Saturday, February 27, 2010

Have Faith...get rocketed into the 4th dimension!

Tales: From the Eagle's POV



"Stay calm. Share your bananas."
Koko the Gorilla

A popular video on YouTube shows a dog rescuing an injured dog from traffic on a road. Koko the Gorilla answers questions about death and friendship as intelligently as many people could. A very recent study suggests that dolphins are so intelligent, we should treat them as "non-human persons." There are lots of birds that can talk, comment on their surroundings, and recognize objects and people. Imagine understanding or making sense in bird language.
Revisit a previous posting about the nature of animal consciousness, and the intelligence alive there that practically equals our own – within their differently perceived worlds.
With that in mind, let's examine what our Eagle brothers and sisters might have to teach us...
"Detach and arise above the mundane so that you're able to see your life and circumstances with a broader perspective and greater vision."
Eagle, Animal Spirit Guides, Steven Farmer
Vision of the World's Abundance

The eagle looks out over the river. To our eyes, the water appears to be blue-green, almost solid. The glare from the sky prevents us from seeing beneath the surface. But the eagle has naturally polarized vision. She can see right into the water, past the surface, to the rich abundance that each endless section of the river is bringing. She isn't hunting, she's picking out what she wants whenever she needs it. Whatever looks good to her. The fish are always there, never running out, like a river full of candy bars swimming right past her. She is always taken care of. She has no concept of fearing that she won't get what she needs.
She sees how the world gives.

The Big Picture (A Bird's Eye View)

Atop a great white pine, hundreds of feet up, or riding a thermal a thousand feet above the river valley, the eagle sees the whole picture at once. She knows that there's no reason to get tangled up in the undergrowth. That the world isn't limited to just what's in front of her, but that each direction reveals the next direction. She's incapable of ignoring her intuition, of the willfulness that leads into a quagmire. From this perspective, she can cover great distances almost immediately, without ever leaving her perch.
She knows that the world shows her, intuitively.

Rest and Repose

The eagle is always either doing what needs to be done, or she is not. When she is doing what needs to be done, she is just focusing on doing that. When she isn't, she is resting and observing. In Zen, it's called wu wei, doing without doing. She never worries about how, or when. The event stream of her life shows her those things, when and how to do, and not to do.
She knows that the world lets her move, and lets her rest.

The Natural Connection

From her perch, the eagle sees the movement around her without attaching any judgement, just witnessing, just allowing. With patient observation, and a variety of calls, messages, and meetings, she is always connected to her family. She is always linked to those of her kind. She knows what is happening in her territory. Through this observation and communication, all problems find a natural resolution; all resources are shared. She learns and teaches by example.
She knows the world is always showing her how to be.

"Everything would change if only we could treat every single being we meet, human or animal, as who they really are -- a disguise of God."
Bede Griffiths

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Tales of the Koko Lion, Part 18: The Mexican Haircut


"What lies behind us and what lies before us

are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."

Emerson


In 1961, I was 5 years old. John Kennedy was President. The high point of each week was Sunday evening when Tinkerbell flew onto the TV screen and christened an eruption of cartoon colored fireworks with her little fairy-wand at the start of "Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color." It was the only color TV show on any of the three networks.

My father, Eugene, was still fairly present then. Still almost a regular guy, which is to say he hadn't quite formulated his other persona, that of Gino, the mysterious international car dealer. Soon he would detach and start taking his month-long trips abroad, to England and Italy, and other exotic lands.The young man who took my brother and I for haircuts in Tijuana never really came back after that. So it went for my father, who fell head-long into the void of an alter-ego who would never again allow him to settle for a "regular" life...


Dad parked the Chevy in the Woolworth's lot just off Avenida Revolucion in Tijuana and walked us down the side street to the big barber pole. I saw myself reflected in the painted front window, in the glass of the brass-handled front door, a slightly shabby little boy on the verge of tonsorial splendor. The bell announced our entry, and the faces of neatly dressed gentlemen seated along the right wall turned to us for a moment, looking up from their Mexican newspapers as they waited their turn with their favorite of the three barbers. There was an air of conspiratorial relish, the energy of a fraternal initiation of two little shavers, made all the more special by the familiar foreignness of it. The rites of manhood crossed language and borders.

An awaiting gentleman, enjoying his paper and his cigarette, and having all day to get his weekly trim, waived us through with a smile, like a driver in a slow moving line of cars.

"Ahhh, Señor..." said the barber officiously, turning the big scrolled iron barber chair towards me, snapping the seat with a hand towel, "Por favor..." motioning to take my place. No, "momentito," holding his hand up to pause me, "Esperes, por favor..." He wheeled on one foot, dipped down, and arose holding a deep green tack-upholstered leather booster seat, which he set on the chair, re-inviting me to take my place.

The barbers looked like family, well-groomed professional men, with their white short-sleeved doctor's shirts, shiny black hair and mustaches. Mine was the youngest and portliest, with no grey at his temples, manning the far chair. He turned me to face the long mirror and marble mantle, the array of multi-colored potions, balms, and astringents, like the exotic line-up of liquors behind a bartender in a ritzy hotel. There were all sorts of gadgets and accessories, each with more possibilities than the other. Graduated vials, sculpted bottles, ornate containers; mysterious, vaguely surgical-looking devices, ostensibly for the purpose of making a man all that he could be, and more.

He snapped and whirled a sheer white cotton dropcloth around my chin like a toreador, like the framed Correos posters on the wall. It settled down on top of me with perfect gentle gravity. Sweet-smelling. Calming. He gathered the sheet up around my neck and wrapped it, once, twice around with soft white crepe paper, sealing my neckline securely with a clip. Then he went to work.

The scissors snipped rhythmically, with metallic precision. It seemed no stroke was wasted, even when no hair was cut. His fingers felt like big warm rubber knobs, pushing and turning my little boy's head like a grapefruit. He smelled of cologne himself. The electric trimmer snapped on and buzzed at my temples, lightly scraping around my ears as he folded them over. Everything so precise, so assured.

Then came the coup de grace. With all the professionalism afforded to his most mature patrons, he took his soap mug from the mantle, and with one raised eyebrow and some steaming hot water, proceeded to whip up a rich lather with his brush. He tillted my chin forward, and spread the warm, fragrant lather behind my ears, and around the nape of my neck, then quickly, setting down the mug, he reached into the front pocket of his barber's shirt, and unfolded his abalone shell handled straight razor. He stropped it to a sheen on the broad leather belt that hung from the side of the chair, and resting his little finger on the back of my head, meticulously shaved my neckline.

Afterwards, he wiped the excess lather off with a warm towel, unwound the paper seal from around my neck, and whisked around my tingling neck, ears, and shoulders with a soft, powdered brush. There was a slap of lightly perfumed hair tonic massaged into my fresh haircut, and a firm, definitive final combing. Then he turned the great chair slowly to face the mirror.

The seated gentlemen lowered their papers and looked up.

"Ahhh..." the men admired simultaneously the perfectly groomed little gentleman in the mirror that I been transformed into at the hands of this craftsman as he lifted the cloth off of me, and I basked in the sensation of a real haircut and shave.


In a way, I wished I could stay with that brotherhood of Mexican barbers, in their warmth and professionalism. The propriety they afforded even a little boy. But after I played out front, squinting on the hot sidewalk, peeking in until my brother's haircut was completed, we rode back to San Diego with our Dad, who could never quite muster the self-assured comfort around his young sons that seemed so natural to that family of Mexican barbers. We rode back in silence across the border at San Ysidro. Back to our "regular" lives.