Deb and I have repeatedly fallen in love in cars. With almost 30 years of time spent together, there have been a number of road trips of various lengths and while a few stand out in my memory, I can’t recall a single trip that wasn’t filled with sweetness. When traveling between points A and B we each have our roles and once those are managed, we typically fall into a familiar, comfortable ease with each other, accompanied by the sounds of the road and music played loud.
I even remember trips during the period after Deb asked for a divorce, but before she’d surrendered her heart again. On those trips we’d turn up the road tunes and sing along with them with a kind of aggressive vigor that both released our pain and communicated it to one another.
One of our favorites was the Johnny Cash and June Carter duet, Jackson! With lyrics like, “We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout” that perfectly reflected our situation, we’d belt out our part so that, even with the volume at max, the other could hear the lyrics crystal clear.
Johnny Cage sings:
“When I breeze into that city, people gonna stoop and bow. (Hah!)
All them women gonna make me, teach ’em what they don’t know how,
I’m goin’ to Jackson, you turn-a loose-a my coat.
‘Cos I’m goin’ to Jackson.“
Deb Carter sings:
“‘Goodbye,’ that’s all she wrote.“
Even in the midst of our pain and generally incapable of talking to each other about how we felt, stuck in a car for hours on a road trip across the province, we could exhaust our suffering at the top of our lungs.
I remember one time when the song My Immortal by Evanescence came on, I could see there was hope for me still in the pain this song generated for her. It’s not just that the lyrics were poignant and spoke so perfectly of Deb’s feeling of being hopelessly bound to me and yet totally alone in my company. But by sharing this song and it’s pain in a car together she could communicate her love and pain where I couldn’t escape or hide from it, nor pretend I hadn’t caused it. We loved each other, inescapably, even though we were the source of each other’s deepest wounds.
And yet, there was remarkable Grace at play in our lives at that time. I had become a devotee of Adi Da‘s a couple years prior to that road trip, and one of the remarkable changes that occurred in my basic function as a person was that I had begun to truly experience “empathy” both emotionally and physically when feeling another’s pain in my heart and guts like it was my own. Looking back, I find it remarkable that prior to Adi Da, that kind of emotion was almost foreign to me, at least in regard to Deb.
So fast forward more than a decade and there are Deb and I on a day long, round trip drive earlier this week from Sun Peaks to Vancouver for a doctor’s appointment singing our assess off, albeit to slightly different tunes, at least to start: Krishna Das, Snatam Kaur, Deval Premal, Bhagavan Das. The way there I enjoyed 4 hours of my usual blissful current circulating through my body, but in truth, a person would nearly have to be dead not to be feeling overwhelming happiness in that situation; the sun was penetrating; the roads were very low on traffic due to the pandemic; the music naturally turned the heart to the Divine, and I was holding hands with my beloved, Deb!
Somewhere on this trip, the words of the Five Reality Teachings of Adi Da floated through my mind; “You are not the one who wakes, or dreams, or sleeps. You Are the actionless and formless Mere Witness of the three common states…“. And while chanting and holding hands with Deb I began a quiet consideration of this teaching.
By and large, my mind was generally quiet for large sections of the drive and yet, my attention kept “noticing” that whatever was arising was an object to “my” position. If the noticing took the shape of words in my mind, they would dissolve and their motive would be forgotten almost as quickly as it was understood because I wasn’t noticing the words for their meaning, so much as noticing they were arising at all. And the inclination to pursue the “search” that gave rise to the words had little gravity as a result.
Deep breaths filled my body without my effort and when I noticed the breaths, they were felt as objects again to “my” position and they floated in and out of my awareness like this for the remainder of the trip to the city. All the while, the blissful current of Bhagavan Adi Da as a “felt” transmission was the resounding, constant undercurrent to everything else that arose and fell away.
I was never really “located” in the Witness position for this lovely drive down, but I was reminded of a previous insight from a meditation a couple months back that the “location” of Consciousness as the Witness, prior to attention itself, must be without “dimension” in space or time or in any regard whatsoever.
Attention itself, flitting about from one “object” to another, whether a breath or word in the mind, is what generates the feeling of space and time. I see the road bending away from me, and I notice the feeling of time elapsing as my attention moves from object to object down the road toward Vancouver.
