Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Letter to Love

Tonight's letter is going to have a different tone. You know, I am an
explorer. I explore the spirit, and I explore the heart. Of many of the
spiritual traditions of the world. there is a connection with the most
basic human forms of love, to that highest peak of godliness and bliss. Many
western cultures have destroyed that connection through the
of guilt and sin. In man's societies that impluse has been programmed so
strong that many blocks are created. In  societies these would be determined by religion, social status and various taboos particular to a culture. These are not universal.  So even though we are bombarded
with sex and love in the media, very few find that spiritual element of
Love.  It has been reduced to shame.  We are not suppose to feel love
outside of our bonds that we have created. How can we have those
soulmates outside of what is suppose to be reserved only to those we
have made a commitment,  to love only, and to forsake all others? But
sometimes it happens. Why does it happen? We are never too sure. It is
like we are on a road, on a journey, but is it really aimless, are we
serendipetiously being tossed by the wind?  It is, if our ears are not
open to hear what is being said. There is a guide, and that guide is
the wind, but the whispered truth within the wind. Attune yourself to
spirit, and it will speak to you in love. That spirit is gentle, it
persuades in the softest of voices. All hearts long to hear those
The messages never become louder, only clearer. The noise of the world
is much.
 Beyond all rightness and wrongness there is a garden, meet me
there.  In that place we can hold each other.  We can stop and listen. Do
we hear those words, I am loved, I am safe, nothing is wrong, I can
If we do, then we can say, things are OK.  If we don't hear that,
then we must sit and wait. The love is always there waiting also. Love
is that spirit. it is a part of ourselves that watches over us. It is
not something that forces itself upon us. It is not possessive or
conditional. Love is gentle and kind. That love is unconditional. There
are no  rules, there is nothing that binds. It is absolute freedom. And
only those who have courage, truth, and love, that can take the journey.
Love does not produce fear, or dishonesty.  It opens us up. In those
frail moments of weakness, it heals. This Love is not confined to a
marriage that people hold sacred. It is more universal.  It can happen
from a stranger's smile, from a baby's cry, from a good friend.  It is
not the earthly passion of physical embraces, but it can start there.
Even the simpliest of gestures of acceptance of another, it can start
there.  It can start as a touch, a sight, a hearing of words. It always
begins where we are and what we are, and that is because to reach that
love is only a matter of accepting ourselves  where we are and what we
are.  Nothing more is needed. 
We see the compassion of a Buddha or a
Christ, and we think that they so far away, we can never be like them.
They are like gods in our minds. We cry to God... Help Me know this
Send this love to me. Send someone to me that I may know this love.  We
desire love and romance so that we may feel loved.  We think that this
love  comes from them.  And many times, find disappointments.  We search
in the wrong place.  When we say, come to me this love, what are we
really saying to ourselves? That we don't have this love.  And all the
while, it was always there, hidden inside our own selves. There is a
beautiful lyric in a song called Desire, which says...I love you, I
myself, I love myself, I love you. The love that you get is really the
love that you give. You have always had this love within you. it was
only that life experiences had covered the eyes so that we may not see.
And sometimes we meet a good friend that helps us to see the beauty
is hidden. Then we look at others in a different light. we see
another, and say, oh my god, they are so much like me. I am seeing
I am seeing my soul in that other person. And so it is, we are. We have
become drunk with that spirit.  It is a touch of the divine.  Men have
fought and die to try to possess this love. but it never comes by
It can only be allowed. And love is a force that can never overtake
will.  It is always our will to choose the closing and opening. Love
surrenders to us, when we surrender to love, It is always there, just
waiting... Waiting.
This poety was inspired by knowing a friend I have come to respect and
cherish. ....
... To you my Loving friend, from Chester Dickens.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Spiritual Gumbo -Chapter Two.

      Healing of the feet.

