I sent my new friend Wyatt off to New Orleans yesterday. He was trying to get there by Christmas, and things weren't looking too good since that's next Monday.
I took over two hours of buses, trains, and subways each way to meet him in San Francisco so I could give him $160 towards his bus fare home. (It wasn't that long ago I didn't even have enough cash to take a bus to Palo Alto to meet him for coffee.)
where r u? I text Wyatt yesterday morning.
san pedro.i can get to sj or sf, what is better
where would you LIKE to go
Good answer, I nod to myself. Good answer, indeed. There is nothing quite like someone committed. And that's how I dropped everything and headed to SF yesterday.
"The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would have come his way." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Since meeting Wyatt, I have been trusting 'grace' again. It was this time last winter that I was quaking in fear boarding a jet to Bangkok to begin a nine-week solo pilgrimage visiting with tsunami survivors and relief workers knowing full well that I didn't have enough money to cover even half my journey. "Perfect," said a friend when I blurted out my quandry a few days before the flight. He knew what I didn't: I was ready to learn a lesson in grace.
if that word 'grace' irks you can say I'm trusting the infinite plentitude of
no-thing and everything and All That Is. And if that still doesn't work
for ya, you can say I'm experimenting with potentiality and probabality
and quantum physics in my own life. Frankly, I don't really care what we call it.
We meet by the tumult of the waterfall at Yerba Buena Gardens. He doesn't look remotely homeless anymore. He looks like any other bohemian artist hanging out by a fluid sculpture. A musician with his Washburn slung around his neck.
He is beaming. "You're a godsend," he says. "Are you sure you can afford this?"
"I have a roof over my head tonight and just enough to make it back home. Tomorrow'll come tomorrow."
"Hah, I say the same thing but opposite: 'Today is a new day.'"
"One day I was surprised to see a Kashmiri master refuse to take on a disciple who seemed to be a very serious practitioner. When I asked him the reason for his refusal, he told me: "Not passionate enough. I do not see the quality of tremoring vibration that we like to work with."
An impassioned person -- even if this passion is manifested in hardly orthodox ways, by outrageous exuberance, a difficult personality, outbursts of violent feelings, actions deemed inappropriate -- will have every chance of pleasing a Tantric master, on the condition that behind all of it is true generosity." - Daniel Odier, Desire: The Tantric Path to Awakening
"Cool stairs!!" Wyatt is gleeful as a child. I imagine we are walking down the steep incline of the Temple of the Sun from its sacred summit. "I was talking to a guy in the Haight the other day. They say they're building New Orleans into a mall," he says as we climb down, "I can't believe I waited 16 months. They need hands. People with the right spirit."
Sometimes I totally forget that we miss the simple under our nose.
You don't need a big production, and you don't need a social media experiment, and you don't even have to wait for the messiah or maitreya for salvation, for nirvana. In fact, you simply need one person to believe in you. One person to see the Christ within you, the Buddha within you. And maybe you wouldn't even need that one person, 'cept that we can get forget the way. A friend is that constant that believes in you regardless.
I ask him sometime when we are walking in the twilight: "Are you a religious person?"
"Yeah. More like my religion is a candle and a prayer," and he explains he doesn't really abide "by that sect" or "this sect."
Call me crazy, but I highly recommend watching both Conversations with God and The Pursuit of Happyness, for life and business lessons. Remarkable enough, these are both movies where the protagonist is homeless and our hero hits a turning point in their life. They are the only two films I've seen in the last few months. Recognizing turning points, and recognizing the gaps where grace is seeping through your stubborn insistence on refusal are crucial skills when you're going through the big breakthrough.
"You're helping Wyatt because he reminds you of you," says a friend.
"Of course he reminds me of me."
"If you're not careful, you're headed that way yourself."
"Naw, you haven't known me long enough. The closest I came to homelessness was in 2003. And if I survived that, well... I have too many emotional and spiritual resouces now I didn't have then."
I don't see Wyatt as homeless. That's temporary. (And his favorite word in the English language is flux.) He's a kindred spirit who walks the path of spontaneity as much as I do, and it is gift indeed to see your self reflected and refracted and shining.
Last night I get a private guitar performance of his original work sitting outdoors by the merry-go-round. In one of his songs, there's a line that goes: "Silence is contagious." Later, we walk over to the Hotel Utah to see if he can sneak in and play a few bars on the piano, "my main instrument".
It's getting to the point that if I do not leave real soon (his bus ain't 'til 10) I might miss my last bus home (believe it or not, in the San Jose suburbs, it's something like 8:30 p.m.).
But I don't want to say goodbye yet. I give up worrying. I give up time. I'll find a way home somehow. Heck, I'm supposedly a long-distance runner (or was) and I have my trail running shoes on.
He asks, "Where'd you come from?"
I walk through the turnstile and reply slowly, "It was the prayer, and the candle."
I feel that subtle still tremoring vibration laced with an all-pervading gratitude and awe all through the BART to Millbrae, and all through the Caltrain to Sunnyvale and I am walking the half-mile or whatever to the busstop.
I can see the last No. 26 pulling up and I break into a sprint to catch it.
"I wasn't going to leave you ," the busdriver assures.
"Thanks." Breathless, I fish in my purse to find my wallet so I can find the right change.
"I believe you," he says.
"What?" I look up from my hunt, into his eyes. "What do you mean, 'I believe you?'"
He smiles, "Don't worry," and he waves me in onto the bus.
I sit down and my eye catches the advertising billboard across the aisle: "Secret #37: When You're Strong, You Don't Hold Back."
Godspeed, Wyatt. Godspeed to us all.
p.s. When I get home my housemate/landlord is shocked by my story. "Is he going to pay you back?"
There is practically no way I can explain he already has.
p.p.s. Sooooo much more to this story. This week has been intense (etymology of which connotes stretching). You will probably have to wait for the novel, which is only party auto-biographical. Seriously. It all came to me at the SF MOMA Museum store and weaves in 9/11, Katrina, the 2004 tsunami, the 1906 S.F. earthquake, Jack Kerouac and Charlie Parker, minstrels and troubadours, jazz and prophets, the biblical Book of Revelations, and the symbology of the four elements (earth, wind, fire, air) plus since Ivan told me the Tibetan Bon acknowledge a zeroth element, no-thing, yeah since always that no-thing is the foundation. (Whew.)
"Prayer is a stepping aside; a letting go, a quiet time of listening and loving. It should not be confused with supplication of any kind, because it is a way of remembering your holiness. Why should holiness entreat, being fully entitled to everything Love has to offer? And it is Love you go in prayer. Prayer is an offering; a giving up of yourself to be at one with Love. There is nothing to ask because there is nothing left to want. That nothingness becomes the altar of God. It disappears in Him." - from The Song of Prayer: Prayer, Forgiveness, Healing (An Extension of the Principles of A Course in Miracles)