Travelling to Oceanside, Calsbad, Market & Observations

Elia suggested I spend the day with her.  She had to drive to Oceanside to sign a tenancy agreement with tenants.  I thought about how tricky it could be with tenants, some are clean some are not, some have issues some are fine. She also has a responsibility to make sure the place is liveable and complies with laws.

So we drove down as we headed south I noticed more mountaineous country. I felt the relief of more green. In pockets you can see the large mansions and I feel not the slightest envy. I see materialism as excess weight and feel the freedom of being like the wind where I can just flow with life without responsibility. I explained to Elia it does not mean irresponsible but means I don’t have burdens, I am in a position to watch and observe without distractions. I do like that.

As we drove she showed me an army area explaining to me this is where they do their exercises. They had makeshift Afghan villages and wondered if only we could put energy into helping people rather than learning how to destroy them. I just can’t really understand the mindset. We travelled on and my friend pointed out the immigration point which is to catch illegals. Of course in the media here at the moment is the discussion to make illegals living in the United States legal. I was told by the drug and alcohol educator that 67% of people in Los Angeles were of dark background which includes Hispanic, Asian, Afro American, so they are in the majority, whyich is interesting. We drove on and my friend pointed out a town with crimson roofs. It was a town built for the military. The military land stretches quiet a ways and where we are going, Oceanside is a Naval base. We even passed nuclear power stations which looked round like round golf balls. Intuitively I have concern about nuclear, we also noted that it was on the San Adreas fault. So if there is an earthquake there could be problems, it is also close to the ocean. I assume that is for cooling.

We stopped in Oceanside and Elia had to go to the rental to organise tenants.  I hung around a bookshop with wireless but no power supply.  I ended up going for a walk.  I tried to get a mobile to ring Elia and tell her I had moved.  What I found was very interesting.  People were reluctant to help me.  To be honest I was suprised, in Australia people wouldn’t hesitate to lend you a phone.  I went into a shop and the guys said no. I asked about public phones, there were none. One guy said he thought maybe there was a phone in a fastfood outlet. I walked on and went to have something to eat. So hard to find healthy food, so went to Jack in the Box. I sat there with wireless. I asked another lady for a phone she said she didn’t have one and I asked at the counter she said no and didn’t know where I could get one. This is a country where everyone has a cell phone as they call it. I then send an email from my computer hoping Elia would get it. I then walked towards Federal Express and asked a woman on the way. She was visibly tense and I could see psychologically cold towards me. You would think I asked for her money. Yet I turned to her and said ‘do you know where I can find a public phone?’ I then said ‘I am Australian and I don’t have a phone’. She seemed a little more human and said in Federal Express they have phones. I was obviously seen as a foreigner and not somehow sponging off her. I asked Elia later about this attitude and she said it was class. I was really amazed by it. She said if you go into a poor area they will help you. This was a middle class area and they can’t understand how you can’t have a phone and they won’t help. I just marvelled at the attitude and thought if money makes you like this I would prefer no money. I don’t want to ask poor people to lend their phone as I don’t wish to burden them financially, naturally a wealthier person can afford it. Yet they appear less kind. That was my impression. I am finding this different from Australia. Yet I have to not judge as I am not in their shoes and yes, would Australian’s be the same under the same circumstances, of course. I am glad my country is smaller and there is a friendlier attitude. I even tried to joke with a guy in a queue later that day as they wouldn’t accept my debit card as payment. I knew it was taking time so tried to smile, he didn’t smile. I thought they don’t have a sense of humour. How hard is it to smile at someone and just be okay with a delay why is everything conditional on getting what you want? Seems somewhat selfish to me, however, I can see it in my country also. So I will just keep on observing here and see what I see.

I want to add in that I am thinking a lot about compassion. My friend made a comment about her tenants leaving their bike out and that this is a good and bad neighbourhood. Apparently there is a lot of homeless and poor. I just reflect on that and wonder why can’t we as a society help the poor. Why do they have to be seen as down and out and a threat. Why do we act singularly rather than as a society. I suggested that the community could set up forums to get people to engage with the topic of unemployment, drugs and homelessness. Rather than seeing them as low life engaging the issue. The drug and alcohol guy said to me that they have experienced emotional traumas which is why they get into drugs. My friend told me her friend had a son that was a full on alcoholic but her and ex husband were too busy to help him. I wondered at parents that had no time, I wondered if they were avoiding the problem or whether they were snowed under and needed help. I suggested to my friend rather than demonise the parents perhaps they need help to deal with the son. He went off the rails when they divorced she told me. So this son could be your son, we have to find ways to build community and to see ignoring these issues only creates a polarised society where we see ‘us and them’ and the rich become richer and the poor become poorer. The US doesn’t want a Mexican third world state. My friend said it could become a third world country, I have to be honest I felt that. Our societies are so divided and singular, I see that as the main problem, we have to rebuild community. When I did research in a problem area of Brisbane what became clear in the research with police, shopping centre management, social workers etc. was that the young people were not known to the community. They built a community centre and people got to know the kids. Turns out their parents were on drug and they were kicked out. Yet society saw them as trouble in the making rather than what was the trouble? So we need to see differently and compassion is one of the keys that opens the mind to assist rather than resist.

