Paths (part 30)

On a lighter note, as a community we also began to play a fun and innocuous ‘sword’ game, with the goal of getting used to physical blows, to overcoming fear, and to staying true in the midst of aggression directed at us. The ‘swords’ were made of pvc pipe wrapped in pipe insulation foam and duct tape. When struck, they landed an innocent blow that felt about the same as being hit by a pillow. But they were effective for practicing mental and emotional courage, and for maintaining composure in the midst of a battle, so to speak.  We played this regularly as a group and had a lot of fun enjoying each other’s company as we practiced together. Though the intensity of our scenarios would continue to get more and more difficult as time went on, there was also equally a great many times of levity and joy, of games such as our swordplay and times of comradery and laughter. We always shared the evening meal together, after our work, and during this time together we deepened our bonds of friendship and love. Often late into the night, several of us would spend time making carob chip pancakes, which was our primary sweet indulgence, and we would enjoy these as we shared stories of the previous day’s events. K and I had a daily routine most mornings, when we could, of going for a long jog along the country roads near our home; and while we ran we shared our victories and failures on the spiritual path, or shared the challenges MD had given us individually or collectively, or the surprising insights and the hope that he had generated within us.


MD also had begun to generate the concepts for a vast range of new organizations, businesses and services that would operate locally, nationally and internationally with the goal of helping to transform individuals, nations, and the world.  He developed all of these in extensive detail. He created thousands and thousands of pages (no exaggeration) of details, sketches, systems descriptions, job descriptions, business plans, marketing materials, press releases, articles, treatises, essays, inventions, and legal documents. The ideas included new natural product lines, retreat centers, manufacturing companies, modeling agencies, candidacies for office, real estate investments, security and para-military groups for hire to depose world dictators and tyrants, movie studios, cruise lines, and list went on and on.


At this time we also began to look at commercial and residential real estate to purchase, in order to begin implementing a few of the local business ideas he had, and to create a more impressive presentation of our community to the public.  We looked at a beautiful estate in Bonny Doon, not far from where we were currently renting, and made some initial motions towards purchasing the home but didn’t take it very far. In part, as it turned out, the activity was taken up in order for MD to work with a very successful local real estate broker and to work through a series of ‘scenarios’ with him in hopes of helping him spiritually. Over subsequent years I began to understand that many of the worldly things we engaged in, the businesses and transactions that we began, were merely a means to enable MD to work with various people and help them in some way with their spiritual development, and perhaps he never actually intended to bring the business or transaction to fruition but primarily wanted to create a situation that would allow that person to confront themselves and overcome something within them, a vice, or addiction, so to speak, that blocked them from finding greater freedom, or joy, or peace in their lives.


There was one such situation with a local businessman in town who ran a very successful and nationally known company that modified vehicles; transforming them into amazing cars by adding elaborate sound systems, security systems and many other details. He also was involved in racing and had several formula one cars in his garages. I was often involved in the negotiations along with MD although I have to admit for the most part I had no idea what was going on, but I was good with people, and was a benefit in that way to have along during these interactions. Plus I think MD wanted me to gain more experience in working with people, and not fearing difficult situations whether they be in business or in any other sphere of life.


He was very good at pushing people’s buttons so to speak, because this was exactly the place where he wanted to get people, up against their ‘stuff’, so that they could break free and choose a better way of living. So in this case I got the impression that the ‘stuff’ this particular businessman had was arrogance, pride and greed although this was never stated. Over a series of several meetings between MD and this man, some of which I attended, and others where I waited outside the door, they were coming to an agreement in which the businessman would sell us a great deal of very expensive automobile tools; hydraulic lifts, compressors, power equipment of every conceivable type and hand-tools, essentially everything needed for us to be able to fully outfit our own auto repair shop. One very interesting thing about MD was that he always seemed able to out-negotiate anyone, if he wanted to; he was very intelligent and could outwit others. At some point during the negotiation it seemed this man tried to pull something or take advantage of us in some way, I wasn’t in the final negotiation so I don’t know exactly what happened, but what eventually transpired was a very ugly confrontation between him and his men and us, in the garages of his business, but somehow they allowed us to load all of the tools into our trucks and drive away. While he seemed very angry and upset about this, apparently he wasn’t able to stop us, due to some aspect of the negotiation. It was easy for me to assume he was a bad person and deserved it, but MD wouldn’t hear of us disparaging anyone, and actually he did talk rather highly of this man and described him as honorable. He never explained what happened in their negotiation or why they didn’t stop us from taking all of those tools, but we did eventually use those tools to start an auto repair shop the following year.


By the end of 1995 our real estate inquiries began to expand to further north up the coast in Mendocino and Fort Bragg. MD and K had found a beautiful large estate just north of Mendocino on acreage directly on the cliffs and wanted to see the inside. We scheduled a meeting with the owners and real estate agent to see the property one afternoon. In order to make a memorable and lasting first impression on the owners of the estate, we rented a helicopter in Santa Rosa and several of us flew up to Mendocino with MD, and made a grand entrance from over the Pacific Ocean, over the top of their property, circling several times to make sure they knew we were there, and then finally coming to land on the large expanse of lawn between the house and the ocean. If you ever want to impress someone I highly recommend arriving in a helicopter; it had the desired effect. I think they were ready to sign the property title over to us right then and there. But again, I don’t think MD actually had any real interest in buying the property. We looked the property over and I was very excited by the prospect of living here, and then we climbed back into the helicopter and returned to Santa Rosa. We didn’t pursue that property any further, but a few months later MD did lease a modest home in Fort Bragg, as well as a large commercial warehouse a few miles south of the home, and this is where we opened our auto repair shop.

(to be continued)


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