Highway Robbery! Rude Awakening!

Have you gotten a speeding ticket when you were not speeding?  Highwaymen steal from travelers… there’s a long history of such activity.  Have you ever been falsely accused of something?  I have, and those are soul triggers.  Anyway, these themes appear in this post.

I was robbed, as I see it, yesterday, being pulled over by a highway robber in the guise of a police officer.  I want to share my thoughts about the experience here just in case it may soothe the wound of someone else out there who is reeling after an episode similar to my own.  So here goes . . .

Highway Robbery! Rude Awakening! I awoke this morning and very first thought was that even the honored British-born Theravada Buddhist monk Ajahn Sucitto in his travels throughout India retracing the Buddha’s footsteps on a spiritual pilgrimage was robbed by highwaymen. More than once if I recall from reading his book. My pilgrimage is only to the gym and I too am a spiritual seeker. I don’t care! I’m going with the comparison. It works for me.

Highway Robbery… that’s what happened to me yesterday. I didn’t sleep all night with flashbacks of the red and blue lights swirling behind my car. I reviewed the whole thing willing to admit to myself if I could have been mistaken. No. All night long. No, no mistake, I was not speeding.

The cop was a good actor. I assume a highway robber has to have some type of convincing skill in that way. Maybe they coach them on the approach to use. Right off he said, “Didn’t you see how many cars you went past?!” I thought he stopped me to say a tail light was out.

How many cars did I pass? there were 2 lanes and I was in mine and didn’t whip around anyone…just was minding my own business driving straight on. Again, there were two lanes. I was in my lane. I have no memory of passing 4 cars who were driving in the other lane next to mine.

And there was no traffic … its a lightly traveled road which is why I usually drive that way. I take back roads whenever I can.

His next line was about a radar clock and how fast he had to drive to catch up to me. What??? I drove that road every time I go to the gym and was not driving fast, was not in a hurry. I was not upset, had nothing in particular in mind but maybe my grocery list. Planned on stopping on the way home.  Anyway.  Nada. My conclusion. Highway Robbery!

Again, even the honored British-born Theravada Buddhist monk Ajahn Sucitto in his travels throughout India while retracing the Buddha’s footsteps through India was robbed.

For me, it was $200 that I had to put on a charge card of which I was robbed. For Theravada Buddhist monk Ajahn Sucitto it was his begging bowl and some precious survival items.

He had to let go and not argue about what happened. That’s why I’m not a monk or nun material. I argued. Well, I mostly disagreed and kept saying so. Either way. I’m letting go but it’s not been immediate.  Maybe blogging it all out will help me but others who will need to move this kind of business.

Strange how it happens, you know.  The moment you up-your-game, there comes a challenge right off to give you the test.  Suppose you vow to live healthier and the next thing you know, you get sick.  Practice for getting healthier.  Vow to be more peaceful and there comes a highway robber to give you practice for that too.  Anyway . . .

Highway Robbery! I am not my money nor am I my driving skills.  Here’s another consolation:  Buddha said in The Discourse on the Not-self . . . ‘This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.’  That’s a good mantra if you are up to speed on the Non-self teachings.

I have listened to many of Ajahn Succito’s audio teachings and have read both of his books about his pilgrimage through India. Today I will pop in one of the CD of his dharma talks while working on watercolor painting and connect back with his energy to heal further from this experience.

Just as a footnote, it’s not so much the money (but yeah, losing $200 right now does hurt) but it is more-so being accused of something that I feel certain that I wasn’t doing and then to avoid a hassle of going to court (which is what they count on most people doing!), admitting guilt (had to check that box online) confessing to something that I didn’t do in order to pay the ticket.  Highway Robbery. This being accused of things that I haven’t done is an old soul wound that life circumstances trigger. How it goes has to do with when one is working more consciously and conscientiously on the spiritual path, it brings up those old grudges and defilements–impairments to peace.

Ajahn Succito released his possessions to the thieves without anger or resentment with an attitude of maybe they needed those things more than he himself did.

I am trying to consider my own experience of highway robbery with an attitude of giving a generous gift to the city’s police department — maybe they all need a raise or have higher operating expenses.  Not that I don’t!  but still, there it is— a better attitude for me to embrace such as given by the example of Ajahn Succito.

