An Unlikely Friendship Chapter 4

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A rock on a log with a stick.

Click for previous chapters: 1,2,3.

Years went by after that time in the book store…..and he never actually thought about it again. That is, until one day, while he was out driving. He was speeding ,which he didn’t normally do, but he was late. As he sped down the highway, his mind was thinking about how late he might be, what he could do to mitigate the situation and the like, when.. out of nowhere…

“hello”

“Holy moly! Rock?!” He thought, and although he was asking for confirmation, he also needed none.

He just continued driving, speeding but safe, and for several minutes there was silence. Not the silence he remembered all those years ago as he could feel the rock with him and they both we simply enjoying each other’s mere presence.  Then he began to think about all these past years… how could he possibly have never thought about this all these years?  Then he thought about the last place he saw the rock… on his dresser… he knows it’s not there now, and he can’t remember moving it or seeing it… what happened to it?! Where is it right this very second?

“doesn’t much matter…. does it?”

“True I suppose but I feel like I failed you.. to protect you… to listen to you, learn from you”

He didn’t get words for an answer but felt it…. it was like a very very long, almost infinite plane of solid rock, almost humming – very deeply – very very quiet – almost beyond sound, or inside sound – the vibrations of the atoms in the air – so quiet yet almost infinitely loud. It didn’t make sense when he tried to comprehend it but when he simply felt it, he understood….. Protection is meaningless to the rock … how could the inside of a vibration need protecting?! And even that thought, he knew, failed to explain what he felt.  He also understood that he couldn’t fail the rock… how could the rock judge another’s vibrations? And it’s not even like that he thought… those vibrations…that ‘sound’ it pulses into everything ,everything is pulsing into everything .. to judge would be like snake attacking its tail…. It can be done but it’s not very helpful!

“police car”

“um huh?”

“POLICE”

He didn’t understand exactly but trusted the rock and he slowed down to the speed limit and sure enough after half a mile he saw a patrol car behind some shrubs with a radar gun.

Although he had plenty of reasons to be blown away already, this really floored him. Did he really just have an imaginary rock help him avoid a speeding ticket?!  His brain began freaking out somewhat and he couldn’t control the expanse of thoughts and hypothesis to explain this all. Nothing could explain it that didn’t involve some level of sounding completely crazy. He realized he probably shouldn’t tell anyone .. he was not even sure if he could believe himself, so how could he possibly expect anyone else to?

He tried desperately trying to talk with the rock but his brain was buzzy with so much internal noise he couldn’t hear the soundless sound anymore.  Although he kept trying, he knew the rock wasn’t going to reply to his calling out “Here rocky rock, here boy” as if he was calling a dog! But he was desperate. It was years since he last communicated with the rock and was afraid he may never again communicate with it.

He arrived a little late, which caused some issues, but nothing he didn’t sort out, but his mind the whole day was elsewhere.

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An Unlikely Friendship Chapter 3

Find previous Chapters here: 1 and 2.

He watched the woman in the red dress as she picked up a book on ‘crystal magic’ and brought it to the counter to buy it. All the while, he was watching her.. making sure she couldn’t tell he was indeed watching her…

And that was it.. she bought the book and was walking out the door… but as she was leaving he noticed her reflection in the big glass store windows… and she was looking right at him!!.. with a little smirk on her face no less!

“What is that all about?!” he thought…

“Many people do not understand rocks…. and those who understand something.. most mis-understand most”

“Most mis-understand most?! – I don’t understand all this understanding and mis-understanding!!” he thought, half in frustration and half in amusement.

“Pick up that book”

He picks up a book on ‘crystal magic’

“It is just like that but absolutely nothing like that”

“I think I get you…. there is something important there but it is not as explained in these books”

“Perhaps”

“Perhaps?!” he says laughing… and with that… poof….silence… not the kind of silence in between words spoken… or between thoughts.. but nothing… he felt the rock was gone again.

He thought how very strange this all was.. and how the rock wasn’t even with him, so how could it have just left?

He considered buying the book for a minute then thought : “What am I crazy? I have my own personal rock tutor, I don’t need some other person’s interpretation of this when I can get it straight from the horse’s mouth! – Oh man, I am crazy – listen to myself! And for some reason, I think the rock would find it very funny I called it a horse’s mouth! “

And with that, although very confused, felt very relaxed and a big smile formed and could not be erased from his face.

An Unlikely Friendship Chapter 2

To see part one, click here.

So he put the rock into his pocket and gave it a little pat of reassurance.

“So, how long have you been a rock?” he asked… and while doing so realized how funny it sounded and this made him smile.

…laughter joined him ….

“yes, you know… a very long time”

“yeah” he said.

