Rewiring the System

My Call

Posted in application,Joy by rewiringangel on December 18, 2008

First Contact with the divine

“The experience of poetic creativeness is not found staying at home, nor yet in traveling, but in transitions from one to the other, which must therefore be adroitly managed to present as much transitional surface as possible.”        -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Is the popular worldly ‘on stage’ and ‘back stage’ labeled as everyday living, offering a grit creating friction?   I am facing my creativity of inside meaning and outside action that I might be of service in a positive way.  As I transition from a public persona back to my private face then back into the quiet place in my heart, do I notice the pace I take over this divide?  Is this friction, back and forth, working to polish or extinguish my ‘little light’? 

I know from facing my integrity, that ‘Creative Grit’ in the intersection of time in seconds and form in instances as my life of folding and unfolding relationships works for both positive and negative friction by polishing my golden heart. Poised, in mid step, with my right foot firmly place on the curb and my left toe in the air, I took that first step into the street and I had a “Life” transforming epiphany

It was Easter week of my second grade. I was on my way back to Southwark School, back from lunch break.  During those years, the whole school went ‘home’ for lunch; the mile walk was good exercise.   I approached the Two Street and McKean intersection, suddenly realized that all adults told me lies about their faith. It came as a blinding shimmering light that surrounded me. The Easter Bunny did not really exist.  By extrapolation, none of the beliefs paraded toward me by the churches and synagogues were about anything that did not demand a leap of faith.  I knew in that moment that religion is built on shifting sand piles of lies.

The Truth about the ‘Self’ in the reflections on the holy water is labial. I am a viable thinking animal with a prehensile thumb and heart.  In an instant, I felt an inner truth could be lost in a spin by storytellers, over and under as on a Mobius strip.  Inside my heart, truth is able to intersect with the moving material world. Inside and outside always converge and harmonize. Now I need to understand things as they really are.  From that day foreword, I studied Truth. To uncover the spiritual truth, this truth was covered and veiled with layers of images that keep us, apart both from one another and from direct knowledge.  Book learning just goes so far in juicing the nectar from theological fruit.  After years of study starting at age 13 or 14, my lucky star lead me into the rich multi flavored, multi textural literature of Tibetan Buddhism.

I had a devoted kind friend, who attended a Mongolian Buddhist center in New Jersey.  I felt comfortable going to that center.  All those years ago, before Buddhism became the bedrock of the new view on the Ten Commandments, the Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center was at the end of a series of unmarked country roads.  In the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s TBLC was like NASDAK, if you did not belong, you did not find it.  Every time I traveled under the new green canopied the ‘just a’ one-lane road, I felt like I was going home. The image and smell will stay in my memory cards as long as I have memory. The weather rutted one lane dirt road demanded a slow pace.  Arriving at the brightly colored arch to the tune of the terrifying Tibetan terrier guard dogs that seemed psychically deciding if you belonged, separated this world from the outside.  My entire being, heart mind and soul sighed relief as I crossed the threshold that I was home.  The inner circle at this center went on to become the world-renowned names in Buddhist scholarly work.  We sat in a tight series of half circles around the central diesis and listened intently.  Because of the generally high caliber of the students, the dialogue was riveting.  I listened repeatedly to the topic of ‘which part of the table is table? ‘ Weekend after weekend retreats and years of Sunday sittings polished my understanding that this person I call the ‘I’ does not stand by itself and is dependent on billions of cells and relationships on seemingly 500 levels of interconnectedness that come together at this exact moment of time for a certain purpose. .  Richard Feynman writes in the introduction in ‘QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter’, that humans are a collection of stories and songs. 

Major spiritual influences:  Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center

Tupten Ghatso presided over visiting teachers from as far as Ladak where the remaining essence of the Buddha’s Words still ring from the high mountains.

The Dalai Lama, a leader in Tibetan Buddhism, has a residence at the TBLC. I studied in this atmosphere and with the loving attention of the direct linage of the Galupka linage. Students got instruction in living in harmony with the universe out to Infinity. Robert Thurman and Jeffery Hopkins as other well-known authors and teachers studied there at the time I was there.  We were all instructed to understand that the modern everyday life is the western equivalent to a historical monastery.  Now we need to work in the world to serve.  With all the lessons in human interconnectedness with hierarchical politics come the opportunities to study, grow, and lead by our actions and words.  I am not and will not be a Monk!  The divine is a stream of light flowing in an ocean of peace, as Jesus stated, “Peace on Earth”, when he spoke about his understanding of God as Love and Peace.  I experience the divine as a paradise where every instant at every intersection is a connection to the fabulously complex intersecting instants of causes and conditions.

