Begin Northwest Bicycle Trip And Michigan Return

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Last week, my good friend Subra personalized his blog by posting his picture. So, following his lead, I am posting a relatively recent picture of me that was taken at a rally to protest George Bush’s invasion of Iraq and his continuing war on the U.S. Constitution.

Before She Left She Knew That I Wasn’t Into Stringing Along Heartache

May 19, 1980

Well, here I am, sitting on the John F. Kennedy University lawn, waiting for classes to start, Modern Philosophy to begin with. The trip from Michigan was good. After Jane contacted me (when she saw my name on the ride board back at school) we made arrangements for my ride out to California. She was on her way to the coast to visit friends, and my contribution for gas made it easier for her. She also liked the idea of having someone to travel with. Driving to California was a big deal for her, and a single girl traveling alone did present some legitimate concerns.

Jane may have been a crack shot on CMU’s women’s basketball team, but her preparation skills for the drive out to California were lacking. We left Mt. Pleasant in a rusted out ’72 Maverick. I had my doubts about whether or not we would get to California, especially after the problems with the rear end differential started. By the time we reached Modesto, where I said goodbye to Jane, the clunk, clunk was so noticeable that I gave her a 1 in 5 chance of making it to San Francisco, but I didn’t tell her that.

The highpoint of our trip to California was our twenty-four hour stay in Park City, Utah. Jane stopped to see her ski bum friends. The boys, Dan, Robin, and Kevin, lived to ski. What do a bunch of jocks do when they haven’t seen each other for a long time? Play basketball! So we all went down to the Salt Lake City Sport Coliseum to shoot some hoops, something I loved to do anyway. Unfortunately, I was out of shape. I was playing with superbly conditioned athletes. I was so out of breath from running up and down the court that I had nothing left to play the game. That was an eye opener for me. One should never take lightly his or her personal race with Father Time.

The other highlight of the trip was when we stopped in Paxton, Nebraska. I had been driving for a long time, so when I saw this small town saloon, I pulled over. The owner of the place was a big game hunter. He had his game trophies hanging all over the place. Actually, the place was more like a museum than a bar. I was not into killing animals for sport, but that place was impressive. Under each trophy was a written description of the kill. Admiring the memorabilia, it was impossible not to feel the intensity of the hunt. The guy who did all the hunting was the same old guy who handed me my beer. He was a proud old man. All he had left now, though, were his memories and the bar. I was lucky enough to buy him a beer before Jane and I headed out.

We ran into snow in Wyoming and more in Utah, but once we reached the salt flats, the weather warmed. It was nice after that, and when we arrived in Modesto, we stayed with more of Jane’s friends. In the morning, Todd gave me a twenty-minute ride up to Stockton and that’s where I started to bicycle north.

Expressways were everywhere, so I had to pick and choose my way up the coast. My first night out, I lost my way, and ended up sleeping in a field behind a pine tree, a field that separated two Walnut Creek homes—estates. I almost expected an upper class field to go along with the upper class neighborhood, but no luck there. I’ve picked out a similar place for tonight’s camp. It will be dark, so the chances of running into any “excuse me type encounters” should be minimal.

JFKU is a well-used Junior High School in the daytime and a university at night. It is impossible to be impressed with the building or grounds, but I’m not expecting much along those lines anyway. So far, most of the students I have observed have been in law, and they come across as aggressive and
competitive. I’m going to attend a philosophy class in about an hour and hopefully I will get a better feel for the students in my field of study. Tomorrow and Wednesday I will be attending classes in consciousness and mysticism. I hope to have enough experience after that, to make an informed judgment about the program. The law students are all marching off to take their exam now. The weather has been great. Time to change the subject.

Carin, now there’s a subject, well, not really. I’ve handled that one pretty well, but I am disturbed on one account. Did we waste our relationship on the expectation of knowing we would be saying good-bye to each other? I could definitely say no to that question during our relationship, but I’m not so sure now. I did not want it to end. I especially did not want it to end the way it did, as a fun trip, a “thanks for the memories trip.” Did we actually have a love affair? What did the relationship mean anyway—nothing? I’m sure that was not entirely the case, but I am just as sure that my anxiety in this area is well founded. For me, the value of love has not diminished. Love is still the most important experience possible. But now I am troubled. How much did I love her? How much could I love her?

Throughout our relationship I had to prepare psychologically for the end. Accepting the temporary quality of our relationship was, ironically, what kept us together for so long. Knowing she would be leaving did not prevent me from loving her. But deep down, I hoped, of her own free will, she would end up loving me enough to stay. She frequently told me she loved me, and I believed her, but those words did not mean the same thing coming from her as they did coming from me. I wanted Carin to love me, really love me. In fact, I kept hoping right up to the very end.

After she left, I treated her the way I treated all potentially painful experiences—I put as much distance between them and me as possible. In this case, I returned Cairn’s letters unopened, and disposed of all of the artifacts that she left behind in my apartment (except for the desk). Before she left, she knew I wasn’t into “stringing heartache along.” When I left South Dakota I kept nothing to remind me of Carole Sue, and she knew that. I have not heard from her since I sent back her third unopened letter, and, as far as I’m concerned, this journal entry is the last remnant of our relationship. If I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t.

