This is another of the older stories. Before a desert trip, I had asked Rama if he minded if I brought along my microcassette recorder to tape what was said so I could transcribe it later. He said Ok, as long as I didnt allow it to interfere with my ability to focus. Afterwards, I transcribed the tape and realized that there was some great stuff on it, but every attempt to turn it into a story for The Last Incarnation fell flat for me until I stumbled on a quirky idea. What would happen if I told not my tale but the tale of someone watching from the sidelines? This is what happens when you pay attention to quirky ideas.
I was just settling down to dinner when the bozos showed up. I had worked up quite an appetite killing it, and was really looking forward to kicking back here in the moonlight and eating for about seven straight hours, so I wasn't too pleased by the interruption. After all, there's nothing quite like a fat, juicy spider to set one's mouth to watering.
He was a tough one, too. I mean, I tracked that sucker for hours. He left a trail like a coyote, but I never could seem to catch sight of him. I'll have to admit, old Gordo here really shook me up when he jumped me. Sheeeit, I thought I was a goner for sure this fat, hairy thing comes plopping down on me out of nowhere! All this time I was thinking I was stalking him, and the whole time the fat sucker had been stalking ME!
He pretty much got me, too. I hit the ground rolling, trying to get away, but this guy was BIG, and had those long legs of his wrapped around every part of me. I don't mind admitting I was scared shitless when I saw his ugly jaws trying to munch their way through my carapace. If I hadn't managed to shake my tail loose and zap him a couple of times in the belly, he would have finished me for sure. Even then, it took what seemed like hours for the poison to hit him. He hung in there, clamped onto my ass and struggling and trying to go for my neck right up to the very end.
Most spiders are wimps. They set up their webs and wait for some sleepwalking asshole to stumble into one. Then they just sit there and wait for the victim to get weak enough to eat. But this one was different he had guts. Quite tasty guts, come to think about it.
So I'm sitting here in the desert night, happy to be the muncher instead of the munchee, feeling ALIVE!, and then I hear the bozos coming up the gorge. Actually, I could feel them long before I could hear them. Sheeeit, there must be hundreds of them! I could tell they were bozos just by the way they walked. Humans, of course, but worse than the usual. You know the kind the ones who think they're being quiet while scaring off everything within ten miles. The ground is shaking so much from their footsteps that my dinner is bouncing around and starting to act alive again. Finally, they come around from behind the wall of the gorge and I can actually see them. Sheeeit! There ARE hundreds of them! What are a bunch of bozos doing out here in the desert in the middle of the night? They're dressed in shorts and T-shirts and have things on their backs that look like they're full of enough food to last for weeks.
Bozos, did I say? It's worse than I thought. They stagger along, eyes on the ground in front of them, not even checking the shadows for predators. Some of these guys are so tired that they don't even watch where they put their feet. Hopeless! I don't expect some of them to live through the night. Strokin' along in front of the group, however, is this tall dude with curly hair. He seems to be cooler than the rest. At least he knows enough to scan as he's walking and to stay awake out here.
He stops. The bozos pile up behind him, running into one another. He ignores them and scans the entire area. As he looks in my direction, I freeze, thinking maybe he's after my spider, but he seems to be looking for something else.
Finally, he decides something and turns off the main trail, heading for the canyon wall near where I'm crouched. He walks over to a spot about twenty feet from me and stops, staring up at the sky. The bozos sense that something's up and they go crazy. We're talking chaos. They start running around, trying to stake out a seat on the sand as close to this curly-haired dude as possible.
It takes about half a second for me to determine that I'm not dealing with rational beings here and realize that it's time to beat feet. I mean, I'm running like crazy, dodging flying feet and backpacks, totally into survival mode. Somehow, I make it to the shelter of a bush off to my right just as some fat dude plops down right on top of my spider. I give him a very nasty stare, but the guy is such a bozo that he doesn't even know I'm there, much less that he's just squashed the best dinner I've had in months.
The curly-haired tall one paces around, waiting for things to settle down. This takes a while. These are not the most subtle beings on the planet. When he finally speaks, his voice surprises me. It has a power I never associated with humans before. "Well, my friends, you came in a crummy consciousness. The power level is extremely high in the gorge this evening, probably higher than you've ever experienced, and when you come in a sloppy state of consciousness, that means I have to work twice as hard to make you receptive. Particularly on a night like this."
Who is this guy? And why are all these bozos out here in the desert in the middle of the night, listening to him talk about power? Anyone who's survived his first year in the gorge can take one look at them and see that they don't have a whole hell of a lot of it! Curly can see it, too. He continues to pace around in front of them, sometimes scanning the bozos as a group, occasionally stopping to fix one of them in his gaze.