Events, which lead me to where I am today:

How Institute for Rewiring the System got its name

I still remember the feeling of warmth from that sun-drenched afternoon.  That day back in early summer of 1998 brings a swarm of memories and thoughts. Today, as I feel the sun on my body, it links me mentally to the events at the University Center on Locust Walk.  This stone building is from the second wave of construction at the end of the nineteenth century.  The hall has the grace and space of a long gone time. That time when high ceilings allowed space for lofty ideas and discourse.  You can feel the quiet quality generated from the dark gray stone as the reverence from the Earth itself. 

There was no need of coats or jackets as the large group of Losang Samten’s students gathered to learn the welcoming prayers for a dignitary Teacher.  The group included various ages and stages of practice.  Almost 500 gathered to get the instruction for this wonderful occasion.  The large room, filled with eager student.   Kensure Rinpoche, the senior teacher to His Holiness the Dalai Lama was coming to see my lama.  The Kensure Rinpoche was ‘retiring’ from the Namghal Monastery, if such a thing as retiring really happens to such energy held in a human form.  His first stop was for a review of the practice and quality of teaching in Losang-la’s sanghas.   Losang Samten was the dance master of the Namghal Monastery. Monastic work is the ultimate community where an individual’s thoughts and actions must bend to fit in with the entire group.  Any of the lama’s creative urges are tested in the fire of co-measurement to the Common Good.

We gather to try, as well as we possibly can, in the short time until KR arrives.  Since it is an Honorific occasion, there are special prayers appropriate for this particular event.  We all feel the importance of this reunion.  Hours of brain aching repetition drain all of our energy.  The day was set aside specifically to have all the time we needed to say them repeatedly, until we got them right!

After the arduous morning and afternoon of memorizing with the correct inflection, the large number of students filed out of the Hall as in a rush of thundering hoofs to get into the lingering sun.  Losang and I were the last to leave the university theater, Losang faced me and said; “I want you to help many who do not believe in God.  There are more than 6 billion people on the earth yet two thirds; almost 4 billion do not believe in a supreme being.”  He took a deep breath as he became pensive, and said, “I have been thinking that they deserve a way to contact the immaterial in a fashion that suits their individual feeling and thoughts”.  I want you to help them rewire their systems.  You have studied, ruminated and turned your learning into your very own individual modern understanding of the texts.  I want you to create a pamphlet to publicize this effort.  I want you to get people to rewire their systems.”

I looked at him in astonishment and for a minute could not believe my ears or heart!  Then in a second heartbeat, less than an instant, I replied that if we called it Institute for Rewiring the System, it would be the IRS of meditation.  He immediately exploded into a laugh and said, “That’s it!  That is right! Do It!”

This is how the Institute came about and got its name.  Later Losang asked me to write about my practice and a study, which gives me poise to survive the many terrible trials as I climb the ladder of living in a body. This was the third event in my Call to Chaplaincy and service to the holy Light.

Call:   When I was three, I had the experience that most people did not know one another’s thoughts or have telepathy.  This was a crashing blow and made me feel like a stranger within my family and in the world.  My mother remembers the day I was inconsolable, crying for most of the day whether in her arms or not.  I was trying to send her a thought of what I would like to eat and she did not understand in any way or get the message.  From that day on, I have been searching for people like myself.  

I read Buddhist and Quaker literature with a hunger to reveal the motivating force being the light in form with Love and Peace.  I attended Quaker Meeting since the age of 12.  When I lived in Princeton, my daughter and I joined the Presbyterian Church where my daughter sang in the choir for several years. I have attended The Grace Episcopal in San Francisco and other denominations including the Islamic Center in New Jersey. When I was 24 or 25, I discovered Agni Yoga, which is a seed for the cosmic infinity lock.  I am interested in all the personal styles manifesting of the truth. 

In 1980 while working at the University Of Pennsylvania at the Wharton Magazine I contracted an air borne virus or insect bite which traveled to my brain and turned a section of my left hemisphere to mush.  I had surgery and by the grace of group prayer and God, I felt pulled back from the dead. I was a vegetable for some time but the horror of using a bedpan got me to throw myself off the bed and crawl to the bathroom.  That was all I could do for a year.  This experience and the seven year effort has given me great empathy and the ability to understand from the inside mortality issues.  During that dark time, I looked death in the face.  It took some seven years to recover.  I know death from close up.  As well as an experience of mortality, this for me was a learning that we are in fact immortal, that we all step out of our bodies but we are not lost.  I believe that this whole experience was part of my call to serve others who are on a dark path and experiencing their own mortality. “We’re here in the restaurant.  When we are finished, we are going to leave the restaurant.  But we’ll still be ourselves – we just won’t be in the restaurant anymore.” This experience has further cemented my Call to Serve.


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