One of the Great Life Lessons

Esoteric14 Comments

Every time I see a nail or screw laying on the ground my sense of karma takes over.  The fear is that if I don’t pick it up and save someone I don’t know from getting a flat tire, karma will exact a brutal lesson by ensuring I get a flat tire at the worst possible moment.   Much of my time is spent driving for hours on the highway to and from mine sites.  Getting a flat in the middle of a five hour drive in the dead of a Canadian winter is not my idea of a good time to be sure.

The obsession I have with getting a flat tire, or avoiding a flat tire, is a terrible first world burden.  Whenever driving I’m constantly checking the tire gauge which shows each tire pressure on the display screen.  The slightest pull or shake in the car and I’m pushing the buttons to see if the horrible moment I’ve always feared has arrived.  The anxiety rises in my throat, and when the digital image of the car displays on the screen and I see that each tires pressure is exactly where it should be, I breath a sigh of relief and tap the steering wheel in some strange ritual of symbolic victory over the forces of karma.

This has been a pattern in my life for years now.  Where does such a thing come from?  Who knows?  Getting a flat tire on your car is definitely an inconvenience.  But is it worth such obsession?  Probably not.

Throughout my esoteric learning over the decades there is one thing which has stuck in my mind.  This thing has been written about in endless volumes and has shown up in countless movies under varying themes and events.  In fact, this one thing is so pervasive in the lives we live that many of us have become immune, or ignorant, to its great opportunity.

What is this thing you ask?  I will tell you.  But first…

People approach life from various points of view, or view their own interaction through a very preconditioned lens.  This is normal.  Two of the most common perspectives taken, or lenses used, are spiritualism and realism, or materialism.  A recent conversation with a co-worker brought both of these into focus.  We were discussing the dominance of one over the other.  The position I predominantly approach life from is through the spiritual lens.  The position he approached life from was through the lens of realism.

So it was strange that we both agreed that we need to live in the now and enjoy life as it comes at us.  This was his realist conclusion, and it was my spiritual conclusion.  We both came to the same conclusion from seemingly opposing positions.  But life is like that.  It teaches us the necessary lessons through whatever event or curriculum is available.

The obvious evolution of life teaching us lessons is that life will inevitably need to test our knowledge retention of those lessons.  This is that one thing.  We are tested on different levels throughout the duration of our lives.  The mechanism which supports this process of testing is not known or recognized and acknowledged for what it is.  Most of the time we are unaware that we are in fact being tested.  Most of the time we fail these tests.

A complete stranger and random event are both often used to perform the test. Whether these people understand that they are performing a test on someone else, or are consciously performing the test, is open to discussion.  Perhaps we ourselves have been used to perform a test on someone at some point in our lives.  Interesting to consider.

My most recent test came just two days ago.  But five days before that the ground was laid for the test that was to come.  It was the morning and I was driving to the gym.  At an intersection I was turning left on the green arrow.  A man with a cane slowly starting walking across the intersection without the walk signal.  I proceeded slowly and was seriously annoyed that this person would break the rules and start walking across the street without the walk signal.  It was an inconvenience to me now as I had the arrow and rightfully should have been moving freely through the intersection on my way to the gym.  It was leg day, ironically enough.

The man started yelling at me as he made his way to the other side of the street.  “Goddamn this…” and “goddamn that…” was all I was able to make out.  Rolling down my window I yelled back “I had the arrow.  You need to wait for the walk signal.”   I passed him by ten feet or so and proceeded down the street in my legless motor vehicle.

The whole thing frustrated me because I believe in rules.  This guy, cane or not, broke the rules.  Geez.  Some people.

Now, this event by itself would have been nothing but a frustrating moment in time.  It’s what happened a few days later that made it something so much more.

Walking out of a gas station in a northern city where I often travel I could see a man in a motorized wheelchair coming into the parking lot.  Getting in the car I closed the door, buckled my seat belt, and when I looked back up the man was right beside my car waving for me to bring my window down.  Feeling uncomfortable at this intrusion into my own life, I begrudgingly lowered the window.

The man asked “I was wondering if you would help me with something?

Hmmmm……errrrrr……sure,” I said.

