at this point in my life, I am beginning to understand the meaning of
this teaching a bit better. Enough so to write a brief article about
The Portable School and I are a few months back from walking across parts of Montana, Idaho, and Nevada - and already planning another excursion for this summer. At the same time, we are reflecting on last summer's path which brought numerous experiences and learning opportunities.
I am reminded that several people were concerned for my health and safety along the way. I suspect numerous prayers were sent my way. Before I left, I was offered a gun to carry which idea got nowhere. I didn't carry one in Vietnam and figured I didn't need one in the USA.
My friend Audrey Snow was worried that I might "get knocked over the head" for some reason, especially by people of foreign extraction. My mother would have thought that, too. Audrey was also concerned about me picking up things out of the ditch and sometimes partaking thereof. I have the nickname of Still Edible in some parts of the country.
I did indulge a few times. I tried a few raw potatoes and a sugar beet which had fallen off trucks here and there during harvest season in the great state of Idaho. They were fairly tasty. Salt and pepper would have helped.
I also was lucky to quench my thirst with a half-full bottle of cool chocolate milk that was sitting next to an empty on the side of the road outside of Ashton, ID - just waiting for me. That was kind of like the lone apple on a tree on north side of Livingston, MT, that was lingering on its stem ready for me to pick it on the way to town.
I wasn't sick for a moment of 35 days on the road. Tired but not sick. No injuries. Not even a twisted ankle. No mayhem. No problems.
I met with the Law on four occasions. Those were the closest times I came to a gun and bullets. Three of the four officers were keen and kind and caring about my welfare. Boyle, Christensen, and Scott made me feel good about law enforcement officers. The latter stopped to visit me twice in my latter miles in Nevada, to offer help and a ride, if I would accept. I wasn't ready.
My fourth experience with a policeman didn't go quite so well. And, I do believe that it was largely my fault. Something to learn. The officer, whose name I conveniently have forgotten, visited me as I was taking a break next to a big evergreen tree on the edge of a farm in the middle of Idaho.
He made it quite clear that I should move on. I thought that I was just resting my feet in broad daylight with my flag in brilliant display. But, he didn't walk much as one could tell by his physique. But, that was part of my problem. I did judge him for his figure and rather slow manner.
He had to take my driver's license twice to verify my identity. He said, "You need to move along."
I said, as I was putting socks and boots back on after my brief respite, "I assure you I am continuing on down the road." He insisted on waiting for my departure.
Next time, I will do better with all policemen. Although 3 of 4 knew I was no threat, one didn't. I needed to understand where he was coming from. For his my benefit as well as his.
You see -
• "We are always meeting self." This favorite Edgar Cayceism is "spot on." The universe, karma, fate, the path always lead us to meet ourselves, however far or near we move from home base. We cannot escape ourselves.
We meet ourselves in others, in events, in problems and illness, in triumph and tragedy. We also meet ourselves at home and on the road, in the news programs we turn to and the movies we watch, the songs we listen to. How could it be otherwise?
We even meet ourselves in the form of law officers on the highway. Small, medium and large ones. Quick and slow. Friendly and otherwise.
• We also have the potential of meeting Self. Wherever we go, there is the Divine, God, Goddess, Christ, Krishna, Buddha staring us in the face. If we see the enemy, the adversary, the infidel, the heathen, Satan, we are still only looking at our selves.
Shouldn't we, therefore, be looking for the best in the world and in others? Then, we are certainly more likely to find it in ourselves as well.
Surely, such a way of living will make the Path easier for everyone. Since everyone is part of our bigger Self, what we give out will indeed come back to us - and probably magnified when it does. We can expect to see the return somewhere down the long and winding Road.
Shalom, Peace, Namaste,
PS Comments are always welcome.
Hi Wandering Medicine Man,
Once again a great e-mail in the best spirit of Dr Bob! Really enjoyed reading it. (much to ponder too).
I understand the worry of others about ones journey, whether it is trekking or “walking the path” in any other way as we learn that we are the path as you comment. (Maybe that is why so many people criticise others, the worry about trekking the path????).
You have state the fact that we can eat and not only survive but be very healthy with less “OCDsiness”, hey our bodies have survived many thousands (millions) of years not being so picky. I am sure it reinforces the immune system. Probably what is important is the attitude we have when we are eating (or anything else for that matter). Being grateful for what comes our way is the key. Your story brought back memories of me cycling the Basque country and picking up apples that fell from trees along my way. The sweetest ever! Sure they wouldn’t be display at major supermarkets but they were the best. Same goes for the drinking from streams and just making the most of what was available as it “surprisingly appeared” in my path. From this, I can connect to your experience.
Love your take on guns. It is the soul and our intend that really protect us (or not). Nothing to do with fire power. You trusted what you were doing and therefore you did not need “the protection that comes from a gun”. You saw beyond illusion and had a connection with a bigger picture. A lesson on how we should trek our daily path. Which brings us nicely to probably the best part of your e-mail: We meet ourselves in others. We are those others and we will get from our encounters what our linking to them brings about. If we link from the best, then we recognise the best in others and ourselves to the point of recognising the unity of all. We are but one soul ( Therefore, no need for guns is there? Who are we going to shoot but ourselves?). The old Law Of Attraction at work. (should keep that more often in mind).
At times all these may sound very “airy fairy” but the fact that it all stems from experience, your journey, makes it very grounded and “real”. Point made. Probably this is one of the major assets of your writing. Not that I am judging your experience or writing, but highlighting how a reader can view it(The Lessons from Road Less Travelled) and benefit from it. From that point of view: Many thanks for the sharing!
Blessing be Medicine man,
I get accused about being a "Freegan" as well.
I think I know the difference between the dates:
Sell by date
Eat by date
Die by date
While I understand your experience with the policeman, I remind myself that not all of life's lessons are to learn; some of them are to teach. I guess he wasn't in a learning state of consciousness.
Freeganism is the practice of reclaiming and eating food that has been discarded. Freegans and Freeganism are often seen as part of a wider "anti-consumerist" ideology, and freegans often employ a range of alternative living strategies based on limited participation in the conventional economy and minimal consumption of resources.
Freegans "embrace community, generosity, social concern, freedom, cooperation, and sharing in opposition to a society based on materialism, moral apathy, competition, conformity, and greed."
The word "freegan" is a portmanteau of "free" and "vegan"; not all dumpster divers are vegan, but the ideology of veganism is inherent in freeganism. Freeganism started in the mid 1990s, out of the antiglobalization and environmentalist movements. The movement also has elements of Diggers, an anarchist street theater group based in Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco in the 1960s, that gave away rescued food.
Dear Dr. Bob,
Thanks so much for sending out this wonderful email. Just what I needed to hear the last couple of days. I have never attempted to walk across the country or even to the next town, but I really understand the symbolism involved in being open to whatever experience awaits you. These days, I can scarcely leave the garage without some kind of adventure, including long conversations with cows in the middle of the highway in front of my car while traffic is backup up for three blocks. It is very difficult to explain the premise of a "fence" to a cow, and attempting to lead one to the side of the road, and not have him follow you back to your car, simply defies description.
Thank you, again. Very uplifting.
I like the story.
But what will you do differently next time when encountering a hostile police officer? You didn't tell us. And what did you see of yourself in both officers--the friendly one and the unfriendly one?? You didn't tell us--your readers.
I like the story. It is filled with charm and meaning. You have a lovely way of writing about your experiences.--though I expect lovely is not the word you would want most to be used in describing your writing. It is nevertheless lovely.