Dear Friend,

Just returned from my Esalen workshop, which was great. Pix will be up soon. There are three things I want to communicate, to share with you.

First, a True Story About the Spiritual Teacher Byron Katie

This story was told to me by a friend who heard it directly from Stephen Mitchell, Byron Katie’s husband, and a successful author/translator in his own right. The quotations I gave during the workshop from the Tao Te Ching were his.

Anyway, Byron Katie and Stephen were walking back to their car late at night, when a man suddenly slipped out of the darkness, grabbed Byron Katie by the shoulder, stuck a gun in her face, and said: “Give me everything you’ve got or I’m gonna kill you!”

Without missing a beat, Bryon Katie turned to him, and in a calm voice said: “I wouldn’t do that, sweetie… You’ll just create a terrible mess for yourself.” At which point, the would-be mugger released his grip on her and fled back into the darkness!

Now that is the embodiment of true presence, true fearlessness!

A Poem from Rumi, which Illustrates the Theme of ‘Welcoming’ (which I Emphasized at Esalen)

THE GUESTHOUSE

This being human is a guesthouse
every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.

Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they're a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,

Still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

And Finally, a Story about my Son, Adam

When I arrived home from Esalen, Adam greeted me with a big smile and a warm, loving hug. He told me had done his best programming in years, and thanked me for having given him the space to do it.

“The night before you arrived home, Dad,” he said, “I was awake at 2 am working on an engineering problem I’d been trying to solve for ten years, ever since I was 16. It had to do with the flames I was creating on the computer screen. I didn’t know how to make them bigger, and to make them dance. I went to a site for elite programmers but even they couldn’t help me.

“Finally, I came to a decision point: if I couldn’t solve this problem on my own, I didn’t deserve to be a computer programmer, and would quit my dream and do something else. So, I mustered all my ability, all my strength, all my focus, and went through the code line by line.

“And then, exactly 25 minutes later, I saw it. I saw what I had been doing that wasn’t working, and I saw what I needed to do to fix it. I had solved a major, major engineering problem, and that gave me the keys to the kingdom. Now I am positioned to create beautiful, colorful, dancing flames on the computer screen, and much more…”

So while I was presenting my work at Esalen, Adam was doing his own work, moving himself into the highest echelon of software engineering. I am proud of him!

Love and blessings,

Jim