Awesome.  I have a flat tire on my wheel chair and left my legs at home.  I was wondering if you could meet me over at the air hose and fill the tire up for me?

Instantly I noticed that the man had no legs at all.  Worn grey pant legs hung empty over the front edge of the seat.  Where his lower legs and feet should be was a small plastic crate filled with milk, bread, orange juice, and some other items from the nearby grocery store.  Following the man over to the air hose I pulled into a parking stall and got out of the comfort of my high horse car.

As I approached the man and his red motorized wheel chair I could see that one of the front tires was completely flat.  I asked if there was a hole in the tire, to which he didn’t respond.  He was talking about how he has a friend who works at a tire shop and they give him great deals on the tires, and also said something about “problems you don’t think about if you have legs.”

Pulling the air hose from the wall I bent down beside the tire and removed the cap.  The man said that the flat tire had slowed him down all morning and now he was behind schedule.  I jokingly responded with “Well, that’s what you get for racing out of the house without your legs.”

The man looked at me with a refreshing tenderness and  laughed his fool head off from behind his long grey beard.

The air came out of the hose fast and the tire was small, so I was careful not to overfill it and cause it to blow.  Moving to the other side of the wheel chair I noticed the the other front tire was low, but not flat.  After topping that one up I had a quick look at the back tires, which looked good.  The man thanked me and pulled out from the spot beside the hose and burned back through the parking look as fast as he could go.

Getting back in the car it dawned on me that this may have been one of those life tests.  The pieces in my mind starting coming together and I felt shame for initially being annoyed at the interruption.  The impatience I felt a few days before with the man walking across the street came back into my mind.  The obsession I have with flat tires, nails, and karma added a deeper dimension to the experience.

After pulling out of the parking lot and making my way further down the street I saw the man in the wheel chair blazing down the sidewalk over hard snow and slippery ice.  It was like a satire on all the thoughts which were going through my mind.

Like my conversation with the co-worker about living in the now and moment, I also remembered that one of the core functions of life is to be in service to others.  It all made me reflect on the long drive home on how fortunate I am to be alive, healthy, and being able to do the things I do in life.  There is a pattern in all of this.  This was a micro pattern which fits perfectly into the macro pattern which is unfolding in the realization of my own life.  Wow.  – JC

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14 Comments on “One of the Great Life Lessons”

  1. JC, I’ve been a tire man. Your obsession with nails and screws goes way beyond a flat tire. The core of it may lay more into the subconscience/conscience nature of the “round rubber tire.” It is not just the inconvenience of having to change a flat and have a ’round rubber tire’ interfere with your regular day, but then to have somebody else’s take that ‘flat tire’ moment,away from you,. shows some progress in your journey.

    The ’round rubber tire ‘ has been a piece of the most important pieces of inventions since the wheel. The best tech today does not diminish the colletyive

  2. Umm….the cane wasn’t white with a red tip was it? 😎

    Just joshing pal….awesome experience, thanks for sharing it. Assuming it wasn’t a white and red cane, shame on him for “J” walking and shame on you for losing it. But you got a lesson out of it to enhance your life experience. His lesson may be his last if he does that to the wrong person at the right time some day.

    Were you by yourself or with others?

    Hey do you avoid the areas on the road that the junk gathers in too? Always a screw or nail in those areas. A coworker just got a flat Monday from a screw. He made it to work before it was flat. When we looked at it sure enough it was a screw. But it went through the tire head first instead of point first. Never knew they would do that but it was fun figuring out how it happened.

  3. This was a touching piece JC, Thank you,

    I read it a few days ago and the first thing that came to my mind was the term “synchronicity”. I then thought whether WE (subconsciously) bring the synchronistic events as a way to try or test us! After a while, I came to the conclusion that given we are possibly the only animal on this planet who have been given the gift of the Free Will, it must be us which the modern new age folks call it, the “higher self”. So yes, we do Test ourselves and we move on from one stage to another esoteric next level only through being aware of our actions.

    The Persian Sufi’s have a curious expression for watching our every action and they liken it to a cat gazing at the threshold of a mouse nest for the slightest movement of a mouse. They use this expression for inducing an awareness in every action of ourselves and others, as well as the events which confront us from time to time. In this way, there is no such thing as an accident. Yet, we have the ultimate power of choice to go one way or the other, it is the power of the Free Will, so we are responsible for “our” accidents/incidents in the end…a paradox which our conscious duality-oriented mind may not be able to easily fathom!

