With MD, and life in the community with him, I never doubted that the goals were admirable and noble, and I have always believed that he wanted to assist others in achieving a higher level of spiritual life, in the sense of becoming free of vice, sin, or anything that held people enslaved to these things within themselves, so that they could be free, and live a life of love, as God intended us to live. The methods of his training course, and his methods in working with those outside of our community, I understood would always be controversial, and I’m sure he knew this as well. He wasn’t unaware of how these methods would be perceived, and how unusual they would appear to most people. But he believed that it was worth the risk of being misunderstood, perhaps disliked or even hated, and ultimately imprisoned, in order to help people get free.
To many people, including some within our community in the end, the methods were wrong and harmful, but for me they yielded positive and good results. This isn’t to say that I enjoyed the intense physical aspects of the training, or even that I always thought they were beneficial at the time they were occurring, but as I look at the growth I enjoyed because of his training and the freedom I have felt in so many areas of my being because of these methods I am grateful and glad to have had the unique opportunity of participating in his course and in staying as long as I did.
At the same time I’m not sure I could recommend it to very many other people as a way that they should try. One had to be able to forgive all things or very nearly, to trust in all cases or as close to that as possible, to not give in to anger or fear at least not for very long and certainly not after a ‘scenario’ had concluded, and had to maintain a mental and emotional equilibrium throughout the difficult challenges so as not to fall into some poor state of mental or emotional health. I think the pitfalls were many, and the dangers also, but with trust in the process it could work, though I believe the hand of God ultimately was behind all of it, and was the protection that truly carried me through. Even so, with all this said, there did come a time when I was no longer able to persist and I had to call it quits, but that is still a little further into the story, and there is more to say about my training with MD before I get to that.
With the tools we had gained in Santa Cruz we opened an auto repair shop in Fort Bragg in the spring of 1996. M was a pretty good mechanic and he did all the work. I had completed my projects in Santa Cruz and was finding new projects in Santa Rosa along with S and J who accompanied me on most of this work. It was only a couple hour drive between Santa Rosa and Fort Bragg so we were able to go back and forth between our work and time with the other members of the community during the week or on weekends. During the course of this time I was brought into a test that related to some of the primary precepts that MD wanted men to learn, that being honor and devotion to women, courage in the face of danger and evil, and gentleness expressed to all through our thoughts and actions.
I am unable to get into the dialog of this situation because the words escape me and I don’t want to misrepresent what happened but it came to a head one day while I was working in Santa Rosa and via a phone call with MD he directed me to drive back to see him immediately in Fort Bragg and that I should be very worried because this could lead to my death. Okay. For the most part I didn’t expect that I would actually die if I returned, I expected it was hyperbole or poetic in some way, however I had some doubt about this. I just couldn’t imagine that it would come to that especially after all the time we’d invested in my training and the future goals of our community of which I was somewhat integral, at least as I saw it.
In so many cases in life the fear of the unknown or the fear stirred up by our wild imaginings are so much worse than what ends up actually happening. In this case, they were about the same. Although the fear of anticipation was probably more nauseating, as I drove up to Fort Bragg, than the feelings I had once I arrived. I walked up to the front door of the house knowing I had an unpleasant fate inside, to say the least. I had considered not driving to Fort Bragg and calling it quits that day but again something inside me spurred me on and I wanted to face whatever possibly might come. I wanted to be brave.
I walked through the door and down the main hallway to the office near the back and it began immediately. I saw MD had taken up a simple ballpoint pen and held it firmly in his hand in a manner one might hold a small dagger. I could see he held it with only perhaps a half inch, maybe a little more protruding beyond his fist. I understood immediately this was the weapon, but I also perceived that it wasn’t intended to kill, or even maim, because he was holding it in such a way that were it to puncture me, it wouldn’t go but a half inch or so into muscle.
He came at me and stabbed me in the shoulder. As I fell back into the hallway he pursued and stabbed again in my arm. I shielded myself with my other arm and fled into one of the front rooms where he followed and began to stab with the pen repeatedly while punching with his other fist until I fell to the floor and then he began kicking. I don’t think this lasted very long, and eventually I made my way out the front door and back to my truck. It was evening and the roads were fairly empty. I sat in the driver’s seat trying to focus ahead of me but could hardly see. My eyes were both nearly swollen shut and everything was spinning. The auto shop was a couple miles south and that was where I needed to go in order to get cleaned up and get some sleep. M would be there and he could give me a hand. I turned on the truck and pulled slowly out of the driveway. It was impossible to make the world stop spinning and swirling; the lines down the middle of the road climbed into the sky, and the curbs on either side of me twirled and wouldn’t stay in place. However, if I concentrated very hard I could find a small tunnel of vision that remained in the vortex of all of this spinning and I followed that down the street, working with all of my effort to ignore and also recalibrate the spinning I was seeing, in such a way, that I hoped would account for the deviation from reality of what I was seeing so that I could drive safely to the shop and not hurt anyone.
Of course I shouldn’t have been driving, and I was fairly certain of this even as I was driving, but it seemed, as I went along, that I was managing and I didn’t see an alternative. I knew I didn’t have the strength to walk there and I didn’t want to involve anyone else that didn’t know the circumstances of my situation. I made it to the shop, parked and went inside. M saw me and knew immediately what had happened from his own experience. He more than any of us men, had experienced the type of thing I just went through. He helped me get cleaned up pretty well, treated my wounds, and then I set up my sleeping bag on the shop floor, and went to sleep.
(to be continued)