At that age of about nineteen I developed corns on the bottom of my feet. I still lived in that old run down rented half a double shot gun house. I would have my routine, get up and go to a Frost Top, an old time hamburger place with the trademark of a hugh rootbeer mug on top of the roof. There I would wait for the bus every morning to go to work. The bus dropped me off still some six blocks away and I would walk the rest of way.  Every morning the corns would be getting bigger and spreading. It felt after a month of that like walking on pebbles, quite irritating. Finally I couldn't take it any longer and took it upon myself to go and see a podiatrist. By this time I had developed some twenty or so small yellow callous like bumps that covered half of my right foot. After the initial examination I was schedual to have them cut out some three days later.
  I told my mother about it, and she told me of a friend of hers who had this special gift of praying especially for such things. She was an old french lady who befriended my mother named Miss Edna.  I didn't really believe in such things, you know I've heard all kinds of mumbo jumbo of cutting a cross into a potato, throwing it over your shoulder or burying it in the yard. My mother explained to me that there are roots in those corns and even after surgury they could grow back.  And after some time of talking with my mother about it, I was convinced to go ahead and let her friend pray for me. I did it mostly just to please my mother.
 Miss Edna was a widow lady who live a couple of blocks away. I walked to her house and introduced myself. She was very gracious and spoke in a heavy cajun accent and invited me into her house. She explained to me that I needed to come back three times for prayer. My mother told me that she wouldn't take any money for it, but that if I offered her five dollars as a gift then she would take it. She brought me into her bedroom. There in a corner was her little altar with pictures of Jesus and Mother Mary. She was Catholic after all. She told me that after the prayer my job was to leave the house and forget all about it, not even think about it at all. I thought to myself, well that would be pretty easy since I didn't really think too much about it all anyways. She began her prayer in a language I didn't understand, thought it might have been french but who knows what it was. I was asked only one thing as she was praying, to thank God in Jesus' name. So I spoke those words of gratitude and pretty much that was all there was to it. Of course I faithfully went back two more times and gave her the five dollars.
  The first couple of mornings after I didn't see any changes. But on the third morning I woke up to discover to my amazement that all those twenty or so callous like bumps had now became holes. All the yellow was blackened as if somehow over night something came and burnt them up. They were gone!  And a couple of days later those holes filled in and became smooth as my other foot.
 This event is what perhaps was the one thing that lead me to search for the cause of how does things like that happen. I mean, she never touched me. Nothing was applied to my foot, I didn't have to do any potato rituals. All she did was speak to my foot. And all I did was accepted it and forget all about it.
 It's things like that that you can't deny, the physical evidence was so real. It happened to me, and certainly it was not because of any amount of faith I had, for didn't even believe in such things.
 One thing was sure, it was the best five dollars I've ever spent!

 ( I look back now and think, perhaps one of the keys to faith is that I was asked not to think about it, to forget it, which if I had considered it too much my mind would have questioned it, brought in doubt and cancelled the initial acceptance of recieving the gift, one of those spices of the spiritual life.)

Why do we cry?

        Why do we cry?
  It's the first thing we do in life. Leaving the comfort and peace of out mother's womb, we awaken into the light of life, we cry. Something has broken inside. The cry is the first thing a child does. The child cries, the mother cries. What is sorrow for one is the joy for the other. Nothing is deeper then tears.
  Passing from one dream to another dream we cry. We are born, we grow, we live, we die. Death makes us cry. Something is gone, someone is gone. We become castaways from those heavenly shores, drifting, lost. We loose that idenity of what we once were. It can disturb you tremendously. It can make  you almost chaotic inside. You will start feeling that you are a mess
because the attitudes and roles that has surround you are no more. They will not be there, you will not be there. You will become more and more vulnerable and open and you will not know who you are.  The old idenity will drop
  People weep only when something has gone wrong. Someone leaves and you cry. Crying seem to be helplessness, so everybody has been taught not to cry.  We are taught keep control, be strong, don't let mind think, don't allow yourself to feel the tears, especially for men. Big boys don't cry. Society has taught men to surpress feelings, it's a sign of weakness. Repressing feelings only make a hard shell around you. There are no tears in you.
 But it's against your being, the core of your life. So don't stop it, in fact allow it and on the contrary enjoy it. So if you can really cry deeply, it can become a Rebirth. Our old self will dissolve into crying. It has a beauty in it, a glory of it's own. It means you have love. Tears are one of the most beautiful things in the world, sometime even better then laughter because laughter can never go so deep. At the most laughter will only go to the surface. But crying can touch the very essense of our beings. More emotions, more passion, more life is hidden in our tears.
 And tears are not always sad. When you are tremendously alive with love you will feel the flow. One word, one gesture from the beloved will make you cry. That crying will be beautiful, blissful. You would like to weep and to allow the tears to overflow with all the joy any heart can experience. They will unburden you and the whole rubbish of your mind will go out through your tears. You will become more fragile, delicate. You will lost that egoistic attitude of always remaining in control. You will become more free, spontaneous, more childlike.
 A man who really knows how to cry and weep will become able to laugh one day. He has earned it.  Laughter that has no tears is very superficial, imposed, painted. If you can cry and allow your total being to go into it and dissolve into it, you will have a totally different quality of laughter arising in you.
  Allow is beautiful.

