Spirit Grooves Blogs

Published on March 14, 2015

This post is a little eclectic. Forgive me please.
One form of the little fat-bodied insect, the cicada, hibernates for 17 years underground before emerging into daylight. After more than forty years of my own kind of hibernation in a rather tiny office, I too may at last be emerging. I am not sure yet, but there are signs. Whether I will have wings to spread remains to be seen.

I have not played this song for you before, but I will here, because it grasps so perfectly what I want to say. This is a song by the Yardbird’s drummer James McCarty, who over the years I contacted and interviewed. We are kindred souls. His album “Out of the Dark,” created years later, carries the spirit of the 1960s into the present. The song is “We’re Still Dreamers,” and we are.


We bought a very small house in 1980 for $30,000 and have lived in it ever since. When we finally made a little money, instead of moving to a larger home (with our four kids and dogs), I elected to just add-on to my home and let it go at that. Our house was less than a block from my business and I was not willing to give up that perk of being so close. I could walk to work in two minutes. So here we still are, but the businesses have gone.

In order to build successful businesses, as an entrepreneur with no safety-net, I had to put the pedal to the metal, as they say, and concentrate very intensely, which I did. And now that my businesses are all sold, I have to learn to take my foot off the pedal and allow myself to coast to a stop. I am working on that.

It has only recently occurred to me that it is OK to stop pushing, to relax the furrowed brow, and perhaps to even look around. I have had my head down for so long I don’t know what is up.

Every time I have seen His Holiness the 17th Karmapa, head of the Karma Kagyu Lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, he spontaneously manages to help me turn the wheel of my own dharma. This forthcoming visit appears to be no exception. Already that event is upon me and I am increasingly swept up in that change, this time perhaps not so minor.

All those years of intense concentration as a programmer working on my businesses had the unexpected side-effect of preparing my mind for learning meditation. Much of what I learned through dedication to that work was also applicable to basic meditation training. Of course I was also formally practicing Buddhist meditation all of those years, but not as successfully as with my businesses.

“Practicing” anything has an aspect of artificiality. After all, we practice because we don’t know how to do something. And we practice until intuition kicks in and we get the hang of it. Then we just do it. Well, I have done my practicing. As for how am I feeling? I am reminded of this prose I wrote back in the 1960s when I first woke up. It comes to mind now.

“The morning’s brightness lights the day. And when that day is gone, the quietness of evening here approaching settles to sleep this restless world. Hard can I hear the frantic rush, as I turn away from the edge out into floating rest am I. It is not my conscious direction doing this, but as a head down-turned all life now turns up a blossom to the night, the night of time urges me open, at last a flower too, open to life.

“Already the dawn.

“Still, around me, urging caution, a retinue of persons set my spirit, like a jewel is set, in time. But where before my worry, now my rest. The tide rolls on beyond me. Ever changing, it rocks me now asleep. And in my sleep, awake am I, so clear a bell is ringing.”

“The smart of persons lash and crack to drive me at time’s edge. My personal ties are slipped, as floating out, I’m gently tugged. Too long have fought to force my thought, and not, at ease, arising like some cloud to pass.

My work undone, yet done, I rise. Drifting through strains, I sieve, and pass myself, open out to nothing thoughts to touch back not once more.

“A clear sleep is soft, its ever blooming sound is silence. Now to find my way among the slips of time. And slip I will, now lost to striving, and lounge in this room of emptiness. To lie back in time, behind its edge, and ever look eternally. No way to pass this on. This is: passing on. Slamming against the walls of
time, I shove off into eternity, and spread open a flower, so wide.”

And since I am singing to you, here is another McCarty song that sings to me. It is called “Out of the Dark.” I have played this to you before.


[Photo taken yesterday.]