Now this one's got power! In fact, as he paces around, rubbing his hands together and gazing up at the sky, it suddenly gets through to me that he's starting to glow. Emanating from him are waves of light, one after another, washing over the bozos and over me. I can feel my pincers starting to tingle, and decide to sneak up a little closer.
I find what seems to be a safe place in the hollow of a sand dune, where I can hear better. Curly spins in circles a couple of times, dancing to some rhythm only he can hear. "Pay attention, now", he says. "You know, watch?!"
He walks up to the rock face of the gorge and disappears. No question about it. The man just fades away gradually, so that first I see the mountain through the haze of his outline, then just the mountain. Sheeeit! Next he tells the bozos to watch the moon, which has just risen over the top of the cliff we're sitting under. The moon starts to change shape it becomes liquid and flows into an oblong shape. There are a few ooohs and aaahs from the bozos, but for the most part, no one seems to notice. Me, I'm knocked out! Who is this guy, and what is he doing in my desert?
He asks the bozos what they saw. Might as well ask old Gordo over there. A couple of them actually work up the nerve to speak. One says that he saw the moon moving, another mumbles that, "I thought...I mean, it seemed as if the mountain beneath it began undulating." I knew it, wimps!
One bozo says that she saw the moon dancing and bouncing.
The curly one nods and says, "We're giving it lessons."
Another woman says, "I saw a face in the moon."
"That's the woman in the moon."
She says, "No, it doesn't seem like normal."
"Of course it's not normal. You're out in the desert with Rama, for gosh sakes. It's bouncing up and down, the typical bouncing moon. Happens every time we come out here."
Rama. That's who it is. My buddy Julio told me about him. Julio's a power junkie from 'way back, always hanging out with the coyotes. Anyway, he told me a few weeks back about this strange dude named Rama that he watched one night. Wild stories about lights in the sky and the stars changing and spinning around. I just thought Julio had been snacking on jimson weed again, but maybe he was onto something.
The curly-haired one Rama, I mean entertains the troops a little more. He's doing some hot stuff up there with power. I sure hope these bozos are appreciating the show, because I sure am. I haven't seen anything like this since that old gray coyote from Sonora came around and showed us how to shit wildflowers.
He asks, "How many of you saw me disappear earlier on?"
About three-quarters of the bozos raise their hands. I'm really getting into the scene by this time; I raise my stinger.
"That's a good start. The next step is to make you disappear. And in order to do that, you've got to let go now. You're still subconsciously holding on to something outside this scene. But you've got to understand that nothing else exists right now but this moment, and this doesn't even exist. This is just a drawing, a picture in a book, a memory someone has of some place a long time ago that needs to be forgotten. You need to take me seriously now, or this isn't going to work."
One of the bozos, obviously in a fit of taking Rama seriously, picks this moment to change places. He wanders over to the little hill I'm hiding behind and plops right down on top of me! What kind of asshole sits down in the desert without looking what he's sitting on? Fortunately, I'm down in this little hollow, so I don't get squished all over the sand like Gordo over there, but I figure I should be kind and teach this bozo a lesson about survival in the desert. Besides, with him sitting on top of me, I can't hear Rama anymore.
So, I reach up with my stinger and zap the little twerp right on the pecker. He howls and leaps up and starts jumping up and down and stomping, looking for what bit him. By that time, of course, I'm long gone, hiding under a bush off to the right and laughing to beat all. Some other tall bozo comes over to see why this one is leaping around holding his crotch and then goes up front to report on the situation to Rama.
Rama is concerned, but you can tell that he's also fighting real hard to keep a straight face. He gives the bozos a little lecture on looking around before they sit down in the desert and tells them to check out the area around them with their flashlights right now. With this much warning, most of my buddies in the area have time to make it to a safe hiding place, but there is such a panic of shouting and stomping bozos that quite a few of them buy a one-way ticket to scorpion heaven.
The fat dude near me is particularly zealous. He's stomping around like mad, squashing beetles and ladybugs and anything that crawls, totally unaware that his butt is covered with spider guts. He finally sits down right next to my bush, but I can tell he hasn't given up. Every few minutes he turns on his flashlight and squirms around, looking for something more to kill.
Rama is watching this whole scene and trying hard not to bust a gut laughing. Watching some of the bozos leading the one I stung to a truck, he says, "When you come out here, you have to be awake. Look where you're walking and especially where you're sitting. One person already got stung tonight in a very sensitive place."
"Talk about karma!" He laughs and says, in a voice just loud enough for the limping bozo to hear, "They're taking him to the doctor right now, but I don't think it's anything to worry too much about. The scorpions out here usually don't kill you. They usually have to amputate the injured limb, but think of all the emotional attachments he won't have to worry about from now on."