Elia and I caught up and we drove on to Oceanside, she showed me the house she is renting and then left me down in the prominade where a market was being set up. I went for a walk and sat down to have something to eat. I watched the guys walking around, all short hair cuts, clearly military and I tried to imagine their world. I saw one young military guy taking money out of a vending machine and another young guy with long hair chatting with his friends, and thought of the gulf between these young men probably not so different in age.

I went for a walk and found a small stall with a military Major there who was promoting his book. It was a journal of his time in Vietnam and he was describing in his book 60 US military surrounded by 1,000 Vietcong. I have no doubt it would be terrifying, I have no doubt there is great heroism however I cannot get away from the idea that people go to kill each other and that is my interest, as to why? What drives men to kill and not resolve conflict. It is a burning question which I want to understand. So I looked directly into this soldiers eyes and asked him ‘what will create peace?’. It was as if he didn’t hear the question he went straight into Communism and I felt the discourse of us and them, pro communist or ant-communist. So a clear mental approach which looked for right and wrong rather than exploring what would create peace in our world, for which we all desire. He was in a mindset which I truly didn’t understand and I found myself mentally go quiet. I did think of Robert MacNamara and the Fog of War but couldn’t say anything to this guy. MacNamara spoke of the mistakes made by the US in problem solving and the what I recall particularly was his acknowledgement that the US mistakenly beleived the Vietnamese to be allies of the Chinese when in fact they were enemies. I didn’t want to get into an argument with this guy and also I am aware that I have no idea of what he has been through and the pain he carries. I don’t wish to challenge him. However, I did say I came from a country where communism wasn’t an issue. He asked which country, I decided not to tell him now as I didn’t want to be boxed or judged as ‘with us or against us’. He already had a negative reaction to the word peace and I am sure I was placed in the ‘other’ category. I said to him I was working on the inner conflict within myself. He made comment that we have a right to our opinions and I mentioned democracy but he didn’t respond to that. I felt very much that I was seen as the enemy and it deeply disturbed me. I felt he and I were in different worlds and I had no idea how to bridge the gap between us. I truly want to see people happy and not being killed, he felt strongly that you needed defence. I am sensing with the gun debate here people really believe in defence. Yet I know from Byron Katie’s work that defence is the first step of war. What she means is the moment we go into defence, tension, fear, anger etc. we are on a war footing. I understand that as I wish to create peace therefore a soldier must be met as an equal and positively. I cannot see him as the enemy and in truth I don’t but I am curious about the mindset that sees defence as necessary and it appeared to me he couldn’t see any other way as he didn’t explore peace options. So I politely just said ‘all I wanted to know was your opinion about how we create peace’. He said nothing to this and I left him, probably not in peace. I certainly wasn’t as I felt he saw me negatively and I wanted to reflect on our encounter. Surely in a democratic society we embrace diversity and different opinions, not personally but as a means of testing ideas. Yet here I felt any discourse that countered the military line is seen as somehow the enemy. How can we make peace if that is the mindset? So I walked deeply contemplating. I put on Echart Tolle in my ipod and went immediately to his audio book ‘War is a mindset’. I will share with you his perspective as I seek to clarify my own confusion….

He starts off by talking about health care and the alternative medicines not treating the illness as an enemy. War is a mindset and all action that comes out of such a mindset will strengthen the enemy perceived evil or if the war is won will create a new enemy a new evil equal to or even worse then the one that was defeated… state of consciousness and external reality…when in the grip of a mindset such as war your perceptions become extremely selected as well as distorted in other words you will see what you want to see and then misinterpret it. You can imagine what kind of action comes out of such a delusional system. Or instead of imagining it watch the news on tv tonight. Recognise the ego for what it is a collective dysfunction the insanity of the human mind. When you recognise it for what it is you no longer misperceive it for someone’s identity. Once you see the ego for what it is it becomes much easier to become non reactive towards it. You don’t take it personally anymore. No complaining, blaming, accusing or making wrong. Nobody is wrong, it is the ego in someone. Compassion arises when you recognise that all are suffering from the same sickness of the mind…you do not fuel the drama anymore that is part of all egoic relationships. What is its fuel, reactivity. The ego thrives on it. Do you want peace or drama? You want peace, there is no-one who does not want peace, yet there is something else in you that wants the drama the conflict you may not be able to feel it in this moment you may have to wait for a moment or even just a thought that triggers a reaction in you. Someone accusing you of this or that, not acknowledging you, encroaching on your territory, questioning the way you do things, an argument about money, can you feel the enormous surge of force moving through you, perhaps being masked by anger or hostility. Can you hear your own voice becoming harsh or shrill or louder… can you be aware of your mind racing to defend its position justify, attack, blame. Can you awaken at that moment of unconsciousness, can you feel that there is something in you that is at war, something that feels threatened and wants to survive at all costs…

So I listened and felt myself returning to centre. I don’t see the soldier as separate from me, I am the soldier as well. Did I not feel some tension when I saw him reacting to me. Did I not want to defend peace, of course I did. I couldn’t think at the moment. So there is no them or us, it is us and I must take responsibility for my reactivity too. That was what I meant when I said to him I am trying to deal with the conflict within me. He wouldn’t have understood this as I am speaking in a way that sees that all conflict starts from within. That I must take responsibility for my negativity, my reaction, my projections that see an ‘other’. The mindset of war is truly about the ego.

