four days time , oh vey PLG Tony