This Rama guy is one funny dude, although I'm not sure the bozo being helped into the truck thinks so.
Rama lets the air settle down after the truck drives off and then turns the power up a couple of notches. I doubt that the bozos can tell, but it's obvious to me that he's building up to something important.
"So what do you really want tonight?"
Just what I thought. The ultimate killer question. I kick back for a while and listen to how the bozos deal with it.
"I want to go as far as I can go."
"As far as you can go, though, is up to you. All I can work with is what you bring me."
"I'd like to be fully here."
"You'd like to be fully here? Where is the rest, in Philadelphia?"
"I'd like everyone to become one."
"How could you find a pair of jeans to fit?"
"I'd like to remember."
"I'd like to forget," Rama laughs.
"I'd like to change."
Rama smiles and says, "Ah, now you're talking my language. Change, that we can do. We may never come back."
One bozo off to the right says, "I want to be scared." Everyone laughs nervously. The dude has just made a serious mistake.
"You'd like to be scared?"
Rama slowly walks through the crowd and over to him. The bozos are giggling. They must not have been around power very much. What they would realize if they could see is that this Rama guy is one scary dude. He walks over to this bozo and reaches down and it looks like he puts his palm on the guy's forehead. The guy gets this kind of stricken look on his face like he's afraid he's going to die. This changes in a few seconds into another look, like now he's afraid that he won't. Rama walks back out into the clearing. He says, "Remember, you always get what you want."
"Rama, I'd like my fear to go away."
"What's there to be afraid of out here? It's a wonderful world we've got the moonlight, the wind, the scorpions..."
Hey, he credited me! I'll bet this guy is so hot he knows I'm out here checking him out.
He gets a little sterner with the bozos. "Come on now, be honest. What do you really want?"
Someone says, "I want to experience who you really are."
"Oh gosh. You've got to be in a really good consciousness for that, I mean very expansive. It stretches a long way. It's infinite. We did that last time, I don't know if you remember. I showed you who I was. I don't know how many people caught it. It was when you were on your back looking at the stars..."
"I'd like to gain total self realization."
"Oh come on. Total self realization. God, you guys are lucky just to make it out here on time."
"Rama, I'd like for my ego to be destroyed."
"Ah yes, that's my specialty. Just keep coming, and ask questions. Come on, now, what do you want?"
"I want to know in my heart that you are the one true teacher for me."
"Ah, a romantic. If you're still working on that one, what are you doing out here? There's only one true teacher and that's eternity. If you're still under the illusion that a human being can be the one personified, true teacher for you, then you'll never find your true teacher. You'll always be looking for something that isn't there. Everything is your true teacher. Nothing is your true teacher. That's what you have to see.
"In other words, you still have this idea that you will meet some person who is going to make everything wonderful. That's your true teacher, you go on a picnic together, and life will light up. It's not like that. The most you can do is find someone like me and see that I'm eternity. And that eternity is your true teacher. In other words, that's the true realization, that I am one with eternity I can't be separated from it. And if you see that I am eternity, then not only do you see that 'I', that which you call Rama, am eternity, but you'll see that everything else is, too. So this gorge is your teacher, the moon is your teacher, the stars are your teachers, the scorpions are your teachers."
I'm beginning to like this Rama guy more and more.
"Everything and everyone is your teacher. The only use that I have is that it's easier to use me as a doorway to see eternity through because as this world goes, I'm paper thin. With most things you see, they're very dense. You look at the moon, you look at the sagebrush, you look at the other people in this world, they all have a substance. They're all very thick. Now, in my case, what realization means is that you become paper thin. It's as if you could walk behind everything here, as if we were in a Hollywood set, Ok, and these mountains actually were just paper machι, and behind them were big scaffolds holding them up. The same was true of all the people here. And on the other side of them let's say was eternity, right? But to you they all seem very solid. They all have this solid appearance.
"But in my case, it's as if someone went behind me with a big piece of sandpaper and started to sand and sand and sand, till I became paper thin. There is just enough there to have an appearance, but if you just stick your hand in it, it goes right through. As opposed to, if you walk up to the other scenery, you really can't do that.
"So what you do is you start with a person who isn't really a person any more. And that way you can begin through them, using them as a kind of a viewer to see eternity. Now, once you do it with them, the next step is to do it with yourself, until you see within yourself, that which you call the self, whatever you consider that to be, that that's eternity. Then the next thing, of course, is to do it with nature, or other human beings or whatever you like.
