When I was in high school, my father bought a wrecked, British racing green Austin-Healy Sprite, a fun little English roadster (meaning open and topless), which he thoroughly and perfectly rebuilt. The arrangement was that he intended to sell it, but it was mine to drive until then.
Shortly afterward, pleased with that accomplishment, he was considering the purchase of a wrecked, silver Aston Martin DB4 GT, which had lots of aluminum body parts—a cause for some hesitation. Working with, and welding aluminum is something which requires a high degree of familiarity and specific skill. My father was not a welder. He was a rural mail carrier who also happened to be very adept at learning new skills and perceiving how to fix things with which he had no previous knowledge or experience. So, he was contemplating it.
He had even taken me to Kansas City with him to look at the car. Essentially brand new, and drop-dead gorgeous—even as a wreck—the car was beyond my youthful dreams.
In the meantime, already addicted to speed, Larry rolled the lovely little Sprite one afternoon, wrapping its steering wheel into the shape of a folded omelette around the steering column. Firm determination and the steering wheel had served as my safety belt in the accident. I walked away with minor aches and scratches.
My misadventure with the Sprite dampened my father’s enthusiasm and ultimately ended his dream of owning an Aston Martin. And mine. For those of you who may not have been enraptured with sports racing in the mid-60s, the DB4 GT was a luxury powerhouse capable of 0-100mph and back to zero in 10 seconds. The apex of British grand touring at the time, Aston Martin’s concept of a superior automobile went well beyond today’s typically touted bragging rights of 0-60mph—overall performance is a more telling reflection of quality than mere muscle.
So I was demoted to hurtling around the countryside in a car new to the U.S., a VW beetle, which was actually a lot of fun to drive. Thus I continued to pursue my engram, squeezing the limits out of every car I owned.
Over the years, some passengers have asked what’s the hurry, or suggested that I’m showing off. One or two thought I was racing. I’ve never been racing. I’m enjoying the driving experience and the car. My only interest in other drivers is in the awareness of what they’re doing—or going to do—for the sake of everyone’s safety. And that, as I’m sure you know, is a full time job.
There was a period of time, when I paid attention to such things, that some well known grand prix drivers retired from racing and taught specialized driving skills. All of them agreed and taught that many, if not most accidents can best be avoided through acute awareness and moving quickly, rather than resorting to slamming on the brakes.
What none of my passengers have ever known is that only the Master and I know how I drive when I don’t have passengers.
Making the jump of nearly sixty years, I’ve finally had the pleasure of owning a couple of cars entirely capable of accommodating the way I drive. But more importantly, I’m now keenly aware of and familiar with the Presence in the car with me, a ‘passenger’ I’m far more concerned about offending—the very Presence, in fact, Who has so lovingly protected and guided me through these decades, even prior to my awareness of It. Pushing the source of grace is an unwise expression of ego.
Unsurprisingly, there are, however, occasions when I find myself again engulfed in the engram—especially since I still drive one of those cars that begs to be driven.
All of which brings me to an experience with that Presence just as SARS CoV-2 was arriving, unannounced, on a bright winter day in late January 2020. From my recorded contemplation of that event:
The Master has awakened me through a gentle series of bizarre, discomforting physical sensations at 12:something a.m. to come more closely face to face with what I experienced today.
Creeping onto the perpetually congested freeway at Lead, compressing time and space toward the Rio Grande Co-op, negotiating traffic into the far left lanes, then into the far right lanes to accomplish the merging from I-25 northbound onto I-40 West, I was soon driving very fast, watching a lot of simultaneous events around me which were a little hairy. Entering that particular cluster of congestion, one can expect a lot of erratic and somnolent behavior. The first unknown to be brought to my attention before my experience was that the single lane allowing me to take the flyover to I-40 West was moving very slowly. And I needed to get back into it from the far right, which diverted east. Watching all the options I needed to, I found an acceptable hole through which to make that move without being impolite.
Checking all other options to make sure no one was going to make any surprise alterations in their trajectory when I did that, I simultaneously made the move and looked up to see what was immediately in front of me. What I saw had just come to a complete stop, dead ahead of me—at a distance of what seemed like 60 or 70 feet. I must have been going between 55 and 65—whatever the speed, an impossible distance in which to stop. I was committed to the lane. There was no option of changing again. The only option was to stand on the brakes, which I did with my entire physical body. The extra effort expended with my body, however, was not going to be enough to stop the car. Even with the wheels locked, I became aware that there was no way—I was going to hit the smallish white pickup sitting in front of me. As I watched and listened to the groan of rubber being removed from all four tires, I could only ascertain that I was going to hit him. That sound of resistance was like no other I have ever heard tires make. I had no fear for my life, but I wasn’t relishing hitting him. Still, my entire will was unwaveringly bent on avoiding that. But the physics just didn’t add up for such an outcome. Yet, as I watched, in disbelief, the Master simply stopped me in the remaining twenty to thirty feet, with finality and safety, about two to three feet from the pickup’s bumper. The incongruity of this physical impossibility juxtaposed with the Master’s Will was… simply was.
When I had left the house I was more internalized with the Master than ever before. There was no desire to listen to a seminar on the phone as I often do, or anything else—other than a very subtle, inner simran—to enhance this divine union. I was solidly locked in it and was entertaining the sole intention of remaining there.
Having already shopped at the Nob Hill Co-op, and being transported to the next one, this connection had not diminished.
The thin thread of slow-moving traffic I had previously seen inching along on the distant flyover was now nowhere in sight, and a huge white semi-trailer had just begun to move from its dead stop at the head of the line of traffic I now sat behind. I can only imagine what the poor fellow in the white pickup must have experienced—if, indeed, he even recognized his peril. Still reveling in the experience of connection, all I could do was shake my head—inside. Full awareness and contemplation of what had just happened really hasn’t come until now. I was fully aware of its miraculous nature, but am only now considering its implications.
It would be wise to keep it simple: The Master chose to accommodate my will not to hit this poor soul stopped in front of me with my two ton jet. It would be easy to drift into dualistic speculation about riddhi powers like stopping bullets and speeding trains, but I’m going with “the Master stopped me”. Keep it simple, my friend, and nurture and maintain that unbelievably strong connection for meeting each next moment I step into.
Wonder, wonder, wonder ….
As for my biological father, who thanklessly worked his buns off to shower me with so many gifts—both external and internal—this sincere man never found much to help him understand where in the world his son came from.
His son is now blissfully immersed in being shown the answers to that question. And is giving increasing attention to where he’s going.
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