Another learning experience out of the trip to the Berkshires.

Never in my wildest dreams would I have pictured me saying what I am about to say. However, a lot came together in the aftermath of the ride and to ignore it would be a crime in many respects.

2013-02-16_09-15-52_998To fully understand much of what happened, you have to realize that I was 9 days on the road and in those 9 days 8 of them were in the elements. By that I mean at least 3 or 4 hours traveling on a motorcycle at 60 to 80 MPH in temperatures that ranged from the 20s to 50s and more often than not they were in the 20 to 30 degree range. Went to the Wind Chill Tables of the weather service and plugged in 35 degrees at 60 MPH and came up with 17 degrees.

rainThere were times I was on the road for maybe 12 hours but for the most part it was and average of 8 hours. Where as I was dressed for a cold weather motorcycle experience, at those temperatures, it was a challenge to say the least. Then there was rain and temperatures in the 40s to factor into the equation. These were extremes for anyone to be operating under on a motorcycle and they were complicated by my age which is 70 years

This is coldOn some level, the exhaustion did break me down. Physically as well as mentally. This was plainly evident to me on the night I gave the Dharma talk at the Cambridge Zen Center. I could not string two coherent thoughts together. I knew it then and struggled with it but could not rise to the challenge. The next day Amber and I rode to the Berkshires. It was a short ride and the place we stayed at was an old Shaker community bought and run by Sufi community. The ambiance was oh so friendly and the staff was obviously unpaid but dedicated to their mission.

I would say that 80 percent of those attending the conference were women under 35 and either doctors or medical students. They were very open about their struggles to deliver competent medical services while at the same time trying to be caring and take care of themselves. In one sense or another, it is a triad that many people in life struggle to balance at some point but in the end get stuck in one or another corner of that triad.

sun break throughThe first presenter on Saturday was a practicing  psychiatrist that talked about vibrations. At first it struck me as a typical touchy feely soliloquy but as he developed his presentation there were parts that started to sink into my core or maybe on some level I just resonated with what he was saying and his verbalization gave expression to what was developing in me on an intuitive level. I was fortunate enough to be physically warn down that a lot of my defenses/barriers/walls/boundaries or whatever were also down.

On more than one level it was just a pleasant experience to be in an environment where the place, staff and participants were resonating with an energy that was so pleasant. It was almost like a person could relax into whatever was going on and just enjoy the openness. There were two families with new borne/young children, there was a pregnant doctor and then there were some young medical students. There was also an open degree of sensuality. Adding to this was a search to find meaning and self-development that would hopefully find expression in being better caregivers.

These were women that did not share any commonalities of medical school, geography, background, nationality, race or hospitals.  Some were also trained in and practiced alternative forms of medicine such as acupuncture and massage. If you well, the cosmic glue that brought them together and held them was simply caring.

It was not enough for my analytical mind to accept the ambiance and company for what it was. For who knows what reason, I feel back on the psychiatrists presentation of vibrations and energy and I was off and running.

My mind flipped back to the dorm project I was working on in the women’s prison at Lowell CI. My office is in one of the women’s dorm and I spend a lot of time moving in and out of all four dorms trying to coordinate or trouble shoot this or that. Each dorm has a very different ambiance/energy based on the accumulated energy of the occupants. Then it occurred to me that in my years of soldiering there were similar qualities no only in the barracks but platoons, companies and battalions also shared like qualities that to a large degree defined them.

My sense from what the psychiatrist said and my experiences is that we gravitate towards on an unconscious level energy levels or sources that we are comfortable with. We do this in friendships, relationships, occupations, religions and professions. This is a biology of life.

So at the very cellular level, when there is any kind of threat that cell closes up and will not let anything in to include food. Newborns die when they are in an environment where there is no love. Western medicine recognizes this and provides surrogate mothers in neonatal intensive care units to promote the growth and development of the babies.

This process finds expression throughout life. There is no growth or development without a sense of trust. Trust in many respects comes from a sense of safety that the person can experiment with new behaviors and incorporate new knowledge. On an intuitive or subconscious this is built on a sense of vibrations or transmission of energy.

Over the last five or so years, I have read books on the biology of emotions and trust. This takes us down in a mechanical or scientific way to the reactions of single cells when threatened. In a sense we are the sum total of several billion cells actions of all these cells. Each one has its own vibration/energy if you will.

So what does all of this mean and how will it find expression in my life. First, I have to become a model of trustworthiness.  Then there has to be a clarity of vision so that men and women will have a clear sense of what I am about. Then I will have to teach the lesson and realize that a lot of people may never get it or as in my case, it will take 70 years.

Yes, there were a lot of other lessons but for now it is enough.

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