I think that it can be seen as a self-measure of where one is on the path based on how one handles those experiences and deals with the uprising kleshas. Kleshas, in Buddhist thought, are mental states that cloud the mind and manifest in unwholesome actions. Kleshas include states of mind such as anxiety, fear, anger, jealousy, desire, depression, etc.  I had some anger going on mostly stemming from pride — in that, I do believe myself to be a safe and careful driver and obedient to the laws of the land.  Right, so that’s that. The robbers got their money and I got my measure of active kleshas are the strong conflicting emotions that spin-off and heighten when we get caught by aversion and attraction.  In my case yesterday, aversion!  And maybe too much pride in my perceived driving skills — active defilement.

Should I thank the highwayman for the rude awakening he gave me by helping me see in what state my spiritual progress *(or lack of) exists? Should I wonder about his karma?

Not really there yet.  Maybe that gratitude will take a few more days.  Meanwhile, I’d love a $200+ refund; but not holding my breath for that one.

Flashbacks and Indians are Moving (Yay)

looking out windowFLASHBACKS… no, never did LSD, so that’s not this.

But while just sitting upon my bed looking out the window a little bit ago… a familiar feeling came.  I was sick a lot around the ages of 6 to 8 years old,  as I recall.  Mumps once and maybe either chicken pox or measles (I’m pretty sure measles but maybe both) because I remember the rash and all the adults getting excited and missing weeks of school.  I had my tonsils out too; but mostly I remember looking longingly out the window and wanting to go outside just like I did when I awoke this morning to the uncouth Indian voices  —that last part being normal fare around here.

There’s a nice breeze today, its 60 degrees and I’d love to go out for a hike in the woods—to visit the Lady of the Lake.  But the adult in me knows better, says no like my mother did back when I had the mumps and measles and I am left with that familiar feeling not knowing what to do with it but blog it.

It has been many-a-moon (in fact many years of moons) that I’ve been this congested.   I woke this morning, as I have many mornings after their Indian hookah (or whatever)  parties, with a migraine.  Yeah, I just put the 2 + 2 together on that one!  Same deal last weekend and the one before—open eyes and head pounds.  The smell of whatever they put in their pipes is nauseatingly disgusting and finds its way up through the floor and walls. Even though I’ve shut and covered the heating vents, when they put on their central air unit, it pumps the smelly residue right on up here.  And it wakes me in the night.  After today, only 44 more days of this; they move out on the 31st of December.  Happy New Year! Yay!

Oh, by the way,  I can’t prove they smoke hookah but the maintenance guys say most all of them do and I’ve smelled actual … well, you know that, “OMG what the heck is that burning?” , but I think after a while they changed it up a bit to something different.  Maybe this would be hard for you to believe, but REALLY, I’ve better things to do then speculate about it, although blogging about it generally does help release some levels of frustration.

My lungs and sinuses are not real happy, nor is my head right now.  They know I’m sick up here in the apartment above them—they must hear me coughing throughout the night just as I hear their coughing!  Despite that, they had a loud and in my opinion grossly bad-mannered boisterous party last night.  Just lovely! They know I’d hear every word and yelp above them!

Me as a little girl
Me, as a child around the time of mumps and measles

My family has been dropping off food and medicine—because going out into the marketplace with one of my coughing jags wouldn’t be pretty, not that I couldn’t do it—but it’d be embarrassing is all.  Yesterday, finally liquid Nyquil and a vaporizer came through the door and I was just about to finally sleep (something for the previous two nights I’d not been able to do due to coughing) and just as the cough calmed, they started with the hookah and loud voices and hyena laughter—the female Indian is really good at that!  You know that there are such things as pig calling contests, right?  Well, if they had hyena laughter impression contests, she’d be the world champion!

The laughter and talking is highly nervous and hyper sounding—that’s the hookah hyena laugh and you want to talk about speed?  They already talk a mile-a-minute as is, but on hookah (or whatever stimulant they obviously use), well, it’s hard to describe.  And I don’t want to talk about it.