Unsurprisingly, the trip to the city disappeared in a moment. But for the remainder of the day, I continued to feel this notion of time and space shaped only by attention as a theme I kept being drawn to and that would present a lovely insight on the return trip home a few hours later.
By the time we had cleared the majority of the traffic leaving Vancouver out past Abbotsford near Hope, the sun had just set and it was dark twilight. Concerned about getting sleepy with over three hours of driving still, I decided not to put on devotional music instead opting for a road trip playlist with a variety of our favorite songs.
The familiar current of love-bliss and the ever present sense of Bhagavan’s Grace continued to course through me as it had intensely on the trip down encouraged then by Krishna Das. But after a full day feeling The Five Reality Teachings, the trip home became more and more ecstatic.
Familiar songs played as the night got darker and Deb and I sang. Counting Crows, Mr. Jone, “When everybody loves you. You can never be lonely”. Burton Cummings, These Eyes, “These eyes have seen a lot of loves
But they’re never gonna see another one like I had with you.“
Gnarls Barkly, Crazy:
“I remember when, I remember, I remember when I lost my mind
There was something so pleasant about that place.
Even your emotions had an echo
In so much space.”
As the songs played and we sang, I could feel the wounds the songs sprang from even while Adi Da’s love-bliss state poured down through me. Long ago I could barely feel the pain my beloved Deb experienced at my hands, but now by Grace as a gift of devotion to the One Who Is Consciousness, I’m both ecstatic and wounded by the feeling of Burton Cummings lost love and Mr. Jones aching loneliness.
I laughed out loud as I sang, Crazy, feeling mindless in the direction of the dimensionless space from which Adi Da’s Transmission was flowing.
Bhagavan often refers to His Location as the Divine Domain, where Consciousness Itself Exists prior to point of view in the Feeling of Being. His devotees and all others are arising in the conditional universe, located in the cosmic domain where our identification with “attention” and point of view generates our sense of time and space.
And while miles of the road were disappearing both in front and behind us, the act of driving was dreamlike. My body-mind were in charge of the car and the singing, but my feeling was with The Great One even as images of Adi Da Transmitting Bliss seemed to be projected onto the landscape of my awareness like a Divine Domain slideshow.
The songs kept playing the longings, wounds, dreams and wishes of humanity, and while I was swept along with each sentiment, still there was Beloved Transmitting His State.
And then Toni Braxton’s, You’re Makin’ Me High:
“I’ll always think of you
Inside of my private thoughts
I can imagine you
Touching my private parts
And just the thought of you
Can’t help but touch myself
That’s why I want you so bad.”
Deb and I have often made love to this exquisite anthem of sexual passion and longing. But as this song came on and I “noticed” this longing in myself and Toni, I understood how this sexual motive, like all the themes of the songs we’ve sung that night normally generate a refusal to feel the Always Already Transmission of Love-Bliss.
I understood how the bliss I was feeling is always available, but refused or not “noticed” or ignored as I search for fulfillment or attainments as a separate someone in the cosmic domain. And I felt I understood how The Beloved, Always Already in the Divine Domain, prior to attention, and therefore prior to time and space, Is Always Present, Always Now and Always Free.
For those to come in future times, who feel that they missed being in Adi Da’s company because they didn’t interact with Him in Person, rest assured, He is Present Now Always Already. You’ve missed nothing except by your own refusal, right in this current moment. If you see an image like those above in my “slideshow” on a computer screen or the screen of your mind, He is available for the living relationship exactly as I was feeling it filling my truck with Deb and I, Loving my heart open with His Bliss.
For beings in the cosmic domain, time and space are true because we assume we’re located where attention is, and yet, outside the confines of these dimensions, Consciousness Itself is Always Transmitting Love-Bliss. Adi Da Samraj is the Avatar of Consciousness Itself. While I may see or picture His Image in my mind driving down a highway to home in the cosmic domain, His Radiance is unbound by dimensions and by Grace I feel Him right now, even as I did on the road trip home while jamming out to Nickelback’s, Burn It To The Ground.