Why is so hard to be loved?

     Why is it so hard be loved?
When you allow other people to love you then you become defenseless. Recieving love, you become afraid, quiet, you shun those that love you. You push that love away because of pride. It is so easy to give love, the mind and ego feels very good to give love. The mind feels good about itself that it give love to those that are asking. It feels power, control, it has the upper hand. You feel safe giving out love, the ego can boast about itself how wonder and loving you are. The selfishness of the ego has no limits. It would gladly put someone under it's bondage, to make the person depend on him or her for that love. It would demand you submit yourself to some role so it can feel that control. In fact it feels very jealous and possessive that you are not depended upon IT's love. It feel very safe and secure as long as it knows it's the souce of the other person's affection. The ego remains perfectly guarded. But it's a one way street. Deep down inside it's afraid of love.
 Love is a two way street. And that's the problem. When your are recieving you have to be humble , because only in deep humility can love be recieved. You have to consciously drop those defenses, otherwise love will never happen. The ego cannot allow itself to be humble, because in humility it disappears. Then you are completely defenseless. Then you don't know where you are going, what is happening to you. When both dropped their egos, love can happen.
 So you still have to do it self-consconsciously, otherwise you will not be able to do it. You have to be very alert. And whenever you feel that you are blocking, somebody is giving and you are becoming hard, stiff and not allowing it in, Relax.  Say, "Yes". When you feel something deep down inside is going stiff, hard, won't allow any penetration, say yes and relax.
 Love is such a tremendous phenomenon, such a vital energy, people are afraid. It's a whirlwind. It can take you to the unknown, no one knows where will you will land, it's just not predictable. It is so wild that one thing is certain, that if you allow it, you will pass through a death. Something else will be born out of you. When all defenses are gone. Then something is there but you can not say it is you. It is so penetrating that it is neither you nor me or anyone else. It's as if all the individual drops of rain melt together into the vastness of the ocean. It's bigger then any individual.  All become One, the essense of Love.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Secrets; Shame or Security

    Secrets are used in many ways.  I work in a restruant. The chef has his secret recipe. There is no shame in cooperate secrets or secrets to protect one's idenity or privacy.  Secrets have power in that respect. Personal power or social power, secrets give you an edge over competition. There's no shame involved in that kind of Secret.
  BUT, this topic is in the content of those within Second Life. How much can you keep secret within this virtual world.  Actually NONE.  Everytime you rezz out a picture or stoke your keys, this becomes the property of Linden Labs. I have been a resident of this virtual world for a good time now.   I have had many SL lovers/companions.    And  my transcripts have been used by lawyers in an attempt to be used in a divorce dispute.
 Of course nothing came out of it because there was no hint of meeting them in RL. And and for what is still in dispute, two consenting adults doing computer sex is not a crime.  To say the least, there is NO privacy in SL.
    Where are secrets shameful?  Secrets kept that are considered to be unjust, immoral, indecent or offensive are disgraceful and shameful.  Where your actions may consdered inappropiate for your standing within a society may bring shame to the group or one's self.   Where there are agreements  and those agreements are broken.  For example in the social context of relationships as in  marriage or those agreements lovers make  are broken, secrets arise.  Those maybe shameful secrets.  Personal Shame.  Shameful secrets may produce one to tell little lies or misinformation to cover up  secrets from their lover or spouse.  Many people come into SL and have Secret Love affairs, hidding them from their RL or from another Love affair within SL.   Why are they Secret to begin with?   It obvious that in SL romance, love or sex, what ever it is call amounts to two people exchanging stimulating words and gestures for the purpose of mutual masturbation.  They may feel guilty about masturbation and especially if it's outside their moral conviction.    They will want to hide their privacy.   And the only  security is that which comes  in believing that keeping that secret, then they don't have to take responsibility for their actions. There are many things to lose.  It's to protect their ego from feeling the shame of breaking their agreement of their RL or SL. And that shame depends on how much the ego is conscience of the feelings of others.  And the ego has it's ways of self-justification to not feel the shame.  Cheating on the trust that two agreed apon when found out will produce the most hurtful of feelings.    Some of these lies are not intended to be malicious, but to buffer the hurtful feeling they know will result.   Secrets may be also Lying by Omission. The addage, ask me no questions and I'll tell you no lies.      When honesty and communication breaks down, soon follows the lost of Intimacy.  Love slowly dies. And to maintain that relationship can only be done with actions and words that are false. 
 There is always that debate in this virtual world. Is this a game people play or some other media?  SL and RL have it's parallels.  It's amazing how the mind, heart and sensations are effected by what we say and do. Even if it's a game of fantasy!  Most would agree that feelings are real. And the same feelings we use in RL are used in SL.
 How we connect to each other and ourselves in SL is as much an adventure into the very dreams we do have in RL.  Actual love can happen. And LOVE in all it's good, bad and the ugly is what we are and how we are.
 There are some that have no shame, no need of secrets.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Spiritual Gumbo - Chapter One.

