Wednesday, August 27, 2008

ENGAGING A HOLY MAN


NOT AN EASY THING TO DO --BUT I MANAGED

I saw him stagger out of the deep forest where he lives, and I quickly maneuvered to intercept and walk alongside. As always I wanted “the story.”

He was deeply suspicious and a bit irritable but I kept walking alongside. He asked me some screening questions: was I a vegetarian? I said that I needed help in knowing what foods were wholesome–the perfect response — he unloaded his truth. We walked a mile (he staggered; wouldn’t explain his gimpiness) In time I got the story.

A career in San Francisco as a music teacher, forced by high rent into a vw van and eventually to solitude in hidden places. He was amazed that I knew the philosophy of Krishnamurti and was absolutely dazzled when I mentioned Bach’s Goldberg Variations played by Glen Gould. (A happy accident – my friend Anita just sent this incredible piano piece to me)

We sat beside the road to complete our visit. Here’s what he’s into: Fasting, meditation and solitude. His fasting is big time–10 days at a stretch taking only water. (check his rib cage and believe it) When the body runs out of food, he said, it will begin to digest the waste in our system–Cholesterol, toxins, germs, viruses and fat of course. Only as a last resort will it consume muscle. For spiritual health, he meditates.

He spoke with an authoritative forcefulness which I found unpleasant. He was not open or lighthearted. I came away considering how unattractive is my own discourse when I get on my “high horse.” Luckily, I have friends who care enough about me not to tolerate my intolerant crap.

Prolonged isolation, whatever its benefits, is, I think, a trap–where your own opinions harden around you like armor and others can’t touch you. It wrenched my heart as he tried to tell me where he was camped–hoping I would visit. I dissembled – I would not–I’m drawn to softer people.

1 comment:

RV-boondocker-explorer said...

Fellows like this are very poignant. They are quite noble on one level. On another, they are mere stereotypes leftover from 1968. They are "atheists", modern, hip, and secular. They try like hell.

But they won't admit they are as emotionally addicted to religious emotion as the sorry souls of a truly superstitious era. And they have less excuse.