So anyway,  I am too sick to go out and play and mostly too sick to work too although yesterday—bless her heart!—I had a very patient astrology client put up with my hacking cough and my loss of voice for an hour session. Thank you Janie!

I had to cancel and reschedule the other  session that I’d planned to do yesterday; I really don’t like having to bump clients into the next week but I’ve got to get over this cold or clearing or whatever we want to call it.  It started last weekend when I spoke to the Hyena impersonator about the smell of garlic (so strong I could taste it in my mouth) – I got a few things off my chest at that time  although we’re talking about a conversation that lasted less than 2 minutes.

I knocked on their door with my apartment reeking of garlic and with the taste of it in my mouth—anyway, the very next day I started with a sore throat.

Their cooking smells, second hand hookah stink (if that nauseating smell is what I think it is) and germs make their way up to me way too easily—a compliment to the architect and builder of this complex!  May he have a long and happy laugh—which is sarcasm! 

The hyena Mumbai lady and her equally obnoxious partner (the pants-on-fire dude; see previous posts) are letting it rip today; shouting at the top of their lungs and minds—are they trying to goat me into coming down for another confrontation?  Sorry, too sick—don’t have the energy.  Besides, I approached them both once –no actually 3 times now and got nowhere—it’s like talking to a wall.

I want to go out of this apartment today—get out of here; but to escape where?  I don’t trust myself to drive being under Nyquil’s influence and I don’t want to make my family sick.  I joke with my grandson who is the one sent to the door with meds or food.  Not wanting him to get sick I will say to him:  “okay, son, set the bag down, put your hands in the air, then cover your mouth and back away slowly.”   Nobody in our family is sick–just me and the Mumbai’s.

One benefit to being here near my family versus being alone in the mountains is that my family helps me out at times like these.  I love my family.

There’s no doubt in my mind that my downstairs neighbors are being more obviously and purposefully vocal since they were told that their lease is not being renewed—apparently it was that.  At first, I thought it was their choice to move.  Apparently not,  or they wouldn’t be acting out the way that they currently are this past week!  The female right now as I type this is singing loud at the top of her lungs,  while she grinds up something in the blender—I suspect tobacco.  They’ve been loud and ugly plenty before,  but its all been escalating since last week.

I am going to do more writing more today  — no, not about this.  I’m going to utilize a blog topic that I’ve had in mind and convert it into a newsletter which is only 4 days late now!  Best get at it.  Maybe a movie later, I don’t know.

I’m stuck inside just like when I was a little girl – oh, and idea:  maybe I can download a good book on kindle later.  I’m very good at holding concentration now with music on and sleeping soundly with music on.  I’ve learned to tune my mind to IT in avoidance of their hyena yelps and ‘faster-than-a-speeding-bullet’ talking.

I just want to add that I totally don’t buy it!  You know?  I mean the argument about “It’s our culture to be loud, obnoxious and cook stinky food and not care about anybody else”.  Nope.  Don’t buy it.  Why? Because IN FACT they are NOT in their culture anymore—if they want to be, then why not return to India?  No excuse in my book!  Their right to act out and create stinks ends with my right to have reasonable quiet living environment and to breathe clean air. I wonder if a lawyer would have any kind of case in this situation?  Anyway…

I think the world map of astrology well, on a geodetic map… if I recall India is aligned with Leo which would account for the self-centeredness of my Indian neighbors.  I could be wrong about the Geocentric map Leo part—that’s not my forte’ astrologically but as for the rest, I stand behind it.  Only someone who lived in my apartment and walked my shoes knows what a year it’s been!  But the end is near! 44 more days.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you. 

Don’t we all want our mother to protect us and to fight our battles and take care of us—especially when we don’t feel well?  My own mother was not particularly nurturing,  but I do still call out for my mother on days like these–even if the response isn’t forthcoming, I think it’s human nature too want that nurturing and protection at times.

There is Divine Mother or Goddess or Kwan Yin or Tara that represent that same energy.  Sometime children act out (just as my Indian neighbors are) because they want their mothers attention or nurturing.  Today, I will try harder to be patient with my boisterous Indian neighbors by imagining their noise being their cry for their own mother.  I thought at first that they chose to leave this apartment and rent another either here or elsewhere but judging from the recent escalation of their voices and parties etc., it may not have been their choice at all.

