My Last ‘Student’?
If Pisces was the sign of addiction then maybe my not wanting to be an addict was going against my very own nature. With that in mind I embraced a new addiction: change! I accessed resources to further my healing like a madman.
Volunteering with the GaMMa Project, a crystal meth outreach program for gay men gave me the opportunity to give back to society caught unawares by its outbreak. More than that it allowed me to see and heal my own humanity. When I ‘drooled’ over one of the kids in ‘BoysTown,’ I resisted my lustful temptations. In doing so, he looked me in the eyes and thanked me. I knew what he meant. Johnny had growled it in his hit song Public Image from his debut album of the same name: ‘I will not be treated as property.‘ I’d gone on a journey with him and been shown another way to deal with lustful temptations other than just giving into them. As a token of my gratitude we went to the store where I treated him to a pop and muffin and talked to one another. If anything, that was more intimate than any paid for sexual act could or would ever inspire be. And what we did with our teachings: ignoring, learning or even disrespecting was up to us. The important thing was now we had been shown the difference. I even took my first year cake with the Nooner branch of AA at Davie and Bute, to help my wounds with that organization. But I didn’t want to get addicted to that either, so I let it go to concentrate on meditation in action practice.
But I kept in touch with the street kids, passing on information as it came up for me to those who’d listen. Naturally some didn’t want to learn, but grateful for the opportunity. On one particular journey I turned the corner at Davie and Bute as a brilliant white light shone from my heart center. Confused and awed by its sheer beauty, pure white rays radiated outwards like the most dazzling sun I’d ever seen. Seated on the ground before me was a young homeless kid smiling from ear to ear, eyes filled with such innocent love that melted my heart on the spot. I beamed back lovingly and left unable to handle such loving attention.
Later in my infinite wisdom, I thought I was doing him a favor by advocating he do something besides sitting around in doorways all day long begging for change. He did, but not with me. Still, it felt good to know I’d reached someone for once. But the Universe is not without a sense of irony. Afraid of asking him to move in with me because it went against the ethics of counseling, he moved in with a gay drug dealer. As he underwent the usual trappings, my ego shattered. I got a good lesson in what can happen when wants and desires were out of sync.
Afraid I’d knocked him off his path, I couldn’t even look him in the eye anymore. Paralyzed by fear, he slowly began to fade from my consciousness. ‘Hey,’ he shouted, reminding me he was still there. I’d fallen for the same trap I’d accused others of doing to me: choosing personal hurts over the humanity of another. Humbled, I bowed my head in silent respect and thanked him publicly for showing me the error of my ways. But worse was yet to come! Seeing him caught up in the game of ‘You Owe Me For Stealing From Me’ with the dealer hurt beyond belief. He saw my pain, yet still took the time to console me and tell me everything was going to be alright. Humbled yet again, I went home and cried. The teacher had become the student in one fell swoop.
A few days later we ran into one another at opposite sides of Burrard. As we walked towards one another he transformed right before my very eyes. Surrounded by a radiant white light, he was now a young, blonde-haired Turkish man in a fez! I stopped; mouth agape as he passed. So, we had met before in a past life. As the light turned green, I ran to the other side. Looking back, it felt so good to have met a long lost ‘friend’ after so many lifetimes.
It’d be several months before I had the chance to repay my ‘debt’ to him. Removed for sleeping at the back door of my apartment, I came home to find him sleeping in the front! Shoving aside fears of what the neighbors might be thinking, I climbed the steps to the front door. One step, he fidgeted. Two steps, he got up. Three steps, our two energies came together. Now I knew we were destined to be together.
Though he was many years younger than me and fearless to the point of being rash, he was a beautiful old soul with a good heart. And he’d taken the most important step of all: he’d reached out for help by himself. To hell with ethics, I couldn’t not let him stay after that! Still, I kept my intentions honest by keeping my counselor and meditation teacher informed of my process.
Whereas my mind played cat and mouse with Tom’s lightning fast mind, my manipulative emotional nature reflected back in the mirror of his Capricornian ‘iciness’. For him, I respected his need to learn to honor discipline and truth. Naturally, there were fights and moments of hair-pulling exasperation, but what real relationship didn’t? When he dropped a can of beans on my ‘favorite’ plate breaking it in two, a loving voice asked: ‘What are you going to do now?’ I had to choose between my ‘favorite plate’ and him. I chose the higher path of forgiveness. Besides, he hadn’t done it on purpose. He barely had the strength to lift anything! On lesson down, many more to go!
When he stole from me, I took it as payment of my karmic debt for stealing parties because I could rather than any real hunger. While I really wanted to give them back, I was too scared of the consequences of not being understood. Still, it was a valuable lesson on how I was operating on impulses rather than choice. In his case, the onus wasn’t just on me to call him a thief. He knew that much. And my reaffirming the obvious only made it worse. To make it really mean anything it had to come from him to be of real power and meaning if he was serious about healing that or any character defect. The fact that he stayed and talked about his shame and other emotions showed he cared, but he could only do so in the way he knew how at the time. Several years later the concept of stealing things to gain affections revealed itself while singing Elvis‘ hit song Love Me: ‘I would beg and steal, just to feel your heart beating close to mine.‘ It was a humbling lesson!
In trying my best to reach him, I challenged myself to reach deeper within myself. In doing so, I learned to better respect, communicate, love and take care of not only my own needs, but his and others too. Believing I’d finally found my soul mate, healing my own younger self was worth any amount of money, hardship and inconvenience. With an incredible capacity to listen, I watched him grow daily struggling to make the necessary changes to learn what he hadn’t learned while growing up. Sure people and friends told me to get rid of him, that he was a nobody and even mentally ill, but they’d also thought the same of me too! The looks on their faces when I told them how he didn’t judge them so critically was priceless!
Punishing criminal activity rarely worked, especially when it was an expected outcome. Being red-zoned or exiled only served as an agent of cross-contamination. Anyone with or without a food safe course knew that! On another level, it was nothing more than passing the buck. Red-zoned dealers and users spread ‘contamination’ not just because they wanted to, but because they didn’t know any better. They weren’t the source, but the embodiment of the problem. Change the source at the energetic level and the problem changed. But for that to happen, people had to be willing to look at the overall process of criminal activity – even their own passive involvement in it. Oh well, society needed to learn what not to do just as much as anyone else.
© Michael J. Varma, The Gong Show, 2011 –
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