    Their emphasis is to induce the initiate in seeing the divine’s hands in every move and making the initiate aware of every action and reaction to events, in the hope of experiencing the divine somewhere within that event.

    Your experience with the man with no legs reminded me of the 13th-century well-known poem by the Persian mystic, Saadi of Shiraz, which apparently adorns the entrance of the United Nation in New York. …I wish the UN people would actually read it and to comprehend the significance of the centuries-old message!

    “All human beings are members of one frame,
    Since all, at first, from the same essence came.
    When time afflicts a limb with pain
    The other limbs at rest cannot remain.
    If thou feel not for other’s misery
    A human being is no name for thee.”

  4. Something came up and I was unable to finish my previous comment. Here is what I think I was trying to say.

    “Getting a flat tire on your car is definitely an inconvenience . But is it worth such an obsession? ” I view your behavior as more of a healthy concern. A flat tire for the most part is but an inconvenience, however in some cases that same said screw/nail you picked up may have prevented a tragic accident. Granted a certain set of circumstances must exist for a nail to cause a dramatic tire failure, Blow out if you will, but it does happen more often than we may know.

    Please allow me to attempt to explain. Imagine a nail in the right rear tire on your vehicle, losing air at particular rate, a long drive on a hot day, a speed of 75/80 mph, a driver who is not alert or knowledgeable enough to notice the slight difference in the driveability when the tire becomes 15/20 lbs. lower than the recommended pressure. What happens is that steel belt heats up and causes the tire to fail in a dramatic fashion. A blow out. That steel belt spinning around at 75/80 makes one hell of a racket, the vehicle shakes like a unbalanced washing machine at the height of it’s spin cycle. Throw in the fact that if your in the middle of a curve even a slight one and you have a recipe for a tragic outcome. Happens more often than most folks think.

    JC your picking up that nail is not in my opinion a obsession at all, but more a healthy concern and part of your personal fulfillment of the promise contained it the elusive nature of our collective social contract. I also am one who picks up things, screws/nails, pieces of glass, steel, iron etc. And the lowly penny, I think of picking it up as a exercise that pays off immediately. Oh, and before I forget, because it has been quite awhile the occasional woman, those were the days and I was fulfilling my end of the social contract. Please do not ask about anything else I may have picked up.

    I used to run around with this guy, I’ll call him Al. Al was a low level pot dealer, he would be running around all day making deliveries all over town. Sometimes I would ride around with him. Al was constantly helping people when on his routes, he would stop and from what he considered a safe calculated distance al would offer to help. Flat tire, overheated car, out of gas he was prepared. Al kept a gallon of gas, a couple of gallons of water a nice little floor jack and a good 4star tire wench. Al would go out of his way to help people, making u-turns and the such.

  5. Wrong button, opp’s, sorry.

    I thought to myself what a nice guy, come to find out it was part of his business plan. Al explained it to my one day. “What I do Pete, is I act as if I am under surveillance 24/7 and I act accordingly.” Ha, such a deal, such a dealer.

    Which makes me wonder, well you know what I mean.


    1. That’s an excellent analogy Peter. I work for a local government and many times folks get in trouble when they stand around and do nothing for….well a long time. So I would pretended that the news cameras were on me kind of like your old friend Al with the 24/7 surveillance. Over time this evolved and I slowly brought the news cameras inside myself and watched from an inward perspective. Wasn’t long after that the cameras were gone altogether and it became a calm gentle voice within guiding. I think this was an “arriving home” point for me. I’m not too sure but it sure feels nice….when I’m listening to it 🙂

      1. Dane my good man Dane; “Overtime this evolved and I slowly brought the news camaras inside myself and watched from an inward perspective.” thereby “arriving home.” I find it exceedingly difficult to argue Thomas Wolfe when he states ‘you can’t go home again.’ but my view, which I suggest more aligns
        with yours, is that it is not a journey back but more as you say forward, “Arriving Home.”

