Old friends, new friends
It has gradually occurred to me over the last few months (and years) that I'm not like other people. If I was ever like other people before -- and it's hard to say that a boy who had several OBEs when he was 16 was like other people -- I'm definitely not now.
In particular I feel like I've gotten to a point with Zen where my judgment is clouded when it comes to communicating with others. Several times lately I've said things about Zen to friends that I now take so casually for granted that I assume they'll understand those things, but they don't.
Other things they do seem to understand or respond to ... but there's some line in the sand they won't cross, and I can't see that line, so I'm now at a point where the only safe thing to do with these friends is to never discuss Zen. I still think of them as friends, but in a different way. I guess it's basically that we have different religious or philosophical beliefs. If they ask about Zen I'll answer their questions, but even then, I'll only answer in a basic, limited way.
I read a quote from the Dalai Lama about this, and though I can't remember his exact words, he said something like that, that you can only say so much to other people (beginners or people expressing some curiosity). I suspect this is why some of the Zen students and teachers I've spoken to haven't had a great deal to say; they may have been afraid of sharing their stories, perhaps because of fear that they would scare me off, or that they think I need to experience these things myself, or maybe because they have been instructed not to.
Personally, I don't think I feel that way. In part because of my visit to the Monroe Institute, and because of my own experiences, I think I'm pretty open to any discussion, particularly metaphysical discussions.
So, lesson one of late is that I need some new friends, people I can discuss things with.
Spirits here for a visit
The second part of my thinking tonight is that I don't fear death like so many people seem to. Don't get me wrong, I fear the pain that is associated with dying, but by this time I've had so many OBEs, died so many times in my dreams, and had some physical problems that I thought might kill me that it just doesn't matter any more. What's going to happen, I'm going to die one more time? (Again, pain and death are two different things to fear.)
The positive, flip side of this is that most mornings I wake up and I'm amazed I'm still here on Earth. I feel like a visitor who has been granted another day here, or at least the start to another day. I lift my hands, look at my fingers, find that I can move them, and I can move the rest of the body, and think how cool it is. I usually begin singing a little bit, "We are spirits in a material world", because that's exactly how it feels.