I wonder if a lawyer would have a case to make about the air exchange in this place.  None of my family is sick but down below me they are coughing and hacking like myself — it was the same way last year but I don’t recall the cough and cold being this severe.  Likely they are blaming me as I am blaming them for the germ exchange when really if fingers are pointed in this case, it should be toward the apartment complex itself.

I am not interested in that–only that they are moving! And for that,  I am most grateful.  Funny.  I went in the very day they made arrangements to move to ask how i could possibly get out of this lease–do i have any options I said?  And the rental girl said, they came in this morning and finalized their lease, they’re moving.  There was someone in her office and I could tell she didn’t want to discuss it further.  So…

Will it be to another apartment here in this complex? or elsewhere?  I don’t care as long as they are no longer under my feet!  amen!  and thank you Divine Mother!

And now my coffee has gone cold and my throat seem to be calling for something warm to soothe it so I bring us to end to end of this chapter.

Humor helps in dealing with stresses

airplane taxiHumor helps in dealing with stresses

Funny how certain things in life we simply don’t seem to hear, isn’t it?  I used to live on a fairly busy highway.  Even though people suggested to me before I moved-in that the sound of the traffic would be noisy or busy or a bother, I didn’t care.  I liked the house and actually enjoyed the moving traffic passing by.   Yet, if I hear a chain saw or anything that sounds like it or a human voice–it’s a totally different story.  It just is.  I’d rather hear a pack of dogs bark all night long that this loud Indian couple bantering and fussing for hours on end!  No really—they talk and talk and talk and then talk some more, non-stop hour after hour and on and on.  How about reading a book or SOMETHING? Anything!  (My current working theory is that it was a forced marriage and they are still hashing out whose fault it is–its just that the mind really wonders what they could go on about for so long and with such ….. well, lets leave it at that.)

I’m employing all types of tools and methods to deal with the stresses of certain sounds and noises these days.  Take for instance the other night.  Humor works and sometimes I can “crack myself up” as the saying goes!

The downstairs neighbors (a loud mouthed couple from India–pardon how I said that but it’s true) were getting louder as I was about to get into bed.  Great!  Here we go again!  My tried-and-true method to muffle into silence their Mumbai-mumbling-mouths involves turning up the fan on the central air unit, then putting the floor fan on high, AND the air purifier too for the benefit of THAT white noise as well.  All that, as sometimes happens, didn’t do it! I could still hear their very loud voices.   The task of drowning out the sound of their mouths completely was going to require the calling forth of the duty of the dishwasher!

Once it’s all going at the same time, the place is really rocking with white noise.   In fact, so much so that my apartment sounds like a jet engine!  Rolling off on that thought, as I kicked off my slippers, turned back the covers on my bed, switched off the light announcing, “Ladies and gentleman this is your captain speaking, welcome to cosmic airlines, we’ve been cleared for take off,  please fasten your seat belts, and enjoy your flight…”  I felt asleep laughing.  Humor helps dealing with stress.

(So does the fact that their VISA will run out soon and they will have to go back to India!  Hasta la vista baby!  Can’t happen too soon for me!  Meanwhile… humor!)  I know it’s NASCAR country here too and that Jimmy Johnson just won the Daytona 500, but I’ve developed a huge dis-taste for Lowe’s (employer of the Indians in this town).  I am personally boycotting Lowe’s as a way to make myself feel better about the noise, not that I really ever shopped there anyway…but still.  Opps… suddenly seem to have lost my sense of humor again! LOL  Change!  Grrrrrrrrr!!  Or as my Buddhist friend has said, “Om Dammit OM!”  (This blog is another tool in dealing with my stress as well.  And yeah, yeah, I know it’s all illusion or mental projection or just life as it is in the big city.  Still, I also know that a girl’s gotta’ do what a girl’s gotta’ do!)

PS — if some big exec at Lowe’s Headquarters reads my blog   and wants to buy me out of my lease, you can contact me through my website. What are the chances?  ha ha