        Not to put Wolfe on the spot, his book is much more that just the title of it , but my use the of the title is to illustrate the dif between looking back with nostalgia and looking forward with hope.

        In this age of super surveillance well beyond the cameras, but more to the collection of maga-data and all that represents can or will we as a collective “evolve” and begin to see ourselves from an inward perspective? Thereby making all those surveillance devices redundant or more so useless, and then sell them at half price or less to somebody who gives a shit?

        Have a good one Dane

    2. Dearest Pieter,

      That’s what I call a philosopher-dealer and a man I can conduct a business transaction and discuss all matters deep and philosophical…but hopefully, before conducting the examining the merchandise, I may forget what subject we were talking about altogether. 🙂

      I would love to meet this gentleman the purveyor (and material provider) of deep philosophical exchanges 🙂

      PS. does he accepts ETH or Ripple?

  6. My Carpe Diem, I can’t get anything past you can I. Of course I’m Al. Let me tell you about one of my better days as the good samaritan.

    Picture this I had 5/6 oz’s bagged up in my car and ready to deliver. A mini-van full of soccer kids on their way to play at the park, stopped dead in front of me. Stopped dead as a doornail right in front of me, it quit running, just quit running. The light had just turned green, the outside lane is moving and the people in back of me are blowing their horns and trying to maneuver around me and the mini-van.

    I, quick as a whip I threw my 20 year old caddy into park and ran up to the drivers side window and told the kind of nice looking soccer Mom to “listen to me. ” ” Put it in neutral and I will manually push you around the corner, it is downhill from here and you will be able to coast down to the park and pull in off the road.” She got it, I gave her a shove and away she went. As I was getting back into my car people from all four corners of the intersection( including my real/ imagined surveillance team) were tooting their horns and giving me waves and thumbs up. I went on and delivered my pot.

    I never did get busted, circumstance(children) and other legal opportunities provided me good reason to get out of the game. Do I sometimes miss it? Yep. Have I quit helping the roadside breakdowns? Sadly to a degree yes, but not all together. I’m still pretty good about it .

    Would I accept ETH or Ribble if I was still in the game? Haha, I don’t know, I just don’t know.

    My Mr Diem have a good day

    1. My wise old dearest Al,

      That was a fantastic story and I have to say, you are an asset to POM and I appreciate and enjoy every comment/postins you make. Free Spirit comes to mind every time I read your words. Keep it up as we need Free-spirited and wise men like you in this world.

      On a funny note, I watched a funny clip a while ago from a man arrested for selling opium in a northeastern city in Iran, where the police/government (Extremely corrupt government — that’s another story in itself!) were interrogating him and asking him whether he has any regrets about selling drugs to so many people. In reply he said, “no why should I have any regrets, I only sold the best of the best drug and I made them happy and gave them hours of pleasure when their miserable lives were taunting them constantly…I have no regrets when I know they are after me/call me all the time and want to know where I am and how I’m doing when my own relatives don’t give a damn, so I am proud of helping them and in return, they help me and love me too”. I have to say this geezer was providing a service to his society where the government can not and will not, in solving them but to add more disasters to their lives. That’s what governments do everywhere poking their corrupt fingers into people’s lives where they have no authority.

      BTW, I never understood what rights a government has to want to interfere with a person who wants to chew on or smoke a wild herb/plant that grows in nature, quite naturally! Who gave them the right to interfere with a sovereign human in deciding what is good and what is bad for them? Who decided that alcohol is okay and pots are not when alcohol results in direct and indirect deaths of thousands of people every year. who decided that smoking or ingesting anything should be made illegal. why is it okay to put anything or smoke anything other than what the government have identified to be bad for us?! Truly insane, that’s my rant for today…

      Wish you a great day my friend and don’t stop helping folks ever

  7. “Woman killed by self-driving Uber car identified, as company suspends testing”

    “A self-driving Uber car hit and killed a pedestrian Sunday night in Tempe, Arizona, police said, in what appears to be the first case of a pedestrian death caused by an autonomous vehicle.”

    “The female pedestrian, identified as 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg, was walking her bicycle across the street outside the crosswalk when she was struck, police said, adding that an investigation is ongoing.”

    Bad robot, or bad programmer of said robot? Doesn’t say much for the human backup either.

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