  In this world of ours, there are laws that God has made. The law of cause and effect, that of fate and those of accidents and that of faith, etc.   Looking back at how it came to be that we meet certain people in our lives, it becomes hard to tell which one of these laws created that event.
  Well as any story has to begin somewhere, I choose to tell this one first.  She was my first love, my childhood sweetheart. Her name is Debby.
  I was a young lad of fifteen years old. I had friend that lived across the street from me and one day he came and told me about this phone call he recieved.  It was from a young girl, as it  seemed. she and her friend were making prank calls, goofing around on the phone.  They were looking in the phone book under the name Ziffles. There was an old TV show called Green Acres, and in the show one of the charaters was a pig named Arnold. They decided to call up the Ziffles and asked if they could talk to Arnold the Pig.  What happened was that the girl accidently pressed a wrong digit and call my friend who lived across the street.   So my friend approached me with the propostion of us riding our bicycles over to meet these young girls.
 Well that's how it all began which would have the most profound effect upon me for the rest of my life.
  This is a love story.   Also it's a story of people and events which I have encountered in my life.
  I was born in the year 1953, raised up across the river from New Orleans, Louisiana.  My upbringing was quite normal as anyone in the outer subburbs of any large city.  I was the second child between an older brother Wayne and younger sister named Nadine.  My father was a mechanic/electrical engineer and my mother a domestic housewife.
  My mother was raised by her mother named Emily who lived with her brother Nick and sister Agath, both of them never married. My Grandma married a man name Morris Sapia.  Grandma had three children from this union. My mother's name was Earline and her twin was uncle Earl.  They also had an older sister named Mary.  My mother didn't know her father very well.  Grandma and Grandpa divorced when she was quite young.  Grandpa Morris was a trapper and my grandma's mother urged her to seperate from him because he wanted to raise those children back in the swamps in the old ways like the indians.  Morris was illiterate and only learned how to write his name at the age of 74.
  My mother had an unusal birth.  My grandma told me that when she was carrying my mother she saw a falling star, grabbed her leg and made a wish. She asked God to bring her a child into the world who would be gift to many people.  And indeed when she came out with her twin brother she had what was called a veil over her face. This was extra layer of skin the covered her face.  Many fishermen in those days would seek that out to nail it on their boat as it was believed to have brought them good luck.   My grandpa so proud of himself telling everyone he made a "double man".  Mom's twin didn't have any special marks, but he did have the gift of gab.  So much so that he had the nickname Chatta because he talked alot. Also on my mother's leg was a birthmark in the shape of a star.  Grandma took that mark as a sign that her wish came true.
 Now my mother was a sickly child, not a very healthy child, which caused her to miss alot of school.  She never passed fifth grade.  When she would go to school she would start telling the other childen about things that frightened them. In her innocence she didn't know any better and would just say things out of the blue.  For example once she told some of the other children that little John would in three days would  have a broken leg, and sure enough it came to pass. One time she was telling everyone that it was going to snow the next week. All the children made fun of her, because having snow this far south was so rare of an event. But when it did snow, all the children remarked how Earline told them all about it.  The teacher would pull her on the side and ask her please keep those things to herself.  Oh, but my mother just couldn't help it, she just couldn't stop from telling the other children about things she felt. This later on in her life got her into trouble with many churches and many pastors when she tried to find a home to practice her gift. Once my grandma told me that when she was young,  the principal of the school came to her house and asked her if she could take her out of the school.
 Now there a group of ladies one day approached my grandma and asked if they take her and train her to use her gift.  But my grandmother refused because they were brought up as Catholics and the ladies were fortune tellers and in those days that was considered not in line with the teachings of the Chruch.
