Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Tyrant of the Mind

Nikhil and the Englishman

I regret to say that the englishman told me to write this.

My name is Nikhil, I was born in the Brahmin caste in pastoral India, the son of a train engineer. My mother was a homemaker. I was considered a peculiar child, as I was uninterested in school. Instead of playing with the other children, I would observe them with complete contentment. Shortly after my 5th year, We moved to Delhi because my father received a promotion. Because of my peculiarity, my father hired an English tutor at great expense. He was put in charge of stimulating my intellect and turning me into a proper gentleman who could be in the company of Delhi's elite. His name was Mr. Hughes. Educated at Oxford, he was good looking, charismatic, witty, scientific, and extremely well dressed. After attempting to civilize me and failing for quite some time, my father insisted that he continued to tutor me out of pity and compassion. We would take walks together, as I would gaze with wonder at the objects of the world, he would teach me their Latin names. He coached me in cricket and swimming and told me of strategy and technique that would make me superior to my peers. That was the ultimate goal, he said. He also tutored me in English law, business, science, and a myriad of other English wonders so that I might some day make use of such knowledge for power. That was the ultimate goal, he said. As a teenager, I became quite proficient in all of the endeavors that he put before me. So much so, that he nicknamed me "Manu". I became the captain of the cricket team, president of the debate team, and class valedictorian. I was strongly encouraged by Mr. Hughes, my family, teachers, school mates, and townspeople once they got wind of my reputation. Everyone told me that I should be thankful for having my very own English tutor. I was quite a romantic boy and I would often fall in love with the merchant's daughters when I went to market because I found their simplicity endearing. The Englishman corrected me and told me that these girls were beneath me. He showed me how to conduct myself at black tie events, how to ballroom dance, make humorous and intelligent conversation, and exude masculinity and status that would attract elite debutantes. Attracting women of grace, beauty, wealth, and status was the ultimate goal, he said.

There came a point in my senior year, when all of the success became too much of a burden. The Englishman was preparing applications for me to attend Oxford or Cambridge at the time. In spite of all of my accomplishments at such a young age, I was completely miserable. Something inside of me cringed at the vanity involved in the occupations I carried out. The cricket games, parties, debates, the idle chatter became a symphony of meaningless chatter, the cacophony of compliments and quips were like the discordant howls of monkeys crying in an unknown wilderness. I went to my school teacher, a priest, for confession. I told him of my circumstance and misery. He suggested that I take refuge in gratitude for the good fortune of having my very own English tutor. I left the confessional even more miserable and unsatisfied. I took the train to my boyhood village and visited a well-known holy man. He was always sitting naked near the river in meditation. I told him of my circumstance and misery and he replied with one ominous sentence. "You must subdue the englishman". The answer shocked me as much as it resonated with truth throughout my being. All of my life's events flashed before my eyes and I realized that the Englishman was controlling every facet of my being. He relentlessly told me of his influence on my past, he was controlling my present circumstances and attempting to sabotage my future as well. I resolved to confront the Englishman as soon as I returned to Delhi, which I did. I told the Englishman of my resentment for his heavy hand in my life's affairs. He responded with great kindness. He smiled and said "You are becoming a man now, I needn't play such a strong role in your affairs,... don't worry, I will be in the background." I was empowered and and satisfied with the result of our conversation and went about my school affairs, dropping the activities that no longer brought me pleasure. Would you believe it, the Englishman went behind my back and reenrolled me. I was furious. He was in more control than I had ever known. During our next meeting I immediately stuck the Englishman in the face. He struck me back, tit for tat. He sang insults at my ingratitude for all that he had done for me. I told him that I had never asked for his "gifts". We wrestled on the floor until his fury turned to kindness. He helped me to my feet, dusted me off and walked off. The next day he showed up as if nothing had happened between us and continued to counsel me on "my plans". I took the train back to the village to consult with the holy man. He laughed at me when I told him what had happened. "You fool," he said "you cannot subdue an englishman by coming directly at him. What I meant to say is that you must kill this englishman!" This provided me with quite another shock. My spiritual advisor was telling me to kill the mentor who had tought me everything I had ever known and made me to be everything I was, and possessed all the knowledge of where I could go in the future.

