During the meditation segment an hour into our three hour intimacy ritual before we touched I was distracted and could not continue. An image of my first grade teacher Mrs. Marley in meager lingerie appeared to me unbidden, disrupting my calm. Sechuan was mildly surprised, but calm as always. She left my cob hut shortly thereafter.
I needed to clear my mind. Six hours a day of pure emptiness was insufficient. This should have been no problem for someone such as myself who has been following the eight paths of the Enlightened One, and who has considered a few more holy paths to Nirvana. Tomorrow I will have seven hours devoid of thought or sensation.
The amazing has happened after my increased daily calm. Sechuan has begun to move within thirty-six minutes after initiation as if she welcomes more motion. As I worship the female divine in all its permutations, I will perform to her satisfaction. Her satisfaction is evolving, so I must evolve with her.
At lunch, my mind was disrupted again. My usual ashram lunch of grapes, quinoa from our garden and milk from our goats has left me hungry. For fifteen years my food all from our communal garden has left me satisfied and strong. My mind is further aggrieved as it turns to breakfasts of bacon, pancakes and coffee with my father, the chief executive of Edison Motors, and my mother, the Republican senator. Since I became enlightened, I hoped that all those memories of my callow, unenlightened self were extinguished. My life has been dedicated to distancing myself from those days, and creating a new, better person. My mindfulness had been solidly evolved. I am off the grid and self sufficient, devoting myself to a life of contemplation and good works. A good portion of my trust fund has benefited all of the right causes – Freedom for Tibet, peace in Ireland and the Middle East, public breast feeding. Surely these odd feelings of mine are some passing fancy.
The next day while on my twenty mile bike ride dressed in my sheep’s wool clothing woven from our flock’s shearings, I passed a MacDonald. The smells reminded me of moments of teenage bliss, quarter pounders before dates with Cindy at the drive in. I gave in – quarter pounder value meal with Coke and fries. If I’m honest with myself, I want fries more than I want Nirvana.
Six months later my life has changed in so many ways. I have not changed 180 degrees, perhaps ninety. Sechuan was not interested in the new me, but Cindy who had been divorced for five years was. We are in the talking stage of me becoming the stepfather to her three children. Our intimacy ritual – we call it something else now – is completed within half an hour, usually after a couple of drinks. I try for responsible eating six days a week followed by a day of whatever.
Before my previous enlightenment I had taken a series of business courses at my father’s insistence. I’m now finding my education more helpful than just sending money on good causes. An important part of naming something is the acronym, so we are Helping Educate, Learn and Plan – HELP. HELP is planting trees and other plants in brownfields around the world to combat warming and detoxify the soil. Despite their abandonment many years ago, we are starting new communities of what used to be called poor farms. We give people shelter, health care and the tools to start small industries and grow their own food. The lessons that I learned from the self-supporting ashram was instrumental in getting them going. We have a hard time fighting entrenched forces of the usual homeless supporters, but I think that we are winning one life at a time.
I’m the lesser partner in an organization of billionaires working towards greater education, rights and opportunity for women. To enhance family life we support and encourage longer periods of breast feeding, better nutrition and housing. Under those circumstances there will be fewer, healthier children and smaller population growth.
A tougher problem is peace. So far my group’s Whole World Blind cross boundary ecumenical business proposals have failed, but we will keep trying.
When I decided that my best path was to engage with the world, rather than minimize my presence, I left several people at the ashram behind who couldn’t understand my new path. Many of the business people that I deal with now think me strange even when they like my ideas, but my comfort is in the middle zone between materialism and asceticism. I know that I can’t save the world, but I have a better chance looking outwards rather than inwards.
Doug Hawley restarted writing when inspired by local author Cheryl Strayed's "Wild" and physical problems limiting his mobility (better now). He subsequently has received around four hundred placements for his work in the UK, USA, Canada, Iran, the Netherlands, Spain, Germany, Australia, and Hungary/Mexico/USA*. He is untroubled about his lack of training or nuance and ignores most of the few writing rules that he knows. Protagonist and conflict? Doesn't need them. He will write about whatever occurs to him: monster porn ("Black Lagoon"), Stephen King parody ("The Dumb"), memoir ("Balance"), horror ("Marriage"), straight humo(u)r ("Rat World"), humo(u)r/politics ("Space Force vs Space Squid") and humo(u)r/technology ("Brave New Word). Besides online publication, he is in many anthologies - Down In The Dirt, Dark Dossier and a few more.