 Now Grandpa Morris built himself a camp back in the swamp off of bayou Segnette which in those days a person could pay the state two dollars a year for squartter's rights. Now all that land is now part of Jean Lafitte State park.   Like I said, grandpa was trapper all his life, he knew nothing else. He told me that when he was younger his father raised butter beans and he would take his pirogue, a small boat made by hollowing out a large log,  and he come up to the French Market in New Orleans to sell his beans.  He had the reputation of being the Butter Bean King.  Also when grandpa and his father were young they would collect moss off the trees and dry them out to sell to Henry T. Ford in which was used to stuff those Model T car seats with.  Grandpa was a very strong man, people would use him as jack to raise the Model T's with his legs as they changed the tires.  Oh, them old cajuns were a tough lot. On Saturday night in Crown Point, which they called at the end of the boulivard there was a tavern. There was much drinking and those guys would have aligator wrestling. Granpa said there was a trick to it. He would jump in that pit and grab that gator and turn them over on top of himself. There he would be petting that gator's belly saying all kinds of sweet words to that reptile, like Oh sha tee baba, you so pretty, and that gator would fall asleep in his arms. But grandpa told me that what really happens is that those animals have a brain only the size of a pea and when you turn them over all the blood rushes out of it and they go unconscious.
 My grandma took the children and raised them up front with old uncle Nick and aunt Agath. There they were raise on a small dairy farm with a few chickens and a small garden. Now when my mother became the age of marriage, there was a man who would come around on his motorcycle. This became my father. The family encouraged this union basically because he had a job and they looked at him as a good provider.  But they were mismatched from the very start. Oh, I'm sure like all young people there was a natural physcial attraction. But as the years went on their love never developed on any deeper levels.  She was a very religious minded woman, and my father, he was more scientific in his approach to life. He never did believe in any supernatural being. Both passed away now.
 And so this was my background.  Raised with and older brother and a younger sister, very religious minded mother and atheist father. When I reached the age of fourteen my parents seperated. 
 Now as I was saying, it was this time I had a friend named Carl who lived across the street who had that prank call.  Carl and I rode our bikes to visit these two young girls. I would say that this was the first time in my life I felt so attracted to a girl. The beautiful long brown hair and pretty smile. It was love at first sight. I know I was suppose to have been a fellow for her friend ,while Carl was to have been there to meet her. But to this day, I can't even remember what her friend looked like. We playfully joked around and later she told me that when I tilted my head upside down sitting in the  kitchen chair and our eyes met that she fell for me. We didn't stay very long and on the ride home all I could think about was that I sure did meet one of the prettest girls I've ever met in my life. We didn't exchange phone numbers or addresses, but two days later I got off the school bus and this premonition struck me that I should go to the mail box and get a letter from her which would have told me that she liked me more then my friend. Going the mail box was not a habit of mine, but this day, I just knew I was going to get that letter. I knew exactly what it was going to say before I opened it. She on the other hand took a chance and sent that letter to an address from the phone book that had our family's last name, not even sure if it was the right address. This was the first time in my life that I experienced that knowing before the event happened. I was amazed that I had such a strong premonition in my life about anything. Perhaps it was what christians would call faith, that knowing that you know feeling. Perhaps it was that it happened all before and my life came up to the event, like destiny. It was meant to be. There was no hope about it, no consideration it was going to happen. Just that thought entered spontaneously in my head, go get that letter. And that premonition came true.  I was connected to that girl and my heart was opened to my first love. Much later on in my life I would think about that and reflect upon it as perhaps that was the same kind of way my mother would feel about those things she would predict openly in her youth. Something you felt beyond any doubt that would happen.