They kept walking through the woods, well, he walked, and the rock enjoyed the ride. This was highly unusual for the stone… It was used to not moving for eons at a time. At one point it was millions of years before it moved … A big storm had eroded the stream bank where it was embedded for (nearly) countless years….and released the stone…

“red dress”

“Huh?” he asked.

red dress” came again from the stone

“Um, okay… red dress…. Purple socks! How’s that”

…silence…

More silence….

Then it felt like he just had a rock in his pocket.. nothing special….

He got home and put the rock on his dresser and forgot all about it ….

Some days later he was in a bookstore and just starting thinking about the stone…First he wondered if he kept the stone and recalled he put it on his dresser… yes.. he kept it… and he wondered about his ‘conversation’ with the rock…. Maybe his brain was having some fun and he did admit he enjoyed greatly the short time spent with the rock…. But he just thought it was all a bit too strange …. At that moment he looked up and noticed a woman in a red dress enter the store.

“yes that’s the dress”

“What? You’re not even here stupid rock!!”  He said (not out loud!)

“You know that is the red dress”

“okay, okay, yes, I feel that… yes.. but what about it?”

Zen Master Cho-Ban

Sometimes our world is turned upside down and we need to learn how to grow all over again

Sometimes our world is turned upside down and we need to learn how to grow all over again.

I have been toying with an idea for a novel and here is a draft of the opening of the book.

He was a well-known and respected Zen teacher. Some even called him a ‘Zen Master’! Although this was always said with utter reverence, he always had to chuckle when he heard it. Visions of his orange robe turning into a superhero’s costume, complete with cape, would roll across his mind’s eye.

One time, during an open teaching session at a University, someone asked him a question. They addressed him as ‘Zen Master Cho-Ban’.  His answer was:  “Why yes, of course, we are ALL already superheroes!!”

The questioner, and the rest of the crowd, gave a nervous laugh, not quite sure what to make of that answer.  …Considering that the question was: “Do you recall any of your past reincarnations?”

He authored a handful of books and was the default ‘leader’ of Zen Buddhism in the West. His enlightenment was said to have occurred when he was only 22 years old. He remained ‘low-key’ for years, as it was very rare for someone to realize that someone of his young age could be an enlightened being. His teachings went mostly unrealized. People want a Buddha, a saviour, a religious and spiritual leader to be old, have a long white beard perhaps, to, well, look Enlightened!

Over the years, his face aged, his body aged and his presence, well, it simply was undeniable. People often did double-takes after interacting with him. His way of teaching was like the planting of a seed. And his seeds were the fast germinating kind! He loved planting seeds. Sometimes they grew right away, sometimes they didn’t grow at all. But like any plant knows, you can produce hundreds or thousands of seeds and if only one germinates and grows, that means success. In fact, sometimes when people called him ‘Zen Master Cho-Ban’ he would say “Oh no, I am Johnny Cho-Ban, AppleSeed Master!” and pretend to throw apple seeds all over the person, laughing.

Sometimes people thought this was hilarious! Sometimes people thought he was like a child! Sometimes he was planting Seeds not for the person he was interacting with, but for the person watching from the side. He tried to plant as many Seeds as he could. Always being Johnny AppleSeed!

He was the West’s version of the Dali Lama. Now, what a silly thing to say, but it gives the context in which he was viewed, outside of the Buddhist community. He was a household name.

Then one day the hammer fell. Literally. On his head. From 2 stories high. BAM! He was rushed to the hospital. He cracked his skull and injured his brain. He was unconscious for many days. Then one day, he woke up and his daughter was by his side. He looked at her, deeply into her eyes and blurted out: “What the hell are you looking at?!” She was frozen with shock! After a few moments, she was able to finally reply, to which she said “Papa?” with tears in her eyes… both for joy he woke up and sadness at his words. He then said: “Perhaps that is correct. I do not know. I do not feel well. Leave me alone.”

His daughter was oh so ever confused. Her father was alive, yes, but he was different. His memory was not all there and he was, well, grumpy! Who was this man who woke up?

She said to him: “I will do whatever you ask of me father, but please tell me this: Where did my Papa go?”

He listened and thought deeply about this. He just looked into her eyes, without talking and just contemplated her question. It was this question that become the focus of the rest of his life. For now, he replied ;” I just don’t know. I feel like shit. I hate this. I remember Cho-Ban, the appleseed man. He was weak.  I am stronger than him. Now leave and let me be”.

She gave him a kiss on the cheek and with eyes full of tears, she said goodbye and she would see him later on.

He laid in bed, nurses and doctors now aware he was awake and they were all around him, taking notes, and all the stuff medical people do. He lay there, in a bad mood with bad memory. He thought of Cho-Ban. He knew him deeply, but it was as if he knew him as a different person. He was not Cho-Ban.