I guess I feel better now. I’m not bitter. I hardly think of her anymore. She’s just something I don’t want to repeat. I admit, however, that bitterness is probably obvious in this journal entry, and once again, I am grateful for the writing process that purges unwanted feelings. I don’t feel bitter now!

If Spiritual Development Is What You’re After Then You’re In The Wrong Place

JFKU, Orinda, California

May 23, ‘80

First off, I like my new tent. It’s easy to put up, easy to carry, and gives every indication I will stay dry when necessary. I looks like, once again, you get what you pay for.

Okay, JFKU:

Modern Philosophy—taught by a very intelligent man, but he was not in tune with “awareness,” or even in tune with JFKU. I didn’t have to leave CMU (whoops, I just thought that last gust of wind was going to blow my tent down) to learn what was being taught in that class.

Prayer And Meditation—taught by a man who spent a year in a Chan Monastery; he encouraged dialogue in class (a dull dialogue). A psychologist wrote the book discussed in class. The Professor, in reply to a student’s question, said the most important thing that was said in class when he replied back to the student, “If spiritual development is what you’re after then you’re in the wrong place,” –meaning, I guess, that JFKU was a university not a monastery.

Two stray dogs just discovered my tent. A German Shepherd and a black Boxer were frolicking in the stream just below my tent when the Shepherd decided to stick his head inside my unzipped tent screen. Upon a friendly greeting from me, I was hard pressed to keep the dogs out of my tent. That was a pleasant distraction, but now, in addition to my own smelly body, my tent is full of swampy dog odor.

Where was I? The first thing I did upon arriving at JFKU was to pay a visit to the bookstore. I was disappointed in the lack of scholarly books. I checked out all three of the programs and I was not impressed with any of the required readings.

Time for one more tortilla potato salad sandwich. That was good– just the right amount of Tabasco.

Mystic Vision—an okay class. The instructor was more than prepared and the material presented was interesting. There were more than 40 students in the class, the largest class yet, and they were involved. The only prob
lem I had with the class was that the instructor said some things that didn’t jive with what I already knew. Case in point being when the instructor said there was a four day attachment to the physical plane after death as opposed to the much longer period of the Bardo Thodo’s astral time as recorded in the Tibetan Book Of The Dead. There’s nothing wrong with teaching inconsistencies, especially since there’s no verification method in place to begin with. It’s just that I couldn’t help but visualize myself as a JFKU student, concentrating on every detail just so I could regurgitate them back on an exam in order to get a good grade. That was not what I wanted from JFKU.

Spiritual Psychology And Nature Of Being—the most controversial of the classes I attended. I’m still not sure how I feel about the class. The class was in the Department of Transpersonal Counseling, and the professor called the methods he was teaching Buddhist Psychology. The professor exuded a dominating presence in the classroom and, in his teaching of the Mahayana/Theravada Buddhist distinction, he contradicted the professor in the Meditation and Prayer class who taught the same material. It would be difficult for me to attend a university where each instructor dictated the class’s subject matter and content according to his or her own prejudices and biases.

The telling quality of this particular class became evident when a student volunteered his own experience of loneliness as an object for Buddhist psychological analysis. The Professor, without even a smidgen of empathy, proceeded to critically evaluate the student’s “feelings of loneliness.” The student let it be known that he was not impressed with the evaluation, but the Professor seemed very pleased with himself. The Professor, as if to bolster his case, compared his methods of analysis to the methods used in the teachings of EST. When he said that, what little I knew about EST was confirmed, as was my distaste for this Professor. EST was an esoteric school of thought that believed in breaking down a sick person’s inhibitions by directing challenges at the individual in hopes of extricating a cure. The challenges, more often than not, fell into the category of personal ridicule. As far as I was concerned that was not education, and I certainly was not going to pay to be a part of it.

After that class, I had pretty much made up my mind not to attend JFKU, but I still wanted to talk with the head of the Consciousness and Mysticism Department. Hatha Surrender was a very nice soft-spoken young man. He was dressed in white and had penetrating blue eyes. I told him I liked what was going on at JFKU, but I wouldn’t be able to attend just yet. I was being polite. What I was really thinking was that I had my own university to attend, and between the two of them there was no comparison. CMU paid me to go to school!

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2 Responses to “Begin Northwest Bicycle Trip And Michigan Return”

  1. wings Says:

    Good morning, Dave. I am learning that Saturday is when you post the new stuff/next stuff on this page and I look for it. We traveled different paths through the eighties and it makes me smile to think of the things I was caught up in and “escaped”…I did not do the EST thing but definitely fell into that “human development & improvement shifting context groove”…and paid the exorbitant fees those courses always seemed to have. I always love to hear about the bike tour memories. Being adopted by a boxer and a shepherd even temporarily (it was temporary wasn’t it?) is one of my favorites of your stories. Would like to hear the dogs version of it all…lol. Take care.

  2. Dag T Says:

    Nice photo 😉 you have posted here 😀
    I love those old diaries of my youth… oh, sorry – is it YOUR youth? LOL anyway, it awakens so many memories…

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