I wondered as I walked could I ever convince a soldier to think of this and I just saw different universes. All I can do is live the peace I believe in and see everyone as my teacher. I felt a sense of peace pervading myself and I do have a deep love of god, so I can only go there and be at peace with my world in all its colours. Again I walked around and ended up speaking to a lovely woman who was selling jewellery. We spoke of the world and the changes that are coming. She felt fear around it but I said we have to face the reality in our world, we can’t live in denial. I am not lost on the fact that everyone lives like it is going to last forever, yet the icecaps are melting. She commented on the drowning polar bears. It is to face what is happening, not to fall into despair but to really look at what we all have collectively created and create a better world. Another two women turned up, they were friends of hers and without any prompting from me that also said there will be big changes coming. We all agreed that the times are a changing. We felt a connection and the lady who ran the shop also felt the connection. I generated a positive energy around this as I don’t think it is bad, I think it is important to live in harmony with the planet.

I walked further and saw an Afghani food place and found that to be a centre-peace. I wondered how the soldiers felt about Afghan food outlet since some of them would have gone to Afghanistan and seen Afghans as the enemy. They seemed tolerant of that. Which was good. Perhaps food is one of the ways we create peace?

There was a great band playing, a lot of 60’s-70’s music playing. I met up with Elia around 9pm and we decided we would go for a wine. We ended up staying in a hotel overnight as she had more work to do in the rental for the tenants.

I found the night was difficult, she is a snorer and I had ear plugs but couldn’t sleep. I had to go into the bathroom with my sheets and pillows but still couldn’t sleep as the tap was dripping. I went back and tried white noise with my phone to drown out the snoring. No luck. I just lay there accepting the reality of not sleeping. I hoped in the morning I would go to sleep but I didn’t. I did laugh about it. Elia said the wine probably made her snore more. I seem to be okay. I am in Starbucks again (wireless) and feel okay given little sleep.

A lady is talking about self expression and written skills. She is a former teacher. She made the comment that she has to drop all expectations to get through life. The Buddhists speak of this and of course it is a wise teaching. Going back to the military mind set we have to just be ourselves, express our truth but also understand that we are all at different levels of consciousness and truly there are people who really can’t understand each other. I think compassion is one of the keys. To find ways to bring that loving kind energy into all discussions. I wish to hug the soldiers to show them there is great beauty in this world.

I’ve just had a conversation with Barbara the lady sitting across from me.  I was asking her about Carlsbad and what was around here.  We had a talk about the gun debate and she was for disarmament. We discussed that guns don’t solve problems. Certainly in Australia we would be shocked by ordinary people carrying guns. The reason I would be concerned is, as a peace educator, people do not know how to resolve problems. Most blame the other or they get angry and lose their cool. What we first need to learn is how to deal with emotions and how to question our negative thoughts, they are always incorrect. We spoke of the importance of peace education in schools but in the States she said it would be viewed by a few as communism. I find this amazing given all peace education is is learning to feel emotions, to resolve conflict (conflict resolution), learning skills of cooperation and how to communicate in positive ways that don’t escalate the conflict but come to the conflict in a spirit of understanding and awareness. We each have different perceptions and see the world differently. I am already seeing that here in the US, there is a different mindset here compared to Australia. This woman and I spoke of oneness she had herself a near death experience. I did near death research in Australia and discovered there is indeed an experience as people leave the body. Barbara commented that if only people understood about leaving the body. There is so much fear around our deaths very little discussion about leaving the body and what people see or hear. They often do hear voices, they see magnificent luminous beings, they see colours, they feel an incredible sense of love never experienced in this life. I have spoken directly to these people and all of them said we are here to love each other. I wanted to do more than 8 cases to show people that there is indeed another reality that when we develop an enlightened attitude towards life perhaps we won’t be so quick to judge, to exclude, to hurt or harm others but be open to learn from the experience that life sends us. Each life is of incredible value I have come to see and that they are all our teachers. Imagine instead of negativity you greeted challenges with wonder and curiosity, I can assure you it will turn out differently. Barbara’s experience reinforced to me that we are indeed one and what you do to others returns to the self. This is a fundamental wisdom the world is still learning. She surprised me by saying that people think she is crazy. I saw nothing but common sense sitting in front of me and a teacher with a great deal of experience. I gave her a hug and we parted.

I headed down the beach and had a look around Carlsbad. I was here 27 years ago and believe I found a hotel that I stayed at with the Contiki tour I was with at 20. So it was a nice walk down memory lane.

So will sign off now and have a look at Carlsbad.