"But you always have to start with the particular and work your way out. Seeing that the particular is not the particular but that the particular is eternity and it is universal. So that's why we come out here. When we're out here, what I am doing is showing you that I, Rama, whoever you say, am eternity. And that everything here the sand, the brush, the scorpions, the powerful warriors who live here that the spirit of the desert itself is eternity.
"But that's why it's so necessary that when you come here that you leave everything behind you. That you really feel that when you come out here that if you never go back, that's fine. You've resolved your life. Because only then can I begin to show you eternity."
Give 'em hell, Rama. It's about time someone woke these guys up before something out here in the desert notices they're here and decides to eat them.
"Tonight all of you came into the gorge with a lot of baggage. You had your houses on your back, your car payments, your loves, your problems, your relatives. You see, when you come into the desert, you're coming into the midst of eternity, so you have to leave all of that back there. Because if you carry it all out, it's very hard for the wind to carry you. In other words, you came in tonight very heavy. Either that or a little bit frivolous, as opposed to just a nice even, steady consciousness, which is basically awe and reverence for life itself.
"That's what we come out here to study the spirit of the desert that aspect of God that I call the spirit of the desert. The winds, the luminosity. Because out here is forever. Out here you can let go of the cities, of your lives, of your families, of your desires, of the things that you wish to run away from.
"You've all come with good intentions, and I respect that. But you must bring me something to work with. Just showing up is not enough. Just being excited oh boy! we're going on a trip is not enough. How can I possibly do my art for you, which is the art of eternity? How can I show you things that most human beings never see, if you don't bring to me that which I need, which is your second level of attention, your deeper awareness? That has to rise up out of that which you call your self.
"Without that I can do very little. Oh sure, we can take a nice hike and you'll see some colored lights and feel a little bit different later. But the reason we bring you out here is for total transition.
"Earlier I asked you what you want this evening, and you're all asking for these really lofty things, which can be done, but you have to at the same time have a little more volition than to just say, 'I want it.' I respect that, but I need something behind it that says, 'Not only do I want it, but I am willing to live the kind of life necessary to make that happen.' Then I can do something. Then eternity can work through me and do the magic that you all like.
"So tonight what I'm doing while we talk and look at things and watch the universe sparkle is doing my magic routine for you. I'm not exactly a person, if you haven't figured that out yet. I have a little magic routine I do. I try and keep you occupied. But all the while I'm doing some things to totally change your form."
No shit. We're all out here melting. The guy is glowing and shining so brightly that the air turns into molten gold and we all melt into it. Not only is he up there changing his form a mile a minute, but he's changing ours, too. Now I see why the bozos are out here. I've never felt anything like this before. Is this what a spiritual teacher is all about? Even if they don't appreciate all of what's happening, the bozos must notice something, right? I mean, look at the fat dude over there. He's wiggling around again, flicking on his flashlight and looking for killer bugs, totally unaware that his body is dissolving and melting and turning into light. How can he not know? How can these guys stay so asleep? Don't they know what they've got going for them here?
As if picking up on my thoughts, Rama says, "This is a very, very, very advanced spiritual practice that hardly anyone on this earth gets into. There are only a few teachers in all the earth that teach this. And somehow you've gotten here. I don't think that it's a gift, it's just what's happened. But you need to value it, otherwise it won't work.
"You see, we don't have all the time in the world. I try to be subtle about certain points because I don't know what else to do, but you have to get into it, because I'm just going to go away one day and the whole thing will stop."
Dead silence. Something has finally gotten through to the bozos. One of them asks, in a weak, stricken voice, "Do you know when you're going to leave?"
"Oh no, I just keep waiting and waiting."
"Where are you going?"
He chuckles, and then gazes wistfully up at the desert sky. He just stands, staring up there for a few minutes, lost in whatever someone like this becomes lost in. "Actually, I'm going back to the place I came from originally. It's out there. All you do is go out past that star and to the left. Remember The Little Prince?" He stretches his long arm up and points, "Out there and to the left."
All the bozos look up. I try to see it, too, but I can't from under my bush, so I scurry out a little way into the open. Sure enough, there it is up there, twinkling and glowing golden in the desert night. I turn back to look at Rama and see the same golden light coming from him. It's so bright that the air becomes thick with gold and everything else seems to fade away. Sheeeit! The bozos are scanning the sky trying to find a star and look what they've got standing right in front of them!
I hear the fat dude moving around behind me. Screw him. I start walking towards Rama anyway. I can't help myself, the light is just too strong. I've got to tell him somehow, let him know that there's someone out here who sees him, understands how rare he is, and cannot bear the thought of him going away. I start to shout, Rama! Down here! It's me. I see you, I appreciate what you're doing. Please don't go, stay and teach me. I want to listen to you forever, I want to hear mo