 Was it an accident that she pressed in the wrong digit? Was it fate?  Was it that the event came before the cause?  Was it part of faith? Or, was it that Love came into manifestation at it's appointed time and created our destiny?  I have come to believe that in our lives love is one those mysteries .  For us it was love at first sight.  That first attraction has a way of speaking to a side of us that is not fully conscious. Why are we attracted to some and not others?.  It's that question that can only be answered by allowing ourselves to open up to another.  One thing for sure is that the wanting of that other person is not something you force upon yourself.  It's not as if you like the person and as time goes by you learn to love them. It's already there fully developed as it were, and time passes only to show just how much it's always been there.  There is that sense that  you need not become anything more and even all your shortcomings matters not, that state of being loved is completely and fully grown.  When someone accepts you as you are, you accept yourself as you are.  You feel absolutely lovable.   And when both have this urge to be together, a passion is stirred, a longing is created.  Sure it starts off as a physical attraction, but very soon the personalities meet and each have that feelings they they have just met someone who can read your soul.  Soulmates can read each other's thoughts.  It's always amazing how one can pull the words right out of someone's mind before they are even spoken. It's like the effect of two guitars finely tuned sitting next to each other, when one string is plucked , the vibration resonates and sounds off the same note on the other guitar.  Our thoughts might be those sounds of the heart strings.  And when you come in contact with your soulmate the music of love plays in your very being, and two touch in ways beyond the physical. 
 That letter that day when I knew it would be there and what was in it created in me a connection for the first time in my life that was beyond explaination.  And there was no way to explain it except, I was in love.
 We were young and many would say it was puppy love.  Indeed it was a sweetness.  That first encounter people have when they feel that attraction is joyful.   We started the phone calls. Everynight we spent a couple hours on the phone and on weekends we would get together. Her mother really liked me. She must have because she left us alone to kiss in the living room. We were good kids. I was raised with morals and that going any further intimately required that I should be married first.  So my hands did not go below the shoulders. But we sure made up for it with the kissing.  I remember many times we had kissed so much our lips stayed chapped for days.  My mother would drop me off by her house and her mother would drop us off by ferry landing. We take excursion across the river to New Orleans, sometimes to the French Quarters and other times to parks. In those days there were many activities, always something going on at Audubon Park.  There were free rock concerts and kite flying contest put on my the local radio station.  There is one scene that took place that throughout my whole life I would always and vividly remember.  It was at one of those kite flying contest, late in the evening they sun was getting low in the sky, Debby and I laid in the grass.  The whole world seemed to have stopped as we gazed into each other's eyes.  I saw beauty in the girl's face. In those silent moments eternity flooded into me.  I experienced God in that smile.  It's a picture my mind will always remember.  We did many wonderful things together,  She was like me, an artist also.  We did pictures together and that is another thing we shared in common. We dated about nine months.   It was so nice to be young without care of any responsibility in life. 
  But all of that would change.
   At the age of 16 we had to move, and I took on the responsibility of being the man of the house. Brother joined the navy and my father was going to lived the life he wanted. I felt stuck in my new role in life. And I did the only thing I knew what to do,   I couldn't leave my sister and mother to defend for themselves. So I stayed.
  I was programmed to believe that I shouldn't get take on any responsible of having a girlfriend or even thinking of marrying if I couldn't take care of her.  Once her mother pulled me on the side and asked me if I would take care of her daughter.  She was concerned for her daughter as she had illnesses. I even saw her mother once go into an epileptic fit.
 I felt I just couldn't keep my relationship with her.  So sadly I ended it.  We did try briefly the next year, but for only about three months. By this time I was going to my last year of high school half a day and working as a busboy in a restruant the other half.  I would work all I could just to pay the bills and keep what was left of the family alive. But still I only had a few dollars to spend on myself at the end of the week. And so, I gave up all hopes of having a girlfriend.  I had no time and no money.  And so all that love we shared became to me some distant dream of the past.
 And with that, started the next chapter in my life.

 to be continued....
  Chester Dickens of SL