I continued to follow the instructions of the Englishman until I was utterly miserable again. I could no longer follow the desires of an external force. I confronted the enlishman again, but this time I had a gun. I told him that if he attempted to meddle with my affairs, then I would kill him. He told me that he would always continue because it was for my own good. So I shot him, repeatedly, in all of the vital regions, to make sure it was permanent. It was quite a scene to say the least. But wouldn't you know it, after the ambulances came and took him to the hospital, he survived and continued to manage my affairs from his bedside! I was at my wit's end, torn in anguish between want of my autonomy and fear from retribution for my violent act toward the Englishman. There was no telling what would be in my future if I continued the assaults on the Englishman, or if the Englishman discontinued the management of my affairs. I took the train to the village once again and sat beside the meditating holyman by the riverside. He was at peace, he opened his deepset eyes to witness the chaos of my personality. Once again, he laughed in my face when I told him of the wounded Englishman. "You actually thought you could kill an englishman?" He inquired while smiling. "Yes," I said "That's what you told me to do." "These type of englishmen can live forever." He said soberly. Now I was convinced that a quack shaman who had conspired to help me murder, wanted out of the whole deal. I was about to leave in a pure state of mental and emotional turmoil when The holy man beckoned me back toward him. He looked directly into my soul and said: "These type of englishmen can live forever because they are apparitions. I can't believe that you still acknowledge that he exists.

From that day on, I never saw the englishman again. Now I look at objects in wonder without remembering thier latin names. I fall in love with simple women, and I watch others play with complete contentment.

Hiking Santa Cruz Area

I've been hiking with a local group from They go 3 times a week, up to ten miles a hike. Here are some pics from the hikes. Pay attention to the details, those are all ladybugs that look like brown plants.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Santa Cruz, finally home.

It felt amazing to be past all of the dry brown southern california grass and back in the redwoods again. I spent one day in Santa Cruz and celebrated my reunion with the best surf city in America. The next day I drove 70 miles north on the one to San Francisco. The city was nice but I remembered why I love Santa Cruz...Because it's not a city. I've been going to the santa cruz zen center every day for Zazen. Also have been doing yoga 7 days a week at 24 hour fitness. All of this concentration on health and wellness has got me ecstatic. I hiked 8 miles in Butano state park with a meetup group, visited a secluded nude beach, went wine tasting at Bonny Dune, and found a cave near the city. Last night I went to a Tantric New Age Acoustic concert. It was... interesting. My van is in the shop. It looks like a lot more money is going into this thing, but Shaz and the mechanics at Good Guys Biodiesel seem to be legit.

Back in CA

Mark Mullert graciously picked me up from the san diego airport. I slept in the van at his house and then drove north of la and slept at a rest stop parking lot. The next day I drove the beautiful route one past big sur all the way to santa cruz. The pics only depict a fraction of the beauty. I saw wild seals resting on a secluded beach by the highway.

New Years in PA

When I arrived in Pa I went directly to a cabin in northern PA with my family. It was great to see my sisters, even though sibling unrest eventually bubbled over. It was probably mostly cabin fever. We all went to my father's cabin and looked at all of the progress he has made in repairing it.

For new years I hung out with my close friends James, Jon, Kyle, Julie, Justin, and Laura. We had a chill time at James' house. I bragged about my bobby pin invention:
It was nice to work at Diakon once again, revel in winter wilderness and bond with the kids and coworkers.

Over much of my vacation I spent time with my friend William Bradford Ross. The revelations and experiences cannot be summed up in language let alone on a blog, but my perspective significantly evolved and I'm starting to let go of control over my life.

On january 9th, I missed my flight, then bought another one for the same day, damn those nonrefundable tickets!

Back to PA

It was quite an experience in Ojai. Luckily I was able to stay on the mechanic's property during the breakdown and repairs. He's a mad genius inventor that swore me to secrecy on all of his inventions and personal life. After a few days the van was at least running on diesel and I drove a straight shot to san diego. Mark Mullert met up with me at macy's and we wen to his friends's house who was moving to military housing, his friend was a great man who when to undergrad with Mark. He built houses in Mexico and we talked about nonprofit work. He gave me one of his wetsuits as he was trying to lighten his load. Mark took me from point loma university to the military light house park of point loma. Then we went to the surf nieghborhood of mission beach, where I had my first tomale. After lunch we went to gorgeous Balboa Park and watched street performers and witnessed the Spanish architecture. We had dinner in University Heights. I stayed at Mark's grandmas that night and celebrated Christmas Day with his family. I watched the duke, 007 and a Christmas story on TV. Mark's family was generous enough to give me Christmas presents. I spent one of the nights in Ocean Beach and talked to some van dwelling full timers. Flower and Bee were two full time volunteers who traveled about in an old school bus. They inspired me as they lived fully off of Flower's palm flower creations.